The political consequences of confusion.
Thoughts on corona-virus October 20
The political consequences of confusion.
Thoughts on corona-virus pandemic October 2020
This is a world wide event that causing problems at every level of society, governments and governed; leisure and business. Searching daily for information and facts that can be verified, shows that confusion, misinformation and governmental policy changes are as endemic as the virus.
Social media “experts” are constantly proclaiming opinions as if factual, political bias shows in every post.
Scientifically acceptable data is not easy to find. Even the normally reliable Office of National Statistics, in Britain, has shown inconsistencies and data variances that should not be acceptable. It is even possible that the black arts of political spin are being applied in many nations of the world. Datum points for information comparison, suddenly shift, rendering a continuous monitoring in detail, invalid. Some national published figures, in nations where all information is under government control; are suspiciously out of what is expected. BUT what is to be expected? Gauging what should be the normal base line is almost impossible. Even the popular name of the virus has changed over a short period of time Coronavirus to Covid 19 and lazy journalists just saying Covid.
All of this confusion and contradiction has enabled so many ”conspiracy theories” to surface. Some are even understandable given the lack of clarity and consistency, from those supposed to provide them. Political aspirations, among those not having any responsibility for any part of the policy or practice for dealing with the situation; have been boosted at all levels, from social media fanatical posts, to genuine leaders of political parties now in opposition. Public anger at social restrictions, fuel disregard for the problems any government faces in trying to cope with conflicting medical and economic advice. Those not facing these problems can easily feed this public anger to further their own political ambitions.
One of the most popular theories, apparently held by many all round the globe, is that this is a man made virus and has been unleashed as part of some sinister plot to enslave the masses, or make some sort of gain for a nation. A variation on this idea is that there is no really big virus problem, that governments and big multi national enterprises are using it as an excuse to gain total control and when time suits them,make vast fortunes out of some miraculous vaccination, which ends the problem. In Britain these ideas have prospered partly due to the governments own actions, setting up at huge cost vast temporary hospitals to deal with vast numbers then closing them as they were never needed. Closing business, borrowing- on the tax payers behalf- vast amounts of money while effectively making millions dependent on money from the government; then relaxing these rules but within weeks, bringing some of the restrictions back. There are stories published in main stream media, about contracts to supply protective equipment, for health workers, but these contracts so flawed that they could be classed as corruption or at least incompetence. There is an old adage that if you act in haste you will repent at leisure. As a political ploy, forcing you opponent to act in haste then criticising the outcome; is a very old trick, but it still works.
An aspect of the way the virus has been publicised has had the effect of separating two, or more, social/economic/age groups. Younger and so more socially active and technology aware, groups are being urged to use technology to “Track and Trace” the spread of the virus. Older people, who generally have less inclination to travel and less knowledge of the use of mobile technology; are the most likely to suffer death from the virus. There are many different opinions as to the truth of this since death associated with having the virus is not the same as death due to the virus. Old people are more likely to have other health issues which added to the virus, cause death. This shows that older people are more vulnerable to suffer because of infection but all ages can be infected. Media reports of groups opposed to any social restrictions show that those mainly those flouting social distancing etc. are in the 17 to 40 age group. This is a wild generalisation not a statistical fact; but it is a widely held opinion. The popular concept is that those defying the rules will spread the virus to those who will suffer most from it. Those defying the rules appear to feel that, since they will not suffer too badly, they should not be punished by restriction. They are encouraged in this by the confusion and contradictions in advice from those in authority. As a general rough guide many of those in the age group will be more idealistic and less practically informed, about their political views than older people. This indicates they are more likely to accept socialist and left of centre proposals. In nations with right of centre governments those on the left can use this alienation of the younger people, to gain popular appeal.
The use of any form of tracking and tracing has “Orwellian” overtones. Making the use of applications only available on the more modern mobile (cell) phone technology adds to the divisions between the groups described above. Some of the reported concerns are that this, trace and control, is the real purpose of the pandemic being released on the planet. There is no evidence of any truth in this but there is the technology to permanently store the data on the movement and social contacts of all those millions of people why have this technology in there possession. There must be some security bosses thinking they could use this information at some time. As always opportunist politicians can use such fears against their opponents. Those groupings most likely to fear such widespread governmental information gathering; are those politically to the right. Right of centre governments who impose or even appear to wish to impose, such technology are going to annoy many of their own supporters and some will turn to more extreme parties.
One source of confusion is the publicising of data and inferring conclusions, when the information is not complete; and so is valueless at best and misleading at worst. For example claiming on date x there were 1000 positive tests per 100,000 of population and on day y there were 1010 positives per 100,000 is meaningless unless also show how many tests done. If number tested on date y was twice that of tests done on date x then naturally everyone will expect increase in positives. Similarly if halve number tests done we will get reduction in positive results. Until it can be accurately and verifiable be stated that every single person ( in whole population) was tested in this period; the number of tests done is completely relevant to number of positive results. Failing to give this information simply fuels the conspiracy theories.
Choosing statistics to support an argument and selecting how to interpret the data is the oldest political trick in anyone's book. People in general now are educated enough to, if they make the effort, see through such trickery. Those who will not bother to make the effort will have closed their minds before even seeing any data. This epidemic has political as well as social and economic consequences. Lies and distortions are common, truth is hidden. Facts obscured. Politics at work!