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Victory in Spite of the Tiers

Boris looks sheepishly at Graham Brady, like a teenager who’s just got in from an all-night party being told off by his dad

The post-lockdown tier system comes into force today after the Government won the parliamentary vote. Not the result that readers of Lockdown Sceptics would have wanted in an ideal world, but the vote was a damaging blow to the new tier system nevertheless.

  • Only 291 of 650 MPs voted for the Tier system, which means the new restrictions are being brought in without the backing of a majority of MPs. In such circumstances it’s going to be difficult to enforce them
  • The Labour party abstained. Admittedly, a bit spineless of Keir Starmer, but better than voting with the Government
  • 55 Tory MPs rebelled, up from 34 on November 4th and Boris’s biggest back bench rebellion to date
  • 15 Labour MPs voted against the measures. Sixteen if you count Jeremy Corbyn (independent)

For more on the fall-out for the Government, see this analysis by Camilla Tominey in the Telegraph.

Here is the list of MPs who voted “No” yesterday:


Adam Afriyie, Imran Ahmad Khan, Steve Baker (teller), Sir Graham Brady, Andrew Bridgen, Paul Bristow, Sir Christopher Chope, Greg Clark, James Daly, Philip Davies, David Davis, Jonathan Djanogly, Jackie Doyle-Price, Richard Drax, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Mark Francois, Marcus Fysh, Dame Cheryl Gillian, Chris Green, Damian Green, Kate Griffiths, Mark Harper, Philip Hollobone, David Jones, Julian Knight, Robert Largan, Pauline Latham, Chris Loder, Tim Loughton, Craig Mackinlay, Anthony Mangnall, Karl McCartney, Stephen McPartland, Esther McVey, Huw Merriman, Robbie Moore, Anne Marie Morris, Sir Bob Neill, Mark Pawsey, Sir John Redwood, Mary Robinson, Andrew Rosindell, Henry Smith, Dr Ben Spencer, Sir Desmond Swayne, Sir Robert Syms (teller), Craig Tracey, Tom Tugendhat, Matt Vickers, Christian Wakeford, Sir Charles Walker, James Wallis, David Warburton, William Wragg, Jeremy Wright.


Aspana Begum, Richard Burgon, Mary Kelly Foy, Andrew Gwynne, Mike Hill, Kevan Jones, Emma Lewell-Buck, Ian Mearns,
Grahame Morris, Kate Osborne, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, John Spellar, Graham Stringer, Zarah Sultana, Derek Twigg.

Democratic Unionist Party:

Gregory Campbell, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Paul Girvan, Carla Lockhart, Ian Paisley Jr, Gavin Robinson, Jim Shannon, Sammy Wilson.


Dr Julian Lewis, Jeremy Corbyn.

If you wrote to one of the above MPs, take a bow. And if you feel like thanking them, the standard Parliamentary email address format is

There were a number of note-worthy contributions to the debate in the lead up to the vote:

I very much want to support my Government and my Prime Minister in the lobby this evening, but I can’t and won’t inflict deliberate harm on my constituency unless I can see for myself that to do nothing would be worse.

Andrea Leadsom, Conservative (abstained)

Restrictions on much smaller areas work better, they are fairer, and they cause much less economic damage. The Government’s proposed tier system does not deliver this. I will therefore be voting against the government this evening.

David Davis, Conservative (No)

This is a dangerous moment in the life of our country. People feel they have been pushed too far and suffered too much. Government’s analysis should have compared its own approach with alternative approaches to show the costs & benefits.

Steve Baker, Conservative (Teller for the Noes)

Tonight I am voting against new Coronavirus tier restrictions. In the absence of a cost benefit analysis of lockdown, clarity about Trafford’s allocation to – and exit from – Tier 3 and sufficient justification for removal of fundamental freedoms, I have no choice but to oppose.

Graham Brady, Conservative (No)

And a special shout-out to William Wragg MP, who made Guido’s Quote of the Day:

There’s no conspiracy. In my brief experience of it, the British state has never been competent enough to mount or organise such a conspiracy, and indeed if it were so in the present climate plans for that would have leaked already.

William Wragg, Conservative (No)

Stop Press: One of the best speeches in the House of Commons yesterday was by Sir Graham Brady.

How to Fight Back, the Gandhi Way

Wondering what we can do, now that we’re facing the prospect of being in lockdown in all but name until Easter? Professor Ramesh Thakur, a former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and a long-standing sceptic who’s written numerous articles attacking lockdowns, has a suggestion: take a leaf out of Gandhi’s book. As Professor Thakur points out, there is a considerable body of scholarship that shows nonviolent protest – civil disobedience – is more politically effective than violent protest, with the road to Indian independence being a case in point.

But Professor Thakur has a particular form of civil disobedience in mind, one perfected by Gandhi and still used in India to this day. Here’s the gist of it:

‘Jail Bharo Andolan’ is one technique of civil disobedience. It literally means ‘Fill the prisons movement/agitation’. It’s a deliberate, coordinated campaign to subvert a law or regime by courting arrest and imprisonment in numbers that physically clog the courts and overwhelm the prisons. The fact that those imprisoned are normally law-abiding citizens adds greatly to the authorities’ embarrassment…

So to those looking for what you can do: protest peacefully in large numbers, have several rungs of leaders to take the place of any who are arrested, be unfailingly polite and charmingly courteous to police officers and judges, refuse to pay fines in favour of court appearance and trial, and after the court has delivered its verdict go to prison rather than pay fines to overwhelm the prison system until the justice system breaks down.

It requires sacrifice, courage and steadfastness to refuse obedience to the dictates of a discredited and despised government. The dissenters must be prepared to accept the legal consequences, including imprisonment. But if you don’t fight for freedom, get ready to lose it.

We’ve given this one pride of place on the right-hand side, filed under “The Left-Wing Case Against Lockdowns”.

Worth reading in full.


From the Sun

There was another nearly-as-important debate yesterday on whether Scotch Eggs count as a “substantial meal”. The Sun has the details. Michael Gove, as they say, got himself “into a pickle”.

Michael Gove was asked about the status of the delicacy a day after his Cabinet colleague George Eustice told LBC that a Scotch egg “would count as a substantial meal if there were table service”. That means it could be be served with alcohol by pubs in tier two areas after lockdown ends.

Mr Gove told the radio station: “A couple of scotch eggs is a starter, as far as I’m concerned.”

Forty-five minutes later, he said on ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “As far as I’m concerned it’s probably a starter. My own preference when it comes to a substantial meal might be more than just a scotch egg but that’s because I’m a hearty trencherman. The Government is relying on people’s common sense.”

However, by the time he was interviewed by ITV News shortly afterwards, his position had evolved.

He said: “A Scotch egg is a substantial meal. I myself would definitely scoff a couple of Scotch eggs if I had the chance, but I do recognise that it is a substantial meal.”

A Day in the Life of a COVID-19 Physician

Getty images

The Critic magazine has another piece by the Covid Physician on the effect of lockdowns. It is an extensive and wide-ranging critique of how the virus has been handled, written by an NHS doctor. It starts with a tale of the effect on the treatment of a patient in need of specialised care:

Lockdown has dire, hidden consequences for unwell patients in general practice. Take for example the 34 year-old patient with motor neurone disease. English is a second language, she is an asylum seeker who thought she was escaping persecution and tyranny. In addition to the general muscular spasticity and weakness which will eventually lead to a slow death by respiratory failure she has a progressive bulbar palsy which means she can no longer speak nor swallow well. These will worsen. Each morning she risks a death by choking on her puréed breakfast. A feeding tube has been proposed, but she pretends to her specialist it hasn’t been. She is on medicines that sedate her. She can barely handle a mobile phone. Let us say life is already a multiple misery.

COVID-19 has brought her a special new hell. Carers avoid her due to the vulnerability her medical conditions bring to her. Speech and language therapists (SALTs) avoid her and make-believe care through Microsoft Teams. To make this virtual dystopia impressive and even better than the real thing they have given it an incredible name: The SALT proudly states: “Consultation done with AAC meeting”. What is that? I keep reading. My goodness, another Fourth Industrial revolution thing? Augmentative and Alternative Communication. To me, a simple video-call is demoralising doublespeak, for non-existent care by proxy.

My patient’s neurologist does the same: multi-conferencing the locked-down patient as she slowly rots in her asylum accommodation amidst a cold, bleak post-industrial pseudo-apocalypse. A pathetic dripping roast for everyone to make even easier money off. It occurs to me that the dehumanising, forced-impoverishment and restrictions of my refugee and asylum patient group is now upon us all, meagre social credits, not allowed to work, restricted movement, restricted access to healthcare. We are all in the same lockdown boat, now.

It concludes with an excoriation of Johnson, Whitty, Vallance et al, who worry the author far more than COVID-19:

The Prime Minister is fond of saying he is following the science. He is not. He is absolving himself of command, control and blame by saying so. He may also be too classically-educated to appreciate he is not following the science with lockdown, masks and social-distancing. He is ensconced in an echo-chamber following a narrow body of nominal rubber-stamping medics, scientists and mathematicians without the correct skill sets, incentive nor personality traits to think outside of the box. They are the ones who ruthlessly rise to the top and become the best government mandarins in Whitehall. Ambitious, ladder-climbing, back-stabbing Et tu Brute? sociopaths in the image of their Caesar.

While they do politics, we are suffering and dying in their Yes Minister tragifarce for real. They could lock us up forever based upon their over-reactive criteria. Johnson, Whitty, Vallance, Hancock, and SAGE worry me more than COVID-19 and are far more dangerous to the UK. They have infantilised medicine. What would they do to us if a truly awesome contagion were to turn up?

Professors Hancock and Whitty have erased another fundamental medical principle from medicine: Primum Non Nocere: first do no harm.

Worth reading in full.

Dr Wodarg and Dr Yeadon Call for Halt to COVID-19 Vaccine Studies

Credit: Oldschool3d/Shutterstock

Lockdown Sceptics contributor Mike Yeadon, and Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, a German physician and epidemiologist, have filed an application with the European Medicine Agency – the organisation responsible for EU drug approval – for the immediate suspension of COVID-19 vaccine studies and the BioNtech/Pfizer study in particular. More from 2020 News

Dr Wodarg and Dr Yeadon are demanding that the studies, for the protection of the life and health of the volunteers, should not be continued until a study design is available that is suitable to address the significant safety concerns expressed by an increasing number of renowned scientists against the vaccine and the study design.

The petitioners demand that, due to the known lack of accuracy of the PCR test in a serious study, a so-called Sanger sequencing must be used. This is the only way to make reliable statements on the effectiveness of a vaccine against COVID-19. On the basis of the many different PCR tests of highly varying quality, neither the risk of disease nor a possible vaccine benefit can be determined with the necessary certainty, which is why testing the vaccine on humans is unethical.

They are also demanding that the risks already known from previous studies can be excluded. Their concerns are directed on four points in particular:

– The formation of so-called “non-neutralizing antibodies” can lead to an exaggerated immune reaction, especially when the test person is confronted with the real, “wild” virus after vaccination. 

– The vaccinations are expected to produce antibodies against spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2. However, spike proteins also contain syncytin-homologous proteins, which are essential for the formation of the placenta in mammals such as humans. It must be ruled out that a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 could trigger an immune reaction against syncytin-1, as it may otherwise result in infertility of indefinite duration in vaccinated women.

– The mRNA vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer contain polyethylene glycol (PEG). 70% of people develop antibodies against this substance. This means that many people can develop allergic, potentially fatal reactions to the vaccination.

– The much too short duration of the study does not allow a realistic estimation of the late effects. As in the narcolepsy cases after the swine flu vaccination, millions of healthy people would be exposed to an unacceptable risk if an emergency approval were to be granted and the possibility of observing the late effects of the vaccination were to follow.

EU citizens are encouraged to sign the petition by sending the email prepared here to the EMA.

The Call for Volunteer Vaccinators

Source: iStock

Meanwhile, a couple of readers have been in touch about the call for volunteer vaccinators. One had been sent a solicitation because he’d signed up as an NHS volunteer responder, the other a similar flyer by St John Ambulance. The St John Ambulance volunteers’ tasks include:

  • Administering the COVID-19 vaccine to patients
  • Recognising and responding as needed to any medical emergency. This may include helping a patient with their breathing if they have an allergic reaction to the vaccine
  • Working with other St John and NHS colleagues to deliver a vaccination service including escalating problems outside your scope of training to an appropriate person

In order to apply, volunteers must:

  • Have at least two A-levels or the equivalent during their education
  • Have experience of a paid or voluntary role caring for people, providing customer service or providing signposting and advice
  • Understand that they will need to handle needles and potentially deal with blood and other bodily fluids
  • Be able to follow instructions as given by clinical professionals and act on own initiative within the scope of training

You can sign up here. Our reader is signing up:

Out of interest, to see what happens, I’m signing up… (At the moment, as you can see, they’re requiring two A-levels as a minimum, but I assume that the orders from on high will be to have cats and monkeys stabbing the population if that’s what it takes to create some rungs down the ladder). 

We look forward to hearing all about it.

The advert does say that volunteers will undergo:

Extensive training with a pass/fail assessment, and be subject to assessments (observed vaccinations) and clinical supervision at each of the vaccination sites by a health care professional to ensure the safety of patients and that of the volunteers.  

A good, reliable, proven vaccine would be good news, but people are entitled to require evidence that a new vaccine is indeed reliable and unlikely to have any nasty side effects. See Desmond Swayne’s challenge to Ministers in the House of Commons Yesterday: “You have the Vaccine First

Long Lockdown and Human Rights: A Call for Evidence

The House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights has issued an open call for evidence. It is considering “the impact of lockdown restrictions on human rights and whether those measures only interfere with human rights to the extent that is necessary and proportionate”. In particular, it’s seeking views on:

The impact of lockdown on university students. Have interferences with students’ right to liberty and right to private and family life been proportionate? Have the fixed penalty notices issued to students been proportionate?

The impact of lockdown on the freedom of religion and belief, and in particular on collective worship. Have interferences with the freedom of religion and belief been proportionate?

Care Home and Hospital Visits. Has current Government guidance struck the correct balance between the right to private and family life and the right to life? Is it being applied fairly and consistently in practice?

The human rights impacts of extended lockdown restrictions on those areas subjected to the most stringent, lasting, lockdown conditions. What have been the human rights impacts on family life and mental health for those communities? Are there ways that these rights might be better addressed?

Policing of Lockdown. Is the use of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for lockdown offences proportionate, fair and non-discriminatory? Is it clear why FPNs have been issued and are there adequate ways to seek a review or appeal of an FPN? Are the amounts of FPN fines proportionate? Has there been a disproportionate impact on certain groups?

The right to protest and lockdown. How have lockdown restrictions affected the right to protest? Has the correct balance been struck?

Submit your evidence here by January 11th. It is open to anyone. All evidence is published and can be anonymised on request.

Julia Hartley Brewer Eviscerated Colonel Bob Stewart MP

Colonel Bob Stewart MP appeared on Julia Hartley Brewer’s talkRADIO show yesterday and told her he intended to vote “yes” later that day because he’d spoken to Boris and Boris told him he was following the science.

Light blue touch paper and stand well back…

Pageview Update

Lockdown Sceptics got 1,594,371 pageviews during the month of November. Not too shabby.


Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Five today: “Find the Cost of Freedom” by Gilmour, Crosby and Nash, “Kick Out The Tories” by Newtown Neurotics, “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by Beastie Boys, “The Deceiver” by The Alarm, “Hurry up Harry” by Sham 69.

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.

Sharing Stories

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.

Woke Gobbledegook

We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today, Nasdaq’s push for diversity on the boards of its companies. From the Financial Times:

Companies listed on Nasdaq should have at least two “diverse” board directors under new rules proposed by the exchange on Tuesday, in a potentially significant expansion of a global movement to force companies to shed white, male leadership teams.

In a filing on Tuesday with the US stock market regulator, Nasdaq also proposed listing rules that would require companies to disclose consistent diversity statistics for board directors and set a standard for companies to have two diverse directors – including one who self-identifies as female and one who self-identifies as an under-represented minority or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer…

Companies that do not comply will have to explain why not. There will also be some flexibility for foreign groups and small organisations which can satisfy the diversity standard with two female directors.

The proposed listing changes were driven in part by increasing demands from investors for board diversity data, said Nelson Griggs, President of the Nasdaq Stock. He also said that the global demonstrations for racial equality this year had played a role.

Additionally, Nasdaq said that its proposal was “designed to reduce the groupthink” that can occur with homogenous boards, and to prevent “fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices”.

Reduce the groupthink?!? You couldn’t make it up.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Coleman Hughes has written a piece for City Journal about White Fragility, the best-selling book by Robin DiAngelo. He isn’t impressed.

White Fragility spends considerable time telling white people that they’re racist, but with a crucial twist: it’s not their fault. “A racism-free upbringing is not possible,” she writes, “because racism is a social system embedded in the culture and its institutions. We are born into this system and have no say in whether we will be affected by it.” For author DiAngelo, white supremacy is like the English language. If you’re born in America, you learn it without trying. Racism, in her view, transforms from a shameful sin to be avoided into a guiltless birthmark to be acknowledged and accepted.

An unstated assumption in White Fragility, and this is where the book borders on actual racism, is that black people are emotionally immature and essentially child-like. Blacks, as portrayed in DiAngelo’s writing, can neither be expected to show maturity during disagreement nor to exercise emotional self-control of any kind. The hidden premise of the book is that blacks, not whites, are too fragile.

The piece is a splendid attack by a brilliant young African-American intellectual on a canonical text in the woke movement.

Worth reading in full.

“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 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: The Netherlands has succumbed to mask-ism. The country has just made it compulsory, as of yesterday, to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces. The rule will apply to those over the age of 13 in public buildings, including shops, railway stations and hairdressers. It is one of the last countries in Europe to introduce such a measure. The BBC has the details.

The Great Barrington Declaration

Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya

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 over 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, “a global repository for research into the collateral effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures”. Follow Collateral Global on Twitter here.

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 Court of Appeal handed down its judgement on Simon Dolan’s case yesterday, ruling that the Government should not face a Judicial Review into the first tranche of lockdown measures. Simon is now planning to take the case to the supreme court. He said:

The Lord Chief Justice, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Singh have decided that the Government should not face a full Judicial Review of its actions in imposing the lockdown measures on us all between March 26th and July 2nd.

We did score one important victory. The three judges allowed an important ground of the appeal which concerned the legal powers of Ministers to make the lockdown regulations using the Public Health (Control of Infectious Disease) Act 1984. We argued that they had acted “ultra vires” by using this legislation and that, as a result, the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government were illegal. The Court of Appeal accepted that it was in the public interest for the appeal to be allowed on this important legal point. In doing so, they overturned Mr Justice Lewis’s ruling back in July that this point was unarguable.

Unusually, having allowed the appeal on the ultra vires point, the Court decided to make a final, substantive ruling on the substance of the issue itself – rather than send it back to the High Court. Unfortunately, however, having considered it, the Court of Appeal held against us. It has ruled that on the wording of the 1984 statute, the Government does have the power to impose measures against the whole population as it has been doing.

We still disagree strongly and the fight will go on. We can and will seek permission to appeal the ultra vires point to the Supreme Court.

You can read the full update and make a contribution to Simon’s fundraiser here. MailOnline also has a good summary.


If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email 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.

Quotation Corner

We know they are lying. They know they are lying, They know that we know they are lying. We know that they know that we know they are lying. And still they continue to lie.

Alexander Solschenizyn

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

Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the past 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. Doing these daily updates is hard work (although we have help from lots of people, mainly in the form of readers sending us stories and links). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links we should include in future updates, email us here. (Don’t assume we’ll pick them up in the comments.)

And Finally…

Morten Morland’s cartoon in yesterday’s Times