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SAGE member complains about Wales being treated as a ‘single entity’ during pandemic

30 Jan 2022 3 minute read
Picture by John Jones (CC BY-SA 4.0).

A member of SAGE has complained about Wales being treated as a “single entity” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which has been providing advice to support UK cross-government decisions in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room, in Whitehall, throughout the crisis, claimed that it was “not epidemiologically correct.”

Wales has had control of its own Covid laws during the pandemic but, according to the scientist, it would have been better for parts of the country to be aligned on policy with areas of England.

According YouGov, the approach of the Welsh Government to tackling the pandemic is backed by 60% in Wales, with only 17% preferring the approach taken by the UK Government in England.

The same survey suggests that English are split over whether the approach taken in Wales or England to deal with the pandemic is the best.

It shows that 32% of the English population prefer the approach taken in England by the UK Government, only marginally ahead of those who prefer the approach taken in Wales, at 31%.

The SAGE member told The Times: “If we lived in a world without politics, then one would treat the island of Ireland as a single entity as far as decision-making is concerned.

They added: “If you are going to make different policies within Great Britain, then treat London as separate. South Wales is most closely linked to Bristol and north Wales most closely linked to northwest England — treating Wales as a single entity is not epidemiologically correct.”

Jess Sargeant, of the London-based think tank, Institute for Government, suggested that during this first phase of the pandemic there was “essentially joint decision making” between the devolved governments and Westminster, but that this broke down in May 2020 when Boris Johnson began loosening restrictions in England.

Mark Drakeford insisted on easing restrictions more slowly, which has led to tension between the Welsh Government and the UK Government.

‘Matter of timing’ 

Sargeant claimed: “A lot of it has been a matter of timing rather than fundamental differences in approach and often that was just a matter of a few weeks.”

“There’s a risk of confusion and undermining the logic of measures if you can’t understand why four parts of the UK dealing with the same problem have come to different decisions on how many people can meet. That can undermine compliance.

“There could have been more agreement on how many people you can meet and so on. It’s all operationalisation of the same scientific advice, it’s not a fundamental political disagreement.”

Sargeant also admitted that “all the devolved administrations compared to Westminster were a bit clearer in their communication and the stages of lockdown and when measures would be reviewed, which has contributed to the differentiation”.

However, she still argued that it would have been better to carry on with co-ordination to prevent situations where, for example, masks were optional on trains in England but became compulsory once they crossed into Wales.

 


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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
8 months ago

Who? Who is this humanoid to Wales? Who is this person from another country trying to dictate to our government on how they should handle the powers we voted for them to deal with?

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
8 months ago

So everything would have been great, had it not been for that pesky devolution nonsense? I see.
This is nothing more than unionist propaganda masquerading as “science”.

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

I’ve seen more science on a betting slip. SAGE – so discredited in its own country that it now sticks its nose into next door’s business.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

She is a political lobbyist for a written constitution and greater centralisation which shows how corrupt and twisted Westminster has become when she has a seat on SAGE.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago

The science of prejudice…

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
8 months ago

I note that the scientist (SAGE) in question does not mention the vast, frontier-free zone in continental Europe known as Schengen….he/she just refers to England, Wales and the 2 parts of Ireland – not even Scotland is mentioned, yet isn’t Tyneside closely linked to south-east Scotland?… He/She is hopefully better versed in science than he/she appears to be in political geography. He/She also says that it would have been better had Wales aligned itself with England on Covid policy. Many would say that it would have been better had England aligned its Covid policy with Wales.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
8 months ago

The Imperial mindset is taking ages to change. Mumbai still Bombay? How dare India!

Quornby
Quornby
8 months ago

I understand full well that in their desperation westminster are even claiming that Covid is a unionist. I wonder if this came from Tory HQ or directly from the fat liar himself?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

This SAGE numbskull Jess Sargeant forgets we are a separate country, have devolved government with a different heath system. She prefers splitting Wales into two regions and linking both to two English counties? No attack on Scotland, I see? Only Wales What a obnoxious clown! If we take her ideology literally. Why didn’t London & SE England be included with Paris & NW France being so close. After all they do have the Channel Tunnel linking both, or should it be called Covid Funnel. Again the narrow mindset who thinks one English size fits Wales too. Again, thank you Brexiteers… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Y Cymro
Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
8 months ago

Has anyone made a serious study of these pseudo-scientific attempts to undermine the unity and integrity of Wales? Lord Reith argued that it was technically impossible for the BBC to provide a national radio service for Wales. And the Conservative government in 1950s ensured that the electricity grid was split between MANWEB and SWEB. Same with water authorities. It goes on and on.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cai Wogan Jones
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

One dim by name is dim by nature. Never has a username been so apt if put into an English context. And Yes, Covid doesn’t recognise borders, but this applies to you too it seems. As one who comes cloaked with a hidden agenda hates the fact that Mark Drakeford is more respected as a leader that your Conservative clown Boris Johnson is, or the fact his government’s response to the Covid pandemic has been a farce where the Welsh Government measured & sensible, and I’ m no fan or supporter of Labour being a Welsh Nationalist and supporter of… Read more »

George
George
8 months ago

I still find it bizarre to talk about removing politics then talk about how devolved nations should be more aligned to England. Wales and Scotland learned from Westminster’s caution of bringing in restrictions right at the start and undoubtedly saved lives during that first Christmas period and protected NHS from having to be so reliant on army in the second Christmas period by acting earlier. If you removed politics from it then England would have been more close to Wales and Scotland during these periods of time, while you can argue that England was correct to undo restrictions more quickly… Read more »

OWEN
OWEN
8 months ago

So Ms Sergeant who is not a medical/biological scientist thinks that the North of Wales should have been lumped in with the north west of England . The most dramatic fall in covid the North of Wales saw was when the border closed and the A55 fell quiet, Time to end this fallacy that somehow that the north of Wales is intertwined with Cheshire, Merseyside, Wirral, and the folkloric tropes of how Liverpool is a ‘Welsh’ city. These are the b@stards who flooded Welsh villages and used every legal loophole to do so, these are the ‘cuckoo’s we welcomed into… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago
Reply to  OWEN

Plenty of Welsh political figures also comfortable with the assimilation/annexation of North Wales into the “Greater Mersey/Lancs” region. This is a big threat as it’s being promoted on a number of fronts and the influx of people with a distinct colonist mindset is but one symptom of the malaise.

Richard
Richard
8 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Agree 100 per cent. Many of friend Mark D’s local deeside crew just cant get enough of attending trans border meet ups in the North West of England.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
8 months ago

I’m just sick to death of the colonial attitude, time and time again

Richard
Richard
8 months ago

I think we need to look at science snd the evidence on this before building up Offas Dyke’s height a touch… Those of us who are regular visitors to friends, family and work mates in N W England have had a great chance to observe and experience the issues raised. The good folk of the Wirral, Cheshire and north west Salop by enlarge have looked with envy at the Wales Covid stats, the high level of community support and the togetherness brought out in support of the NHS here. The mask wearing in particular on the Wales side was seen… Read more »

Marc
Marc
8 months ago

We are devolved and moving slowly towards independence. Get over it🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
8 months ago

If she wanted covid harmonisation across the UK – why didn’t England start to follow Welsh covid guidelines, the more accepted by the general public in both countries? Why must Wales always alway follow England even when it’s wrong? And just because north Wales has close links to northern England and south Wales to the west country – does not mean we are part of England! When are these people going to realise – Wales, all of Wales – is a separate country !!!

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