In my Spectator column last week, I expressed my gratitude for Black Lives Matters protestors for exposing the hypocrisy of politicians and public health panjandrums who enthusiastically embraced the protests in spite of warning us a few weeks earlier that we had to remain in our homes at all costs to flatten the curve. After this, who would take seriously their prognostications of doom? They clearly didn’t believe their own propaganda.
This was my conclusion:
At bottom, insisting that the little people remain in their homes unless they had a “reasonable excuse” to be outside was an opportunity for holier-than-thou elites to remind us of their role as custodians of our welfare. So, of course, that “scientific” advice has now been trumped by another even bossier, even more self-righteous form of virtue-signalling — namely, anti-racist sermonising. The fact that the two are completely at odds with each other doesn’t bother them in the slightest. Just so long as they can wag their fingers in our faces as they turn puce with rage, they’re happy.
Today brings news of another reason to be grateful to the protestors. I’m thinking of the fact that the daily number of Covid infections is continuing to fall. According to the latest COVID Symptom Study app figures, there are now fewer than 5,000 daily new cases of Covid across the UK, 47% less than last week. According to the Covid Symptom Study:
In England, the number of daily new cases fell in all the regions, including 49% in the North West (820 from 1608), a drop of 46% in the South East (365 from 674) and a drop of 43% in the South West (162 from 284). The North East and Yorkshire is still the area of the country with the highest incidence rates, but the number fell from 1,965 to 1,275 a reduction of 35%, suggesting that the situation is improving.
The reason this is significant is that if mass gatherings of the kind we’ve seen over the last two weeks were going to cause a rise in infections we would have seen some evidence of that by now. More than 300,000 people have turned out to protest, all happily ignoring the two-metre social distancing rule, and yet infections continue to fall. That’s even true in London, where the protests have attracted the most people. According to the Covid Symptom Study, the number of daily new infections in London fell by 27% this week.
No doubt some lockdown zealots are still crouched over their laptops, desperately hoping for evidence of a second spike in the next few days. But given that the average incubation period for COVID-19 is between five and six days, we would have seen some evidence by now.
Face it, folks. The “second spike” is a myth.
Or, as Ron Paul puts it, a “hoax”.
Yesterday we welcomed William Hague to the sceptical fold; today, it’s the turn of Tony Robbins. The American motivational speaker, with over 900,000 YouTube subscribers, is a lockdown sceptic.
In a new video called “Unmasking the Science You Aren’t Hearing on TV“, he interviews seven sceptical experts, including our friend Professor Michael Levitt, joint winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Levitt says he thinks the total excess deaths in 2020 will be about one-and-a-half times the total in the seasonal flu season of 2017-18, i.e. about half as many again.
Not exactly the apocalypse predicted by the WHO.
Remember, Michael Levitt predicted in February that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in China would end up around 80,000, something health officials and public health scientists at the time thought was hopelessly naive. In fact, according to Worldometers, the total number of cases in China to date is 83,265. Almost bang on.
One of the downsides of being a professional journalist is that you get spammed every day by public relations companies hoping you’ll write something about their clients. But I got a press release this afternoon that I’m almost tempted to frame in the downstairs loo.
I wanted to draw your attention to an article published by CNN today that highlights calls from a number of Adidas employees on June 15th for the company’s supervisory board to examine whether Adidas HR chief Karen Parkin has appropriately responded to racial issues within the company.
That made my ears prick up because I’m compiling a Twitter thread for the Free Speech Union of people who’ve faced calls to resign, or worse, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. So far I’m up to 31, although to be fair these aren’t all human beings. Among the growing ranks of the cancelled are various Lego action figures deemed to be symbols of white supremacy – such as Duke Detain, a one-inch police officer.
But the most common victims are senior managers who’ve being mobbed by their co-workers after issuing statements expressing their support for Black Lives Matters that have been judged insufficiently pious. And the mobbing of Adidas’s HR chief seems to fit that pattern.
On June 9th, the Adidas Board, of which Karen Parkin is a member, issued a statement in which it promised “to confront the cultural and systemic forces that sustain racism”. To achieve this, the Board said it would invest $20 million in black communities and pledged that “a minimum of 30% of all new positions in the US at adidas and Reebok will be filled with Black and Latinx people”.
Apparently, this last pledge, which seems to have originated with Karen Parkin in her capacity as head of HR, was deemed hopelessly inadequate. Just 30%? How dare you? In a letter to executives, 83 employees from five of the company’s offices in Germany, the United States, Australia, and Panama have asked the company’s supervisory board to “investigate whether we have the right approach and behavior from our (chief human resources officer) to tackle this issue within Adidas.”
On its face, then, a textbook workplace mobbing.
The press release from the PR company continued:
A key element of this letter is the call for the creation of an anonymous platform where employees can report instances of racism and discrimination, and for protection against retaliation.
I groaned when I read that. A platform to enable employees to make career-destroying allegations about their co-workers anonymously? As if the atmosphere in contemporary American isn’t quite McCarthyite enough. But I was also intrigued. Was the PR company’s client someone who had a plan to combat the transformation of globe-spanning American corporations into outposts of the German Democratic Republic? An anti-Communist, perhaps, with direct experience of living in some totalitarian dystopia offering to coach CEOs and board members about how to avoid the excesses of the Cultural Revolution? I read on, my curiosity piqued:
This platform does in fact already exist with exactly this mission in mind. Vault Platform is a mobile reporting app that seeks to bridge the trust gap between employers and their employees. The platform gives employees a safe and secure way to report workplace misconduct including bias, harassment, and discrimination both anonymously and otherwise.
Ah, not what I was expecting, then. On the contrary, the PR company’s client is a company which, judging from its product, might as well be called Stasi.com. Or, if Vault wants to maintain the “locked in” theme, Gulag.com. You couldn’t make it up. But here goes anyway:
Thinking of setting up an anonymous hot-line so employees can snitch on their co-workers for not conforming to ever jot and tittle of woke dogma? Don’t trouble yourself. We’ll do it for you! At Stasi.com, we know exactly how to weed out those pesky non-conformists at your company. Say goodbye to free thinking. Say hello to kowtowing to herd opinion. Just call 1-800-666-WOKE today.Stasi.com is a subsidiary of Witchfinder-General.org
According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, trust in the news media is lower than it’s ever been before, thanks to its hopeless coverage of the coronavirus crisis. The report says overall levels of trust in the news globally (across 40 countries) is at the lowest point since it began tracking the data, with just 38% saying they trust news overall. In the UK, that figure has sunk to 28%.
Interestingly, people who identify as being on the left have less trust in the media than people on the right. Splitting the UK sample of more than 2,000 adults by political leaning, only 15% of those on the left agreed with the statement: “I think you can trust most news most of the time,” compared with 36% for the right. Odd, considering the left-wing bias of the BBC.
This isn’t just a problem for the mainstream media. Trust in news obtained from social media globally stands at a pathetically low 22%.
Perhaps that’s not surprising, given Google’s pandering to the WHO and other public health organisations during the crisis, pulling content from YouTube if it dares to challenge Covid orthodoxy even though the official line on things like face masks changes from day to day.
The latest example of Google’s pro-Establishment, liberal bias is its decision to demonetise Zero Hedge and put the Federalist on notice. Placing the Federalist on double-secret probation is in fact a climb down, since Google earlier announced that it would demonetised that publication, too. It was prompted to do this by a report on NBC that said the two publications had been flagged by a British outfit calling itself the Centre For Countering Digital Hate. On Twitter, it calls itself Stop Funding Fake News and targets online news sources that challenge woke dogma.
After the Centre for Countering Digital Hate succeeded in getting Zero Hedge and the Federalist kicked off Google’s advertising platform, at least initially, it sent a fund-raising email to supporters, bragging about its censorious victory:
Google Ads will no longer help fund the racist fake news sites Zero Hedge and the Federalist.
This is huge win for our campaign and the hundreds of people who have backed it. But we want go further [sic] and we need your help.
Can you chip in to help us get Google ads removed from another six of our target hate sites?
Hang on a second. As Google has now done a reverse ferret, isn’t the claim that Google Ads will no longer fund the Federalist fake news? I hope these holier-than-thou Social Justice Warriors sent a follow-up email, clarifying that their earlier one was wrong.
One of the reasons Google has backed down is because Senator Ted Cruze wrote a stiff letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai objecting to the decision – in his capacity as Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter begins:
The recent actions of Google to “demonetize” a conservative media publisher, the Federalist, raise serious concerns that Google is abusing its monopoly power in an effort to censor political speech with which it disagrees.
This is part of a bigger problem. The culture of free speech in this country is under attack, and Google is helping lead the charge. Whereas Americans once understood that the best response to speech was more speech, some Americans, with the help of some of the most powerful companies on the planet, are now pressing to silence and punish those expressing views that do not align with the prevailing and ever-shifting progressive orthodoxy. These individuals demand that people with different views lose their livelihoods if they step out of line. Employers must fire dissenters. Companies like Google must—to use a most Orwellian term— “demonetize” them.
The letter concludes with a punchy list of demands that should make the Google CEO think twice before blithely doing the bidding of a left-wing lobby group again. Worth reading in full.
A reader has sent me a quote from Theodore Dalrymple’s book Mass Listeria: The Meaning of Health Scares (1998). It includes a tidbit about the blackouts introduced during the Blitz:
That panic can easily be sown and result in harmful policies was pointed out by the surgeon Wilfred Trotter in the early days of the second WW. He wrote: “A total black out was enforced without compromise or graduation or provision for the devoted pedestrian. The consequences may well become a classical example of the staggering paradoxes that result from mixing good intentions with panic. Deaths by violence on the roads rose in the first month of the war from 500 to 1100. Thus by sitting quietly at home Hitler’s air force was able to kill 600 British citizens at a cost to itself of exactly nothing.”
I promised to make stories about the wanton destruction of the Welsh tourism industry – and the general ineptitude of the Welsh Government – a regular feature if I got enough messages from readers. Well, they’ve been coming in thick and fast.
Here’s one from a reader in Brecon that’s typical:
Delighted you are taking up the Welsh tourism cause and lockdown in general in the Principality. The really stupid thing is that if you live in Hay you can shop in one shop because it is open in England, cross the street and the shops are closed being in Wales.
You can drive from Wales to England (one mile from Hay) and then drive yourself all over the continent but in theory you can’t drive more than five miles from your Welsh home.
Why oh why can’t I go to my Welsh home which I have owned since 1947. Not exactly a second home.
Drakeford is the most inept leader of the Labour Party in Wales ever. He is pathetic and afraid of his own shadow.
If you high ight our anxiety, distress and the total stupidity of the Welsh decisions I would be hugely grateful.
Happy to oblige, Sir.
And here’s another, this one about the lunacy of trying to buy a new house in Wales at the moment:
Our house hunting was interrupted by the lockdown.
We have begun to resume the search. We have a viewing near Wrexham tomorrow. The estate agent is based in Chester – about 13 miles away. So the estate agent will be driving across the border to open up the house for us. We have to wear gloves, but no muzzles, thank God! (She seemed perplexed when she asked me if I had gloves, and I answered, “Only gardening gloves.”) We are not allowed to touch anything in the house – though how the agent can enforce this I don’t know as she has to stay outside the house while we look around.
Anyway, I have tried to arrange a viewing at another house, near Ruthin. The estate agent for that property is in Buckley, Wales. The distance between Buckley and Ruthin is about 13 miles. I have been told by that estate agent that due to the Welsh Government’s policies, they are unable to provide us with a physical viewing.
So an English-based estate agent is able to enter Wales and drive 13 miles to allow us a viewing of a Welsh property that they are responsible for.
A Welsh-based agent is not allowed to do this.
So what will happen when vendors in Wales near the border realise this? They’ll start using English estate agents, Welsh businesses will lose out from much needed custom, and the Welsh Government will lose revenue across the border.
Drakeford and his lackeys down in Cardiff are not fit for purpose.
Those concerned about these excessive restrictions in Wales have an ally in the form of Sarah Atherton, the Conservative MP for Wrexham. You can read her letter to the First Minister complaining about this here.
And don’t forget the Welsh sceptical website, We The People.
Flushing the loo can propel the virus 3ft into the air according to Chinese scientists. So if you’re worried about catching Covid, and you’re in a public lavatory that someone has left in an ugly condition, make sure you close the lid before flushing.
Actually, hang on. Maybe you should do it after you’ve done a number two yourself. Why hasn’t anyone told me about this before? Have I been breathing in tiny fragments of my own poo for 56 years?
And on to the round-up of all the stories I’ve noticed, or which have been been brought to my attention, in the last 24 hours:
- ‘Is dexamethasone a major Covid breakthrough?‘ – Ross Clark in the Spectator is impressed
- ‘Is this the real reason Sweden didn’t lockdown?‘ – Ross Clark again, this time on the constitutional protections that may have prevented Sweden locking down
- ‘De Blasio Tells Covid Contract Tracers Not to Ask Positive Cases If They’ve Attended BLM Protests‘ – One from the “you couldn’t make it up” department
- ‘Foreshadowing a Coronavirus Royal Commission‘ – Professor Ramesh Thakur on fine form
- ‘Operation Free Churchill begins‘ – The Mail reports on the daring operation by a group of SAS-style council workers to remove the hoarding surrounding the statue of Winston Churchill before President Macron’s state visit
- ‘Are summer holidays back on? Hancock says ministers will reveal list of countries with low coronavirus levels within two weeks that Brits will be free to visit WITHOUT quarantine‘ – The climbdown continues
- ‘The ugly rise of left-wing racism‘ – Good piece by Rakib Ehsan in Spiked about the mobbing of Boris’s policy chief Munira Mirza in the Guardian and elsewhere for being the wrong kind of black person, i.e. not woke
- ‘Broadcasters like the BBC are alienating their audience with “woke” pandering‘ – Nigel Farage socks it to the Beeb in the Telegraph
- ‘The Price of Lies‘ – Good piece in the American Spectator by Harry Crocker
- ‘The woke have no vision of the future‘ – Excellent essay by Oxford political philosopher John Gray in UnHerd. My favourite line: “Universities have become seminaries of woke religion, while newspapers are turning into sermonising agitprop sheets.”
- ‘The new rules for days out at theme parks and museums‘ – The BBC reports on the joys of visiting theme pars and the like in the “new normal”. If any of my children insist on me taking them to Thorpe Park I will hurl myself off Stealth, the UK’s fastest rollercoaster
- ‘Greggs emerges from retail lockdown‘ – A chink of light in the gloom
Four songs today, all by the same band: Lock Down. The tracks, which you can find here, are:
- Destruction of Society
- In the Blink of an Eye
- Swing Back
I’m going to book them to play at by post-lockdown party – in 2025.
A few weeks ago, Lockdown Sceptics launched a searchable directory of open businesses across the UK. The idea is to celebrate those retail and hospitality businesses that have reopened, as well as help people find out what has opened in their area. But we need your help to build it, so we’ve created a form you can fill out to tell us about those businesses that have opened near you. Now that non-essential shops have reopened – or most of them, anyway – we’re now focusing on pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as other social venues. Please visit the page and let us know about those brave folk who are doing their bit to get our country back on its feet.
Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the last 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. It takes me many hours every day, which doesn’t leave much time for other work. If you feel like donating, however small the amount, please click here. Alternatively, you can donate to the Free Speech Union’s litigation fund by clicking here or join the Free Speech Union here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links I should include in future updates, email me here.
James Delingpole and I discuss the current Cultural Revolution in our latest London Calling podcast and speculate about what role the lockdowns have played in fomenting this febrile moment. My theory is that a lot of under-employed graduates have been spending too much time festering at home, glued to their social media feeds.
In the course of the podcast, James and I joke about how the mob will have us both swinging from lampposts by the end of the year if the Cultural Revolution continues at its current pace. We were joking – sort of – but I’ve just seen this video of Peter Hitchens being following by a mob through the streets of Oxford chanting, “I don’t know what you’ve been told/Peter Hitchens has to go.” Genuinely alarming.