When the new year of 2021 dawned I made a resolution and foolishly recorded it publicly. That’s a bad move. It’s inevitable that you will face the embarrassment of failing to keep it. And that’s what I did. Mine was simply to say no more about the whole nasty Covid business. Now, I didn’t mean the reality of the vicious virus, whether natural or mad made and the devastation it has caused across the world. Nor did I mean the disease and the suffering and death that has followed and those who have to endure its long-term chronic debilities. No, I mean the insane irrational hysteria, which has dominated as well as crippled society, the skewed obsession with the single narrative and the sinister intent of those who made and continue to make a killing out of it all. That business.
At the beginning of 2021 it seemed a reasonable aspiration that this would soon be all behind us. Perhaps not talking about it might make it go away. There was a feeling that we had come to the end of this aberration and sanity would somehow return. How wrong I was. A year later there it is, still in full swing and no sign that it will ever end. True the words change and opinions too, people shift their ground, backs are covered and inconvenient facts buried. But the fatal error and the gross abuse of power is overlooked in the frenzy over wine and cakes. But I am going to try and make one last attempt to close the chapter and halt my musings on this sorry tale.
To be honest I am tired. The whole thing has become so unbearably wearisome. There is nothing much more to say and I am beginning to repeat myself. Languishing in ten days house arrest following a positive Lateral flow test from a close contact, it all seems pretty pointless anyway. The system can’t be bucked against, that’s for sure and we are in this for the long haul. In Scotland the government are in the process of taking more power to allow them to shut down society whenever it seems right to them to do so and we just have to get used to that. Like long term prisoners we need to learn to settle down and get on with our life sentence. We need to stop fixating on the dream of an early release. It is hope deferred that is the real killer and wasting energy on any more outrages is a futile banging a head against a wall. And it’s too late, anyway. The inmates are already running the asylum.
The big question is how you retain your sanity in a world that has gone mad? I am beginning to think that Foucault had a point. Maybe it’s the internees who are the sane ones? Under this enforced isolation I have had a chance to think and learn again from those who have gone before and have faced the real trials not phoney ones. People like Bonhoeffer, Jägerstätter, Havel, Solzhenitsyn and others. So I will try and follow their example:
To live not by lies: ”The simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation is this: personal non-participation in lies. Though lies may conceal everything, though lies may control everything, we should be obstinate about this one small point: let them be in control but without any help from any of us.”1
To not allow the names, they give you, intimate: “The term dissident (which to the soviets in Havel’s day meant a renegade) frequently implies a special profession, as if, along with the more normal vocations, there was another special one – grumbling about the state of things. In fact, a dissident is simply a physicist, a sociologist, a worker, a poet, individuals who are merely doing what they must and, consequently, who find themselves in open conflict with the regime. This conflict has not come about through any conscious intention on their part, but simply through the inner logic of their thinking, behaviour or work, often confronted with external circumstances more or less beyond their control.” 2
To trust to common sense, that special gift from God.
To not comply with what we know is foolishness.
To think about “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 3
I would like to pretend that I have known the word for years but, the truth is, it was new to me. Nocebo, I mean. It was a report I read last week detailing some research carried out in an American university that showed that the majority of people who receive a covid-19 vaccine will have phantom side effects. That is, a general anxiety over possible side effects will result in the patient believing they are actually experiencing them. It’s called the “Nocebo effect”. You can see where the idea comes from. It is the mirror image of the placebo effect where people take the pill believing it to be the drug that will help them and, while it is just sugar, it works because they think it will. With nocebo they can be hyper-alert to how they are feeling and imagine all sort of horrible things are happening to their bodies. This is important, because if people experience a side effect, it may simply be put down to anxiety triggered by reading scare stories on the internet. You know the sort of thing: stories of blood disorders, deep vein thrombosis, acute cardiac issues, infections, herpes, immune system disorders, blindness, eye disorders, deafness, spontaneous abortions, skin disorders, psychiatric disorders, migraines and headaches, central nervous system disorders, Guillain-Barre syndrome, facial paralysis, vertigo, tinnitus, respiratory disorders, seizures, paralysis, tremors, reproductive disorders and other mild and rare side effects, as well as death. That sort of thing. Professor Ted Kapchuk who is behind the study thinks it’s a mistake to hide or downplay the reported side effects he wants people to be told more information not less. “Honesty” he says, “is the way to go”. Well, it’s encouraging, of course, when a professor tells us that it’s good to be truthful.
I wish the BBC and all the usual suspects would heed that too. Last night on their late evening news programme they had a report from Covid wards with Clive Myrie walking around talking to patients and staff. It began with the consultant following the camera around a ward pointing to patients “unvaccinated, unvaccinated, unvaccinated, unvaccinated, unvaccinated….” It was pretty gross, but the message was clear. Our Covid wards are full of the unvaccinated and this places the NHS under considerable stress. But is not the truth. It is simply not true. We know that from the government’s own reports. In each of the four nations, the majority of patients in Covid wards are actually vaccinated and those who do not have a vaccination are in the minority. In some cases, the ratio is almost five to one. So why would a journalist produce something so misleading and so seriously mis-representive of the actual facts? Is it just laziness and sloppy reporting? Or has someone been lent on to tell a particular story with the aim of encouraging the hesitant “to do the right thing”? An alternative, but truthful report, showing that vaccination could mean you are more likely to end up in hospital, wouldn’t quite be the thing. It would raise the difficult question – why are more vaccinated patients ending up in hospital than unvaccinated? But ignoring the facts is always a bad idea. A very bad idea.
Which brings me back to Professor Ted Kapchuk and his study. Maybe it is the “Nocebo effect” on a world-wide scale. We watched scary videos on the internet of people dropping in the street gasping for breath, of piles of coffins stacked high and massive graves being dug, we heard the doom-laden prophecies and our collective anxiety made us hyper-alert and believe that we were actually experiencing a pandemic. Maybe some of the time we were simply fulfilling our own prophecies. The governments and media controlling the narrative certainly did their level best to make sure that this was so and only told one side of the story. Any suggestion that things might not be a bad as portrayed was treated with scorn and ridicule. There was hardly any good news (the reported benefits of the vaccine rollout being the exception). Goodness me, the relentless nightly ritual of covid statistics detailing the cases, the hospitalisation, the ICU figures and the deaths while failing to mention the statistics on those who had actually recovered, was scare-mongering on an industrial scale. The facts are that UK 150 thousand have died with Covid in the UK, while 12million have recovered. (in the world it is 5.6 million against 283 million). Why were we not told these figures? Surely being honest and open and telling us all the facts, would have been a welcome boost to morale? For some strange reason in the fake war against the virus raising morale was never part of the plan. That might have stiffened our resolve, given us a reason to pull and stand together. Instead, we were encouraged to hide and to run so we hid and we ran.
Maybe someone should carry out a study to examine this Nocebo effect. But don’t hold your breath, that study is not likely to be carried out anytime soon.
As the days and hours slip away from another year, another significant milestone, there is just a hint, the merest of hints, that it is not just the year that is turning but attitudes too. The seemingly impenetrable edifice constructed, no doubt in great care, over the past two years, shows signs of crumbling. Cracks are appearing and there is a growing sense that those who championed the worldwide Covid narrative, who confidently rode the wave over governments, media and people’s lives might find themselves on the wrong side of history. The very place they had consigned their adversaries. Inevitably, a house built on falsehood and half-truths will fall.
The signs can be seen in the media where journalist who have taken the king’s shilling, sense the reckoning is coming and are creeping out from under the woodwork to find a safe place on the right side. We now know the story and maybe it’s time, as some have suggested, to start clapping for the conspiracy theorists. Turns out they were right all along and we were wrong. If it looks like a conspiracy and smells like a conspiracy, it probably is a conspiracy and all of that will spill in time, when and if one honest journalist can ferret it out.
The main players the global predators will already be looking for a safe sanctuary somewhere, leaving all the middle people and useful idiots to face the anger of the mob. For anger there certainly will be, once those who have paid the price of the folly realise how they have been deceived. Those who feel that their trust has been betrayed. The people who have suffered, who lost relatives without the comfort of saying goodbye those whose children lost a year of learning and socialising, those who lost their jobs, businesses and livelihoods without compensation, those who have missed out on critical treatment, who died for lack of early interventions, those whose lives were unnecessarily mucked about having to follow idiotic instructions which made no sense and those whose delicate mental health was callously ignored… and for what? …for what? The anger is building; it may morph into rage. The threatening tones can already be heard and this is what worries me.
I fear that many will be looking for blood. When a government, a system has been overthrown it most often becomes ugly and bloody. The Ceaușescus’ Ghaddafi’s, and Saddam’s’ demise was not pretty. These examples are pretty extreme, of course, nevertheless the possibility of a terrible backlash is very real and it would be wise to do what we can to ameliorate it and avoid the situation descending into chaos It will need something more than just another lengthy and expensive public enquiry. A Truth and Justice Commission might be more the kind of thing, where the people involved can feel free to tell the whole truth without fear of prosecution.
People need to know. They need to know: why their relatives were sent to care homes to die, why isolating the population in lock-down restrictions was the only intervention considered, why previous plans for a pandemic were abandoned, why the advice of so many scientists and public health experts for focused protection and natural immunity were ignored, why the politicians and those making the rules didn’t themselves believe there was any danger, why fear was weaponised, why drug companies were given immunity from prosecution, as well as what actually was going on in Wuhan. People do need to know and there can never be any resolution until they do.
My hope and my prayer for 2022 is that this can be done peacefully, honestly and transparently and that people of character and integrity can rise to the occasion, step into the breach and show the way, out of, what could otherwise be, a great and historic tragedy.
I had the second but not the third. I drew a line. It has to be drawn somewhere. Where you draw yours is up to you but I had to make up my own mind. When the idea that an unprecedented measure is held out to you as being temporary for a specific purpose in an unparalleled emergency, but it slyly slips into something that looks permanent, you have to decide how much you will take, for who knows where it will end?
Austria and now Germany, with the EU to follow, gives us a clue. You wonder if they teach 20c history in schools anymore or is it simply collective amnesia? Diversity and inclusion will now have to be redefined. The unvaxed are the great unclean, who must be shunned and separated from the rest and those who refuse will face the full force of the law, be fined for each passing month until they are ruined. This is no conspiracy theory. This is what the leaders of these nations are actually saying – “vaccinated, recovered or dead”.
But up here, we are not like them. We have our own bungling clownish ways of doing things: arguing about parties, who can kiss who, checking that our granny has certification before including her in the invite, ordering every visitor to our home to take a test beforehand, testing and testing before we go anywhere and all the usual idiocies of terrifying our children with masks and fear of strangers. Its beyond embarrassing, but it is also evil (and I have chosen that word carefully). It is the slimiest stasi-like trick in the book. Get the people to enforce your will. Get them to call out and shame the dissidents. Frame the narrative in black and white terms: good and bad, caring and selfish, compassionate and venal and you have enrolled half or more of the population who can work across communities and families to coerce and enforce it. There is no need to appeal to fact or reason, logic has gone AWOL. There is no need to argue about whether the vaccines can stop the spread. There isn’t one. We know they don’t.
“It’s your civic duty” they will say, but it’s not mine. I can take the names. Stick and stones will break my bones and words can hurt but I don’t need to let them. They have crossed the river and launched a civil war. You would think they knew what they were doing but, I guess, if you have forgotten what happened 80+ years back you are unlikely to remember 49BC.
There was something about the announcement this week that was depressing as it was predictable and I struggle to make up my mind if the actors are simply evil demagogues impelled by dark forces or just bit players and useful idiots in a treacherous game over which they have no control.
The appearance of Omicron, an anagram of “moronic”, having jumped Nu and Xi, so as not to cause offence to our oriental friends, came at just the right time. There was the possibility that people were beginning to believe the storm had passed, the nightmare was over and we could begin to rebuild the house and repair the roof. There was the ever-present danger that citizens might see the complete disconnect from what they were hearing and what they were seeing and begin to ask questions. The time would come soon enough when the people’s enquiry into what had happened would expose the fraudulence of the official narrative and someone would be in dock in the Hague. Some boy would eventually cry out that the emperor had no clothes. So, it was vital that something new had to be found to divert attention from what was really happening. To cover over what may have been behind the introduction of this plague. And, sure enough, it was found. This time in beautiful Botswana.
The trouble is, evil always overplays its hand. The cunning plans eventually unravel and there is no place to hide. It has always been that way. The video clip I have in my mind is Ceausescu’s wooden speech from the balcony of the Central Committee building in Piata Revolutie, Bucharest where he misreads the crowd, who seem, at first, to be chanting and cheering but it soon becomes booing and jeering with cries for his downfall which was enacted a few days later.
The banal “cause for concern” chant repeated by so many betrays a staggering out-of-touchness with reality, the real world and the real concerns of real people. The “Concern” over a new strain with barely a dozen reported cases in the UK, where there is no evidence that it could in the future cause fatalities, or lead to serious illness or hospitalisation or maybe just a runny nose, when this is the cause for concern, where is the concern for the real distresses that face real people every day? for cancer, for heart disease, for type2 diabetes, for mental health, for dementia, for the adverse effects of the vaccine: (Blood disorders, pulmonary Embolism and deep vein thrombosis, anaphylaxis, acute cardiac issues, Infections, Herpes, Immune system disorders, blindness, eye disorders, deafness, spontaneous abortions, skin disorders, psychiatric disorders, migraines and headaches, central nervous system disorders, Guillain-Barre syndrome, facial paralysis vertigo tinnitus, respiratory disorders, seizures, paralysis, tremors, reproductive disorders and almost 1,800 deaths in the UK) the destruction of economies, for the jobless, for dept, for child abuse for drug deaths and drug lives, for migrants, for violence, crime, for poverty, for….?
Sooner or later the skin on the bubble will be stretched so thin that the whole thing will burst. Illusions are illusions but reality is reality and eventually all the shams and charades, the deceit and maleficence will be exposed.
But maybe I am totally wrong about all of that. Maybe it is me who is out of touch. Maybe us plain folks don’t know all the story. Maybe we have misjudged and attributed false motives to those who have been responsible. Maybe we have allowed a level of scepticism and cynicism to creep into our thinking and see corruption in every level of government, in the World Health Organisation, in Fauci and Bill Gates, in Moderna and Pfizer and Astra Zeneca, in Davos, Klaus Schwab, and the great reset, in the Chinese Communist Party, the Guardian, the Independent, CNN and the BBC. Maybe we should trust in the noble altruistic selfless character of human nature and acknowledge that all of these players are acting out of truly unselfish motives and only with our best interests at heart. Maybe.
When the surgery called very early on in the affair to offer myself and my wife the Covid vaccine, I was knocked off my guard. I knew this was coming but had not expected it so soon. The receptionist was pleasant. She was not pushy and when I said I was really not sure, she accepted my reticence and suggested that, if I changed my mind, I should just call back for an appointment. Being a weak individual and sensitive to emotional pressure I succumbed, but never with any sense of conviction and with piles of doubts. I wasn’t proud and a little ashamed that I had not stood for my convictions and I was quite embarrassed, with friends of our own age who were trumpeting that they had the vaccine and it was like they had won the lottery. It was a weird situation. When I expressed my reticence, it was sometimes met with shock and unbelief and on at least one occasion with the “anti-vaxxer” retort. I have learned that when people call you names, they have reached the point where they tire of reasoned debate and don’t want to engage anymore. This is a shame because the issue is deadly serious.
There are so many questions so much obfuscation and blatant attempts to sidestep any reasonable and legitimate inquiry. This whittles away at confidence and sows the seeds of cynicism. The gatekeepers actively discourage any valid questioning of the merits of a vaccine rollout. Just try and write to your elected representative in the parliaments in our land and if you get a reply it will simply restates the line without taking on your question. The language is often duplicitous.
Take as an example the concern that many people have that the vaccine might have a negative effect on fertility. It’s a perfectly valid concern not just for young people but of course for everyone. The official stated line which is reiterated at every turn, is that there is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility. Now you don’t need to have a degree in philosophy to know that this a sleight of hand. The statement will be true but it is constructed in such a way as to lead you to believe that there is evidence that it doesn’t affect fertility. When you realise that, at this point in the vaccine’s history, there is no way of knowing whether the vaccine will affect fertility or not, it makes such a statement grossly misleading, if not deceitful. “We don’t know” would be a more accurate and respectful answer, but with this and so many other issues, the authorities show little respect for the intelligence of the population and you can only wonder at what other devious ploys they have up their sleeves.
Take the issue of what it actually is. It is not a vaccine in the traditional sense. It is not like any other vaccine and probably best described as a form of gene therapy. It is something that has never been tried before, only approved under a temporary authorisation and we have no idea what the long-term effects it will have on the population not least the young and those yet unborn.
And take what the main stream media feed us. I try to avoid watching news on TV especially the BBC but last night it was on and I watched. I was staggered that they still went through the farcical ritual of numbers and graphs and cases, hospitalisations and deaths. (There were no deaths reported in Scotland.) From a news angle, what exactly was the point of this charade? Why were there no record of recoveries from the disease? (Which is close to 98%.) Why were there no graphs and records of cancer deaths of drug deaths of suicide or road deaths? Why were there no records of those who have died after taking the vaccine (which in the UK is in excess of 1,600) or the scale of the yellow card alerts? Why were they actively pushing for the vaccination of pregnant women on the same news programme, when there are so many serious questions and doubts about long term side effects? None of this makes any sense at all unless, of course, there is something else going on. I wonder what it might be?
Any sane person who had a reasonable grasp of the facts and a modest dose of common sense would have called a halt to the roll out long before now, but there is no sign that this is likely to happen and when it does, it will be too late.
I got my blue letter through today for the booster. This time I plan to hold my nerve and refuse, unless, that is, I get convincing answers to my questions.
Oh, are you exempt or something? a disability? Do you have a card a lanyard?
No, I am not exempt
But if you’re not exempt you have to wear one… what’s your excuse?
I don’t have one .. I don’t have to wear one…I don’t need an excuse…I’m just not wearing one
Why not? You have to…
No, I don’t have to… you know as well as I do that they don’t do any good and a lot of harm. There is no reason why we should wear masks. A mask is a symbol of subjugation, a badge to humiliate. I am just not wearing one
Ach, don’t give us this subjugation humiliation crap. Don’t be silly. Anyway It’s mandatory, it’s the law and you could be passing the virus on to someone else who could get ill and die – you could cause someone to die… its your civic duty to wear one
But I don’t have the virus
You could have
I could, but I don’t
But how do you know that you don’t.
I don’t have any of the symptoms that they tell you about, the cough, the fever, loss of….
But you could be a carrier of it without knowing it.
I could be, but I am not
But that’s crazy and stupid and reckless too! How do you know? Eh? Have you had the vaccine? Have you been double jabbed?
No I haven’t and I’m not getting it…and anyway it’s my decision
But that’s selfish!!
Eh? Its selfish not to take something to supposedly protect myself?
Its not about you!!! its your civic duty to get vaccinated
Oh so its all about civic duty? Well, that’s where you are wrong… It doesn’t prevent infection or transmission, we know that, the evidence is in. We had a perfectly controlled experiment on the Royal Navy flotilla. There were 100 cases of coronavirus among the crew on the Queen Elizabeth all of whom were double vaccinated and they stated that they were operating all the social distancing measures masks and hand sanitising etc. So, there you have it. With the vaccine I can still get infected and I can still pass it on so on that score it doesn’t work. Vaccination can only be purely for personal protection, and a personal choice to do with personal risk. There is absolutely no social obligation to get vaccinated to protect others, and the idea of vaccinating children is not just crazy and senseless its terribly terribly dangerous and irresponsible…
Oh so you’re an anti-vaxer now too.. you’ll be a covid denier as well I suppose…
Oh, don’t give me these names, No!!! I am not anti-vaccination, I just don’t want this one. I am not sure if it safe…
Of course it is… its been approved by all the important bodies and…
But it’s not licenced, it’s still experimental we have no idea what bad effects may come from it. I have no idea what effect it may have on my grandaughter’s baby if she gets pregnant. We have just no idea what effects it may have on child bearing women or on fertility. You see I remember Thalidomide the wonder drug that was developed by…and it’s hard to believe this … by a German company based on the work of a former Nazi who worked for Mengele.. it was a wonder drug that would sort out morning sickness and it was only when the babies were born that they discovered the horrors of what it did. This vaccine has been tested over something like 4 months and from what I remember it takes 9 months for a baby. So we can’t know if it’s safe…
Yes we do. They wouldn’t say it was safe unless it was. The pharmaceutical companies would not risk any mishap. They would be sued out of existence if there was a problem…
Funny you should say that, because the drug companies were given special dispensation that they would not be sued if there was a disaster. They only took on the work on that basis. Anyway, I’ve read the literature that they give you about the jab and they more or less say that they don’t know if It’s safe…
What! I don’t believe it… you’re havering there …
Well look I’ve got one hereNHS ScotlandIMPORTANT INFORMATIONplease read this leaflet before your get the vaccineunder “fertility” it says “There is no evidence to suggest that the Covid-19 vaccine will affect fertility in men or women”
So it is safe – there is no evidence that it affects fertility…
You don’t get it do you? It’s a sleight of hand. What they say in the leaflet is absolutely true but it is written in such a way to make you think that there are no effects on fertility, when what it is actually saying is we don’t know if there are any. There is no evidence that there are. But there’s no evidence that there is not.
Ach, it’s a waste of time talking to you…All these scientist and researchers all over the world can’t all be wrong… or do you think you are right and they are all wrong?
They could all be wrong and , of course there are a whole lot of others who say different and you probably won’t here about them because they are basically gagged or black listed or cancelled.
Well… for a start… Sunetra Gupta, Mike Yeadon, Jay Bhattacharya, Martin Kulldorff, Robert Malone, Russel Blaylock, Peter MacCulloch, Karol Sikora, Peter Bregin,David Livermore, Carl Heneghan, John Lee… lots more…
Oh I’m not sure why I bother… but look at it, the vaccine has broken the link between getting the virus and being sick. We know that for sure, So it works..
No, we can’t be sure about that
What! Oh come-on! for goodness sake! you are just being cantankerous.You are sold on conspiracy theories…You should get out more and stop listening to the lizards and phone mask conspiracy seeking creeps..
I don’t and I’m not…. but back to the point…because one thing follows another doesn’t mean the first caused the second. It is a classic false philosophical argument – there is a name for it but I’ve forgotten what it is – something about correlation and causation – like, every time Grannie comes to tea it rains, so granny caused the rain. There might be a connection between the two but there is no proof that there is. It’s the same with Lock-downs. They say the restrictions work because once these are in place cases drop but they might have been dropping anyway…It can’t be proved one way or the other
I was right, it’s a waste of time talking to you. You don’t really care do you? You want the virus to rip and if people die, too bad, as long as you can get to the pub and get on with your life. You are putting other people’s lives in danger. I can’t believe you would be so mean and so selfish. You are probably a grannie killer…
Oh!!! a grannie killer now! -You know that’s pretty rich. It’s the government who have been killing Grannies! you know that.. loading them off to care homes to get infected and die lonely and horrible deaths shut off from their loved ones. It is one the cruellest things about this whole debacle and there will be a reckoning. I am sure there will. When people find out what actually happened it could get very ugly… Someone must have known what they were doing. They weren’t interested in people’s lives they wanted to save the NHS and it’s all political. If you don’t see that, you must have blindly swallowed the whole thing. The NHS had to be protected at all costs to save the Tory party. If it collapsed under a Tory government, it would be a disaster for the party and the red walls would rise again. Care homes didn’t matter they were not the NHS. And all this nauseating clapping, sainthood, special services in St Paul’s Cathedral, oh dear,…. and now the George cross…
I was right, it’s a waste of time talking to you… …. just keep away from me……please…
Laura Dodsworth has published a devasting and explosive book cataloguing her forensic ferreting into the dark art of behavioural science and its employment by the authorities in the past 18 months. “A state of fear” clinically exposes the government and the cartel of advisors, medics, scientists, public health experts, statisticians and modellers in their cynical weaponizing of fear to get the population to do what they want, without them knowing it.
While a lot of this has had some airing before, hardly any of it has reaches the main stream media or has been taken up by journalist or political opposition, the people who you would expect would notice. So, it is up to Laura a photographer, artist and author, not really known for journalism to step in to the breach, to scratch around, to push hard at the doors, to follow the evidence and get to the truth, while the rest of journalist, with some notable exceptions, have gone limp and supine. Even the rock and roll anti-establishment suspects, who are always quick to pounce on any titbit to throw at the establishment, have been strangely silent. It’s as if their mouths have been stuffed with gold or injected with drugs to stay quiet. Shout about anything they seem to be told, but don’t go there. There, however, is where Laura goes and when she has her teeth into the something she doesn’t let go. Funny, this is what I thought true journalism was all about. But it’s heartening, at least, to find someone who actually does it.
What is notable about the book is that it is sane and balanced. It isn’t fired by rage or anger. It isn’t an anti-vaxxers rant or the bleatings of a covid denier. It is simply the inquisitiveness of a curious mind and a nose that can smell a rat. She manages to interview significant figures close to the government, some anonymous but others willing to give their names, including notable people involved in the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) who report to SAGE. What she finds is that fear was deliberately and specifically used to direct the behaviour of the population. Many of the advisors had deep misgivings about the morality and the ethics of the programmes, but never enough, it seems, to blow the whistle.
What is disturbing, to her, is the way the pattern mirrors that of a strict parent child relationship.
During the Covid epidemic, the UK government threated us with longer lock-downs or tougher restrictions if we misbehaved, and rewards such as the rule of six or garden meetings were dangled in front of us if all went well. The relationship between government and citizen is reminiscent of a strict parent and child relationship, with alternating use of the naughty step and then offering sweets for good behaviour. Citizens were not treated like adults. We were told frightening ‘Bedtime stories’ everyday via the news and Downing Street briefings to ensure compliance with a set of everchanging and sometimes bizarre rules.
“The weaponization of fear is a particularly destabilising tactic in the behavioural psychology toolbox
because it clouds our judgement, which in turn increases reliance on government, which then creates more fear, which paralysis us further, creating a self-perpetuating doom-loop.”
Naomi Wolfe goes further and puts it more graphically, in a recent interview, when she described it as an abusive domestic relationship where the partner, invested with the power, teases, controls, humiliates and infantilises the victim caught in a horrendous trap of dependency.
One of the SPI-B advisors explained this, as it related to mask wearing: “There is a behavioural science ‘reason’ for wearing masks, to increase a sense of collectivism. This is the feeling favoured by the psychologists that is entirely unrelated to the scientific evidence regarding transmission. Essentially, they want us to feel like we are ‘in it together’” So there you have it, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
Another from the same group explained “People are passive and biddable. A lot of people don’t question. Their thinking is shaped by other people, especially the media and social media and that is a dangerous thing. As a society we are set up to encourage a passive and biddable population.”
Throughout the book she slots in short interviews with ordinary people she meets on the way. They don’t make the story but illustrate it and they are exactly the stories I hear from individuals caught up in it all, bewildered, frustrated, frightened.
The bleak prospect in the end is the death of freedom “We seem to have forgotten that no one is safe. You have never been safe and you never will be. Nor will I. In the blind global panic of an epidemic we have forgotten how to analyse risk. If you don’t accept that you will die one day, that you can never be safe, then you are a sitting duck for authoritarian policies which purports to be for your safety. If too many individuals immolate their liberty for safety, we risk a bonfire of freedoms.”
Frank Furedi set the ground work for this analysis in his significant piece “How fear works, culture of fear in the twenty first century” and he explains how, from an early age, people are encouraged “to become preoccupied with their safety and to regard being fearful as a sensible and responsible orientation towards the world” While in another time, it would be assumed that our response to threats would be in accordance with virtues such as wisdom, courage, moderation, justice and duty, now it is considered virtuous to adopt the technique of “risk assessment” and “powerlessness, fragility and vulnerability are the characteristics that resonate with the current representation of personhood.”
But an authority which deliberately and calculatingly creates a climate of fear amongst the population are playing with fire. Once the heather is lit it is not so easy to put out, no matter how many jackets are ruined in the process. A frightened population may act in quite unpredictable ways. There may be compliance for a time but things can suddenly turn and fear can quickly morph into rage. Who knows how an otherwise biddable populace will react when they discover that they were deceived and the devastating and prolonged restrictions were quite unnecessary and achieved nothing. Their belief may will be resilient while so much is invested in it, but with a crisis of faith, things could get ugly.
A government’s intentional employment of fear also betrays the fact that they themselves are fearful: fearful of losing their popularity, fear of failure, fear of not doing or acting quickly enough, fear of losing power and ultimately, fear that the people may rise up and destroy their masters. Those who live by fear die by it. History shows that dictators and despots never know when to give up. They never leave when there is a window for a peaceful exit. Instead, they cling on to the bitter end, to face the rope and get the bullet.
Critically, the weaponization of fear breaks down trust, trust that may have taken centuries to build, and when trust is destroyed it is hard to know where, as a society, we can go.
A “National day of reflection” is to be held on the 23rd March to remember the 125,000 people in the UK, who have died with coronavirus during the out-break. It is strange that, when this episode is constantly being referred to as a war, we are thinking of remembrance before the battle is ended and when victory is not yet secured or even in sight. Still, anytime is a good time to reflect.
So let us reflect on the lives that we have not been able to save. Let us reflect on all the other lives we have lost over this year, the deaths to accidents, to cancer and heart disease, to murder and suicide. Let us reflect on the women who have died at the hands of men. Let us reflect on the lives we have cancelled before they were even born, who have no names that we can recite. Let us reflect on the lives lost to our dalliance with narcotics. Let us reflect on the suicides we have assisted and helped by designating these last journeys as essential.
Let us reflect on why we abandoned the DHSSPS’s (2011) common sense and proportionate plan to prepare for a pandemic in favour of an untried mass experiment with people’s lives. Let is reflect on why the lessons from Exercise Cygnus in 2016 were never learned.
Let us reflect on the fear we have propagated and the hope that we have extinguished
Let is reflect on the harms that we have triggered and inadvertently caused by our asinine restrictions, our incompetence and our bungling micro mismanagement:
slowing of baby’s development without essential and natural human contact,
incarcerating disabled children without formal education,
stunting children’s learning with the loss of a year in a critical time in their lives,
damaging the tender lives of fostered children, the babies taken from their mothers at birth and trapped without human contact other than a carer for months on end,
aggravating mental health of the population in general, but the young, the single and the isolated in particular,
denying essential medical treatment and early diagnosis of those with serious health conditions,
depriving people of the dignity of work and the dark spectre of unemployment,
de-motivating workers by paying them to stay at home and do nothing,
robbing young people’s right to associate with their peers, make friends and find life partners,
taking away the health-giving benefits of playing sport, singing together, joining bands, clubs, sharing in worship and all the natural social interactions that make life meaningful,
spawning suspicion of our neighbour,
undoing long established community spirit,
starving the preciousness of face-to-face contact,
condemning old people isolated and confused to die lonely deaths in care homes,
destroying businesses and livelihoods with the prospect of a collapsed economy and a third world country status,
pushing back on the advances made in the environment, with the wrecking of public transport systems and the dumping mountains of PPE in land fill sites,
suppressing legitimate dissent and protest,
surrendering our freedom.
Let us reflect and consider if all that was worth it.
We didn’t get round to doing it, but we had a plan to put a jar in the middle of the table for our evening meal with our international family and every time someone mentioned covid, they would have to drop a coin in. If we did, we could probably have paid for 3 new nightingale hospitals by now, though it turns out that they haven’t been much use despite the £220m price tag.It’s a good time for dodgy deals and backhands. It’s a good time to bury bad news. But its also a good time to take stock and make resolutions and mine, in the coming year, will be to speak no more of viruses and lock-downs, of self-isolating, social distancing, and transmission and these arrrgh rates. Data, Percentages and graphs will be out too. But before then, with a few hours left, it would be good to look back and see if we can make any sense of what happened in this year. This then, by definition, is my personal view. Inevitable there are more questions than answers.
The Barmy Professor
One of the most interesting characters in the whole episode is Professor Neil Ferguson who gave a revealing interview to the Sunday Times last week. He had disappeared off the scene for a while, following his “error of judgement”, but now back in the centre among the coterie of advisers with the ear of government. He was apparently told to keep a low profile until the thing had blown over, which says so much of how important he must have been to the decisionmakers. It was what he said about how they came to the idea of nationwide lock-down, that was so telling. They saw how the Chinese had adopted it first in Wuhan and later across the country but they didn’t think such a method would work in a western democratic society. Astonishingly it seemed to work in Italy and so could be tried out here too. So, this was how the mass psychological, economic & social experiment was launched on an unexpecting population, without any real idea of where it would lead or if it would in fact work. It had never been done before and while there was, and is, no evidence that it had any effect, it had to be the only way and so it became the only way. The decision was a binary one. Either this or let the virus rip, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and thousands will die. At the early stage the Prime Minister was unsure and hinted that, while it was done in other nations, this was not how we did things here. We don’t coerce the population in this way, we respect the people and always assume that they would act responsibility. But for whatever reason, he wobbled and the rest is history.
The Lapsed Believer
Having grown up with a more or less general respect for authority, with the feeling that those who knew all the facts, those who understood the reality of what we were facing, those who were intelligent and experts in their field, would be best placed to make the proper decisions and I should go along with that. It might be a military response to terrorism or austerity to a financial crisis. What did I know about viruses, pandemics, terrorism or economics after all? Yet, I was not totally naïve. I knew that politicians have their own agenda and their own self-interest, and like the rest of us are proud, lustful and prone to corruption and deceit, but on those big issues, I had to trust that they would get it right and I would, in the end, give them the benefit of the doubt. That was what I believed at the start and I suspect most people felt the same. And so, the first weeks and early months of lock-down were rolled out and, for me it was a welcome sabbatical. It was warmth and light and green in the spring and early summer with birdsong and clear blue skies. There was time with family and new pursuits there was a wholesome feeling that maybe this was a good thing. Goodness me it may even be the answer to global warming and climate change. In reality, however, it was little more than a middle-class indulgence, all the sounds of destruction havoc and the crumbling of society were out of earshot. Isolated in your own cocoon, the sights of suffering were kept conveniently out of sight. We were kept separate from the horrors of single parents with difficult children cooked up in tiny flats when the playgrounds were chained off. We didn’t realise how close so many were to a mental health disaster when isolation would tip them over the edge. We didn’t think what the long term effects of wholesale house arrest would do to a population. There were dissident voices, of course, but they were the lunatic fringe – the David Ickes and the Piers Corbyns of this world, the rabid Brendan O’ Neil, the doom merchant Peter Hitchens and the wacky James Delingpole. But with each week, as the thing progressed, as the goal posts moved, as the serious voices, many from the scientific community and the legal profession, starting articulating another different and compelling story, one which was pretty much side-lined and silenced when it could be, my doubts grow and my trust dissolved. The long spiral downwards increased with the wilder claims, the overegging of the statistics the graphs and the gobbledegook, the ladling on of fear, the more and more bizarre restrictions, the ludicrously unachievable aim of controlling a virus, and the absolute unquestionable righteousness of the cause. I started to see that those guys on the fringe turned out to be right all along, and I was wrong.
The Supine Mass
Without really taking it in, we were being progressively dehumanised and infantilised and like the boiling frog we didn’t realise what was happening before it was too late. This phenomenon is very hard to explain or understand. Why is it that perfectly intelligent people can resort to following crazy and foolish half thought up rules that turn common sense completely on its head? One of the most bizarre concerns someone we knew who called on a friend recently and suggested going for a walk. While they lived a short distance from each other the council boundary divided them and the law prohibited moving from a level three zone even if into another of the same level. They did decide, however, to have their walk, but as the boundary ran up the middle of a road, and to keep to the rules, they ended up walking on opposite pavements and carrying on a disjointed conversation across the traffic. Despite the stupidity our friend went along with it not to upset her companion. This sounds like a crazy made-up tale, but it was true. Why is it that sensible and reasonable people, not only follow the rules, but go way beyond them? I am thinking of mask wearing in the street and the open air. Do people like the feel of breathing their own CO2? Have they just forgotten to take it off after leaving the shop? Is it a fashion statement? Is it a badge or a statement of solidarity? Who knows?
The Great Conundrum
From the beginning I have wrestled with this one. How is it that, in the face of an unparalleled assault on personal freedom, the people who I thought would be the ones who would defend that freedom, to the death, if need be, had suddenly become quiet and compliant?Why were they so relaxed when a right wing and a nationalist government used fear to control the population in an astonishingly effective way and why were no alarm bells ringing? That fear-monger was the official policy, as it was in Germany, is now clear. Where did the rebels and the activists go when democracy morphed into authoritarianism? I have no easy answer. Perhaps they were never really true rebels. Perhaps they had a secret liking for authority. Perhaps they believed that totalitarianism was the only way that utopia could be achieved and that perhaps it needed a worldwide system of control to bring about the long sought-after world where peace and justice would reign and the planet saved from disaster? If so covid-19 might just be the thing to usher in this new normal and the great reset.
The World-wide Phenomena
One of the most persuasive arguments that would convince you that lock-down was the only proper response to the pandemic and the most difficult one to reason with, if you were against it, was the fact that almost all nations adopted the same principle. They can’t all be wrong, could they? But truth is, yes, they could all be wrong. If, however, we start to see possible collusion and coordination between governments over this, we are into the area of conspiracy theories and dark forces. That’s pretty hard to swallow and yet, and yet we can’t shake the feeling that we have not heard the whole story and there is something that they are not telling us, possibly for fear that it would create a mass panic. The possibility that it could be a military grade virus leaked from some research facility is still perfectly credible.
The Bleak New Year
Unlike all the positive things people were saying with comments in Christmas cards that came through our door, I couldn’t buy into the prospects of a bright future once this “horrible” year was out of the way. The great war was meant to be over by Christmas, this one is set to have no ending. I can’t get excited about the vaccine either. The way it was heralded as the great saviour was disturbing and equally disturbing how soon the caveats were pulled out: It might not stop you getting the virus, it might not stop you spreading it, it hasn’t been tested on pregnant women, it shouldn’t be given to people who might have an allergic reaction, it hasn’t yet been licensed and, the most disturbing one, the manufactures are immune from prosecution if anything goes wrong. Not exactly something to fill you with confidence. So, the prospects for a New Year are pretty bleak and it is hard to be positive about, or get a good feeling about where this is all leading. In Scotland, we have elections in May but politically there is no other voice, no real opposition here nor in Westminster and no genuine party willing to stand and say “This must stop”. No one with any power is willing to shout “This should never be tried again”. The Church, where hope should shine, reimains strangely quiet.
So as the hours and minutes tick away, (it’s already New Year in Christmas island), the streets eerily quiet and the only sound we hear is the crumbling of hope in the face of crippling debt, the loss of thousands of businesses, mass unemployment, stunted education and the terrible damage of this awful experiment, it is time for action. It is time for resolve and for devotion. And my new year’s resolution? It can be only one thing. It is to pray and devote myself to pray, to encourage others to pray alone or together, in groups or two and three, and not to give up until the earth is filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.