Yesterday evening Boris rang in from self-isolation to give his much-awaited briefing on the winter Covid plan. The MailOnline has the details:
Boris Johnson tonight warned against “over-optimism” as he said many areas face going into tougher Tiers after December 2nd than they were in before the blanket lockdown… He braced the public in England for difficult months before the ‘cavalry’ of science comes to the rescue and finally ends the crisis. And he said that although the national lockdown will finish next Wednesday, large sections of the country will still be under harsher measures than before it began on November 5th. Mr Johnson said “things will look and feel very different after Easter, with a vaccine and mass testing”. But he cautioned that the months ahead “will be hard, they will be cold, they include January and February when the NHS is under its greatest pressure”. He added: “Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be jolly careful, especially with elderly relatives.”
The new tier system is jolly careful indeed. The Telegraph as more on its implications for pubs, shops and services.
For church services
The Prime Minister confirmed on Monday that church services including Christingles and midnight mass will be able to take place in all three tiers. The number of people permitted to attend church together is also set to be determined by the level of restrictions on household mixing.
Pubs and restaurants in tier three areas will be limited to takeaway and delivery services only from next month as part of a tightening of regional restrictions… Diners and pub-goers will be given more time to finish their meals and drinks under the new system. Venues in tiers one and two will have to abide by a new closing time of 11pm, with last orders called at 10pm.
Outdoor sports such as golf and tennis will restart in all tiers, as will amateur team sports such as Sunday-league football…
For non-essential retail
Christmas shopping will be given the greenlight this year as the Government attempts to give hard-up highstreets across the country a major boost. Non-essential retail, including fashion, toys and gadget stores will reopen their doors when the second lockdown ends on December 2nd.
Restrictions on household mixing will stay largely the same. Under the original tiered system, people living in tier one areas were required to comply with the rule of six both indoors and outdoors. However, Government sources suggested last week that tier one could be brought closer in line with tiers two and three due to concerns among scientists that measures in the lowest level are proving ineffective.
Worth reading in full.
The Telegraph has also helpfully whittled it all down to a handy graphic.
It is hard not to refer back Ross Clark’s piece which we flagged in yesteday’s round-up. This is…
a rebadged lockdown. While it will be described as a return to tiers, those tiers will be made tougher and more of us will find ourselves shunted into the top tiers. The result is that most people will be forbidden from mixing with family and friends until Easter – save for a brief truce over Christmas.
It is exactly, in other words, as I predicted. A semi-free Christmas is being used as the thin, dangling carrot which is supposedly going to help us resign ourselves to many months of isolation.
As always, Ross Clark is worth reading in full, if you haven’t already.
Stop Press: The Government is still working with devolved administrations on the plans for a “semi-free Christmas”, but we learnt from Nicola Sturgeon’s daily press conference yesterday that they will not in Scotland include Hogmany. Who would have thought we’d see an SNP First Minister axing a Scottish tradition? Best pass over to Alan Cochrane on this in the Telegraph.
Stop Press 2: MailOnline reports that fans may soon be able to return to stadiums, albeit in limited numbers. Manchester United v PSG will likely be the first match to welcome them back but there could still be rules to be followed on singing, shouting and drinking
Stop Press 3: Worth taking a look at how total deaths in England and Wales in 2020 compare with previous years. Second wave struggling to gather any momentum.
Lockdowns and Government Restrictions Make no Difference to Mortality Outcomes.
It is timely that in the run-up to the next gear change in the Government’s endless drive to “defeat the virus”, Frontiers in Public Health has published a peer-reviewed study of Covid mortality outcomes.
First the Context
We aimed at characterizing the non-viral parameters that were most associated with death rate.
We tested major indices from five domains (demography, public health, economy, politics, environment) and their potential associations with COVID-19 mortality during the first eight months of 2020, through a Principal Component Analysis and a correlation matrix with a Pearson correlation test. Data of all countries, or states in federal countries, showing at least 10 fatality cases, were retrieved from official public sites. For countries that have not yet finished the first epidemic phase, a prospective model has been computed to provide options of death rates evolution.
The Studied Countries
From the 188 countries that have declared at least one case, only those counting a minimum of 10 deaths due to COVID-19 up to the study end point (August 31st 2020) were included. China and the United States were also analysed by states or regions, when each of them reached the 10 deaths threshold.
And the Conclusion (our emphasis)
Countries that already experienced a stagnation or regression of life expectancy, with high income and NCD rates, had the highest price to pay. This burden was not alleviated by more stringent public decisions. Inherent factors have predetermined the COVID-19 mortality: understanding them may improve prevention strategies by increasing population resilience through better physical fitness and immunity.
Worth reading in full.
This study focused on the first eight months of 2020. We doubt that anything from the later months of the year, which saw the rule of six, lockdown 2.0, the first and now the second tier system in the UK alone, will substantially challenge the analysis.
Barry Norris Unimpressed by AstraZeneca Announcement
The fund manager Barry Norris, who’s been tracking the vaccine trials very closely, wasn’t impressed by yesterday’s announcement by AstraZeneca. This is the note he sent to his clients.
We are amazed at the spin on the Astra vaccine. This was always designed as a two equal dose trial – 0.5 followed by 0.5 – and this population group has only achieved 62% efficacy (compared to a claim of 95% for the mRNA vaccines).
Now in breach of trial protocol they tell us there’s an improved “90% efficacy” in a small initial 0.25 dose followed by a bigger 0.5 dose, in an unofficial population sub-set which is probably so small as to be statistically insignificant. Moreover, they claim to have stumbled across this better recipe purely by accident, and somewhat embarrassingly claim this sub-set consisted of the volunteers who were systematically but “accidentally” given a smaller than intended dose, as reported here. (The Guardian has more details on this “accident” here.)
So riddle me this: the main dose trial shows only 62% efficacy in healthy adults (almost certainly less in the old and already sick) but a smaller sub-set shows efficacy with a lower dose? Lower doses usually lower side effects but they don’t usually result in higher efficacy. So there’s something bogus going on.
Moreover, if the vaccine really does work better with a smaller first dose then what does that say about the antibody response? Is the immune system producing antibodies to the second dose after a similarly-sized first dose? Is this why counterintuitively it works better on a small first dose? Does the volunteer develop immunity to the second vaccine after a bigger first dose?
If so, at best this is a one shot and one season vaccine.
At worst, if the first full dose does raise antibodies to the second full dose then you have the potential for auto-immune side effects, meaning that the vaccine ultimately inhibits the natural antibody response to the virus which would be disastrous in otherwise healthy adults.
Based on this data, the FDA is unlikely to approve the Astra vaccine (though undoubtedly the UK Government will) as:
* The trial protocol has been violated to data mine a more positive outcome.
* The duration of the efficacy is questionable.
* The overall efficacy is much lower than peers and it likely won’t work at all in the vulnerable (82 year-olds with comorbidities.) The US has mRNA.
* There’s no claim that it prevents virus transmission.
* They will want to monitor possible auto-immune side effects.
Could it be that UK Government has backed the wrong horse? To date, it has ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at a cost of £3 to £4 per dose.
Stop Press: AstraZeneca’s share price has fallen in the US following doubts about the likelihood of it receiving FDA approval.
Stop Press 2: Ross Clark in the Telegraph notes that “A vaccine exit strategy is curiously absent from the PM’s baffling Covid Winter Plan“
Dr Roger Hodkinson Was a Lockdown Sceptic Back in April
Readers will recall the marvellous speech delivered by Dr Roger Hodkinson, ex-Chairman of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Examination Committee in General Pathology in Ottawa and a former Assistant Professor, to some health officials working for the Government of Alberta last week, telling them their strategy was all wrong. It’s now gone from YouTube, of course, but you can still catch it at Bitchute. Worth listening to again (it’s short and punchy).
Some speculated about whether the speech was real or a hoax, but we can confirm it was 100% genuine. Indeed, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons has seen fit to issue a statement disassociating itself from Dr Hodkinson in light of his remarks and, for the record, has slavishly regurgitated Covid orthodoxy.
Lockdown Sceptics has made contact with Dr Hodkinson and we are publishing a four-part series by him on the pandemic, with the first part published today. The first three were originally written for the University of Regina School of Public Policy in April and May, but he was told they couldn’t be published unless he toned them down which, naturally, he wasn’t prepared to do. Consequently, they are being published on Lockdown Sceptics for the first time. We will publish parts two and three on Wednesday and Thursday and part four when he’s completed it, which should be in a couple of weeks.
Part one is a scene-setter called “Who Failed and Why?” in which Dr Hodkinson discusses the origins of the virus in China and the disastrous initial reaction by public health authorities. Here is an extract in which he homes in on the WHO:
Statistically speaking, given the probable origin of SARS and COVID-19 in China, the next pandemic is likely to originate there also. That’s a problem. China was secretive about the start of its local COVID-19 epidemic (and still is), wasting valuable weeks before alerting the WHO of its existence which then downplayed its significance for the rest of the world. An early warning system is a vital starting point for effective international response to future pandemics. Clearly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the WHO cannot be trusted to act any differently in the future.
Furthermore, the (current) head of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, is not a physician as have been all his predecessors, and has questionable credentials to effectively lead such a vital international resource at a critical moment in world history. He has, at times, acted as China’s apologist in this whole fiasco, compounding the problem by disseminating China’s misinformation under the imprimatur of the WHO early in the pandemic.
A senior WHO official responsible for the global response to this pandemic, Dr. Michael Ryan, has actually stated that “we may have to enter homes and remove family members” if they are COVID-19 positive – but in a “dignified manner”. It would seem he thinks COVID-19 is as lethal as ebola or smallpox, which it most emphatically is not. Do we want ‘officials’ knocking at our doors in the middle of the night taking away our kids to control future pandemics? I think not, and to attempt such an assault on personal liberty would cause civil revolt. But that was exactly what the WHO recommended!
I believe a personal anecdote is also relevant here. Right in the middle of the SARS epidemic in 2003, I met with the team of WHO officials ‘managing’ the outbreak right in their war room at WHO headquarters in Geneva. There wasn’t a virologist in the room, and of the eight or so people present about half were nurses from obscure African countries doing an obligatory WHO secondment. To say it was a gong show is an understatement. The world was left to its own devices, and so it was initially with COVID-19.
The most rational explanation for the origin of the epidemic in China is not the Wuhan wet food market as the WHO immediately and confidently stated, but rather one of the virology labs in Wuhan doing environmental surveillance of bat corona viruses. There was almost certainly an accidental escape due to poor compliance with laboratory bio-safety procedures for which there have been many examples in China in recent years. COVID-19 was not a genetically engineered virus for use in biological warfare – the corona virus isn’t anywhere near lethal enough for that nefarious use, judging from the number who’ve died in China, unless the entire Chinese population had already been vaccinated against it!
I believe I have made my case that the WHO cannot be trusted, is politically compromised, and is actually incompetent in the discharge of its expected leadership role. But more importantly, the WHO is advocating extreme containment policies that cut to the very heart of personal freedom.
The article continues in the same trenchant, take-no-prisoners tone and is very much worth reading in full.
Vaccination Before Travel
It is happening! Qantas, Australia’s largest airline, is planning to make proof of having had vaccination a condition of travel. From ABC:
Speaking on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair on Monday night, Qantas boss Alan Joyce said he believed it would be a necessity for passengers to be vaccinated once a vaccine is available. And he said the company was looking into the possibility of requiring passengers to have a vaccination passport which would allow them to travel.
“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions, to say for international, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before getting on the aircraft,” Mr Joyce confirmed.
“We think for international visitors coming out, and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.” The Qantas CEO said the company would consider the same requirements for domestic flights.
He said he had talked to the chief executives of other international carriers who were also considering making vaccination mandatory for travel.
A vaccination passport is being touted as a method of proving passengers have been vaccinated.
“What we’re looking at is how you can have a vaccination passport, an electronic version of it that certifies what the vaccine is,” Mr Joyce said.
“There’s a lot of logistics, a lot of technology to make this happen, but the airlines and the government are working on this as we speak.”
Worth reading in full.
Isn’t this is a little rash of Qantas? The big pharmaceutical companies are exempt from liability if a vaccine turns out to have harmful side effects, but not airlines. What if someone only gets vaccinated in order to fly on Qantas and then suffers serious harm? Won’t they be able to sue Qantas? Perhaps the Australian Government, which had to bail out the airline back in April and has probably ordered the CEO to make this announcement, has indemnified it.
They’ve Deprived Us of Our Freedom
A letter printed in the Camden New Journal on the real reason young people go to illegal raves is worth reproducing here in full. Hard to argue with.
Further to your report in March this year various governments decided to close the world down!
Nothing like this had ever happened before, although there had been lots of different viruses over the years. Anyone would think there was a deadly plague.
According to the BBC website, recently there had been 51,766 deaths from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. But people die all the time.
An alternative heading for your story could have been: “Police drive clubbers to desperation.”
What has actually happened is that in March all venues were closed down and haven’t been allowed to reopen except under lots of restrictions, including social distancing.
Now they’re all closed again. This means there have been no clubs or gigs that people could go to. This is the real reason for the raves in Primrose Hill and on Hampstead Heath.
The police have been rigorously enforcing these regulations by telling venues that they must stay closed and that they will be fined if they open and run proper nights out, but the police ignore any laws they don’t like.
I’m very pleased to hear that there aren’t enough police to do much about these raves. I now plan to go there as soon as possible and join in.
It’s a pity that residents in Primrose Hill claim that they can’t get to sleep. But there are some simple things they can do about this. The obvious solution is just to wear earplugs or earmuffs.
If that doesn’t work then they could just sleep at a different time of the day because it probably doesn’t matter what time of day they sleep, due to the lockdown.
Another solution would be for the police to claim that it’s not their responsibility to stop venues from opening; it’s “a civil matter”, or to use their famous “discretionary powers” to get out of doing it.
As for people like Councillor Pat Callaghan, Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer, and the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I think they should all be locked up and deprived of their freedom, because that’s what they’ve been doing to the rest of us.
The first lockdown didn’t achieve anything except depriving people of their normal way of life and this one won’t either.
It’s sad when people die, but the rest of us must get on with our lives. I’m violently opposed to the COVID-19 propaganda and lockdown. I plan to help smash the lockdown by breaking all the restrictions.
I demand my life back. I want it back now!
The CNJ‘s reports on the rave is available here. (Includes footage.)
More on Protest Pots and Pans
Facts about the pots and pans protest in Denmark and the change in the proposed epidemic law remain hard to verify, as one reader notes:
It is so strange that there is hardly any coverage on main stream news regarding the protests in Denmark. In the Twitter stream there are a few people saying it is not true. Hardly anyone backs up their story with a link to anything official, it all comes back to Twitter and The Local
He has found a story on a local news site, Jyllands-Posten, which does suggest that the story might be true and that the law may be redrafted: (Extracts courtesy of Google Translate)
There has been widespread criticism of the Government’s draft of a new and very far-reaching epidemic law that gives the incumbent Health Minister extensive powers… Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen promised that the Government will look at the bill together with the parliamentary parties. “We will look at the epidemic law again, we take the criticism seriously and a better balance must be found,” she said to the North Jutland radio channel ANR and thus warns of changes in the bill.
Since November 4th, a group of protesters has filled the square in front of Christiansborg with the noise of pots in an attempt to get the politicians’ attention. They want to stop the passage of the epidemic law because they fear that far-reaching powers will be implemented.
The article is available here.
Meanwhile, the idea of a pots-and-pans protest continues to capture our readers’ imagination. We had this in from one yesterday:
Why not go for this on Thursday at 7pm. Get people to flood social media with this protest. Maybe they might sit up and listen like in Denmark
And from another, suggesting an alternative target:
Maybe the pots and pans protest would work better staged outside local and national media stations and offices. Parked vehicles which then sound their horns for two minutes at a designated time would highlight to the purveyors of the scare stories that they cannot have everything their own way. Six o’clock every weekday evening say?
Lockdown: The Right Side of History
YouTuber Kate Wand’s latest video is on the morality of lockdowns, the suffering they cause and the price paid by those who oppose them. It is a reading/visualisation of Stacy Rudin’s article on the American Institute of Economic Research blog.
In the Covid debate, there is a mainstream, “popular” narrative, and a competing, “unpopular” narrative – a “fringe”. The former exploits the common, mediocre desire to be “popular”. Joining the movement is easy. It results in back-pats, validation, and requires no uncomfortable confrontations. This narrative states that it is impossible for humanity to survive the COVID-19 pandemic without a vaccine, lockdowns, and masks, some combination of which will be required into the indefinite future. The narrative supports blaming others for “infecting you” with diseases, rather than encouraging personal responsibility for immune and general health.
Proponents of the competing narrative, on the other hand, must stand up to massive social forces simply to make their arguments, which are not radical: they support a return to classic pandemic management tools, the same ones used by Sweden and other states and countries which did not lock down for COVID-19, which resulted in average mortality for 2020. They do not believe this pandemic warrants a complete overhaul of the economic, social, and educational systems. They believe that every human being should be empowered with truthful information about risk and how to best care for personal health, and to make his or her own choices.
Faced with these competing narratives, we must consider motives and costs. The force of social pressure to conform with the mainstream narrative is large, so we know from the outset that the people willing to argue against it are either insane, or extremely driven, courageous, and strong. It is easy to eliminate the possibility that they are crazy many of them, – such as Elon Musk and the scientists who drafted the Great Barrington Declaration – are giants in their fields. They risk everything, weathering exhausting personal attacks from all sides, in order to battle the crowd.
Both the article and the video are great and very much worth reading in full or watching in full.
- “COVID-19: Merthyr sees 977 mass-tested for coronavirus” – A dramatic headline on BBC Wales leading into a less dramatic story: Only nine were found to be positive
- “Lockdown is part of the grand, green, global design” – says John Mortimer in the Conservative Woman
- “The gloom is lifting, now let’s get going!” – Professor Karol Sikora celebrates the good news about vaccines in the Daily Mail
- “The Left’s obsession with subjectivity” – David Goodhart in UnHerd on the Left’s habit of prioritising lived experience over data and logic
- “We cannot continue to live in this childlike cycle of repeated, damaging lockdowns” – Conservative MP Nus Ghani in the Telegraph, signalling her opposition to further restrictions and demanding a fresh strategy from the Government
- “The greatest scandal of our lifetime” – “Instead of following the science, governments are doing the opposite,” says R. J. Quinn in the American Conservative
- “Conservatism or pragmatism: that is the question” – Watch the inaugural edition of a new podcast Nurtural Disaster with Professors Bo and Ben Winegard discussing the merits of conservatism
- “We’re on the fast track to fascism” – Kathy Gyngell rails against ‘freedom passes’ in the Conservative Woman
- “Buffalo, New York business owners stand up to Cuomo” – Watch as a group of business owners in Buffalo chase out the Sheriff and Health Department officials who tried to shut down a meeting
- “Pay £120 to reduce quarantine to FIVE days” – Another scheme to make travel freedom contingent on a medical test. From MailOnline
- “No more quarantine for travellers returning to North Rhine-Westphalia” – Court in Münster overturns the German state’s quarantine regulation (in German)
- “Doctors ask people vulnerable to Covid to sign ‘do not resuscitate’ orders in bid to ease pressure on Swiss intensive care units” – Grim move that includes people over 60 and those with heart disease or diabetes. From the MailOnline
- “Stanford Condemns Atlas” – Article from John H. Cochrane on the Stanford Faculty Senate’s decision to condemn Scott Atlas, advisor to President Trump. From his blog the Grumpy Economist
- “Shop owner refuses to close over ‘complete injustice’ of Covid rules” – Mike Graham on talkRADIO speaks to Lydia Walker-Cox, a business owner who refuses to shut her shop
- “Laure Perrins returns to the Delingpod” – The co-founder of the Conservative Woman gives it both barrels on the subject of the lockdown
- “Will there be enough Christmas trees this year?” – Possible shortage of Nordmann Fir Christmas trees this year, as imports from Denmark are restricted
- “Was Covid beginning to peak before the second lockdown?” – Matt Ridley examines the data for the Spectator
- “FALSE ALARM: the corona-critic raid was staged” – The video in yesterday’s round-up, showing German sceptic Dr Andreas Noack was in fact an elaborate piece of creativity – fake news – and not helpful. Thanks to a reader for pointing this out
- Twitter thread by Telegraph cartoonist Bob Moran, setting out his opposition to masks using his own cartoons as illustrations
Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers
Two today: “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” by Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand and “The Great Escape – Main Title Music” by Elmer Bernstein.
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.
Some of you have asked how to link to particular stories on Lockdown Sceptics so you can share it. To do that, click on the headline of a particular story and a link symbol will appear on the right-hand side of the headline. Click on the link and the URL of your page will switch to the URL of that particular story. You can then copy that URL and either email it to your friends or post it on social media. Please do share the stories.
Social Media Accounts
You can follow Lockdown Sceptics on our social media accounts which are updated throughout the day. To follow us on Facebook, click here; to follow us on Twitter, click here; to follow us on Instagram, click here; to follow us on Parler, click here; and to follow us on MeWe, click here.
We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today we bring you an angsty piece from Teen Vogue, written in the aftermath of the elections across the pond: “Biden’s Call for ‘Unity’ doesn’t square with United States History“.
While it might seem that the country is uniquely divided right now, the United Sates is rooted in contradiction and divisiveness. It was founded through the genocide of Indigenous peoples and flourished through the enslavement of Africans. At its core, America’s values are white supremacy and capitalism. That is true no matter who has been in office.
Biden’s call for a “united America” boils down to nationalist propaganda. Americans have never been united and have been kept apart and pitted against one another by the state. From geographic segregation to immigration bans and racist policing, the United States has privileged the lives and security of some residents at the expense of others. Why should people who have been systematically oppressed, and who have struggled against the government for true freedom, be asked to hold hands with their oppressors?
When it looked for a moment on election night that Trump might take crucial swing states, I sunk into despair and fell asleep. When I woke up and it had become clearer that Biden was going to pull through, I didn’t feel excitement or even safety. I felt exhausted. The next four years will be very different from the Trump era, but they will still be a battle.
Read in full here, or if woke gobbledegook leaves you too exhausted to carry on, read this summary in Breitbart.
Stop Press: It is also worth reading about Senator Tom Cotton’s comments on the erasing of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival at Cape Cod. From MEAWW.
“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 £1.99 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 masks in shops here.
A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption.
If you’re a shop owner and you want to let your customers know that you will not be insisting on face masks or asking them what their reasons for exemption are, you can download a friendly sign to stick in your window here.
And here’s an excellent piece about the ineffectiveness of masks by a Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry.
Stop Press: Telegraph cartoonist Bob Moran has produced an illustrated thread on masks. It’s a must-read
Stop Press: Shakespeare was an anti-masker! A literary reader has sent us this verse from Venus and Adonis:
Long may they kiss each other, for this cure!Venus and Adonis, 526 – 31
O, never let their crimson liveries wear!
And as they last, their verdure still endure,
To drive infection from the dangerous year!
That the star-gazers, having writ on death,
May say, the plague is banish’d by thy breath.
The Great Barrington Declaration
The Great Barrington Declaration, a petition started by Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya calling for a strategy of “Focused Protection” (protect the elderly and the vulnerable and let everyone else get on with life), was launched last month and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it ever since. If you Googled it a week after launch, the top hits were three smear pieces from the Guardian, including: “Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’.” (Freddie Sayers at UnHerd warned us about this the day before it appeared.) On the bright side, Google UK has stopped shadow banning it, so the actual Declaration now tops the search results – and Toby’s Spectator piece about the attempt to suppress it is among the top hits – although discussion of it has been censored by Reddit. The reason the zealots hate it, of course, is that it gives the lie to their claim that “the science” only supports their strategy. These three scientists are every bit as eminent – more eminent – than the pro-lockdown fanatics so expect no let up in the attacks. (Wikipedia has also done a smear job.)
You can find it here. Please sign it. Now approaching 700,000 signatures.
Update: The authors of the GDB have expanded the FAQs to deal with some of the arguments and smears that have been made against their proposal. Worth reading in full.
Update 2: Many of the signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration are involved with new UK anti-lockdown campaign Recovery. Find out more and join here.
Update 3: You can watch Sunetra Gupta set out the case for “Focused Protection” here and Jay Bhattacharya make it here.
Update 4: The three GBD authors plus Prof Carl Heneghan of CEBM have launched a new website collateralglobal.org, “a global repository for research into the collateral effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures”.
Judicial Reviews Against the Government
There are now so many JRs being brought against the Government and its ministers, we thought we’d include them all in one place down here.
First, there’s the Simon Dolan case. You can see all the latest updates and contribute to that cause here.
Then there’s the Robin Tilbrook case. You can read about that and contribute here.
Then there’s John’s Campaign which is focused specifically on care homes. Find out more about that here.
There’s the GoodLawProject’s Judicial Review of the Government’s award of lucrative PPE contracts to various private companies. You can find out more about that here and contribute to the crowdfunder here.
The Night Time Industries Association has instructed lawyers to JR any further restrictions on restaurants, pubs and bars.
And last but not least there’s the Free Speech Union‘s challenge to Ofcom over its ‘coronavirus guidance’. You can read about that and make a donation here.
Stop Press: The GoodLawProject has announced that it is filing for Judicial Review over the Government’s recruitment of friends and acquaintances to lead key public health bodies. Read more here.
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.
It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.Mark Twain
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.Charles Mackay
They who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.Benjamin Franklin
To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions…
Ideology – that is what gives the evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination.Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require to have their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get into the hands of experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man, who knows where it hurts, is a safer guide than any rigorous direction of a specialist.Sir Winston Churchill
If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science.Richard Feynman
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.C.S. Lewis
The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.Albert Camus
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.Carl Sagan
Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.George Orwell
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.Marcus Aurelius
Necessity is the plea for every restriction of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.William Pitt the Younger
Shameless Begging Bit
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In the latest episode of London Calling, Toby’s weekly podcast with James Delingpole, the two old friends get into quite a heated discussion about the recent US Presidential election result. James still insists that Trump won, while Toby is a little more sceptical. It’s one thing to take the views of CNN and MSNBC with a pinch of salt, but Trump’s legal team haven’t made any headway in the courts either. James gets so cross he calls Toby a “cuck” and says he wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with him. The podcast was recorded before Trump effectively conceded yesterday, but Toby promises not to gloat next week.
You can listen to the podcast here and subscribe to it on iTunes here. Please recommend it to your friends – last week’s podcast was downloaded 13,052 times, the highest seven-day download the podcast has ever had.
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