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25 January 2021

Hotel staff are not trained to expose themselves to danger.

To confine large numbers to quarantine hotels (Australia seeks to limit to a total of about 5000, we understand) would produce the effect we have already seen with cruise ships - a sizeable number of people including crew are confined with the few that have the disease giving many of them in turn the disease.

We have seen with subsequent releases from quarantine hotels and a cruise ship that outbreaks are then occasioned in the community.

If an infected individual, on the other hand, travels directly to their place of quarantine and observes quarantine, there is a strong probability that the infection, being isolated, will die out.

We have also sadly seen with care homes, hospitals, schools and universities that when people are confined together institutionally these places can become incubation centres.

We cannot introduce disproportionate border controls on the basis that new variants may emerge that evade innoculation. New strains of tuberculosis may emerge that resist antibiotic treatment but we do not curtail border flows on the off chance or the likelihood.

If and when innoculation evading variants emerge we will handle it promptly then. The Oxford based vaccine developers are already primed to modify vaccines.

Negative PCR test result and quarantine is already a stringent requirement for travel, greater than required of hauliers, and the case for putting arrivals in higher risk shared accommodation with centralised catering is poor.

Even had a panic occasioned the closure of borders in March 2020, having observed the Italian outbreak, the disease would still have come in with hauliers eventually. Britain is not New Zealand and cannot be.

If hotel owners would like to lobby for more business there is still the cohort of rough sleepers, accommodated first time round at government expense.

27 January 2021

Labour once again shows itself unfit to govern by calling for all arrivals in Britain to be held in quarantine hotels.

Australia limits to about 5000 in hotels nationwide at any one time and struggles to administer it. 71 million people visit Britain in a normal year and hotel capacity near Heathrow is about 10,000.

It is incapable of planning or executing and lives up to its reputation as the party of chaos.



We have to squarely face the type of economy we have.

At the top of the economy we have a large number of oligarchical corporations that are very successful but extractive of money from the United Kingdom. Apple, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft spring most readily to mind but they are by no means all American.

Due to their corporate structures, which include offshore and intellectual property elements, they pay little corporation tax in the country. Their dominant shareholders, where they are still individuals, will not pay inheritance tax or capital gains tax in the country or any country. These taxes are for the middle class and their main purpose is to ensure that no challengers can acquire sufficient capital to challenge the oligarchical class in business. They do not benefit the poor. HS2 will consume 20 years of inheritance tax receipts, mainly benefits a few oligarchical civil engineering companies, and likely will be sold off at a quarter of build cost as it is likely to be heavily loss making.

Likewise the finance industry has developed highly extractive businesses for nearly all sectors of the economy with the intention of creating oligarchies, and with the same tax outcomes.

Medium sized companies of the type found in Germany scarcely exist any more in Britain. A decade of government policy and Treasury tax policy has destroyed them and they have mainly fallen prey to non-UK oligarchical companies.

Britain is a highly entrepreneurial country by inclination but since about 2002 civil service policy, in other words government policy, has elevated administrative work above all risk taking occupations. If it cannot be administrative it should be managerial, academic or employee work. Risk is not understood at all. Supposedly pro-business policies since 2010 have been highly anti-entrepreneurial, trying to cushion oligarchical businesses from business risk, to subsidise them and to protect them from competition. Consequently, we have nothing like a consumer electronics industry, for instance.

A large proportion of small British entrepreneurial and 'lifestyle' businesses will be destroyed by the coronavirus mitigation measures.

Due to the highly extractive nature of remaining business, with net flows offshore, it is entirely wrong for the Treasury or the Labour Party to seek to balance the fiscal books.

To do so would mean that there would be an ever declining amount of money in the economy. Though the rhetoric has been entirely otherwise, all Chancellors of the Exchequer from Gordon Brown onwards have been highly connected to deficit financing.

Fiscal balance would mean a situation like at the end of a Monopoly game - the bank and the monopolist are extracting all the money fast.

If you are not inclined to do anything about the monopolist then you have to find some money for the other players. You have to run fiscal deficits.

In the real world of oligarchies you have to find ways to encourage and nurture business competition. You cannot do that with classic thought patterns but it is just about the only way the economy can be rebalanced now.

Instead of trying to finance all government debt pretty short term at rates of interest below inflation you should try to finance it very long term at rates a little above inflation.

That way domestic savings can find a home with a real rate of return. Once people get into the saving habit they will also get into the investing habit.

Britain is far from a self-sufficient island that can suppress its links with the world even in the short term. The storm is coming.

Germany did very well in the first wave of coronavirus compared with the rest of Europe but now it has over 50,000 deaths. The virus was probably there all the time, in the young in asymptomatic form, but the inclination has sprung up to blame foreign importation.

The virus could be compared to forest fires. A fire might start by someone dropping a lighted cigarette butt but when flying embers engulf hundreds of square miles someone's new cigar becomes beyond the point. It might be a danger but one that needs to be kept in proportion.

Scotland, with what looked like the worst care homes casualty rate in the world, and with visitors who returned to look after their own relatives to keep them out of such institutions, did not come any nearer to eliminating the disease than Germany, and its promoters should should stop blaming travel.

In September large parts of the the university sector will face insolvency. A large percentage of foreign students have not yet returned this term and do not know if they will.

Confining students to barracks did not work well and crazy ideas like putting those travelling from overseas into quarantine hotels will be worse. These are not a handful like New Zealand and they are much more likely to be travelling into Britain to catch the disease than bringing it in with them. It cannot realistically be otherwise because those under 30 will usually be the last to be vaccinated.

It has to be accepted that the British state is not up to many managerial tasks and imperfectly understands risk even in an abstract form. It will take a decade to fix and a different political ideology will no more have a functioning machine than the current one.

So test and trace will remain imperfect and incapable of isolating asymptomatic infection in unvaccinated groups. For that reason, since April 2020, we have tried to be realistic in the face of bombastic claims.

If anything remotely like quarantine hotels is in place even well in advance of September the foreign students will simply not come back at all and the Treasury will have to fund the deficit or permit widespread insolvency.

The university sector will be a microcosm of all service sectors that are dependent on overseas clients.