324 - Alerts and Compliance | Scoins.net | DJS

324 - Alerts and Compliance


One wondered at the 3-tier system of levels of coronavirus lockdown ands discussed this is in essay 318. This became a 4-tier system as soon as we began that second lockdown which, if it only lasts the 4 weeks discussed, is instead only a circuit breaker. Also in 318 I wondered about compliance. This issue went downhill from the moment we heard about Dominic Cummings' trip to Durham and Barnard Castle, which generated the descending pink graph shown here.  

This diagram, is fig 6 from [2] . Average response to question: “To what extent do you have confidence in the UK Government’s ability to handle the Coronavirus situation as it continues to develop?” (1 = Not at all confident; 5 = completely confident). Grey dotted line at 10 May indicates date UK Government plans to ease lockdown. Dashed line at 22 May indicates date Daily Mirror and Guardian newspapers released information on Dominic Cummings’ journey to Country Durham. (Data are displayed reverse coded so larger values indicate higher confidence.)

Source: weekly survey data from Opinium https://www.opinium.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Opinium-Political-Report- 19th-June-2020.pdf. Data downloaded on 29 June 2020. 

The Cummings Effect

 The Cummings Effect describes all behaviour that ought to have direct consequences but somehow doesn't. This can be viewed as a rule for Us and a different rule for Them.

 There is a secondary effect, which takes the idea that rules don't apply to the elite and uses that to measure how elite one is, hence:

The Cummings Corollary:  
 Getting away with things shows your worth; the more you manage to get away with, the more (obviously) important you are. 


So, following on from the Cummings Effect,¹  I wondered if there might be a case for a non-compliance scale. I'm thinking of individual behaviour, not corporate. There are high levels at which non-compliance is criminal, there are medium levels where it is likely there will be some consequence and there are low levels where often there will be no consequence at all, even if there ought to be. I was thinking of equivalents to the Beaufort scale for wind, which I learned at school as having eight points, then ten and today I discover that hurricane is rated as Beaufort 12 and that my previous understanding has been largely wrong. Even that there is an extension up to 17, perhaps compatible with Hurricane grades 1 to 5.

This is then my first offering for the Cummings non-compliance scale. I expect it to flex, in the sense that I expect to make adjustment as there is reaction from the limited readership I have.  I'd like the levels to indicate the point at which one's behaviour affects others, but the whole point of compliance—in the sense I intend—is that the perpetrator has no regard for the consequences to others; at all levels what occurs is 'this rule does not apply to me'; the only gradations are in the measure of the consequence upon others, though there is an argument that the levels ought to be defined by the consequences on being found out, called out, or some active equivalent.

Take speed limits as a case in point; many people exceed the limits in the UK. On the motorway some dispute of this can be described as disagreement at where 70mph is, at what version of '70' is acceptable, or what by how much one dare exceed 70 and be sure that you'll not be told off, let alone be penalised. Beyond that, how do you feel about doing 90mph on an empty motorway? It is clearly breaking the law, but if the motorway is genuinely empty (think 0300 sort of time) is it doing any harm at all? No of course we can't change the law, but who is going to know? And so you argue with yourself, in line with the question of whether a tree falling in the forest makes any sound if there is no-one to hear it. The same conversation over a 20mph limit is not at all the same. Far too many bodies designate 20 inappropriately and a different and larger group disagree with the designation. Yet if properly applied it should be properly followed (as I think all speed limits should be applied and followed). Doing 26 in a 20 is provably dangerous (essay 156). The 50mph limit through empty roadworks is one of the routinely ignored ones, which makes it perhaps level 1 rather than 2. Opinion?

DJS's Compliance Index (draft)

0 This person is fully compliant. There are no rules that need to be followed, beyond those such as "Breathe".

1  The sort of instruction where part of your reaction includes querying whether anyone has the right to make such instruction. The sort of instruction where if you've missed the notice, you'd not think of what it requires as 'normal' behaviour. Sometimes 'no photographs' fits this. E.g., Do not walk on the grass; Don't run in the corridor.

2  The sort of rule that ought to be obvious, sensible and reasonable behaviour. Speed limits belong here, though one suspects that generally we would disagree that all speed limits are equal.  Failing to apply the rule of six because the household is seven people (parents and five kids) and you all go for a walk. E.g. Take your litter home; Keep to the left on the cycleway; Walk around the edge of the crop in the filed; Stay on the footpath.

3  At this point, the assumption that you are compliant has an effect on the behaviour of others and in turn that behaviour of others generates potential danger to you. So in this case we can place, for example the 50 mph speed limits through roadworks, where you 'know' that the roadworks are empty and the signs are irrelevant, so you're going to continue at 70mph. But sharing the road with you are people who don't 'know' this, such that now there is a speed difference of 20mph or more, making both parties dangerous to the other. The distinction between level 3 and level 4 is a matter of reflected risk and in terms of the example given, would be a reflection of traffic density.

So level 3 is where there is a rule for a good reason, but a section of the population expected to abide by the rule says this reason is invalid (which is indeed the case with all these levels). For level 3 the difference is relatively mild and for levels 4 and 5 the differences become more extreme. I think the measure of which of levels 3-5 applies depends upon the consequences of the behaviour being proved wrong.

4  Escalation somehow; I'm far from certain what generates the next distinction. Sensible speed limits go here, especially 30 and 40mph. Sensible, valid, appropriate, justifiable rules and regulations; more, that non-compliance is demonstrably dangerous to others, particularly those assuming that you are obeying the rules. Thus, that assumption of your compliance makes them a danger to you. So a 20mph limit where kids are actually playing and where kids understand and expect all traffic to be doing 20mph makes their behaviour predictable and makes your disobedience very dangerous to both you and to them. A 20mph limit at the dead of night might be level 3 but the same ground at school opening or closing times is level 4 or 5. I think here is where discarding needles on the beach belongs, and deliberately breaking bottles on the road on the way home after closing time.

5  This is where the Cummings moment belongs; something you do that might or should get you fired. Margaret Ferrier and trains, too. Stuff that is borderline illegal, thoroughly irresponsible and endangers others in unspecified ways. The sort of person who does this would argue that this is not level 5 but level 1 or 2. Exceeding 40 in a 30, for example. Plagiarism in university essays starts at a lower level but escalates to here with seniority. The test for level five is that some people would want this event to be considered by police, i.e. they think it may be illegal.

6  The escalation here is that whatever you did would definitely get you fired if the boss heard about it. My example: falsifying A-level certificates.

7  And here you'd go to court if the authorities knew about it; that's not police involvement, but council.

8  Here you'd go to jail if the authorities knew about it. Being more precise, the police would charge you with a criminal offence if they knew of the event.

9  Well into criminality here, where I'd place rape and murder.

10 Extreme behaviour; treason, terrorism, mass murder. Rejection of all rules.

I wonder if an individual can declare their compliance level; that is, I wonder whether we are consistent at all and if so, whether those consistencies might give us ways of defining or refining such a scale. I am largely unaware of rules I choose to ignore — a two sided comment, for there are rules with which I disagree but follow and rules I do not follow from ignorance of such restriction. There are general opinions, matters of societal acceptance, with which I disagree markedly, so there are quite a few unwritten rules I choose to ignore wholeheartedly. But then I also think that is part of our culture, to be allowed to be different and to be tolerant of those differences.

DJS 20201116

This was taken from the Snippets file at 313, so mostly written six weeks earlier.

Top pic found by google and widely used in the press this week. More than one source noted that this was a very public departure and I read more than one suggestion that the box was either mostly empty or one of many such. And, since he'd be paid to the end of the month or longer, one wonders just how much would be cleared away immediately. I'd take my laptop and memory sticks, but not much else. Dominic Cummings left No10 in the same week that Donald Trump began to understand that he was not re-elected.

There is some comment on compliance at the foot of Covid in October.

1.  I am tempted to call this the Cummings' Effect, with apostrophe, on the grounds that the effect was owned by the man, but the use of his name is not plural. It's not the family, just the man.

Further reading (all found after I'd written this in Snippets):

[1] https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2020/06/has-there-been-cummings-effect-lockdown-compliance  20200604

On 13 May, the day Boris Johnson announced that the public in England could take unlimited amounts of daily exercise, the number of requests for driving directions made through Apple Maps was at around 55 per cent of what it was in pre-Covid times. That number steadily increased, reaching 72 per cent by 22 May  — the day the Guardian and Daily Mirror published the investigation about Cummings' trip to Durham. The investigation alleged that Cummings drove more than 250 miles to his parents’ farm in Durham in spite of government guidelines to avoid all non-essential travel. Pedestrian activity saw a similar increase from 51 per cent on 13 May to 65 per cent on 22 May.

[2] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31690-1/fulltext A thorough study, worth reading. There had already been a gradual decrease in public adherence to guidelines before the publicity about Cummings' actions on May 22, but the difference in this decline between England and Wales and Scotland grew in the 3 weeks following (May 22–June 11, 2020)   [....]  Although, as of June 17, 2020, more than a month has passed since the Cummings events, data show there has been no recovery in confidence in the government, with confidence in England remaining low and gaps between confidence in England and confidence in devolved nations growing (appendix p 8). Trust in government decisions and actions relating to the management of COVID-19 is a major challenge worldwide, and these data show the negative and lasting consequences that political decisions can have for public trust and the risks to behaviours.

This diagram is from [2] in the Lancet for 2020422 to 20200614. I failed to download the whole article. This may have been a browser issue. England red, Scotland blue, Wales green.

[3] https://www.opinium.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Opinium-Political-Report-19th-June-2020.pdf also this, from which came the copied graph. I failed to find something more recent.

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/aug/06/the-cummings-effect-study-finds-public-faith-was-lost-after-aides-trip  contains the same data as [2].    ...said in May: “The notion of ‘a law for them and a law for us’ is about the clearest way that you can violate that bond of common identity and that bond of trust between the public and the authorities.”    
YouGov survey found that of those who had broken lockdown rules, one in three gave the Cummings story as a justification for their decision. The polling also found that 70% of people thought the incident would make life harder for the government to get future lockdown messaging across.

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_Cummings_scandal  is a good summary of what occurred. Yes, I contributed again this year.

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