Letters - Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Scientific advisors are not infallible

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 3:45 pm
Covid restrictions

Every scientist, every lawyer, indeed, every mature person, knows that evidence often fits with more than one interpretation.

Take the recent report that between a third and a quarter of colds in the UK now are actually Covid-19.

The official view of this is that we should take more measures to combat Covid because there is a lot of it about.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

An alternative interpretation is that if the symptoms of these Covid cases are no worse than having a cold then we shouldn’t be overreacting.

Similarly, senior politicians and their scientific advisers dwell on the fact that the Omicron variant of Covid is more infectious than the dominant Delta strain.

They completely ignore that both the World Health Organisation and the America’s CDC report that symptoms of Omicron are usually mild.

The senior scientists and medics advising ministers are suffering from confirmation bias, where the seriousness of Covid-19 is treated as a given, and all evidence is interpreted to bolster that belief.

Alternative interpretations of new evidence are ignored, as the likely evolutionary path of this type of upper respiratory tract infection to lesser virulence and greater infectivity.

This inevitably leads to these advisors applying the precautionary principle and recommending both endless restrictions and recurring lockdowns.

It is high time our political leaders realised that their scientific advisors are not infallible and do not take into account the economy, the national debt, inflation, NHS waiting lists, delayed cancer screenings or the morale and mental health of the nation.

Otto Inglis

via email


Be careful buying a kitten online

With online pet sales on the increase, Cats Protection would like to warn of the potential risk of buying an ill or diseased kitten.

This year the charity has heard of many kittens that were taken from their mothers at too young an age and sold online for the sake of a quick profit. Kittens should be at least eight weeks old so that they are fully weaned and developing normally from a health and behavioural perspective.

Unsuspecting buyers did not realise that they bought a potentially sick kitten until after purchase which meant they were sometimes left with high veterinary bills, or in some cases, a kitten which tragically died.

Action Fraud also reports that there has been a six-fold increase in instances of kitten and cat fraud (1,146 in 2020/21 compared to just 190 in 2019/20), underlining the need for buyers to be vigilant.

Please visit www.cats.org.uk/eight-weeks for advice on how to purchase a happy and healthy kitten or give a donation to help Cats Protection care for unwanted kittens.

Dr Maggie Roberts

Director of Veterinary Services

Cats Protection


Impersonating a police officer

We have recently seen Boris attending a photo opportunity with the Merseyside Police in a pre-dawn raid on a drug dealer’s home in Liverpool.

There we saw our PM dressed in a stab-proof vest, a coat and a beanie hat, all labelled ‘POLICE’.

Now, I thought that one could be arrested for impersonating a police officer.

Mind you, I reckon he ought to be arrested for impersonating a Prime Minister.

Now the question is “Was his attire specially ordered for his size or was it available off the shelf?” If it was the latter, then some Merseyside officers would hardly be able to chase miscreants down in a foot chase, would they?

If he were an item of food, then his best before date has long gone, assuming he has ever had a best before date, and he is most definitely past his Use By date.

Many MPs have stated that it is their job to make the decisions. While I agree with this sentiment, their job description needs to go further and add the word ‘right’.

As far as I can see, the decisions coming out of No. 10 can hardly be described as being the right ones.

Oh, I was forgetting, The Cabinet ARE right ones! Now, er, party on folks! Hmm, the phrase ‘We are the Party of the People’ is somehow having a ironic ring to it.


via email


Merkel or Johnson?

A German friend of mine and I had a telephone chat last Monday evening.

Such chats occur very rarely – perhaps once a year.

In this latest chat, I said I was sorry Angela Merkel had come to the end of her term of office as Chancellor.

We both agreed she had been the outstanding leader in Europe for the past 16 years. I asked my friend what she thought of our Prime Minister.

She laughed for quite a time. “How could the UK elect such a buffoon?” she said. I often ask myself the same question. Angela beats Boris on all counts – integrity, honesty and statesmanship.

Canon Michael Storey

via email

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here