Laurence Fox Has Raised £5 Million From Tory Donors
According to a piece in the Mail yesterday, Laurence Fox hasn’t raised £1 million to support his new political party, as reported in the Sunday Telegraph. He’s raised £5 million!
Laurence Fox is launching a new political party to fight the culture wars named Reclaim, and he has already raised more than £5million.
The actor, 42, has received substantial sums from former Tory donors and hopes to stand dozens of candidates across the UK.
The Lewis star says he wants to provide a movement for people who are “tired of being told that we represent the very thing we have, in history, stood together against”.
It comes as Nigel Farage has also threatened to launch an anti-lockdown party after criticising Boris Johnson’s draconian measures to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.
For anyone interested in joining Reclaim, there’s an expression of interest form here.
Stop Press: Patrick O’Flynn, a former UKIP MEP, has some cautionary words for Laurence in the Telegraph. His advice: sign up Nigel ASAP.
National Union of Students Ignores Imprisonment of Students, Launches Campaign to “Decolonise Education”
You couldn’t make it up. At the very moment that tens of thousands of students across the United Kingdom are being imprisoned in their halls of residence and threatened with expulsion if they show the slightest sign of resistance – the worst treatment of students by university authorities since the Second World War – the National Union of Students has launched a campaign to “decolonise education”. You can read all about it on the NUS website:
At the roots of these movements are a deep hunger and determination to rebuild how things are done, and remove all the things that have led to racism, colonialism and imperialism. And in their place, the aim and vision of a world that is accountable for this violence and works towards restorative justice.
This would be done by working together towards cultural, psychological and economic freedom. Decolonisation as theory and practice is used to imagine this and create what this change would look like.
Decolonisation in practice is about bringing to light and taking apart colonialist power in all its forms. For this, we also need to understand that society as we know it is built upon this power.
This includes all the things that perpetuate and reproduce the legacy of colonialism in areas like education, housing, finance, policing, healthcare and many more.
For example, if we look at education, it is about paying attention to how our education system, our schools, colleges and universities, and ways of learning are built on colonial histories. They all put whiteness at the centre and as a neutral perspective to learn about our world.
Decolonising means providing students, staff and their local communities with the tools and language to critically identify the ways our schools, colleges and universities are built using the same colonial hierarchies. It also means empowering them to confront, challenge and reject the status quo. They would then be able to reimagine how things can be done differently and create alternatives that would benefit us all.
Currently, we do not trust schools, colleges and universities senior leadership teams in their effort to decolonise their institution. And this makes sense: they benefit from it as individuals and don’t want to lose the power they gained from it. This is why we are supporting the creation of alternative learning spaces, such as the Free Black University, who are outside of the current model.
If I was a student, I think I’d want my trade union to focus on more pressing matters.
The Sun has a harrowing report of the restrictions that students at Manchester Metropolitan University are facing. Signs in the windows read “Help us!” and another renamed the institution “HMP MMU”. Students were initially ordered by the University to take down these signs, but the authorities then sheepishly acknowledged that they couldn’t actually prevent students from communicating with the outside world.
Stop Press: A reader has pointed out that
virtually no one under 25 has died from Covid in Scotland.
In Scotland for those aged under 25 there has been zero deaths – that is not just those with co-morbidities, that is everyone. No man under 45 has died since June 3rd, there have been 11 in total. The last woman under 45 died on May 2nd, there have been six in total.
Mad SAGE Scientist Warns of Third Wave
Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of SAGE , has warned that Londoners could be a facing a “third wave”! The Evening Standard has more.
London is in a “difficult place” and facing a ban on mixing households, a Labour MP has warned, amid warnings that any lockdown will only delay a “possible” third wave.
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, said local lockdown measures, such as preventing residents from visiting other people’s homes, were “likely” to hit the capital. It came as Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of the SAGE scientific advisory group, warned that a third coronavirus wave of COVID-19 is “entirely possible”.
This is like a game of bedwetters’ top trumps. How long before Professor John Edmunds appears on the Today programme to warn of a “fourth wave”?
Riot Police Throw Woman in Her Fifties to Ground at Anti-Lockdown Protest
The footage of the police “dispersing” yesterday’s ant-lockdown protest in Trafalgar Square is pretty shocking. Kathy Gyngell has written an eye-witness account of what happened in the Conservative Woman.
As I reached the south-west corner of the Square I saw police by their motorbikes were donning helmets.
Heading on towards Pall Mall, I saw that grim faced masked police in vans were beginning to pull out from a side street parking. In my innocence I thought this over-manned convoy was off back to base because with no trouble and relatively few people they were just not needed.
How mistaken I turned out to be. It was not till I got home that I found to my horror from the news that far from going back to base this must have been the start of their mobilising against the crowd. Which indeed they did. Officers determined to disperse the crowd, penned it in. Protesters and police were hurt.
Why this clearly premeditated action? Who authorised it and on what grounds?
Who authorised them to pen the crowd in? There was no need – there was no overspill into surrounding streets. And why did the police not regard this crowd with the same tolerance they did with the recent BLM protests?
It has shocked me to the core. And now I see that Sky News instead of focusing on unjustifiable and provocative police action has chosen to relay selective vox pops of ‘conspiracy theorists’. So predictable!
I could have told Sky News that you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to question the legitimacy or the rationality of the current Emergency powers – or to want to publicly protest against them.
Depressingly nearly all the papers today reporting the ‘clashes’ and the violence that occurred seem to have taken the pro-government line that the police enforcement of the government’s covid rules was justified, that they had a right to silence public dissent against them. They did not report that the police storming of the crowd after two and half hours of standing by was unprovoked or that there was every indication that their action was premeditated and planned. What I had witnessed was them moving into action when the rally was entirely peaceful and causing no disruption.
As a friend who was there to the bitter end reported back to me: ‘It was an amazing day but so tarnished by the police at the end. I feel deeply shocked by the way they stormed in. It was totally unnecessary and quite worrying in our democracy that this is how a peaceful demonstration is treated. It’s made the whole situation all the more worrying, I feel. It did feel amazing however to be surrounded by people not willing to accept this so-called New Normal.’
Worth reading in full.
If the police continue to behave in this heavy-handed and arbitrary manner, it will undermine the rule of law and destroy policing by consent.
Stop Press: If anyone knows the well-dressed, middle-aged victim of this police brutality, please tell her to get in touch. Would love to tell her story.
Postcard From Stockholm
A reader has just returned from a short break in Stockholm. Highly recommended.
A short break outside of this sceptered isle in 2020 is not easy. Every week the options for those who have an employment contract with limited annual leave decreases; two weeks quarantine is not an option. When Sweden was removed by Schapps from the “list”, the choice of Stockholm was made.
What would it be like? Would there be piles of dead bodies in the streets waiting to be removed?
Happily I can confirm all the media generated negative press is very far from the truth. The moment you touch down in Stockholm you feel free. That sense of fear and hysteria is lifted and carried away.
It is truly liberating. Outside of the airport in Stockholm I can confirm that the vast majority get on with their lives without having to wear masks in shops or on the public transport. There is hand sanitiser at various locations and social distancing is observed but the restaurants and bars appeared pretty normal and they even accept cash in the shops.
Once in a while you see a masked-up person but they are invariably foreign tourists. I never had to give my details for any track and trace; maybe there is a system but it wasn’t very evident.
I found Stockholm to be much more interesting than I imagined and the waterfront is stunning. The centre is free from rubbish and graffiti – unlike Paris and Berlin. Highlights are the Royal Palace which was so empty you could sit on the throne if you wanted and of course the Vasa Museum, showing the 17th Century ship in all its glory.
Maybe this week Sweden will be back on the naughty step but dear reader don’t be put off because the absence of queues and crowding is a blessing. Final tip: make sure you book to return on Friday evening rather than Saturday for obvious reasons.
NHS Track and Trace Orders Nokia Owners to Download COVID-19 App
In a cock-up that will surprise absolutely no one, NHS Test and Trace is sending texts to ancient Nokia phones telling their owners to to download the COVID-19 app. Er, what? A reader has been in touch to tell me her 88 year-old mother got this message yesterday and was left feeling somewhat confused. She sent me a photo of her mum’s phone.
- “Coronavirus rule changes: What you can and can’t do in England from tomorrow” – A summary in the Mirror of the new rules that kicked in today. Most alarming is that anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace is now legally obliged to self-isolate for 10 days and if you break the rules can be fined up to £10,000 – with the police carrying out spot checks to make sure you’re complying, according to the Mail. New regulations here
- “Correcting Britain’s Vitamin D deficiency could save thousands of lives” – Matt Ridley and David Davis point out that a groundbreaking new study shows regular does of Vitamin D can cut the mortality rate from COVID-19 by 50%
- “What kind of a country have we become when arrogant bullying is seen as the proper function of Ministers?” – Lord Sumption give Boris both barrels in the Mail on Sunday
- “Don’t fine students for partying – pay their fees instead” – Some common sense from the always dependable Prof Carl Heneghan
- “Schools in England told not to use anti-capitalist material in teaching” – The DfE has issued guidance advising schools not to use teaching resources from organisations that have expressed a desire to end capitalism, e.g. BLM. The Guardian has gone full mental jacket
- “BLM Co-Founder’s Ties to Pro-Communist China Group: Mike Gonzalez” – Interesting lecture by Mike Gonzalez, Senior Fellow of the Heritage Foundation, on the links between BLM and the Chinese Communist Party
- “Critical race theorists are ‘destroying the US’ from the inside” – Interview with Christopher Rufo for The Outsiders on Sky News Australia
- “Where is the voice of the left as ‘libertarians’ annex the COVID-19 debate?” – Kenan Malik in the Observer asks where the left-wing defenders of our civil liberties are in the lockdown debate. I agree with him, although he doesn’t appear to realise that judging from his opening paragraph
- “Warning of 50,000 Covid cases a day likely to be wrong, Oxford professor says” – In case you missed it, Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan interview Prof Sunetra Gupta for their Planet Normal podcast
- “Lowdown on the Lockdown” – A Canadian sceptic called Rod Fraser describes his small acts of rebellion during Ontario’s shutdown
- “Florida Re-opens” – Ron DeSantis for President. The Mail reports that bars and restaurants in Florida are now at full capacity
- “Some Travellers Miss Flying So Much, They’re Taking Planes to Nowhere” – Travellers have taken to getting in a place that takes off, flies around for a bit, then returns them to where they started
- “Pub curfews cause social distancing CHAOS as 1,000s spill on to streets at same time when bars shut at 10pm” – Who could have possible predicted that?
- “Coronavirus infections NOT rising as fast as ‘nightmare projection’ from Government’s chief scientists, data reveals” – The Sun crunches the numbers and finds that Whitty and Vallance’s predictions are not coming true. If we had started to follow the scientist’s feared trend, the country would have reached closer to 8-9,000 daily cases by now. But on Saturday only 6,024 new infections were reported
- “Beware of the stool pigeons” – Good piece by Luke Perry in Bournbrook magazine
- “Government faces ‘certain’ defeat on Coronavirus Act, says Steve Baker” – Shame. Couldn’t happen to a nicer Government
- “We must learn to live with coronavirus – just like Samuel Pepys lived with the Great Plague” – Sociology Prof and Sage member Robert Dingwall in the Mail
- “Writers and actors including Ian McEwan and Griff Rhys Jones rally around JK Rowling amid onslaught of social media abuse and deaths threats over ‘transphobia’ row” – Good to see JKR getting some much deserved solidarity
Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers
Love in the Time of Covid
We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. We have a team of moderators in place to remove spam and deal with the trolls, but sometimes it takes a little while so please bear with us. You have to register to use the Forums, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email the Lockdown Sceptics webmaster Ian Rons here.
We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today it’s the turn of the British Library which, according to chief librarian Liz Jolly, is absolutely neck deep in racism. The Telegraph has more.
The British Library’s chief librarian has claimed “racism is a creation of white people” and backed calls for major cultural change at the institution, the Telegraph can reveal.
Liz Jolly manages the vast collection of literary treasures held by the institution, and is supporting changes to displays and collections in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests. Reforms are being proposed by a “Decolonising Working Group”, which claims the British Library’s London building is an imperialism symbol because it resembles a battleship.
Staff being supported to decolonise the UK’s national library have also suggested that traditional puppet Mr Punch reflects “colonial violence”
The Telegraph has exclusively obtained documents revealing these claims, and a letter endorsed hundreds of employees which declared a racial “state of emergency” at the institution.
In response to this emergency, an internal report called for the removal of statues of the library’s founding fathers, replacing “Eurocentric” maps, and reviewing collections of western classical music which staff branded part of the “outdated notion” of Western Civilization.
The institution recently faced calls for defunding from MPs after the Telegraph revealed employees had urged colleagues to donate to Black Lives Matter and back the work of Labour MP Dianne Abbott.
The Telegraph can now reveal that Chief Librarian Ms Jolly has urged white staff to support the institution’s plans to purge the library of perceived racism.
In a video clip obtained by the Telegraph she tells colleagues: “I think, as I have said before, that we need to make sure some white colleagues are involved, because racism is a creation of white people.”
Ms Jolly receives between £120,000 and £125,000 per year for her work as Chief Librarian, a role she has held since 2018.
She has given her support to a broad “Anti-Racism Project” proposed in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, telling colleagues “particularly pressing” work was ongoing to review “artworks in the St Pancras building”.
Ms Jolly assured staff that the project is “about developing and delivering major cultural change”, and part of this would be ensuring the repository of literary treasures will “reflect the diversity of Britain today”.
This followed on from a letter declaring a “state of emergency” at the library, signed by 200 employees, demanding BAME staff should review any job cuts which might affect employees with “protected characteristics” to ensure continued diversity at the library, better treatment of these workers, and ensuring the BAME Network has a say in who is employed as Head of Collections.
To tackle the legacy of “colonial violence” at the library, the letter also demands a statue of founder Sir Hans Sloane be removed.
This recommended removal is echoed in a report by the Decolonising Working Group, which claims that the “physical space” of the British Library contains “manifestations of the institution’s racism” by glorifying the British Empire.
Staff claim in the report that: “This glorification is hard to miss in the structure of the building itself, designed as it is in the form of a battleship, by far the greatest symbol of British imperialism.”
The building was designed by architect and former naval officer Sir Colin Wilson, who added maritime references such as portholes to the building.
In the report aimed at reforming the British Library “as a space”, visual aspects including a portrait of Mr Punch which hangs in the institution is critiqued.
The character, popular at seaside shows is: “A theatrical figure from the heyday of Victorian imperialism who ‘entertained’ through an abuse of women and children that mirrored colonial Violence.”
Given that the British Library is guilty of promoting racism and glorifying colonial violence, shouldn’t it stop receiving money from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport? Oliver Dowden, time to wield the axe.
Stop Press: Free Speech Union Advisory Council member Zoe Strempel is not a fan of diversity training. Her latest Telegraph column on the subject is well worth a read.
“Mask Exempt” Lanyards
We’ve created a one-stop shop down here for people who want to buy (or make) a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and it has the advantage of not explicitly claiming you have a disability. But if you have no qualms about that (or you are disabled), you can buy a lanyard from Amazon saying you do have a disability/medical exemption here (takes a while to arrive). The Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. You can get a “Hidden Disability” tag from ebay here and an “exempt” card with lanyard for just £1.49 from Etsy here. And, finally, if you feel obliged to wear a mask but want to signal your disapproval of having to do so, you can get a “sexy world” mask with the Swedish flag on it here.
Don’t forget to sign the petition on the UK Government’s petitions website calling for an end to mandatory face nappies in shops here.
Here’s a round-up of the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of mask (threadbare at best).
And here’s a round-up from the good people at Law or Fiction on what constitutes a “reasonable excuse” for not wearing a mask.
Stop Press: A reader tells me about his day out on the Dorset coast over the weekend. He was shocked to see so many people wearing face nappies.
Yesterday my wife and I enjoyed a truly wonderful day out, in the sea air of the Dorset coast. We headed for Lulworth Cove, parked the car, and after coffee walked the the Coast Path until our knees told us to turn back and head for a crab sandwich lunch. The place was busy but not impossibly so, and in any event neither of us were seeking absolute solitude.
But oh dear me, the face nappies! Even by the clear blue sea, with God’s own fresh northerly breeze, they were everywhere. Stout parties of all ages, whose breathing one supposes would be laboured at the best of times, were determined to make life even more difficult for themselves. And plenty of fit youngsters in the same face gear – when they weren’t smoking. It was a real pleasure to chat to couples of our vintage whose attitudes matched our own. I was inclined to shout “take off your silly nappies and enjoy the air, you dummies”, but it will require far more than my exhortations to get this brainwashed nation to snap out of its daydream.
If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.
Shameless Begging Bit
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