back to article As UK Parliament heads back to in-person voting, select committees are told they can continue working via Zoom

UK Parliament select committees will continue in a "virtual" format until mid-September, House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has confirmed. The current framework, which allows members and witnesses to participate remotely via Zoom, will continue until 17 September before the Commons enters recess for the usual party …

  1. MatthewSt

    Progress

    It's nice to know that the same people who think it's possible to get 5 year olds to respect social distancing without teacher intervention are also willing to go back to sitting in close proximity to each other.

    It would be even nicer still if they carried on with some of the efficiencies that the technology has given them

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Progress

      That would require an understanding of said technology something rather lacking in parliament. I also don't think it's a good idea to teach Rees-Mogg because if he's find ankle pr0n on the net he'll never leave his house again, than again maybe it is.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Progress

      It's down to one elitist prick.Mogg.

      But I guess the butler and maids will look after his home affairs should he get sick.As for those peskyworking mothers, can't they just get the nanny to step in?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Progress

        Here here... with the likes of Moggie's attitude we will never get rid of small pox or consumption!!

    3. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Progress

      Change - as is often sadly noted - frequently only occurs one funeral at a time.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forcing MPs back to parliament covers their arse a little when we get the inevitable second wave which will all be sciences fault as confirmed by health minister Helen Whatley on Sky news this morning.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      So what do you recommend? The UK stay at home until a vaccine is found?

      It has been since day one, about managing the speed of infection, not stopping it.

      1. Ossi

        Explain New Zealand.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or Sweden

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Coat

            Or Sweden ???

            Death rate per 100K

            Sweden 46.3

            New Zealand 0.5

            Norway 4.5

            Finland 5.0

            Germany 10.5

            Britain 61.6

            Italy 56.3

            Spain 58.1

            USA 33.7

            The Swedish Death rate corresponds to 152.000 deaths in the USA.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/mapping-spread-new-coronavirus/?itid=hp_hp-banner-low_web-gfx-death-tracker%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans

            And for those interested in history.

            1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDY5COg2P2c

        2. IGotOut Silver badge

          Explain New Zealand?

          Lower population density.

          Lower population

          Less high-density areas

          Less travel between neighbouring countries.

          It's no good saying look over there. Europe and the UK are NOT New Zealand.

          Again. How long do you expect us to stay locked up?

          The company I work for is at risk of going bankrupt because the major UK businesses we supply are at risk of going bankrupt( 2 of of our largest customers have already laid off close on 4000 jobs). The people who supply us are at risk of going bankrupt. The 3rd party companies we use are at risk of going bankrupt.

          We are talking about very high tech engineering companies. The sort that when they go, are gone forever.

          How many indirect losses of life will that cause?

          There is already huge increase in calls to mental health charities, people are terrified of going to the doctors with chest complaints, preventative medicine is non existent, domestic violence is through the roof, kids are missing vaccines and on and on.

          So again, how long do we stay locked up?

          IT people are pretty much immune to the effects, but hospitality, travel, certain areas of farming, manufacturing, shop keepers, independent traders are under extreme stress at the moment.

          But it's ok, we'll wait another 6 months.

          I'm sure your all happy to get your Amazon shopping, get your food from the supermarket and get your milk delivered, but hey, those live don't matter I guess.

          So tell me, why is it ok for Sainsburys to sell you a pair of jeans, but not that independent shop that's spent 20 years building up their business?

          Why is it ok for McDonald's to serve you a coffee, but not that little coffee shop down the road?

          So again, when do we come out of lockdown?

          When it hits 0?

          Then what? We allow no travel at all from outside the UK? How long for 6 months.

          I don't think many of you have a fucking clue how much trade flows back and forth. We used to have up to 20 different lorries from 5 different countries every single week.....and we're just a small business.

          We could of course build great walls around the cities. There's a plan. No one in or out. I'm fine, no covid cases by me, not one. Hell, my county has had fewer deaths so far than London had in a weekend. So why not do That? Even better, why not lock the most deprived up in their shitty tower blocks.

          So again. Wyour's you plan? When do we come out of lockdown?

          But it's ok, you can work.from home....sid the 10's of millions that can't. But it's ok, I'm sure you'll be happy to.pick up the huge debt and tax bills.

          Oh and when you see that homeless person, kicked out onto the street because they lost their career, or the widowed farmers wifebecause he'd killed himself, or the woman prostituting herself to feed her kids, feel free to say "still, I was right about being in lock down for 12 months"

          1. Tim99 Silver badge

            Not necessarily environmental. I emigrated to Oz 20+ years ago, and am appalled at the UK.Coronavirus deaths - 8 June 2020:-

            Country... / ...Deaths... / ... Population... / ... Deaths/million

            Australia... / ... 102 ... / ... 25m... / ... 4

            New Zealand... / ... 22... / ... 4.9m... / ... 4.5

            United Kingdom... / ... 42000+... / ... 68m... / ... 620

            Deaths/million to 2 significant figures. Note: Australia is mostly an urban population (~ 2/3rds live in capital cities and >1/2 of the rest live in towns/cities), and Australia also had until our lock-down a lot of immigration and travel between Asia and Europe.

            It is almost unbelievable that so few in the press/media seem to be doing their job. Apparently a lot of the Tory/Brexit mind-set still bangs on about WW2 - My late parents both served in the RAF, my father as aircrew, and I know that they would have been very angry about what has happened to the country of my birth. The UK Government has by its policy actions/inactions killed more British civilians than the Luftwaffe. I am truly fearful for you if/when a No Deal Brexit happens, in what is looking like a World-wide recession. I suspect that for most the outcome could, at best, be extremely uncomfortable and could well be a catastrophe.

            1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
              Facepalm

              You are not the only one fearing from what should become a disunited Kingdom with Scotland and NIO going their own separate ways. Living in Scotland (and with an Irish passport) I would welcome it.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Thank you. So again Sweden no lock down and still lower than uk.

            I rather think the data points towards no lock down being the right option. Unless of course as so eloquently posted above you think economic and social armageddon the better option.

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Although Sweden's architect of the 'no lockdown' policy says that he believes it was the wrong thing to do. Swedish people tend to use common sense a lot more than us Brits do anyway... they practiced social distancing, we can't be arsed until we're legally forced to (see Cheltenham Festival for starters, then all the beaches in the sunny weather).

              If you look at countries with no good health system on one of the poorest continents (Africa), Ethiopia used a hybrid model of NZ and SK to keep their Covid cases in check. Were they wrong? Nope. They've managed better than some other first-world countries (like us and the US), because when they noticed the trends in the Far East, they started closing their borders down early (Addis is a big aviation hub, so it made sense for them to start scanning, testing and restricting people travelling through Addis early).

              Yet the UK left its transit point (LHR) wiiiiiiiiiide open. No quarantine. No scanning or testing. Oh. Right. There was no capacity because there was no will.

              I was getting messages from airlines and airports I've used in the past by early- to mid-March, telling me that things would change (with information on how). The only glaring silent one was... Heathrow. They only got into the act after the government officially locked the country down.

              So there's much to be said about the policies of the country and its government.

          3. anothercynic Silver badge

            There's a distinct problem with whataboutery in this country that stems from this view that somehow we are special. We're not. Other countries have suffered the same fate. The difference is how governments have responded, and ours has been... well... woefully behind the curve, or worse, has left a large number of small businesses without any support whatsoever.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Got ya, money more important than lives. Here's me thinking we were human or had empathy or something. I recommend at the very least paying for and looking after the people that are more at risk of dying due to existing conditions or age till we have this magical herd immunity (that would 90% btw). I don't see this government saying that. New Zealand got it right, we have only just introduced self-isolation for visitors but that's after they use public transport to get where they need go so it's pointless. Why not put coaches on with the driver isolated on it? I'll tell you why because it costs money and money is more important than you or I. One thing this pandemic has shown is how selfish and self-centred some people are, money is not everything.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          "Got ya, money more important than lives."

          Oh for the lover of God. It is not the safe thing to do to force everyone to stay at home. We all starve. So we let some workers out like farmers, supermarket staff, delivery drivers, out to work. But how are we able to afford the food? If it's grown in the UK then we can essentially force the farmers to growe it for free (pay them money, then debase the currency). But that won't cut ice with foreigners, so since about half of our food is imported, it would be a crash diet.

          Lockdown kills. The virus kills. Deciding which to do and for how long is a balancing act, and the extremes of 'no change to anything' and 'shut down life' will kill the most people.

          "Why not put coaches on with the driver isolated on it? I'll tell you why because it costs money and money is more important than you or I."

          I can think of a couple of other reasons why we won't do that.

          1) Where are you going to get all the coaches from to individually drop people off at home?

          2) Logistically, this would be a complete nightmare.

          I would just mandate quarantine near the airport. We have hotels at airports anyway.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Those key workers never got a lock down anyway so that point is moot, the farmers are complaining because they can't exploit the workers by sticking 14 in a caravan and charging them for the privilege and UK workers aren't going to go picking fruit and veg for 10 hours a day for minimum wage with the chance they will get sacked if they don't hit a quota. Picking fruit and veg is a skilled trade as much as capitalism wants you to believe there are no unskilled trades. From cleaners to restaurant staff to shop workers, these all require skills. They may not involve maths or science but they still need to know how to do something.

            As for coaches we have plenty that would be doing stuff sat about doing nothing right now. If you enforce people flying into the city they are staying then it's just like hotel drop offs abroad, sure it'll take time but it would be worth it rather than letting people take public transport. The hotels option is perfect however 14 days worth of travellers would fill those hotels 10 times over.

            1. IGotOut Silver badge

              "the farmers are complaining because they can't exploit the workers by sticking 14 in a caravan and charging them for the privilege"

              Oh fuck off city boy, stop reading the daily mail.

              I know a LOT of farmers, none stick 14 in a caravan.

              Guess why they don't employ English? Because we don't want to do the crappy hours for crappy pay. Oh I forgot all farmers drive around in brand new Bentley's. Not the beat up old Nissan and Mitsubishi pick ups I see.

              But of course you're happy to pay £2.50 for a bottle of milk, or £5 for a punnet of strawberries? Ah no, you want it a cheap as possible.

              Farming is a very risky business, a couple of bad seasons can wipe out a hundred year old business. Just do some research and see how many farms have folded and how many farmers have committed suicide.

              But I'm sure your an expert, that's why you're posting as AC, to hide your real life credentials.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Attributing a socialist opinion to the daily mail makes you look like a right wing troll. I'm sure you know loads of farmers as you are probably into animal husbandry. Oh look I know how a farm works. Stick to what you know best and go wank some goats off.

                Anon because clowns like you love to use previous posts to attack people.

                1. anothercynic Silver badge

                  You know, as much as you might have a point about the Daily Mail, getting into a virtual dick-swinging match like you are right now is not doing your argument any favours either.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    I know but I couldn't resist the sarcasm in me but you are right.

            2. DavCrav Silver badge

              "Those key workers never got a lock down anyway so that point is moot,"

              Not it isn't, it's explicitly not moot. Why didn't they have a lockdown? Because everyone would starve. But how do you pay them to farm when nobody else is working? Money isn't some magical nonsense, it represents, at a basic level, the labour required to produce goods and services. It's more complicated than that, of course, but fundamentally, no work = no food.

              "The hotels option is perfect however 14 days worth of travellers would fill those hotels 10 times over."

              It would at normal levels, but not at the current nobody travels levels. And I would also mandate no non-essential travel right now. It's a health emergency, no you can't go to fucking Benidorm.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                You think it being a health emergency is going to stop people going to benidorm? People don't even social distance when they go to the shops and how many people have had a jaunt to the beach? Has this useless government said you can't go on holiday? Not at all, it's just putting on a false 14 day isolation. As for key workers you were the one talking about making everyone stay at home, I was pointing out that that did not happen therefore a moot point. So yeah armed with the facts I can safely say the hotels would fill up very quickly.

                Also a quick search proves my point

                https://www.heathrow.com/company/investor-centre/reports/traffic-statistics

                April 2020 206,324

                I doubt there are 100,000 hotel rooms Heathrow. Traffic for March was 3.5m so I expect this number to go up for June. May not available.

          2. anothercynic Silver badge

            Airport quarantine is arguably a good arrangement, *if* you shut the damn air travel down to the point where it's manageable. With Heathrow, two terminals are still operating at a basic level. There's a great article by a journalist who lives in Hong Kong, describing how Hong Kong dealt with their quarantine (granted, Hong Kong is not quite the UK, but it is similar to Greater London). The immigration process there (even for residents) was a *very* long-winded affair, and it was well-managed by the airport authorities. The Hong Kongers would grumble but submit to it, Brits on the other hand, like many Americans, would likely be kicking up a fuss, calling up the gutter rags to complain and demand recompense (and quite frankly I'd be telling them to get in the sea). If the government had been clear and strict about ports of entry from the start in the same sense as Hong Kong (and other countries) did, I suspect we'd be way out of our lockdown by now. But we're not, because the government completely cocked that up with too little too late action.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              This self isolation for 14 days with checks is a fraud. What do they do with the information they get from passengers? Am I to believe they are employing people to input it on a computer system that has been written within the last week which will then select people at random for extra border staff they haven't employed to go and check someone is self isolating within the 14 days when they could be anywhere in the country? Those forms are going to go in a drawer or the bin.

              1. anothercynic Silver badge

                Well, yes. Hong Kong on the other hand actually made you wear a bracelet (or anklet) that is waterproof and can show you are in the approximate zone you're expected to be in. And for those with no address in Hong Kong, a hotel/dormitory space was provided for you. Food was brought to you, your rubbish was removed by people in bunny suits (haz mat PPE in case you didn't know), you were entertained and kept safe. Temperature checks were done, random checks were done. Again, in Hong Kong this was probably easier given that the place is full of high-rise buildings with limited exit opportunities, but even in London this could've been done. But... the government didn't.

                This goes to show that Hong Kong took the threat of COVID-19 seriously (especially since they have past experience with SARS), and this government didn't (regardless of the spin they put on it now). To make things even more 'fun' for the government, research released today (it's a pre-print, it's being peer-reviewed as we speak) shows that the UK had 1300+ 'patient zero' cases (as in 1300+ *unique* genome strains) that entered the UK unrestricted and not properly contact-traced between late February and mid-March (the peak was mid-March). There was *no* checking at the border, no contact tracing, no tagging, no swabbing, no testing of *anyone* entering the UK then.

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    As A Jacobite...

    I wholly approve our elected masters shoving their heads in lions' mouths.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: As A Jacobite...

      Unfortunately the cull won't be confined to them.

  4. Jason Bloomberg
    FAIL

    15th June

    I understand that we can't have lockdown as it has been for ever more but what worries me is the rush to lift lockdown, and to lift so many restrictions all on the same day. This doesn't feel "slow and cautious" to me; dipping a toe in then waiting to see what happens before making the next move.

    It seems to me the government have had to invent a whole new "transitioning to level 3" category to facilitate what still being at level 4 would not allow.

    I have seen problems caused in circumventing software testing regimes and we are talking real bugs not software bugs here. People's lives are at stake.

    I will be waiting to see how those taking advantage of the relaxations fare before deciding if it is safe to go out there. I'll be following the science even if the government doesn't.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: 15th June

      "It seems to me the government have had to invent a whole new "transitioning to level 3" category to facilitate what still being at level 4 would not allow."

      This is because Chris Whitty wouldn't allow the alert level to drop to 3, because (correctly) it isn't at that level. So the government said 'fine, so it's 4 going down to 3, which means we can treat it like 3, while still being on 4'.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: 15th June

        It's almost like Boris's strategy all along has been make it up as you go...

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