Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I won’t comment too much on the orchestrated, and of course unchallenged, fear-fest of the two government scientists’ explanation for the need for renewed lockdown yesterday. It was intended to prepare the way for Boris Johnson’s regretful announcement this morning, locking us all up again for another six months, without charge or benefit of clergy (needless to say unquestioned in Parliament in any effective way).
We are to have firms shut down for breaking the rules (they would only be breaking them to prevent shutting down through going bust, so they’re screwed either way), pub and restaurant curfews (to make that whole curfew thing familiar, no doubt), troops assisting the police on the streets because, as we all know, locked down grannies have been throwing bombs at the cenotaph and some rebels, it is credibly reported, are amassing weapons of mask destruction.
It is, as folks across different countries are recognising, indistinguishable from the imposition of a police state, through Goebbels’ preferred method, engendering fear. That is the only explanation for using riot police against a crowd of 10-15,000 at a peaceful lockdown rally addressed by doctors and scientists in Trafalgar Square last week, and for ensuring that the press and broadcasters universally either failed to report it, or labeled the protestors as a few hundred (fascist?) conspiracy theorists who attacked the police. As on previous occasions they failed to report the presence of armed-forces veterans rallying to protect the freedom for which they risked their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But you can watch the videos of that debacle, and hear interviews with eye-witnesses, and then judge for yourself – though you can’t when the press censors itself and social media delete such “misinformation” and point you to anodyne government sources on COVID.
The fact that one can easily demonstrate that every reason given for lockdowns, and the evidence for all the coercive measures to “beat the virus,” fold upon examination must eventually make even the most charitable of us shift from the explanation of “incompetence” to the explanation of “malice.” Such coercion would be oppressive and anti-democratic even if it were in a good cause.
Just as a preamble to my main point, as a church leader I was struggling at a church meeting last night (maybe they’ll be banned from this weekend?) to work out how we can do church with all the coming restrictions: we can’t fit everybody into our large modern building because of 2 meter social distancing – which figure was arrived at by some politician arbitrarily doubling the WHO recommendation, which itself lacks a shred of published evidence for being effective in the real world. But whoever did it has successfully bankrupted the travel, entertainment and hospitality businesses, as well as making church services impossible.
An alternative solution for church, hiring the village hall next door and doing a TV link, is hampered by the diktat to deep clean the seating or not use it for 72 hours afterwards. You get viruses from your bum, through your trousers, it seems – whoever knew that before 2020? But of course there is no good in vivo science supporting significant transmission of COVID on solid surfaces. A New Jersey professor in the field estimates that infection might be passed if you touch something that has been directly coughed on within an hour or two. But don’t listen to him, as he probably has an Agenda.
Once in a service, we’re not allowed to sing (evidence?) and everyone must wear masks, for which there is not only no good evidence of benefit in the community, but which the uninterrupted progress of the “case” rate in Britain proves to have been totally ineffective, as I showed in my last post. Failure to relax even debunked measures is a sign that compliance, not protection, was always the name of the game.
In any case, the scientists Drs Gloomy and Prof Gloomier proved (by asserting it) that public misbehaviour is the cause of all our woes, rather than totally ineffective government interventions. Shame produces obedience – or just as good, it makes the public blame pub-goers, or the young, which creates scapegoats and more fear. Success.
But despite the pervasive social conditioning the press comments pages, and even a few articles, are today full of people complaining how the starting points of charts were doctored in the official presentation to maximise the fear, how absolutely nothing was done to answer well-publicised scientific concerns like the false positive rate of PCR testing, and so on. I will restrict myself to just one observation that underlines how this is all nothing more than Project Fear, as the “scientists” presenting it must have known.
Much has been made of the claim, not substantially borne out by the data over any length of time, that cases (or was it admissions) are doubling every week. It seems to have started only last week, which makes their projection of an exponential increase, unheard of in any real virus epidemic including the spring outbreak, and still less in any second wave, dubious. Highly dubious.
But let’s run with it (as I did with Ferguson’s false projections back in March, in my first post on lockdowns). They predict – woops, it’s not a prediction, but a projection they say, thus letting themselves off the hook for the government’s treating it as a prediction and clamping the country in irons again… they predict 50,000 new COVID cases a day by mid October, (which is only likely to fail by the possibility that testing capacity won’t increase enough for than many false positives). This, they say, will lead to up to 200 deaths a day by mid November. Shock, horror, catastrophe. Did that man say 200 deaths A DAY??
I’ve not seen a comment on that death figure in the media, so I’ll just say a little here. The first thing to remark is that, from established data from other recessions, and from the fact that they have admitted to reining back NHS provision to cope with COVID, we can reliably predict as many deaths as that, and more, over time from the effects of lockdown. Most of those deaths will be of the young and productive, so any normal cost-benefit analysis would show that your lockdown is pouring QUALYs (quality added life years) down the sink at record pace. NICE seems to have been sidelined from these medical interventions.
And neither is it any secret, if only from the response of the markets, that millions of jobs and, indeed, whole industries, will go to the wall. Boris said in advance that another lockdown would be a disaster for Britain, and yet has announced a six month lockdown anyway. No democratic government should knowingly impose a disaster on its people by decree. Is it treason, or only genocide?
More directly to the point, let us look at any of the many government documents on winter excess deaths, and focus down on mid November in previous years, mid November being when we are told that ghastly toll of the very elderly and already sick will begin to prove the need for ruining Britain. We find that the five year running average for excess deaths, which broadly reflects flu and other seasonal infections like Coronaviruses, is around 1350 deaths per week. Or roughly 200 per day. Where have we heard that figure before recently?
In some years, such as last winter, it is considerably lower (helping to account for our relatively high death rate from COVID-19, as there was a late harvest for the virus to gather). And in some years, like 2017-18 and even more in 2000, it is significantly higher. In other words, even taking their exaggerated, worst case, prediction – woops, projection – at face value gives us a death rate of the same order of magnitude we always have in November.
Even that does not alter the demographics of the disease. Below the age of 50, you are vanishingly unlikely to die from COVID, and most likely to have no symptoms at all. I am 68, just below the most vulnerable age category depending how you cut the cake, and without any serious underlying illness I have a 1 in 1000 chance that COVID would kill me. Taking into account the low prevalence in my county throughout the epidemic, I only have a 1 in 1000 chance of getting it at all, making me a true one in a million. I’ve faced many bigger risks in life on a daily basis.
So the fearmongering in this case is achieved, as so often, by removing all context from an apparently large number. And no scientist or doctor is that mathematically incompetent, even though Matt Hancock is. The dynamic scientific duo made much use of SAGE’s pet behavioural psychologists’ “Make them feel guilty about infecting others” trick, again obscuring by emotional manipulation the fact that if social isolation is such a moral imperative to protect the vulnerable, driving your car is statistically a much higher risk to others’ safety, or even going to church with a cold, since the winter deaths of many elderly are precipitated by just such a minor infection.
No, we are all being manipulated, manipulated, manipulated. And when you work that hard to manipulate people, including press censorship, cancelling scientific dissenters, mobilising riot police and now soldiers, imposing £10,000 fines for protesting or leaving your house because somebody else had a positive test… it is not because of incompetemnnce but because your totalitarian objectives care nothing for the safety of the public, nor even the survival of the economy. The real stakes must be awfully high, if only we knew what they were. Because we’ve done far worse viruses before quite successfully, without any of this torture.
Meanwhile, though, we may be thankful that the UK’s constitutional protections are in place and active in the form of our monarchy. Prince Charles has helpfully said this week that we must take the environment more seriously because of climate change, or bad things will happen in the future. Bad things are happening now, Sir. Today. And your green energy will not be affordable once we’re all serfs.