Norman Swan: shut up

During a genuine national crisis or war there is only one strategy and that’s the Government’s. It may not be perfect, but then no other strategy will be perfect either. It is critical that our public institutions act with consistency and according to the one strategy. Armchair experts like Norman Swan who come out with strong criticisms of the Government’s strategy are doing no one any favours, they just reduce the ability of the Government’s strategy to work and increase costs. Swan is not an epidemiologist nor an economist. He has no idea whether a draconian shut down of the type he proposes would only need to last for weeks – it could need to go for months causing unnecessary harm to business and individuals. Swan is not even a practising physician – he studied medicine in Scotland and got his degree back in 1976 and then has been working at the ABC since 1982.

The same should be said of the States and the Opposition – it’s time to shut up and get with the program. Save your criticism to when the crisis is over – then present evidence on failings. Blame games are for after a crisis not during a crisis.

And all of you social media types going on about perceived inconsistencies between different things (funerals versus weddings) – get a life. Use a bit of common sense.

About Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

I'm a retired general who occasionally gets called back to save the republic before returning to my plough.
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23 Responses to Norman Swan: shut up

  1. egg_

    Swan is not an epidemiologist nor an economist. He has no idea whether a draconian shut down of the type he proposes would only need to last for weeks – it could need to go for months causing unnecessary harm to business and individuals. Swan is not even a practising physician – he studied medicine in Scotland and got his degree back in 1976 and then has been working at the ABC since 1982.

    Swan lead the “cancer cluster” research into the ABC Brisbane offices, that lead to their closure, when it was likely women of reproductive age succumbing to the pill.
    c/- Leo

  2. Infidel Tiger

    He’s not a doctor, he just plays one on TV

  3. MatrixTransform

    I reckon I heard this twit on a podcast this morning that the missus was playing.

    Stupidest question ever from the womynsys interviewing, ” der why does it affect more men?”

    His medical opinion was , “like ya, more men smoke cigarettes”

    I think it was him.

    To be honest though, it could have been another retard

  4. Winston

    They do tend to rather like the sound of their own voice, along with all the veneration, once these things get going.

  5. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Use a bit of common sense

    And try to predict how big stupid government might arbitrarily detain or fine you for doing something like visiting friends, or walking around the city you live in.

    These staggeringly incompetent fascist numbskulls are destroying our way of life and attempting to abolish our liberties on a whim, in a supposed response to a chimera.

    They must be stopped, held accountable and then punished. Severely.

  6. Walter Plinge

    Does Swann have a practicing licence and is his CPD current? Probably not.

  7. Pyrmonter

    I must have missed something. He does the Health Report, which like most RN programs leans left (though not so much as, say, the Law Report or Background Briefing) and he has the chippy lefty doctor’s condescension towards freedom generally as well as economists and economics.

    But what he’s said on the ABC’s podcasts has (with the exception of about a minute’s spruiking of MyHealth) been a model of commonsense about infectious diseases: this stuff is hard, only in the sense that it is uncertain. There is much to complain about with the ABC, but I’m not sure anything much he’s said in the past few weeks stands out. He’s often said the obvious: it would be good to know more; to be testing more; to be testing for non-symptomatic infection … all of which is pretty much common sense, and can be found elsewhere from medicos of a variety of opinions on other topics.

  8. Richard Bender

    Jawohl, mein Fuehrer, ve vill unquestionably follow the government, no matter how egregious or unwarranted the intrusions upon our liberty.

  9. Squirrel

    The snipers and whingers should be quiet unless they have a clear, constructive alternative to what has been decided by those making the hard choices between very unpalatable options.

    We most certainly don’t need to suspend free speech and representative democracy while we deal with this disaster, but it is particularly galling to have to endure opposition politicians who spend most of their air-time delivering general whinges (whilst claiming that “we’re all in this together”) and little in the way of detailed, practical suggestions about how things could be done better – the latter is very interesting, given that they often claim to be consulting widely with (un-named) experts.

  10. Procrustes

    I don’t agree that we must all buckle down and not criticise the Government but I do agree that Norman Swan should shut up

  11. Bronson

    Swan are an expert just ask him.

  12. MatrixTransform

    constructive alternative to what has been decided by those making the hard choices between very unpalatable options.

    squirrel … the info has been there for well over a month.

    blind freddie could read it since Europe went off the charts. Before that in fact.

    politicians are arse covering tossers.

    sat on yr fucking hands and talked shit all the way up until you ended up in the inevitable position you are now.

    now you make like sniping is an issue when the truth of it is that govt is too collectively stupid to act.

    business runs this joint

    and you work for us remember

    asshole

  13. Gerry

    It’s the Cuomo effect…..get a little bit of good publicity and RUN with it as hard as you can for as long as you can …..and if you get a major media outlet that feels marginalised to back you ….all the better ….

  14. John A

    Squirrel #3377945, posted on March 26, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    The snipers and whingers should be quiet unless they have a clear, constructive alternative to what has been decided by those making the hard choices between very unpalatable options.

    We most certainly don’t need to suspend free speech and representative democracy while we deal with this disaster, but it is particularly galling to have to endure opposition politicians who spend most of their air-time delivering general whinges (whilst claiming that “we’re all in this together”) and little in the way of detailed, practical suggestions about how things could be done better – the latter is very interesting, given that they often claim to be consulting widely with (un-named) experts.

    Well, as Ben Shapiro has asked:
    1. How long can a shutdown last without doing permanent damage to real lives (small business bankruptcies, unemployment)?
    2. What is being done to increase the capacity of the health system to cope with the spread of the virus?
    3. What if the curve of incidence is a double bell shape?

    Does the government have a PLAN? What is the EXIT strategy?

  15. Nob

    Where does Norman Swan rank on the Bettina Arndt “Doctor” index?

  16. Tel

    No one needs a wall full of credentials to figure out that it’s a bad idea to unload a known plague ship into the heart of the nation’s largest city. Since the state government and the federal government were both to blame for that, they have lost all their rights to pretend to be smarter than the rest of us.

    Besides that, what magic credentials are held by Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, huh? Is he a chief chiefly chief authority sent by his dear government to give an opinion? No?!? Well by his own say so then let LQC be the first to shut up by all means.

    I’m going right ahead to criticize all the people who deserve it, because the things they obviously should have done, they failed at, and they things they did do were unhelpful. We are talking about people with plenty of credentials but too dopey to put some spare rubber gloves and masks in a cupboard. Lack of criticism now is only going to make these dingbats more insufferable next time.

  17. Iampeter

    During a genuine national crisis or war there is only one strategy and that’s the Government’s.

    The strategy should be the right one not merely the governments.
    A crisis is not the time to let the fools in government do whatever they want. Criticism of them is needed now more than ever.
    But figuring out the right strategy is not self evident and it requires way more knowledge of politics and human nature than any of the people making decisions or criticizing those decisions have.
    That’s the real issue.

    These staggeringly incompetent fascist numbskulls are destroying our way of life and attempting to abolish our liberties on a whim, in a supposed response to a chimera.

    Nationalists not enjoying full on nationalism sure are entertaining.

  18. youngster

    A few days ago Swan was taking a panic-merchant position on something (I think he was claiming that in Italy the virus was claiming the lives of young healthy people), but his claims were directly refuted by the hard evidence from Italy’s caseload data which showed that every person under 40 who had died (at that time) had serious comorbidities. The information was all over the news, but he ignored it because it didn’t fit his narrative.

    He doesn’t have access to the same data as the CMO and the National Cabinet and he’s not an epidemiologist. At the very least, he should present his views as opinion, not statements of an expert.

  19. John Commenus

    Just heard the breathless reporting that we could hit our limit of capacity on April 5 at 22000 cases if our cases follow Italy’s trajectory. This was the worst case, also totally inappropriate. Interestingly the very next paragraph in the story was that Victoria thinking of repurposing it’s convention centre as a temporary hospital to massively increase capacity. Yesterday NSW said they could increase capacity under existing plans as well. Once again breathless panic reporting of a study that is completely ridiculous.

    Here is how the panic works.

    1. Intellectual Yet Idiot IYI (see Nassim Talib 4 explanation) develops a worst case model that predicts disaster.

    2. Media hypes the we are all going to die hyper fear

    3. University or think tank publicises it’s newest ‘star’

    4. More people hear of the latest doomsday scenario

    5. Media look into it (ie read the abstract maybe but mainly talk to each other about the doomsday scenario)

    6. Media ask Government how are you going to stop us all from dying from the ridiculous worst case modelled scenario?

    7. government asks Public Servants for advise on 1 – how likely is this scenario and 2 – what should we do about it

    8. Public service can’t totally dismiss the worst case and so recommends greater control over individuals and society and growing the public service to meet the threat

    9. Actors and other influencers start to hype the scare mainly on social media

    10. More people join the scare and look to do what they can do to help

    11. Now media starts reporting on the global movement to fight the scare

    12. Government joins the global movement to fight the scare

    13. ‘Everyone’ jumps on the bandwagon and those who don’t get on the bandwagon are decried as heretics.

    14. The bandwagon goes in the normal direction a bandwagon goes – an idiotic place where no one would go voluntarily and in normal circumstances and always causes more problems than it solves

    Lucius don’t tell me I have to join a destructive bandwagon effect. People who drive bandwagons are dangerous. Eventually the bandwagon gets out of control and is driven by the mass hysteria of the followers that join the bandwagon.

    Bandwagons are THE most dangerous dynamics in society – it is the cause of communism, fascism the Salem Witch trials and the final solution. So don’t ever tell me to shut up and get with program. That’s is the type of language that causes mass murder.

  20. Siltstone

    John Commenus
    #3378603, posted on March 27, 2020 at 8:59 am

    +1

  21. old bloke

    I think that some poor decisions have been made as a result of the panic associated with this corona virus. When the dust finally settles and we return to normality, we need an investigation into how this matter was handled, and some decision makers should receive a rogering.

    A case in point:

    Wifey was on the phone yesterday with a friend of hers who told her that she is now taking anti-depressants drugs and is at wits’ end. Her husband was scheduled for surgery to remove a foot-ball size growth on his bladder, and he is in intense pain. He is taking prescribed pain killers which don’t help at all and he’s constantly screaming out in agony, hence his wife had to start taking anti-depressants to cope with the situation.

    He was scheduled for surgery to remove the growth this week, but the operation was cancelled as it was reclassified as “elective surgery” and therefore wouldn’t proceed. That operation should have gone ahead much earlier this month, but they were told to self-quarantine for 14 days before the operation. They isolated themselves for the 14 days, had no outside contacts of any sort, then when the isolation period ended, the operation was cancelled.

    So now he’s in extreme pain and failing health, his wife is so very distraught, and nothing can be done to help him as all resources have been reserved for covid-19 patients.

    How can his situation be described as “elective surgery?” Elective surgery surely means non-essential use of resources, i.e., boob implants, plastic surgery, etc. Lives should not be lost because of a government direction to treat covid-19 patients only.

    Bureaucratic mismanagement is a killer. If he dies at home will his death be recorded as another covid-19 victim?

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