Thursday was Carl’s turn to give evidence; for those who endured the wait and blank screens, a few things stood out, especially if you have watched or listened to the exchanges of the previous speakers (this past week, mainly public health folk and modellers).
In my naïvety, I thought the Inquiry would want to tackle basic concepts. For example, what is a case of Covid? Why you pressed to vaccinate children when it was clear they were not a priority? Why did you close schools (for the same reason)? What was done to tackle hospital-acquired infections? What was the evidence for the test and trace programme, mask mandates, granny in the garden and so on?
We had prepared the ground for what we thought would be a searching and fair show, aimed at identifying the mistakes and the costs to society and ensuring that granny would not die in isolation ever again and the police would not check your shopping.
Carl had been preparing for months and twice redrafted the evidence he submitted on September 24th, which he posted on Trust the Evidence. In the end, it came to 67 pages.
With previous witnesses, the KCs seemed to ask what, in legal jargon, were a load of leading questions, phrased in such a way that all the respondent had to do was answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and come out smelling of roses. Strange, I thought. Even stranger was the fawning of both KCs and Baroness over folk whose work we have shown to be based on ‘assumptions’.
I was even more surprised when, in the session preceding Carl’s (which overran its time, gave more fawning time to a modeller and restricted the time allotted to Carl), the following exchange was shown from a series of WhatsApp exchanges:
The context was the famous remote meeting with the then-PM. One person is an official, the other an adviser. The adviser (a modeller) was asked by the KC if the person elegantly identified by the official as “f***wit” was Carl, to which the modeller assented or seemed to. Being a modeller, you are never quite sure what is going on. Maybe this was a revenge act for showing what models are made of. Perhaps it was part of something a bit more sinister.
Then came Carl’s turn. There was no fawning here, just questions seemingly undermining his credentials and canvassing his opinions on the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD). The relevance to Carl is lost on me as he did not write the Declaration nor sign it, as the non-plussed KC realised. This is what I call a Fauci question — asking a researcher to publicly interpret someone else’s work (like I was asked by CNN to do with Dr. Fauci’s statements – which I refused to do). If they wanted to get to the bottom of the GBD rationale, they should have asked those who wrote it or at least signed it.
Then the KC waded in further:
This is where I started smelling a very big rattus norvegicus.
Then, at the end (when the video had switched off) came the Baroness’s knockout blow: “if there are other matters that you wish me to explore, by all means submit them in writing”. That’s funny, considering the 64 pages were completely ignored.
We will get back on some of the issues that yesterday’s session shed light on, but in my view, this is going to go as follows: it was all Boris’s fault and Rishi’s (politely referred to as “Dr. Death” in the exchange). We should have locked down harder, sooner and longer, and bang! SARS-CoV-2 would have vanished like snow off a dyke. ‘Follow the models’ will be the Inquiry’s closing motto.
We did not lock down soon enough because a band of ‘let it rip’ contrarians delayed this and that and, after all, politicians are only as good as the advice they get.
So, dear readers, here’s the question for you: should we spend any more time covering the Inquiry, given that rattus norvegicus is out of the bag, or should we spend our time on more productive topics?
Let us know your views, please.
Here is the transcript of the whole October 19th session.
Dr. Tom Jefferson is an epidemiologist based in Rome and lead author of the latest update to the Cochrane review of physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. This article was first published on Trust The Evidence, which you can subscribe to here.