Joshua is a 57 year old who has done a variety of jobs ranging from court reporter, photojournalist, civil servant and assorted filler manual jobs. He currently runs the fahrenheit211.net site where he writes about politics, religion, Islamic extremism, and culture.
Anybody who has a modicum of intelligence and who can understand basic data and the graphical display of data, will know by now that, to all intents and purposes, Covid-19 has gone the same way as many other diseases that have caused either epidemics or pandemics.
There was, as we saw earlier this year, a steady rise in infections early on when nations had just started to get to grips with Covid-19, followed by a spike in infections and of deaths in those with co-morbidities and vulnerabilities, or who were in general susceptible to illness due to age. This rise and spike pattern then changed into a sharp decline in deaths and physical harm as Covid burned through the population sectors that were particularly susceptible to the disease. This had the effect of leaving behind those who either had some natural immunity to Covid-type viruses that were either genetically or socially acquired prior to the emergence of Covid, or who had an acquired immunity through exposure to or the contracting of Covid in either a mild to moderate form.
This is what we know so far about how Covid has progressed as a disease agent. But far more damaging in my view is the British government’s response to Covid. It has, in my view, been absolutely appalling, authoritarian and somewhat ineffective. It has been for many of us, a ‘cure’ that is worse than the disease itself.
Like many other Britons, especially at a time when little was known about this novel virus, I looked back at how other epidemics and pandemics were handled, in particular the 1918/1919 influenza pandemic. Because of that exercise in looking back at previous situations that looked similar, I broadly supported the government desire to encourage voluntary social distancing, at least until more was known about Covid.
Now we know a great deal more than we did at the beginning of this situation regarding Covid and we can see that ‘cases’ does not equal large numbers of deaths. This should be the time for the Government to relax ALL the restrictions and get the country back to work and moving again. Unfortunately this is not the case. The Government has instead ramped up the authoritarianism and the ‘fear-porn’.
I do believe that there is both a scientific and practical case for shielding those with known vulnerabilities to respiratory diseases like Covid or influenza wherever possible, but this would be a morally and ethically acceptable quarantine policy. To lock down an entire nation and trash it economically and socially with broad spectrum lockdowns, is in my view both immoral and unethical, in fact I’d go so far as to say that it is a form of unacceptable tyranny.
With the knowledge that Covid is no longer the killer disease for most of the population that many feared it would be in the beginning, there is no longer any excuse for any more lockdowns, authoritarian rules or for the police to crack the heads of those who object to the current government policy. In fact I’m not even sure that the original lockdown was either effective or it could even have been counterproductive, since it has impeded the acquisition of herd immunity. The original lockdown was most certainly counterproductive to the economy, to mental health and to the physical health of Britons, the vast majority of whom have been denied, due to Covid, access to basic NHS healthcare including cancer and heart disease screening.
On the subject of the Government’s presentation of the current Covid situation, it appears to me that they are practising some form of sleight of hand with the figures. We can see from the ONS data that have been published here and elsewhere that the number of people who have died directly because of Covid has fallen dramatically and may well end up being less than originally assumed. This is because there is no real guarantee that people who died, who had been previously tested and were found to have come into contact with the Covid virus, died primarily from Covid itself.
I’ve noticed that the Government is now having to rely on the very vague and broad category of ‘cases’ rather than something more concrete like deaths or hospital admissions in order to justify the ongoing and damaging authoritarianism. Surely that shift from concrete data on deaths and hospitalisations to the more vague and, as some may say, more easily talked up and manipulated category of ‘cases’, should inform us that this whole business is now more political than science or medicine based?
Anyone who has eyes to see can discern that Britain is in a mess of the Government’s making. The government relied too much on one particular model, which we now know to be incredibly faulty, brought in possibly unnecessary lockdowns and is now delighting us, or rather not, with Ministers of the Crown encouraging British subjects to inform on their friends and family should they break the Covid rules. I for one will not be dobbing in other Britons for breaches of the Covid rules and I have taken a solemn pledge not to do so.
The big question to me, now that we know more about Covid and that it is considerably less lethal than first assumed, is how do we get out of this mess? I am really not sure that I trust the Government entirely on having a plan to get us out of the mess, one that guards the liberties of Britons, all their responses so far seem to be to turn the authoritarianism up to 11.
There will have to be, at some point, some pushback from the public and from the media against this capricious authoritarianism. There have been some good signs that at least some in the mainstream media are starting to ask awkward questions about government policy, most notably the Express, Mail and Telegraph, but it needs much more. It needs the media to put before the public the true figures of deaths, infections and recoveries and to compare how the UK has handled the Covid problem when compared to other nations and indeed individual US states. Despite the growth of alternative media over the last decade, outlets like the BBC, ITV and the dead tree press, still command a lot of influence in the UK. Whether these outlets would put in jeopardy their cosy contacts with government figures or step away from the often lucrative sensationalist newspaper reporting policy of ‘if it bleeds it leads’, is another big question?
I do wonder at what point the public will say ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to the authoritarianism and just throw it off? Will it be when a critical mass of Covid and lockdown related suicides is reached? Or when people have realised that the Government’s response to Covid has impoverished them both financially and socially? Or will, and I’m almost treading onto ‘tin foil hat’ territory here, when police and social services take into care the children of those who refuse test and trace or who are Covid dissidents challenging the Government’s narrative?
I’m seeing signs of the beginnings of a pushback from the public online and from talking to people locally, but there are still a lot of low information individuals out there who still believe that Covid is as dangerous as say Ebola, which by now we can see it is not. I’m still seeing people who moronically believe for example that children are at risk and have put their toddlers in masks, even though the vast majority of masks probably do not do anything to filter out anything that is the miniscule size of a virus.
I’m a great believer in, where possible, mocking such people gently, or quietly informing them of the necessary facts. Discussing the Covid issue and airing views that differ from the Government’s one track minded narrative with those around us, or who we work or socialise with, is also likely to be effective. I’m also one of those who believe that when confronted with a problem and especially one where there may be a political solution, make use of standard political channels. This can be in the form of raising matters with your local councillor or writing to your MP with information about the disastrous effects of the Government’s Covid policy in their constituency and across the country as a whole. These communications should also challenge, with credible evidence, the Government’s narrative. It may also help to remind MP’s if you voted for them last time there was an election that you did and that future votes for them or their party would depend on whether or not the MP in question was willing to stand up for the freedoms of Britons or merely wanted them locked down again. I feel most strongly that even though we are living through a period of almost completely unjustified authoritarianism, we should use democratic means to bring about a change to the current situation.
There are also signs that there is a public movement coalescing against the Government and against lockdowns. Now that there is likely to be a second mostly unnecessary lockdown, I expect this movement to grow and for the state and the more tame sectors of the media to come down hard on it.
So far, I’ve been distinctly unimpressed with this movement. It appears to be being led by people whom I would not follow or offer any support to, such as the likes of David Icke and various off the wall anti-vaccination types. I have, for a variety of reasons, a very low toleration threshold for conspiracy theories, whether they be ones about Satanic Ritual Abuse, 9/11, chemtrails or VIP paedophile fantasies of the sort peddled by the liar Carl Beech, Among these reasons are that I believe that such conspiraloon fantasies are well proven to be dangerous in the hands of charismatic maniacs, such as Adolf Hitler, for example. Also these conspiracy theories suck up energy from people that could be used for more positive activities or channelled into fighting genuine problems. After all why bother doing your bit and challenging bad government policy if you are fully immersed in, or rather mind-captured by, some laughable but somewhat interesting conspiracy theory about Chemtrailc, 9/11,the Rothschilds or little green men?
Sadly, having these conspiraloon types such as Icke or the anti-vax types in any type of high profile position in any public movement to challenge the Government, will probably harm any organised movement against the lockdowns and the cause of demanding our liberties back. It would be far preferable in my view to have people with some degree of credibility and record of asking awkward questions, such as Peter Hitchens in public facing roles. I also know there are others who are academically credible and with some degree of public recognition who could also provide a counterbalance to the government narrative or be a nucleus for public challenge to the current Government’s policy.
To conclude: We are all in a mess. The media is in a mess because they didn’t ask salient and probing questions of government early enough in the Covid situation, the public are in a mess because they’ve believed too much of the fear-porn from both government and media and the government is in a mess. My view is that the Government should shoulder by far the bulk of the blame for the problems we face, whether that be the economic, social and/or health problems brought about by their response to Covid.
We are led by rudderless politicians who seem to have reversed Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s conviction that ‘advisors advise and Ministers decide’. The Government, who should have taken a holistic approach to a novel virus and not trashed the economy and the social bonds or the trust between people, have surrendered control to unelected advisors and I hope that the politicians who have done this are punished by the electorate at the next General Election. The Government need to push the buttons and pull the levers to get us out of the mess we are in, but they will not do it unless there is significant non-violent and credible pushback from the public. Whatever suggestions that those who read this piece may give to get us out of this mess most surely will not be as destructive and as muddle-headed as some of the actions carried out by Boris Johnson and his government.