Those Ruddy Experts and Why We Should Support Them
Posted on December 24, 2021
Boris Johnson has gambled on omicron, and it may well pay off for him. What is alarming, is how all the populists are chasing after epidemiologists like pack dogs. Forget facts, Sage got it all wrong. They were just trying to scare us into lockdown for whatever reason you want to impulsively make up in your head.
The truth is that Chris Whitty and sage had a decent idea where omicron was heading, a few weeks ago. They knew it was going to spread at an alarming rate but were mildly comforted by low death and hospitalisation rates coming out of South Africa.
Certainty Never Existed
What they, you, me, politicians, or some mad cunt on YouTube, didn’t know for sure, was how it would react against UK immune systems. The signs were positive, but they had to call for caution in case there was an anomaly. Even with the good news about omicron, with the rate of infections, it would only take a tiny percentage of people to react badly to create chaos. This is not over yet.
It is definitely not over for any experts out there. The populists and conspiracy theorists are gunning for them. I find that more of a terrifying prospect than Covid itself. If we are going down that route, it offers striking similarities to Nazi Germany, where academics and experts were chased out of town or shot.
The reality is that SAGE haven’t got anything wrong. They had and still have, every right to be concerned about a virus that is infecting upwards of 100,000 people a day. If 0.1% of those get badly affected, that is 700 hospital beds a week, getting taken up. It’s the volume of infections and the dent it puts into NHS staffing and resources, where the concern remains.
If you read more about what Sage do, they are not there to spread alarm (despite popular opinion). They have to model incredible amounts of information then digest it and inform the government of their findings. Where world modelling universally agreed with each other, was with regards to the alarming speed of omicron.
If you read about Covid and want to debate it seriously, you will find that there is not one credible scientist who claims to have a monopoly of knowledge about what might happen next. It is vital to look at all data, not just the narrative that suits the outcome we want or are hoping for. Ignoring aspects of data that don’t make a good story, isn’t science.
The purpose of scientific modelling is critical. It should allow ministers to understand how modelling is shaping and when certainty is increased and decreased. Telling Scientific facts to those in truth to power is not easy but critical. It is a vital part of the democratic process where we have to hope ministers make informed decisions.
That is the job of Sage and it is one that has given those in power massive assistance during the pandemic. Without Sage, we would be in a worse position than if we had taken the advice of the lunatics on Boris Johnson’s backbenches. It is not the fault of Sage that Johnson is caught somewhere in the middle of caution and lunacy, without knowing which way to go.
Health and Politics
The fact is, Johnson is fighting for his political life. Both Sage and public health are key to whether his leadership goes beyond spring. That’s politics for you, but its not really a good place to be at a critical stage of the pandemic. Make no bones about it, Johnson is a chancer, and he wouldn’t think twice about risking public health to save his own bacon.
Whatever the case, in my opinion, the harassing and bullying of scientists that provide potential scenarios through complex and detailed modelling scenarios, is utterly appalling. A democracy needs experts to advise the government, hold it to account and push it to make unpopular decisions. Lose that and Britain is no longer a democracy.
We are not a 21st century version of Nazi Germany…well, not yet anyway.