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But People Like Holidays

Whale, call Greenpeace

We have the usual blindness of the expert here. Which is to be expert in one field and never bother to look up and consider the rest of the world.

So, why do foreign holidays exist? Because people like them. Hey, perhaps they shouldn’t, that’s a fair claim to make. Except that value is in the measurement of the recipient of what they think is value. Utility always being at personal and individual valuations that is. It may well be that you wouldn’t put out for a tenner but that you would, as with Demi Moore in that movie, for a $ million. Or even for freebie with Robert Redford and not for a fortune with Bernard Manning. They’re all personal valuations.

So, foreign holidays exist because people like them. That is, it increases wealth by being able to have them. Which is the point not being considered here:

Last weekend’s rapid government U-turn over travel to Spain has left both tourists and holiday companies reeling. Who can be sure of flying to any country if a quarantine can be imposed at such short notice? Arguments are now raging over whether the government acted too impulsively and failed to consider the consequences. Yet, for the most part, these all miss an essential point: that encouraging travel abroad in the middle of a pandemic makes no epidemiological sense.

With every arriving overseas visitor or returning holidaymaker, the risk of bringing Covid-19 into the country increases. The government has so far justified allowing this travel because it believes community transmission of the virus in the UK is inevitable until a vaccine arrives. It is not.

Great Britain and the island of Ireland are just that – islands. Other islands, such as New Zealand and Taiwan, have shown that the Covid-19 virus can be eliminated like the first Sars virus. In these countries, life is going on largely as usual with families gathering, full stands at sporting events, and internal economies almost back to normal. Shakespeare called England: “This fortress built by nature for herself against infection.” And now the Independent Sage committee (which shadows Britain’s official science advisory group) and other experts have called for a goal of zero coronavirus – elimination of the virus – rather than settling for suppression.

We can have zero coronavirus, just kill everyone. Do the Masada style lottery and get to it – I’ll take the Josephus place* in the ordering please. Or lock everyone into their own little bubble and wait a couple of months. But those solutions have costs, costs which we think might be higher than the benefits gained.

No foreign holidays is a cost. What is the gain to be had from that loss? Which is the question that isn’t being asked here. And that is the expert mistake being made. They are calling for the solution to be on their terms, to accord with their goals, without actually doing that necessary cost benefit analysis of the plan overall.

So, for British people planning their summer holidays, it would mean replacing trips abroad with UK travel.

Well, yes, but this is to entirely ,miss the point of why people don;t do this already, or all the time. Because foreign holidays are perceived to be more valuable than domestic ones. Thus the question should be, has to be, is the loss of this value worth it? Well, where’s your numbers then?

*Yes, I know, different incident. It was my great uncle who did the Penguin translation after all.

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Bloke on M4
Bloke on M4
8 months ago

I don’t really understand the point of a UK holiday. Sat on a beach, getting sand in your food, sea too cold to swim in. Done it before and figured I’d rather just stay at home. If I want to go and do something, there’s plenty around in a 60 mile radius for the day.

john77
john77
8 months ago

It is perfectly true that Britain is, like New Zealand, a couple of large islands plus some tiddlers. So simpletons say that we could copy them by a complete isolation policy until Covid-19 goes away. There is a minor problem with this – starvation. Unlike New Zealand we need to import around one-third of the food we eat, so we need those foreign lorry drivers to bring it here.

Those who insist “Orange Man Bad”, “Tousle-head Bad” don’t care about the impact of their alternative policies as long as they can say that Boris’ policy decision is wrong.

Bloke in Kent
Bloke in Kent
8 months ago
Reply to  john77

Easily solved with drop trailers – Mr Foreign driver deposits his trailer at Calais, it’s pulled onto the ferry by port workers then picked up and transported on-wards by UK drivers. This already happens a lot and could easily be expanded if Govt. decided.

It’s all nonsense of course, but right now I wouldn’t put anything beyond our current crop of ‘leaders’.

John Galt
8 months ago
Reply to  Bloke in Kent

Yup. The vast majority of UK -> Isle of Man freight is in the form of drop trailers loaded at Heysham Port near Lancaster and unloaded onto local delivery trucks at Douglas. The only regular delivery that doesn’t get drop shipped are the newspapers. The newspaper delivery guy (nice chap) does one delivery route around the island and then back on the next ferry (which is why he gets a cabin and I’ve shared the route with him more than once).

john77
john77
8 months ago
Reply to  Bloke in Kent

On Eurotunnel?
You would have exactly the same number of lorries belonging to each haulier on the ferries that crossed at the entrance to each channel port? Or are you relying on Dumbledore to transport spare lorry drivers between Calais and Dieppe and between Dover, Folkestone and Southampton?

Spike
Spike
8 months ago
Reply to  john77

An edict that no foreign drivers may drive in Britain is a nuisance but a logistical problem that carriers routinely solve. Why, pilots and commercial jets are not always in the same place, and they arrange to get them there, even if it involves flying them “for free,” even on a different airline by mutual agreement. Certainly a driver separated from his lorry doesn’t have to wait right there until a lorry arrives for a journey in the opposite direction.

John B
John B
8 months ago
Reply to  john77

Plus the thousands of arrivals each week from France on lilos, with the variety of diseases they bring.

Spike
Spike
8 months ago

That a decision “makes no epidemiological sense” is evidence of our more serious epidemic: decision-making not just dictating other people’s values, but assuming there should be only one value: improving Covid-19 statistics (though there is widespread evidence of paid statistical fraud, no effort to count individuals rather than tests, and lumping together of “confirmed” and “suspected” and of virus and antibody). Fixating on a statistic and imposing one-size-fits-all mandates is how modern gov’t governs badly.

John B
John B
8 months ago

If it is a World pandemic, and the Countries of Europe are all at the same stage, the tail end, then the number of infectious people are few and far between, hence the low number of actual cases, as opposed to dubious positive tests, which themselves are becoming ever rarer, and are no indication that the subject is infectious. Moving from one part of the affected territory to another is then unlikely to increase the risk of a) meeting an infectious pension; b) getting an infection… no matter the distance travelled. ‘ With every arriving overseas visitor or returning holidaymaker,… Read more »

john77
john77
8 months ago
Reply to  John B

Except the rise in the number of cases in a wide selection of regions that have relaxed lockdown suggests that we are not at the tail end, just one one of the dips in Nessie’s sinous body.

Spike
Spike
8 months ago
Reply to  john77

No, please! A “rise in the number of cases” means at least a rise in the number of unique infected individuals, and there are no means to exclude positives undergoing re-test to see if they can go back to work. And Americans read this as a “rise in the number of deaths.” We shook loose more Free Money for “testing, testing, testing!” and are now lapping up Panic Porn that the virus is “raging.” It is not Nessie! nor Zombie Apocalypse

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