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The Lobby – general discussion

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What’s on your mind today?


It’s all very well spraying weed killer about the garden (non Glyphosate) but the dead weeds are still there and need removing anyway. The only advantage is that they don’t grow back, but you can bet that others will move in to take over.
Could those involved in tapping latex from trees be accused of daylight rubbery?

I’m not sure about daylight rubbery because tapping takes place at night. 🙂

From Wikipedia: “Each night a rubber tapper must remove a thin layer of bark along a downward half spiral on the tree trunk. If done carefully and with skill, this tapping panel will yield latex for up to five hours.”

Did the article explain why the tappers were made out of rubber, Wavechange?

They need to have flexible working hours, John, so that the latex is collected before the temperature rises: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_tapping I expect that it involves a long stretch of working at night and they are probably vulcanised by the time they go home.

I suppose the rubber-tree workers have formed a band [but not a string quartet].

Currently I’m having a battle with the bank regarding paper statements. When ever I contact them they say my account is set up to receive them, but they never arrive. I have had an e. mail telling me that my statement is available on line and another telling me that I have a message waiting for me on the bank web site. I’m being a little obstinate, and refusing to go there to find out what they want. I hope eventually they will also get the message. Many years ago I had an offset account with them, they still regularly write -by post – to tell me that I haven’t used it this year.

I’m standing alongside you in support of greater obstinacy, Vynor!

I recently noticed that the supply of paper statements had dried up and I was getting on-line notifications to check my account. There had been no correspondence prior to the change so I sent a message asking for paper statements to continue to be sent by post. There was no direct response but the next time I opened my internet banking I noted that there was a message awaiting my attention which was all about changing away from paper statements. I took advantage of the opportunity to change my preferences and opt in to receiving monthly statements again. It will be interesting to see at the end of this month whether my instruction has been executed. It seems, throughout daily life, that the inconvenient or the unwelcome has become the default position and we have to go on bended knee to restore normal service.

Although very little has ever gone wrong with my internet activity, there are some things I like to keep a grip on for ease of access and veracity. The bank statement is also one of the few things I have in evidential form to prove who I am and where I live. Most of my banking transactions are scheduled payments, so I don’t need to look at my account statement from one month’s end to the next, but I do like to be able to lay my hands on certain documents as and when required and have become fed up with doing everybody else’s printing for them!

Going paper-free is no doubt deemed to be a virtuous act but to my mind it just seems to transfer much of the process to the customer or user with no savings in paper, energy or ink – and indeed even an increase in consumption at the individual level.

Interesting. Banks again, eh?

Checking your bank statement is necessary to ensure – hopefully – there have been no suspicious transactions.

Coincidentally Vynor I had to phone the bank on Friday last to chase up a missing paper statement. I don’t bank online and so rely upon receiving regular monthly and annual paper statements. I was informed the missing statement was only sent annually, but fortunately I had the last statement covering the period end of April 2019 – April 2020 ‘at the ready’ in anticipation of any dispute. An up to date statement was duly promised which should arrive within the next week.

Malcolm – I agree, but I don’t know whether one should check at the end of every day or once a week. I tend to have to go into my account for something or other from time to time so I do a quick review at that point. With nearly all payments out being scheduled [mostly for the same day of the month], anything exceptional would be very obvious but in theory it could happen at any time. By organising the payments as I do I actively keep the available balance very low for the remainder of each month; this would reduce the potential for a heavy hit.

Now that I am using mobile banking I check my current account daily using the bank’s app, which is much more convenient than logging in via the computer and possibly more secure.

News of plans to increase the rate of vaccination: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57540820

This is very good news, but perhaps it could have been done sooner.

Perhaps it could if the call-up had been done in a different order of seniority, but I am not sure that the overall rate of vaccination could have been progressed any faster. To a large extent it relied on the achievement of the vaccination programme itself to release NHS resources for its fulfilment.

In February 2020, the WHO said it did not expect a vaccine against SARS‑CoV‑2 to become available in less than 18 months. The Pfizer and Astra-Zeneca vaccines were available on a small scale by the end of 2020; that’s good going by any measure.

The UK’s vaccination programme was the world’s first mass immunisation roll-out and here we are, six months later, with the entire adult population in sight of being double-dosed. The rate is currently running at around 400,000 a day, seven days a week. Techniques have advanced and, understandably, dealing with a younger cohort appears to be a much faster process. Popular resistance to vaccination does now seem to have subsided and positive peer-pressure is having a beneficial effect.

The research, development and testing have undoubtedly been a great achievement but I believe that the vaccination process could and should have been faster.

Allowing “essential” and other travel has allowed the Delta variant to become a major problem: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-57489740 Hopefully increased vaccination and people behaving responsibly will help to contain it.

Yes, it’s encouraging that so many have been willing to have the vaccine voluntarily.

”But there have been a number of challenges in what is called the vaccine “supply chain” – the logistics of how the jab gets from manufacturers to people.
Getting enough supplies, checking those supplies are up to scratch and transporting vaccines according to their requirements have all thrown up difficulties.”

”But there have been a number of challenges in what is called the vaccine “supply chain” – the logistics of how the jab gets from manufacturers to people.
Getting enough supplies, checking those supplies are up to scratch and transporting vaccines according to their requirements have all thrown up difficulties

A report I heard last week pointed out limitations on the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine, one of those destined for the under 40s.

The other BBC report quoted does not say anything about the vaccine rate being increased, but is about the way it can be accessed.

I will join any criticism if I am given any evidence that there has been any move to artificially limit the rate at which vaccinations have been given. They have certainly been targeted, quite rightly, at descending age groups and the vulnerable and that policy may have left some jabs unused, although I know someone well below the age group who, with others, was called in at short notice to use up such jabs.

Given the Government’s ambitious vaccine programme I wonder what reason might be given for them slowing it down (when, in fact, they are ahead of schedule). I think it a bit of a shame to see conjecture, given the efforts all those involve seem to have made. But, evidence of some malpractice may show otherwise.

We can place a good deal of responsibility (irresponsibility) for the spread of the delta variant, as on earlier ones, on individuals choosing to travel abroad, and then return by dubious routes in some cases.

I am not an expert in the logistics of vaccination programmes so I have only offered my lay opinion. I find it satisfactory and much better than I expected.

More responsible shielding, distancing, travelling and general compliance with the guidance among certain elements of the population would have contributed as much to the general resilience as a swifter roll-out. I think the NHS has performed outstandingly well, the public at large not so well.

I think the vaccination roll out has been pretty impressive, given that it has only been administered in the past 4/5 months. If you do the maths that’s approximately between 280,000 – 300,000 per week.

I think the Delta variants rapid spread is more of a sociological nature, as it became more evident in areas where you will find a critical mass of people of Indian origin living in the UK whose culture and religious beliefs, to some extent, would affect their decision to accept the vaccination offered to them. Coupled with the fact that such people still maintain connections with relatives and families in India, involving frequent travel to and from here to there, and also the fact that such families tend to live in close communities within close proximity to each other, all adds to facilitate the ease of the virus to spread.

I am truly grateful to the NHS for the speed in which I was offered the vaccination, as I know my chances of survival would have been zero if I had contracted it.

I think if I was to make a “local” criticism it would be of most of the EU, who for various reasons did not get their vaccination programme going as quickly as the could. That, no doubt, will have contributed to more disease in the UK.
However, I see little point in criticising in hindsight. We need to continue with the great work that has been done in the UK, finish vaccinating all those we can, ensure restrictions reflect the containment of the virus and look forward to a more normal future.

We have protected the health of the nation but also protected the NHS (just) from being overwhelmed. Perhaps we could build on that by tackling unhealthy lifestyles and preventing them developing to the point where there take up hospital resources.

Perhaps we can just be grateful that there are plans to increase the vaccination rate.

Unless the interval between first and second doses is reduced [which it probably should not be] I would not expect the rate of vaccination to run much faster, indeed it might even slow down as the last few per cent might be hard to reach and could refuse to be vaccinated.

I should like to see the NHS get back to the regular job as soon as is sensible. There are millions waiting for routine appointments. My GP practice has called me in which is a promising sign.

There are plenty of young adults waiting for vaccination – hence the recent queues – and then there is the question of vaccinating teenagers. Then we will all need a third vaccine. With the number of people in hospital rising and the need for the NHS to catch up on outstanding work, I do hope that the vaccination rate will increase.

“there are plans to increase the vaccination rate.”. I don’t know that there are. At least, if there are only if more vaccine has become available. What we seem to be doing is widening the scope of the vaccination for first doses.
This shows useful data, including the number of vaccinations given. That does not seem to show any increased rate , just a bumpy line that may reflect availability of vaccines; remember the shortage from India. https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

According to the BBC article I quoted:

“A major push to offer coronavirus jabs to every adult in England is under way, with queues forming outside pop-up vaccination centres.

Football grounds and parks are among the venues used across the country and it is hoped all adults will have had their first jab by 19 July.

It comes as Prof Adam Finn, who advises the government, warns the Delta variant is fuelling a third wave of infections.

Anyone aged 18 or over can book a jab in England online or by calling 119.”

That suggests to me that there are plans to increase the vaccination rate.

As I have said, some criticism that seems to be levelled at government is that they could have increased the vaccination rate – implying that they deliberately or knowingly restrained it. If I see evidence of that I will be critical but, so far, I haven’t. I don’t see anything in the latest reports that suggest that, nor in the data I linked to above. I have nothing but praise for the way the programme has been generally handled.

malcolm r says: Today 18:42

…some criticism that seems to be levelled at government is that they could have increased the vaccination rate – implying that they deliberately or knowingly restrained it.

I suspect there are numerous other possibilities. Ineptitude, idleness, disorganisation – there are many ways the government could make a hash of a fairly simple task. And there’s a wealth of evidence to support those possibilities.

Most countries in the UK, apart from NI, seem to have performed equally well. https://www.google.com/search?q=covid+vaccination+rates+by+country&rlz=1C9BKJA_enGB896GB896&oq=covid+vaccination+rates&aqs=chrome.0.0i433j69i57j0l4.13696j0j7&hl=en-GB&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

We also seem to be better than almost every other country. So I see no real evidence of poor performance; if there were we’d see us lagging well behind others.

Why have the pop-up centres been opened unless the intention is to deliver more vaccine, Malcolm? I have been careful not to offer criticism of the government, but in a crisis, you have to do your best and a bit more. Could Ian be right?

We used to have friendly discussions, Malcolm.

There is nothing (meant to be) unfriendly in my comnents, wavechange. I simply feel we have, as a country, done very well in dispensing vaccinations and have seen no evidence that we could have done much better. The additional centres serm to be more addressed at reaching more people outside the formal appointnents process, now that has been so effective. But that does not necessarily mean that we have suddenly found a way to increase the rate. Is availability of vaccine doses the limiting factor?

Em says:
20 June 2021

I understand that the purpose of pop-up vaccination centres is to reach more of the population who have yet to take up the vaccine, not increase the rate at which vaccinations are being given., which I assume is still constrained by production and distribution, rather than the ability to administer. The pop-up model appeals to under-represented sections of the community.

There are the so-called undocumented migrants who are scared to register with a GP, which has been a pre-requisite for booking a vaccine appointment online. And I have eligible Indian friends who are in the country legally, but have been unable to book because they moved recently and have not been able to register with a new GP.

And there is the “I want it now” generation who can’t be bothered to book up something for the future. Perhaps the venue locations and marquees will help to make up for for the missed festivals, mud and queuing for the toilets.

I’m not surprised, but by getting these people vaccinated we can all benefit from helping to control the spread of infection.

There is also a requirement to ensure everyone who is eligible for vaccination is vaccinated before the autumn.

Until it is known the duration of the vaccines effectiveness, and whether it will be necessary to to start vaccinating the 80s plus again to protect them and also the NHS during the winter months, we have to keep pressing ahead with as many vaccinations as possible before the winter sets in and the NHS waiting list for surgery has reduced somewhat.

I have noticed that the numbers vaccinated over the last weekend have reached over half a million each day again. This is probably the optimum rate that the NHS’s capacity and resources can deliver and is outstanding.

Using mass vaccination centres like football stadia in large population centres with good public transport is highly efficient and popular with the target cohorts. As premises, they are extremely suitable as they have vast circulation spaces and queuing areas with good separation of entrance and exit routes. The premier venues are modern, clean and easy to maintain in hygienic condition with a good fresh air flow in the internal spaces. They are now also readily available which they might not have been several months ago.

I think there is something quite appealing to the younger generations in being able to rock up when it suits them without the faff of a specific time slot, roll up their sleeves, get the jab and breeze out in company with their own peer demographic.

In my area the NHS has been appealing for more volunteer vaccination support people. I think the initial rounds of vaccination delivery have used up the time and willingness of the original available capacity, which is not surprising because it has been running for over a year now and people are entitled to have their holidays and get back into regular jobs as the economy reopens. With twenty-eight days to go to the predicted end of lock-downs in England I would guess the programme is well on schedule to meet its target and there is already talk of opening it up to the 16 & 17 year olds.

As has been said, it is not all over yet. There is a new cohort of adults arising every month and the possible need for booster vaccinations plus the usual flu jabs each autumn. The infection rate is also now back on the rise. The pressure on intensive care is, thankfully, now abating and hospital occupation periods are reducing per admission. The unfortunately high mortality rate among the most vulnerable segment of the population has provided some relief for the hospital and after-care services which hopefully will be put to good use for catching up with routine procedures and medical attention.

I think the measured return to something approaching normality has been well-handled and bodes well for the future. The popular mood appears to be positive, the common and universal peril seems to have generated a cohesive outlook in contrast to the other disruptive factors in everyday life, and outbreaks of civil disobedience have diminished albeit undercurrents remain. So I think the portents are presently about as favourable as we could expect.

Thought for today

Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.

Thanks, Beryl – I’m still thinking about that one, if only in order to remain conscious in case that thought proves unreliable.

The problem today John is we all think too much. Switching off the constant noise in your head, even for a few minutes a day does not render you unconscious. The space that creates allows insight and inspiration to surface from beyond the conditioned mind.

Thought for today

This old guy was telling his neighbour about the new hearing aid he had just acquired. “It cost a fortune and works perfectly, but well worth it.” “Really,” said the neighbour.“ “What kind is it?”
“Errrr…..ten thirty.”

He could try sending it back for a full refund but if it’s a dodgy company he might not hear anything.