Track Records? They’re Not to be Sneezed At…
There can be no higher purpose than saving human lives.
I hope we all agree on that.
But will hindsight eventually reveal the bludgeoning economic impact of Professor Neil Ferguson’s uber-skewed coronavirus computer model predictions – upon which the government so emphatically (and myopically) relied?
Methinks Nostradamus could have written better code back in the 16th century.
And one can only wonder at this point how seriously the Professor viewed his own findings, after the not-so-quant-savant quit the government’s not-so-SAGE-on-plagues COVID action group due to a not-so-socially-distant tryst. (More focused on Staats than his own stats, perhaps? But I digress…)
Far and away from the Wuhan wet market, and that city’s Biosafety Level 4 Lab, the truly batty behaviour on these shores has been the absence of any acknowledgement of Mr Ferguson’s Imperial Collage (sic) track record over the years.
Let’s remind ourselves:
- 2001 - His prediction that up to 150,000 could perish from Foot and Mouth Disease led to the mass culling of farm animals. Yet less than 200 people actually died; marking the beginning of what would be his own Foot in Mouth affliction.
- 2002 - He forecast up to 50,000 could die from Mad Cow Disease. He also calculated the number of deaths could rise to 150,000 through a sheep epidemic. Though, to be fair, his low-end forecast was as few as 50 deaths. So, when 177 people eventually passed away from Mad Cow, he probably said "See, I was right."
- 2005 – Flushed with failure he then played his Joker with a prediction that up to 200 million people could die from Bird Flu. Yes, really. In an interview with the Grauniad (The Guardian) he compared the avian influenza to the 1918 Spanish Flu; except worse. Makes you wonder how, despite all these terrible epidemics and pandemics, the world population is now over six times bigger. The endgame was apparently only 282 deaths. Oh, and one swan died in Fife.
- 2009 – He trotted out his Swine Flu calculations, possibly with the aid of Tarot Cards, as a best guess or “reasonable worst-case scenario” of 65,000 UK deaths. There were just 457 people who lost their lives. Presumably most of us developed herd immunity by eating bacon rolls. And despite a near-decade of these statistical porkies, there’s no record of anybody in Government calling him out on them. In fact…
- March 2020 – Even now, while using what would later be described as 13-year-old undocumented computer code – with no mention of Nostradamus, Tarot Cards, or even the odd séance - he and his “team” predicted the coronavirus pandemic could to lead to 250,000 deaths and possibly up to 500,000 in the UK unless stringent lockdown measures were implemented. Those measures however didn’t apply to him.
To me, this level of inconsistency, and the methodology under-pinning it, stinks of either a cover-up or a balls-up. Speaking of which, there’s a rumour Ferguson’s team reckon Norwich City were statistically “in with a chance” of winning the Premier League.
Odd how the lockdown shuttered football too…
In the words of Carl Sagan, "When governments and societies lose their capacity for critical thinking, the results can be catastrophic however sympathetic we may be to those who bought into the baloney."
And when it comes to money, following the herd does not create immunity from harm. In fact, it often leads lambs to the slaughter.
RISK WARNING: Please note that listening to dire predictions from those with poor forecasting track records, and then locking up your savings in fear, can seriously damage your wealth too.