- “Boris Johnson calls for ‘national debate’ on mandatory vaccination to protect U.K. from Covid” – Prime Minister reluctant to consider compulsory jabs but wants talks on how to boost uptake, saying U.K. cannot keep introducing restrictions indefinitely, reports the Telegraph.
- “Most fans may still avoid Covid checks despite new restrictions” – “Clubs and sport events may be permitted to continue spot-checks rather than monitor every fan for proof of vaccination against Covid or a negative test result,” reports the Times.
- “The Government has broken its side of the bargain ” – There is no rationale for imposing these restrictions. The Government simply wants to be seen to be doing something, argues Andrew Lilico in the Telegraph.
- “Boris Johnson is a menace to liberty” – The Prime Minister is stuck in a cycle of Covid panic and authoritarianism, writes Tom Slater in Spiked.
- “Remember: life is finite and freedom is innate” – “Having grown weak on the numbing nectar of endless Government subvention, we have lost our thirst for liberty,” writes Frederick Edwards in Bournbrook Magazine.
- “Judge orders 11 year-old girl to be vaccinated despite father’s objections” – “A New York Judge has ruled that an 11 year-old girl may be vaccinated against Covid despite vocal protests from her dad, siding with the child’s mother amid a lengthy divorce case,” reports RT.
- “Fall on walk from bed to desk is workplace accident, German court rules” – Man who slipped and broke his back while working from home was commuting, it is decided, reports the Guardian.
- “It’s time to confront the immorality of lockdowns” – The failure of religious and spiritual leaders to address the societal costs of restrictions has been an utter travesty, writes Fergus Butler-Gallie in the Telegraph.
- “Why I prefer to rely on natural immunity” – “It’s not as cold and inhospitable in the land of conspiracy theories as it used to be,” argues Melissa Kite in the Spectator.
- “The PM’s restriction: ignoring the science” – “Besides Ferguson and the usual lockdown fanatics, most scientists have not called for urgent restrictions in response to the variant. Why? Because all early indicators are showing it is nothing to panic about,” writes William Parker in Bournbrook Magazine.
- “500 school staff fired for declining Covid jab” – “Nearly 500 public school employees in Los Angeles were fired after refusing to comply with a Covid vaccine mandate, with the city making terminations permanent after previously suspending a number of workers,” reports RT.
- “Conservative group Chairman resigns live on air” – Charlie Sansom, of South Basildon Conservatives, says he disagrees with tighter rules, reports BBC News.
- “End this dismal cycle of restrictions” – It is unsustainable and dangerous to have our lives brought to a standstill every time something emerges that might trouble the NHS, argues Telegraph View.
- “Courts backlog could take five years to be cleared up” – “The backlog in Scotland’s courts caused by the pandemic could take up to five years to be cleared after lockdown forced all but the most serious of cases to be postponed, it has emerged,” reports the Times.
- “Texas school board member resigns after releasing parents’ information” – Norma Garcia-Lopez resigned as co-chair of the Fort Worth Independent School District’s racial equity committee after she doxxed private information on families who opposed the School District’s mask mandate, reports the Mail.
- “It is stark-raving mad that red list travellers can’t self-isolate at home” – Both Delta and Omicron variants have laughed in the face of quarantine hotels – it is time to pull the plug on these useless prisons, argues Annabel Fenwick Elliott in the Telegraph.
- “Senate majority votes to repeal vaccine mandate” – “A majority in the U.S. Senate voted to repeal President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses with more than a hundred employees, with two Democrats joining Republicans to oppose the policy,” reports RT.
- “Jussie Smollett and the coveting of victimhood” – Everyone wants to be oppressed these days, writes Brendan O’Neill in Spiked.
- “If students can’t handle Rod Liddle’s crude jokes, they aren’t ready for real life” – The young people at Durham are free to disagree with him, or even walk out, but I struggle to see why they found it all so traumatic, writes Michael Deacon in the Telegraph.
- “There’s been a big party in your house Boris Johnson” – Twitter user Pete Evans has captured the Prime Minister’s (likely) reaction to being called out for hosting a Christmas party during last year’s winter lockdown.
Day: 9 December 2021
A video has surfaced from what appears to be January 2021 of World Bank President David Malpass explaining that Pfizer is “hesitant” to distribute its vaccine in countries which refuse to grant legal indemnity from liability for adverse events. He says:
The immediate problem is indemnification. Pfizer has been hesitant to go into some of the countries because of the liability problems, they don’t have a liability shield. So we work with the countries to try to do that. But I think also some of the other vaccine manufacturers may be able to go into countries because they’re operating through subsidiaries. This is all something that we’re exploring, and our goal, my goal, is to have vaccines available throughout the developing world based on what their countries decide. We’ve got financing available but the countries need to choose systems and then begin buying or receiving the vaccines.
If Pfizer is so confident that its vaccine has been proven safe in rigorous trials, why is it unwilling to take responsibility for any problems? And if it is unwilling to take the risk with its own product, how is that going to persuade the vaccine-hesitant to take the risk themselves? The Pfizer vaccine has been linked with 388,618 adverse events in the UK to date, including 628 deaths. Taiwan has halted its use in teenagers due to concerns about the risk of myocarditis. Yet a cloak of secrecy has been thrown over the approvals process and the company has come under fire for “war profiteering” by making huge profits during the pandemic.
Pharmaceutical companies are profit-driven entities and rules on transparency and liability exist to keep them honest and ensure only safe, effective drugs are provided to the public. It may turn out to be a big mistake to have allowed them to avoid this scrutiny and accountability just because many were desperate for a medical way out of the pandemic.
There follows a guest post by retired dentist Dr Mark Shaw.
At school I remember the best teachers. More so when I look back from the benefit of experience in judging who to trust.
There are some teachers, leaders or rulers who are prepared to give the time and the respect to answer the most seemingly dumb or obvious questions with an open mind and from the viewpoint of understanding that the individual concerned wishes to learn and hopefully, as a consequence, make the right decisions in life.
A bad educator might respond to a person lacking experience or certain knowledge with impatience and a ticking off for asking ‘such a silly question’. But in my school days I look back and remember that some of the questions young children were asking were actually brilliant.
Likewise, a bad teacher or ruler may provide an answer that is either black or white or an answer that is definitive and not open to question. Time has told us that many of the so-called facts that we once learned turn out to be wrong or not as clear-cut as we thought. So a heavy dose of humility and acceptance of human ‘expert’ ignorance is a fine thing and I guess it is why the great philosopher Socrates said “A wise person understands that he knows nothing”.
What we could do with seeing and hearing on mainstream media is that, despite our incredible achievements, we humans are merely tinkerers or dabblers in the grand scheme of things. As humans we cannot make a single human cell from the basic elements. We can use stem cells, we can clone or culture biological tissue to produce more of the same. But give scientists all the basic ingredients that make human life and ask them to make one ‘simple’ skin cell from scratch and they will be stumped. Making an organ? Never in a million years. And getting organs to function in the mind-boggling harmony that it does (in what physiologists terms ‘homeostasis’) should make all of us question our attitude that we know how to control and medicate our way to health beyond what has already been provided in the process of natural development.
This process of natural development, though fallible, always seems to win out in the broadest way in the end. We may now be able to build from scratch the most sophisticated robot that a few years ago might have seemed impossible but a human being is infinitely and more bewilderingly complicated. So we should be honest about this and tell the public, with regard to tackling an airborne virus, that there is infinitely more we don’t know than we do actually know. Any action taken that is different from the ways we used to tackle such issues have unknown consequences, some or many of which may make things worse – how much worse, we do not know. Actions that we used to take like staying at home to recover when ill and doing our best to prevent such illnesses through exercise and diet was the simple, common sense approach. Ensuring we had adequate healthcare staffing, isolation wards and surplus provision for viral outbreaks and emergencies another.
So when I listen to politicians and their expert advisors dictate and instruct in the way that has been all too familiar in the last two years it only confirms my suspicion that they may have made catastrophically bad decisions.
“There is no debate,” they seem to say. “You are to follow these lockdown measures and have this medication because it is obviously good for you and there is little or no more to discuss so don’t ask any silly questions or be in any way sceptical. And do as you are told. You really ought to be sensible and obey. I’m sorry but if you decide not to conform you will be severely punished.”
This is the way, with the benefit of some experience in observing bad teachers, I believe the current rulers and their expert advisors are acting. But then again I could be wrong.
The U.K.’s science sector has been compromised by a “malign Chinese communist influence” and, for that reason, parroted China’s party line that Covid did not leak from a lab in Wuhan, according to an ex-MI6 chief. MailOnline has more.
Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the intelligence service from 1999 to 2004, believes many universities in the U.K. have become dependent on Chinese funding over the past two decades.
While urging institutions to take “greater steps to protect intellectual property”, he expressed concern over the extent to which Britain echoed a potential ‘information’ campaign from China following the coronavirus outbreak in December 2019.
Since China alerted the world to a mysterious virus circulating in Wuhan in December 2019, a debate has been raging over its true source.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which specialises in manipulating dangerous coronaviruses, is the high-security laboratory at the centre of an alleged cover-up.
Sir Richard, 76, told a podcast for the Australian: “In the future, we will have to take very careful steps to control this in terms of registering where Chinese research students go and what their interests are, and take greater steps to protect intellectual property in our universities, particularly in areas of sensitive research.”
He added: “I’m pretty sure that the Chinese after the outbreak in Wuhan, and they’re very good at doing this, sat down and developed their own information campaign and this was almost certainly driven by the Ministry of State Security and run out of the PRC leadership to make sure that there was suppression of any suggestion that their narrative was not the correct one,” Sir Richard said in the podcast.
“What concerns me and what worries me is the extent to which the West went along with this.”
Worth reading in full.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that it will take 75 years to process a Freedom of Information Act request relating to the release of important documents associated with the approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The FDA claims that it will take this long because it can only process 500 pages per month and there are tens of thousands of files which need to be reviewed before they are authorised for release, despite the same agency giving the green-light to the Pfizer jab in just over a 100 days after it was given access to those same documents. RT has more.
The FDA has insisted it cannot commit to a faster release of the medical data associated with the approval of the Pfizer vaccine, according to a legal brief filed on Tuesday in response to the Freedom of Information Act request. The agency reiterated that after processing 12,000 pages in about a two-month period, it will only be able to process 500 pages per month going forward. With tens of thousands of additional files up for review, plaintiffs fear the process may drag on two decades longer than the previous 55-year estimate.
Lawyer Aaron Siri sued the FDA on behalf of a group of doctors calling themselves Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency, who had previously complained the FDA wasn’t supplying the data they had requested in a timely fashion. Having pointed out last month that the FDA had looked through Pfizer’s documents in a mere 108 days in order to license the vaccine, Siri questioned why the agency now required a whopping 20,000 days to make the same documents public.
Approximately 451,000 pages regarding the clinical trials for a vaccine millions of Americans are being mandated to take will remain floating in legal limbo for up to 75 years if the agency has its way, Siri warned. He called it “dystopian” for the Government to pay Pfizer billions of dollars, shield it from lawsuits and require citizens to be injected with its product, only to refuse access to the documents used to grant its licensure in the first place.
Worth reading in full.
Boris Johnson is struggling to contain a Tory revolt today amid fury at “non-sensical” new Covid restrictions and his handling of the No. 10 Christmas party debacle. MailOnline has more.
The PM dramatically triggered ‘Plan B’ measures to control the rampant Omicron strain at a press conference last night, with fears that infections are now doubling every few days and the NHS could be crippled.
Millions of office staff will be urged to work from home from Monday, while masks will be required in theatres and cinemas, and Covid passports are being introduced for nightclubs and large venues.
But Mr Johnson stressed that office Christmas parties should go ahead, sparking derision from critics. Desperate businesses have complained that the differing restrictions for venues “don’t make any sense”.
Dozens of Conservative MPs are now threatening to rebel against the measures when a Commons vote is held next week – leaving the PM facing having to rely on Labour support to get them through.
Ringleaders have told MailOnline that it will be the biggest mutiny yet, with at least 60 expected to defy the government whip.
Backbencher Marcus Fysh said today that the latest curbs are an ‘utter disgrace’, while former chief whip Mark Harper has questioned whether the government has the moral authority to impose the limits given the row over rules being flouted in Downing Street.
There was a further setback when the NHS Covid pass website crashed for several hours last night.
Worth reading in full.
I’ve written a comment piece for Mail+ about yesterday’s ‘Plan B’ announcement by Boris, arguing that it shouldn’t be seen as the final nail in the coffin of those who cleave to the cock-up theory of history. On the contrary, it’s yet another balls-up. Here is an extract:
A friend sent me a message last night after Boris Johnson had unveiled ‘plan B’ at a hastily arranged press conference: “Still think it’s a cock-up and not a conspiracy?”
I can see his point.
After all, how strong is the medical case for the restrictions announced last night?
The number of Omicron cases may be doubling every few days, but what evidence is there that vaccine passports will ‘flatten the curve’?
Germany has had a Covid certification scheme in place for weeks, yet it has a higher number of cases per day than we do.
The Scottish government published a 70-page document last month making the case for vaccine passports, but neglected to include a single scrap of evidence that they work.
Which is hardly surprising, since people who’ve been double jabbed are still becoming infected and infecting others, albeit at a lower rate than the unvaccinated.
How else to explain the fact that daily cases are creeping up, even though, according to the Office for National Statistics, 95% of English adults have antibodies?
If the jabs don’t prevent you from catching the old variant, what hope is there that vaccine passports will stop the spread of the new variant?
Incidentally, the number of Covid patients in English hospitals is falling, the hospital admission rate of Covid patients in England decreased to 6.02 per 100,000 people in the week ending November 28th 2021.
We know from looking at South Africa, where Omicron has been circulating for a few weeks, that those infected are less likely to be admitted to hospital than people who test positive for Delta.
So why the last-minute, panicky announcement?
My conspiracy-minded friend thinks it’s all part of a worldwide plan. He believes that since March of last year the government has been doing the bidding of a small cabal of powerful billionaires who want to control the world’s population via vaccine passports and other bio-security measures.
The problem with this theory is that the Government isn’t capable of planning something 48 hours in advance, let alone 21 months. In a testy exchange yesterday on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dominic Raab categorically denied ‘plan B’ was being actively considered, only for the Prime Minister to announce it the following day.
I’ve known Boris for more than 30 years and at one stage worked for him when he was editor of the Spectator. I’ve always been fond of him, but the chances of him being enlisted in a global conspiracy by Bill Gates and his pals are vanishing to zero. That would be like planning a casino heist with Mr Bean.
Worth reading in full.
Clive Watson, the owner of The City Pub Company, has said that the Government’s ‘Plan B’ work from home guidance is “turning off the life support machine yet again” for the hospitably industry, and will negatively impact the trade of businesses located in city centres due to the lack of commuters. Watson also noted how vital the Christmas period is to hospitality firms, mentioning that his company brings in a third of its annual profits during December, which helps it stay afloat during the quiet months of the year when there is less demand. BBC News has the story.
Hospitality firms have warned they face a collapse in demand at their busiest time of year due to the Government’s new work-from-home guidance.
The measures, designed to slow the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, come in from Monday.
One trade body called them a “body blow” to already-struggling pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Pub chain boss Clive Watson said some pubs could “run out of cash” without extra help from the Government.
However, the Government is not planning any new economic support measures.
Watson said the City Pub Company, which has 44 sites in England and Wales, was just starting to get back on its feet after a rough 18 months.
But he said the Government was “turning off the life support machine yet again” by bringing back home-working.
“From about 10 days ago office parties started to get cancelled [because of Omicron]. Going forward after yesterday’s announcement that is only going to accelerate,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.
“What Government has got to appreciate is for businesses, particularly in our sector, Christmas is always a key time.”
The City Pub Company makes about a third of its annual profits in December, which tides it over in the quiet months of January and February.
Hospitality firms fear losing vital passing trade as more people work from home. Businesses from dry cleaners to coffee houses depend on an office crowd, particularly in city centres.
By contrast, those that cater to people in their homes, such as takeaways and supermarkets stand to gain from the new guidance.
We talked to firms that rely on commuters about how the new home-working guidance will affect them.
David Abrahamovitch runs Grind, a chain of nine café restaurants in London, employing 250 staff. He also has a successful online store selling compostable coffee pods for Nespresso machines, and says he can “fall back” on that side of the business if things get tough.
“A lot of other hospitality businesses won’t have that, so we’re lucky,” he told the BBC. “But it will still be painful to watch the company go into reverse gear again.”
Grind relies on people coming into central London and has also has seen a big drop-off in Christmas party bookings since Omicron emerged, which Abrahamovitch thinks will get worse.
He is nervous about how the landlords he rents his shops from will react if things really slow down.
Worth reading in full.
World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic continues to keep his vaccination status a secret, but in a surprising turn of events, the reigning Australian Open champion is on this year’s official list of competitors, as he could still play in the tournament if he receives a medical exemption. Responding to this development, Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie, who believes that Djokovic is trying to exploit a “loophole” to dodge the Grand Slam’s Covid restrictions, has insisted that the original rules must still be applied, meaning that only double-vaccinated players can attend. The Mail Australia has the story.
Jacqui Lambie has blasted Novak Djokovic after the Australian Open named him on its competition entry list despite the world number one refusing to reveal if he is fully vaccinated.
Tennis Australia named the 34 year-old, an outspoken Covid vaccine sceptic, on its official list of competitors for the Melbourne Grand Slam on Wednesday.
Djokovic has so far refused to reveal if he is double-jabbed despite the Victorian Government mandating that all competitors must have received both doses.
The Tasmanian Senator on Thursday morning said the rules were simple and Djokovic shouldn’t receive any special treatment.
“I don’t give a stuff whether you’re the number one,” she told the Today show. “You’re either double vaccinated or not. If you’re not double vaccinated, you’re not coming in.”
Reports emerged on Wednesday the tennis great could pursue a medical exemption if he wasn’t vaccinated – a loophole allowing him to compete in the tournament and enter Australia without quarantining.
“I don’t know where the loophole comes from – you’re either double vaccinated or not,” Lambie said.
The sport’s governing body said players could get around the strict quarantine requirements by obtaining a “valid medical exemption”.
But Deputy Premier James Merlino downplayed that possibility, as there were only a few reasons why medical exemptions would be granted.
“So my view and I think the view of all Victorians (and) the expectation of all Victorians is that everyone who attends the Open player, spectator, staff, officials, everyone is fully vaccinated.”
Djokovic apparently has grounds to apply for the exemption and is backed by Tennis Australia officials, News Corp reported.
“[The rules] include certified proof of vaccination or a valid medical exemption approved by Australian medical officials,” Tennis Australia said.
What has also been made clear by health officials is that international arrivals who don’t meet these requirements will need to quarantine for 14 days.
Tennis Australia denied the suggestion it was seeking ‘loopholes’ to help Djokovic enter the country.
“Any application for a medical exemption must follow strict government guidelines based on ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) clinical advice,” Tennis Australia told Daily Mail Australia.
Worth reading in full.
We’re publishing an original piece today by Dr. David McGrogan, a Professor at Northumbria Law School. He points out that the gap between what senior politicians say and what they do could not be greater, but for some reason the public still clings to the belief that Covid restrictions flatten the curve. You can subscribe to Professor McGrogan’s Substack newsletter here.
‘Secret Santa gate’ is satisfying inasmuch as it produces some schadenfreude at Boris Johnson’s expense. And the sense of public outrage about his latest scandal is tangible. But I wouldn’t expect it to change much as regards lockdown and other restrictions. Remember Matt Hancock breaching the drinking curfew in the House of Commons bar? Remember when the Mayor of San Francisco was filmed contravening mask restrictions in the city – on two separate occasions? Remember when a gang of diplomats and MEPs were caught having an orgy during the winter lockdown in Brussels last year? Remember the dozens of other incidents we could all reel off in which lockdown-supporting politicians indicated the rules simply didn’t apply to them? Remember bloody Barnard Castle? Did any of these events stop further rounds of Covid restrictions arising?
The truth of the matter is that, for all the flouting of their own restrictions by the ruling classes, the general public seem incapable of doing the mental arithmetic. They never seem to make the inductive leap: Boris Johnson and his cronies have all of the data, have all the latest updates from their team of crack scientists and medics, and they clearly do not think that Covid is much of a personal risk. It is starkly, uncompromisingly revealed by their actions. They aren’t worried about having Christmas parties. They aren’t worried about ‘super-spreader events’. They aren’t worried about killing their grandmothers.
The natural question that should follow is: so why should we worry? And yet nobody is prepared to ask this question: not the general public, nor the media, nor parliamentarians, nor pundits. The truth of the matter is that while people enjoy being outraged about Tory sleaze, they simply aren’t very concerned about the wider implications. They will grumble and grouse, but they will continue to wear their masks, continue to cancel Christmas parties, loyally display their vaccine passports when the requirement inevitably comes, and work from home when told. We are kidding ourselves if we think that this latest distraction is anything other than theatre – and a way, perhaps, for the media to kick Boris while he’s down.
Almost a year ago, I wrote a piece on Lockdown Sceptics, as it then was, about the problem of ‘moral truth’. I made the case then that people are not swayed by fact-based argument; they instead look for a prevailing moral norm, and then try to comply with it. The moral norm is: lockdowns, mask-wearing and other restrictions ‘work’, they save lives, and therefore we should do those things. As time goes on, I become more convinced that this is the root of the problem, and you only need to consider Secret Santa-gate to see that it is so. Boris is being raked over the coals not because his actions reveal that most of the Covid restrictions are purely for show. He is being pilloried for going against the moral truth about ‘stopping the spread’. That is why we are stuck, irrespective of whatever scandals our politicians become involved in. And we will continue to be stuck, until the moral norm eventually (fingers crossed) shifts.