The Spiked vs Andrew Bridgen debate continues to rage. If you’ve been living in a cave (i.e., don’t spend all your time online consuming futile culture war content), Fraser Myers wrote a pretty scathing article labelling former Tory and now Reclaim MP Andrew Bridgen an “anti-vax conspiracy theorist” for his views on vaccine harms.
Esteemed editor of this publication, Dr. Will Jones, provided an excellent rebuttal to the article, but that has not stopped this civil war in the anti-woke coalition continuing to escalate.
Bridgen hit back at Myers on Twitter, and Saint Andrew Doyle (which I say with no irony) arranged a debate between the two on his GB News show, Free Speech Nation.
Myers has since written another piece, every bit as scathing and more, while Bridgen tweets not quite libellous stuff about Spiked potentially being funded by Pfizer.
Well. I have multiple dogs in this fight. For one, I am a Pure Blood who wouldn’t take the ‘safe and effective’ treatment even if you paid me as much as Team Bridgen believe Spiked got from Pfizer.
I’ve also had Andrew Bridgen on my podcast, The Current Thing, which led to a Doctor Who fan with too much time on his hands trying to get both me and Bridgen sued for libel.
Then again, I have also written many pieces for Spiked, and last I checked I get on well with Fraser. I also got slammed by Daily Sceptic readers for criticising Bridgen’s invoking of the Holocaust, which I felt handed an easy win to the likes of Matt Hancock (shudder).
So it’s tricky. Clearly as a Pure Blood (which, if the hacks at Private Eye are reading and want to do another hit piece on me, is a term I use absolutely seriously and not at all as an amusing online meme) I am Team Bridgen.
I find Fraser/Spiked’s consistent use of the term ‘anti-vaxxer’ incredibly unhelpful. As I hardly need to remind Daily Sceptic readers, at one point this was not just a dehumanising slur, but a pretty frightening accusation.
With prominent figures like Piers Morgan, Andrew Neil and Karren Brady advocating things like no free health care, restricted movement and financial penalties for those who felt they didn’t need to take the vaccine, to be a vaccine sceptic was to live in a state of constant low-level apprehension about one’s future. And for many, that is putting it very mildly. Remember, Brady said explicitly:
My view is that we can’t force people to have jabs, but we can force vaccine refuseniks to live a far more difficult, inconvenient and restricted life, one that will also be more expensive because of mandatory testing.
And that is just one of many examples one could cite from media figures and politicians.
From my observations, many people have not recovered from this radical sense of alienation, and the chilling realisation of how quickly not just the media or the state, but friends, colleagues and even family members might throw you under the bus in a time of mass hysteria.
I think this accounts for a lot of the angry responses to Fraser’s recent articles.
Spiked would do well to extend its empathy a bit further, and consider that not all on the so-called ‘anti-vaxx’ side are mere lunatics.
Of course, that becomes more difficult once under attack, and the natural tendency is to dig in.
And some of the attacks from Bridgen supporters have also been nasty and unfair. It is not persuasive to accuse Fraser/Spiked of being “funded by Pfizer”, a point he pretty convincingly debunks in his latest piece. Much better to engage with the arguments he presents, as Will did so diligently in his Daily Sceptic piece.
There have even been attacks on Andrew Doyle for hosting the debate and allegedly taking Fraser’s side. These are simply unfair and untrue, and betray an unfortunate tendency amongst what I am now calling the ‘Purity Police’ – those on the anti-woke side who have overdosed Red Pills, knocking back a fair few Black Pills in the process, ending up in a position where anything short of the most extreme, most paranoid take renders you a totally cucked shill.
As Myers says in his most recent article:
The anti-vaxxers like to pose as original, daring thinkers. They are nothing of the sort. They have merely replaced the mindless dogmas of the establishment with the mindless talking points of a weird online subculture.
The ‘anti-vax’ slur aside, he is right, and I have made this point myself many times.
Although I sympathise with the so-called ‘conspiracy theorists’, who are often proved right (Wuhan lab leak, anyone?), and at very least have a healthy sceptical spirit, there is a danger amongst some of abandoning that scepticism when it comes to their new, Red-Pilled narrative (more on that in my earlier piece for the Daily Sceptic).
In conclusion, Team Spiked should drop the ‘anti-vax’ slurs, Team Bridgen should drop the ‘who funds you?’ strawman, and we should all get back to focusing on the real problems: chemtrails and fluoride in the water.
Just kidding! Or am I? I’ll let Twitter decide. But please don’t tag me.
Nick Dixon is host of the Weekly Sceptic, with Toby Young, and The Current Thing.
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