Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is a secretive body which "advises" the UK government. In 2020 concern about the UK Covid lockdown has led to calls for increasing its transparency, such as public disclosure of its membership and/or deliberations. Answering MPs about the secrecy, Chris Whitty said he had no personal objection to publishing the membership, but that the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure had forbidden it because the group's meetings may involve matters of "national security".
The group reportedly met nine times in February 2020 and 10 times in March 2020.
- Full article: COVID-19
- Full article: COVID-19
The membership of the group was earlier not public, but on May 4, 2020 the UK government revealed an almost complete list of members, except "2 participants [that] have not given permission to be named.". The meetings are secret and minutes are not published, a regimen more typical of a deep state milieu than an ordinary government body, leading to concerns of a hidden agenda.
April 2020 Calls for Transparency
"Sense About Science said academics shaping Downing Street's policies should be identified, with the minutes of behind closed doors minutes published and the data made public." In April 2020 The Telegraph and The Guardian reported on the group. Ian Boyd stated that he remained "really adamant" that "one cannot have a public debate about what the science is saying and what it’s not saying."
“The lack of complete transparency has echoes of the way the World Health Organisation operated during the 2009 swine flu crisis, when it refused to disclose the names of the scientists it relied on for advice.”
'Investigations Team' (24 April 2020) 
On April 15th, MPs were increasingly interested in discovering the names, and the UK government was "under growing pressure to publish the names of all of the scientific experts." The UK government declined to do so, citing "security concerns" as a reason to keep the names secret, suggesting that members were afraid of having their names published because "death threats had been sent to members of advisory groups feeding into Sage".
"Names of scientific advisers should not be a state secret"
The behavioural Insights Team
- Full article: Behavioural Insights Team
- Full article: Behavioural Insights Team
The UK's Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), a.k.a. the "Nudge Unit", has been active in shaping public perception of COVID-19.
On 24 April 2020, the Guardian "revealed the 23 attendees of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). They comprise 21 scientists and two Downing Street political advisers." On the same day, The Daily Telegraph named "more than a dozen of its members", including one name not given by the Guardian. Also on 24 April 2020 Diane Abbott tweeted: "Dominic Cummings and former data scientist for Vote Leave campaign on Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Does this explain how 'herd immunity' became policy?"
0n 29 April 2020 James Forsyth wrote in the Spectator that "I am informed that at that meeting Tim Gowers, a Cambridge maths professor and Fields Medal winner, and Demis Hassabis, the founder of the AI company Deep Mind, dialled in at Dominic Cummings’ request."
In August 2020 Mark Woolhouse, a SAGE advisor, commented that "Lockdown was a panic measure and I believe history will say trying to control Covid-19 through lockdown was a monumental mistake on a global scale, the cure was worse than the disease."
Charles Walker MP has criticised SAGE for its lack of accountability.
Independent SAGE is an adjacent and "unrelated" organisation.
|Ian Boyd||“What happens is that you get an email through or you get a calendar invite through which is a calling notice that says there’s gonna be a Sage at a particular time you’re invited to attend, and here’s the agenda.”||Ian Boyd|
|Ian Boyd||“There’s an immense amount of interest outside from people who would love to get inside, and change what Sage is saying, and that must never ever be allowed to happen. Otherwise, the trust in the whole process will just evaporate. I think it is not ideal. In an ideal world you’d have complete transparency, but it’s not an ideal world. There’s a lot of what I would call dark forces who are trying to undermine the validity of the way that science works and as a result of that Sage has to be conducted in a way that makes sure that they don’t have that opportunity. And it’s difficult, and I don’t think anybody who sits on Sage or chairs Sage really wants it that way. But on the other hand, there is no real option other than to do it that way.”||Ian Boyd||2020|
|Ian Boyd||“I’m really, really adamant about that – one cannot have a public debate about what the science is saying and what it’s not saying.”||Ian Boyd|
|Michael Yeadon||“Government’s response to emergencies is guided by the scientific group who sit together under the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies or SAGE. So they should provide scientific advice to the government about what’s appropriate to do. SAGE has got several things wrong, and that has led to advice that’s inappropriate and – uh, not only has had horrible economic effects, but has had continuing medical effects in that people are no longer being treated properly.”||Michael Yeadon||November 2020|
|Michael Yeadon||“So why aren’t the media telling us that the pandemic is over? It’s not over because SAGE says it’s not. So SAGE consists of very many scientists, from a range of disciplines – mathematicians and clinicians – and there are multiple committees. But I found to my surprise – and I’m actually going to use the word – horror, that in the spring, all the way through the spring and summer, SAGE did not have on their committee someone who I would call a card-carrying immunologist; a clinical immunologist. I have to say I think that in the spring and summer SAGE was deficient in the expertise it had.”||Michael Yeadon||November 2020|
|Document:Charles Walker's 2021 SAGE speech||Speech||16 June 2021||Charles Walker||A Tory Backbencher suggests full financial disclosure from members of SAGE and full elections, or they advise the Government, and if they do not want to do that, but want to advise TV studios, they do that, but they do not do both.|
|Document:Why is disgraced MI6 author of the dodgy Trump-Russia dossier involved in a controversial group seeking harsh Covid restrictions?||Article||24 July 2021||Kit Klarenberg||Christopher Steele, the Russiagate spook is involved in lobbying for more lockdowns in the UK.|
- "Coronavirus: Cummings attended meetings of key scientific group"
- (Sage Minutes: September 21st)
- https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/24/scientists-advising-government-vulnerable-lobbying-admits-chief/ The Telegraph
- "Does this explain how 'herd immunity' became policy?"