Mike Vickers' Blog

March 26, 2020

How deadly is the coronavirus?

Filed under: Coronavirus, History in the making, Nurses, Spectator — derryvickers @ 12:23 pm

How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear

Dr John Lee: 26 March 2020 Spectator

‘Clearly, the various lockdowns will slow the spread of Covid-19 so there will be fewer cases. When we relax the measures, there will be more cases again. But this need not be a reason to keep the lockdown: the spread of cases is only something to fear if we are dealing with an unusually lethal virus. That’s why the way we record data will be hugely important. Unless we tighten criteria for recording death due only to the virus (as opposed to it being present in those who died from other conditions), the official figures may show a lot more deaths apparently caused by the virus than is actually the case. What then? How do we measure the health consequences of taking people’s lives, jobs, leisure and purpose away from them to protect them from an anticipated threat? Which causes least harm?

The moral debate is not lives vs money. It is lives vs lives. It will take months, perhaps years, if ever, before we can assess the wider implications of what we are doing. The damage to children’s education, the excess suicides, the increase in mental health problems, the taking away of resources from other health problems that we were dealing with effectively. Those who need medical help now but won’t seek it, or might not be offered it. And what about the effects on food production and global commerce, that will have unquantifiable consequences for people of all ages, perhaps especially in developing economies?’

Full Article at:

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/The-evidence-on-Covid-19-is-not-as-clear-as-we-think?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WEEK%20%2020200328%20%20AL&utm_content=WEEK%20%2020200328%20%20AL+CID_9f621811e7d32eb803ac263a2c72d730&utm_source=CampaignMonitor_Editorial&utm_term=Dr%20John%20Lee

 

December 25, 2019

The Trail of Charles 1

Filed under: Brexit, Dictatorship, History in the making, Johnson, Law, Westminster — derryvickers @ 8:27 pm

Charles I: Killing a King

A three-part series on BBC 4 on the Trial of Charles 1.

The Trial comes to a climax on the decision as to whether Charles 1 raised an army and a bloody civil war against the people of the UK (well mainly England) and against his oath on his Coronation to protect the people.

He is found guilty, as we know, by what were in effect a chosen selection of the Proletarians. Charles 1 had ignored the will of Parliament and had ultimately gone to War to prove that he was King by Divine Right and was therefore omnipotent.

Charles was ultimately defeated by Cromwell and Fairfax, captured and had to be put on trial – the series makes no attempt to show that the trial was a show trial; rather it makes the case that the King is Not Above the Law and as such it set the precedent for the numerous examples across the World since.  We shall see whether, as claimed by the lawyers interviewed, the Trail affected UK Parliamentary Democracy ever since.  A bold claim and one that looks dubious in the light of the recent UK Election where the Executive has assumed the mantle of the Devine Right of Kings .

As at 25th December the Series is still available on BBC4

September 24, 2019

A Significant Victory for Democracy in the UK

I view this as a great victory of Parliament over the Executive.

‘Bring Back Control’ to Parliament, not to a cabal of Tory misfits.

Simon Jenkins in this afternoon’s Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/24/supreme-court-judgment-sounds-trumpet-failed-prime-minister.

He is somewhat sanguine in his final paragraph:

‘Whether that is sustainable in an era in which parliament and MPs are held in such low regard, in which the political parties are so fragmented and partisan, and in which the electoral system that creates the sovereign parliament is so slewed in its effects, has to be in doubt. The supreme court did not just sound the trumpet over a failed prime minister. It did the same over a failed constitutional order.’

I agree. Whether the UK will now embark on a written Constitution is still a matter of conjecture.
A trouble point remains; we still have the right wing media supported by capitalists on the make.

But I came to the Bill of Rights of 1688, late. I had misaligned it with the Glorious Revolution of 1689.
In the end the Bill of Rights was crucial to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
As an aside it was before the Act of Union of 1707.

September 23, 2019

Greta Thunberg at the UN

Filed under: Climate Change, Greta Thunberg, History in the making, Sustainability, Trump — derryvickers @ 7:32 pm

I find it difficult to know how to tackle Climate Change, I am too old for it to affect me, but the children now will suffer in many ways, ways not even to contemplate.
Climate Change and its effects has been with me for a very long time.  I remember a book years ago titled ‘BeforeNature Dies’
I note it’s still avaiable:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3718781-before-nature-dies

Who said Thunberg couldn’t speak;  what more could she have said and with what better emphasis?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/23/greta-thunberg-speech-un-2019-address

The new Messiah but is she too late; Cheers by the UN but little commitment
And Trump walked by

 

September 19, 2019

Newton and Prorogation of the UK Parliament

Filed under: Bill of Rights, Brexit, Dictatorship, Gina Miller, History in the making, Johnson, Law, Newton — derryvickers @ 7:13 pm

Isaac Newton in 1675: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”.

Equally this applies to Law as it does to Mechanics.

So much is Case Law.

But with the Prorogation of Parliament by Johnson, there is too few Cases to build on other than the Bill of Rights 1688.

I note in his closing submissions, Keen said the judges should decline to become involved. “Whether it is dissolution or prorogation [of parliament], this is forbidden territory … It is a matter between the executive and parliament.

But this is a not possible as, as Parliament is not in session, the matter cannot be resolved ‘between the executive and parliament’

He continues “The applicants and petitioners are inviting the court into forbidden territory and an ill-defined minefield that the courts are not properly equipped to deal with.”

Nevertheless, the Bill of Rights 1688 provides for:

Dispensing and Suspending Power.

By Assumeing and Exerciseing a Power of Dispensing with and Suspending of Lawes and the Execution of Lawes without Consent of Parlyament

And can we expect Johnson now to tamper with:

Violating Elections.

By Violating the Freedome of Election of Members to serve in Parlyament

The real question remains, is the Executive above or subservient to the Parliament. Is the Executive ‘The Queen in Parliament’ and, even if so, the Bill of Rights states that ‘Exercising a Power of Dispensing with and Suspending of Lawes and the Execution of Lawes without Consent of Parlyament’.

We can only wait a see what the conclusions of Supreme Court comes up with. What ever verdict is arrived at we may hope that we can be able to, as Newton says, Stand on the shoulders of Giants for the future.

BTW Bill Jameson in today’s Scotsman suggests that if the Supreme Court cannot come to an agreed verdict it could appeal to the European Court of Justice.

April 24, 2019

The Last Supper Then and Now

Leonardo's Last Supper

Greta Thunberg talking with Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn at the UK Parliament on 23 April 2019.

Greta Thunberg should be encouraged to speak to the UK Parliament as a whole.

In any case, if Trump is allowed to speak to the UK Parliament in June (and I hope Bercow succeeds again in stopping him) then Greta should be invited to follow immediately afterwards.

 

March 29, 2019

The Antipodes – Jacinda Arderns

Filed under: Brexit, History in the making, Personal, World Class — derryvickers @ 10:48 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/29/jacinda-arderns-speech-at-christchurch-memorial-full-transcript

“And so to each of us as we go from here, we have work to do, but do not leave the job of combatting hate to the government alone. We each hold the power, in our words and in our actions, in our daily acts of kindness. Let that be the legacy of the 15th of March. To be the nation we believe ourselves to be.”

“To the global community who have joined us today, who reached out to embrace New Zealand, and our Muslim community, to all of those who have gathered here today, we say thank you.”

What more is there to say?

I make no apology for bringing the words of Jacinda Arderns to the fore again.

New Zealand is the Antipodes in more senses than one to what is happening in the UK now.

March 18, 2019

Bercow – is he The Last Playboy of the Western World?

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, History in the making, Ireland, Politics, UK Parliament — derryvickers @ 10:33 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/18/john-bercow-commons-motion-brexit-erskine-may

John Crace – two pages rather than his usual one.

It would all be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious; as of course was the Synge’s Last Playboy.

However more serious is

Rafael Behr

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/18/john-bercow-brexit-moment-speaker-ruling

From Behr’s  last two paragraphs:

“It also retrospectively casts a darker, more terminal shadow over the decision a majority of them made to reject the deal last Tuesday. Might some Tories or members of the DUP have acted differently had they known it was May’s last shot at getting her deal through?

Certainly the prime minister’s strategy has depended on eliminating options, so that eventually MPs would conclude that the only feasible Brexit on the table was hers. For that to work, she needed to keep bluffing and keep raising the stakes. She didn’t realise that ultimately, in parliament, it’s the Speaker who runs the game. And now all bets are off.

 

BTW Why have all the best playwrights in the English Language been Irish

February 14, 2019

Babel – and addition

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, History in the making, Music, Politics — derryvickers @ 5:10 pm

I should have included in my last blog the display flashed up during the Babel piece

Brexit cannot be neutral

Not just Venezuela but equally true of Brexit

February 10, 2019

Elizabeth Warren runs for President of the US

Filed under: History in the making, Left Politics, USA — derryvickers @ 8:11 am

Here  she goes

If she achieves domination for the Democratic Ticket she will give Trump a run for his money

Lovely set of pictures

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2019/feb/09/elizabeth-warren-launches-2020-presidential-campaign

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