But who can replace a spook*?

*An allusion to Who can Replace a Man? by Brian Aldiss.

There are encouraging local signs that, after three irrational years, the COVID scare is ending. First, I saw that our local hardware-cum-everything-else store had removed its useless Perspex barriers and queuing separation system; although Tesco still has their screens it gave up on social distancing months ago. Then my wife tells me our dentist’s waiting room is now open, so you no longer have to bang on the door for admission and pass a gauntlet of hand-detoxification before being treated by a dentist in a diving-suit. Lastly I notice that our church no longer opens the windows in freezing storms (the one measure that had some science behind it).

But on the other hand, all this is occurring at a time when friends finding they have come within spitting distance of someone testing (still testing!) positive for COVID will go into purdah for a couple of weeks, whether or not they have cold symptoms. Those who got the bug a few weeks after their third booster last year are still walking around double-masked, and it seems impolite to ask them whether that is because they know the vaccine has destroyed their immunity, or whether they fancy they will shed viruses for ever.

In short, there is a mixture of persisting paranoia combined with blase indifference to the ongoing winter infection spike and excess deaths (which are not far short of the peak of COVID deaths in early 2020). People are like sheep without a shepherd, or robots without a man. And indeed that’s the case, because the powers that be, medical or political, have done nothing to guide us out of the “end of the pandemic.” The lack of any exit strategy, which I noted in 2020, persists now, just as it does in Iraq after (or still during?) our invasion there.

In other news, there has been the revelation by Big Brother Watch that half a dozen security agencies were set loose on dissidents like Julia Hartley-Brewer, Peter Hitchens, Carl Heneghan and David Davis, to do surveillance and, at least, ask social media to censor them. They have not owned up to hacking e-mails or direct involvement in character-assassination or cancellation, but they wouldn’t, would they, because Edward Snowden showed it is naughty.

To me, the most interesting information came in an interview of David Davis by Hartley-Brewer (or vice-versa – it’s hard to tell with her interviews). Davis mentioned that the surveillance began in March 2020, before any firm knowledge about the virus was available (so before there could possibly be “misinformation”) and certainly before the COVID Act provided any legal powers to spy on UK citizens. Davis is interested in this as a case of government overreach, but what we now know about the “pandemic” makes that unlikely.

More plausible is that the narrative-control by security agencies, including the infamous 77th Brigade, snapped into place so quickly because, as Robert F. Kennedy Jnr., amongst others, has revealed, the whole shambles was from the start a biosecurity operation, not a public health emergency. We know that from soon after the time of 9/11, US spooks, with the assistance of Big Pharma, Big Philanthropy and a chunk of the virology trade, had been formulating draconian responses to a possible bioweapons attack. Whether they ever believed Russia or China, Isis or Al Qaeda, were likely to do this, or whether they were planning to do it themselves and mitigate the effects at home, is not clear. Only our side shows signs of actually initiating gain-of-function research, mind you. But we do know, from all the exercises and policies whose records are accessible, that lockdowns, mask-mandates, mass-testing and the rest of it were all designed to quarantine the population until, supposedly, effective vaccines became available.

All of these measures fly in the face of established public health principles, scientific data and, in many cases, common sense (eg wearing a mask standing up in a restaurant, but not when sitting). But biosecurity spooks are ignorant of public health science, and in any case, the aim was always to scare and control the population, not protect them.

And so like the lockstep response of governments in the Western bloc, subsequently imposed upon the rest of the world, the early deployment of intelligence agencies to suppress dissidence makes perfect sense if it was biosecurity-led. It makes a lot more sense than supposing that Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock spontaneously thought of mobilising the 77th Brigade against their own voters in March 2020.

But now the military-industrial complex has other things to worry about, namely fomenting regime change against Russia and/or China. The intelligence community, one would suppose, has its hands full in surveilling and suppressing those who draw attention to the insanity and inhumanity of prolonging the sufferings of the Ukrainian people, as it has previously done for the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and so on back to Vietnam and beyond.

If you take the policy-driven leadership of the security services away from the COVID effort, what do you expect to happen? That is especially relevant if the middle-men like Fauci, Collins, Whitty, and Vallance have taken their pensions, knightoods and Pharma shares, and if many of the political prime movers, like Johnson or Ardern, have gone on to higher things.

I would expect that those lower-echelons (such as doctors and their leaders, journalists, SAGE members, or spokesmen for Big Pharma) who were once waving the flag for restrictions would continue to do so to cover their backs, or else find weasel-ways to backtrack. Those in power would be trying to sweep things under the carpet, by blocking inquiries into excess deaths, or stage-managing official investigations to produce the usual bland results too far in the future to matter.

At the other end of the scale, ordinary members of the public would show a mixture of continued compliance, shamefaced deprogramming, or simply boredom combined with following the crowd in forgetting about the whole thing. In addition, of course, catching a cold is the least of your worries if you can’t afford to live.

In other words, we would see exactly the same confused and contradictory mess that is, in fact, the state of COVID in Britain, and no doubt the rest of the world, today.

It’s no more rational than what has been going on for the last three years, but the situation allows individuals to live by common sense rather than by lies, at least with respect to COVID. Just make sure you don’t refer to “boys and girls,” criticise Net Zero, or say you like Prokoviev when you’re in company. You are still, remember, under surveillance.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
This entry was posted in Medicine, Politics and sociology, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to But who can replace a spook*?

  1. shopwindows says:

    Wow the Brian Aldiss is super pertinent.

    I know many “management” workers, no doubt with fancy titles and university debt who by this grading have perhaps grade four brains. They would struggle to organise “drinks” in a brewery.

    Adam Smith explained the division of Labour into factory repetitive tasks to massively improve productivity. Clive Sinclair helped people forget their times table. Nassim Nicholas Taleb warned that systems having no slack will collapse, by my extrapolation eventually systemically.

    De globalisation will be disruptive but via 15 minute neighbourhoods will eventually re establish localisation, decentralisation, cohesiveness? I do not want the zones to be control grids but if they somehow deindustrialise societies impersonality surely they’ll be a good thing?

    And yes, it now seems clear from latest revelations that the “response to covid” was a WWIII military grade implementation of anti terrorism, (population management), a superb, command and control, fully resourced preordained plan which completely explains the irrelevance of medical pandemic preplanning.

    It was never about health.

  2. Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

    On intelligentsia compliance, a nice quote from the recently-cancelled Nigel Biggar:

    Never over-estimate the moral courage of us academics. We may be fiercely independently-minded in the narrow fields of our scholarly expertise, but in general we are perfectly capable of behaving like sheep.

    But on de-globalisation (a good thing) I have grave doubts about de-industrialisation, which seems to me a rose-tinted romantic view that neglects the realities of what the industrial revolution achieved for human prosperity. Even local breweries, craft-bakers and basket-weaving now depend on the full paraphenalia of distribution network, sophisticated comms and effective PR (especially to make entrepreneurship appear folksy!).

    Can we get a happy compromise between locally-based community and industry, and global corporatism with its top-down technocracy? Maybe, but if so it will be forged on the anvil of hardship regenerating the character of our populations. And it will improve on, rather than jettisoning, the lessons of industrialisation.

  3. shopwindows says:

    its the reversal of societies depersonalised customer relationships I was trying to get at which we suffer most everywhere.

    A bit like Henry Fords any colour you like as long as it’s black evolved through CAD/CAM/ERP to enable mass produced personalisation, any couloir you want, we need to regain proper customer accountability rather than the obfuscation of our current CRM systems (customer relationship management) without losing the deep technocratic specialist excellence.

    Who can save the Haber Bosch chemical feeder process in Europe? Without which sustainable population is perhaps half the existing level? (Referring obliquely partially to your previous inference that enfeeblement of Germany is helpful to US hegemony).

    A reformation of human character is necessary but very difficult, very painful. Whilst Henry VIII had different ideas it often takes armed conflicts. Perhaps the Panfawar sequence of which Michael Yon talks? Or as Berthold Brecht might have said politicians might change the people rather than their minds. Currently Western politicians seem pretty keen on escalation whilst been careful to blame the other side?

    In respect of Nigel Biggar, that Jordan Peterson and Victor Davis Hanson consider the Ivy League and Oxbridge no longer guarantee their graduates employment at the best businesses, but are now simply scalping students for profit must sadden the alumni. The cachet is diminished or do you disagree?

  4. Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

    Without which sustainable population is perhaps half the existing level?

    Or maybe less, since the massive rise in world population has been attributed mainly to the Haber-Bosch process. On the other hand, it may well be that more of that rise in population (ie increase in health) has been due to the spread of clean water, sanitation and fossil-fuel energy round the world. Since that infrastructure is also in jeopardy, perhaps the end result will be the same.

    …it often takes armed conflicts

    People say war solves nothing, but it has a definite effect on national character, for good or ill, as does all adversity. Putin’s success in rebuilding Russian national identity (making him perhaps the greatest statesmen in the world today, if Scott Ritter is to be believed) comes off the back off the collapse of Soviet power and the ensuing humiliation and poverty.


    I’m not familiar with how Yon develops the idea, but its apparent aim of cementing US hegemony seems to be failing. Perhaps in the end “What doesn’t kill you makes you strong.” I saw a comment by someone the other day, though, pointing out how Revelation’s 4 horsemen actually follow on from each other – conquest leads to slaughter leads to famine leads to pestilence. Even the wild beasts at the end of the passage proliferate when human civilisation degrades (or if Chris Packham gets away with too much rewilding!).

    The cachet is diminished or do you disagree?

    When I last visited Cambridge I was struck how it now screams “money” rather than “knowledge.” I was interested that a uni friend who got in touch after 50 years volunteered the same impression. The main product of the great universities wasn’t “best jobs” but “best minds,” although I don’t discount that the cachet was more than educational quality.

    The ironic thing is that public schools (US private schools) and top universities still get people into the best jobs – try to be a BBC news anchor or cabinet minister without them – but not necessarily the best minds. Accordingly people are beginning to look down on Oxbridge disparagingly, rather than up to it aspirationally. But then the same is true of the entire Western culture.

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