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Guy de la Bédoyère

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Why I’ve Had the Jab

by Guy de la Bédoyère One of the great virtues of this site has been the exchange of views in lively debate. It allows Lockdown Sceptics to be an island of measured sanity (at least sometimes!) in a sea of madness. In that spirit Toby invited me to write a piece about why I had a Covid vaccination. My decision was an individual one based on a variety of previous experiences and so it should be for everyone else, but the fact remains that all sorts of considerations arise in these most unusual of circumstances. The only message I have is that each of us should make our own judgements about what we do. Nobody should be forcing anyone to have the vaccine, and nobody should be hurling abuse at someone for deciding to have it. That kind of intolerance, on both sides, has become quite common of late and it’s a great pity. I also don’t think it’s worth adopting an entrenched dogmatic position. That creates hostages to fortune. Circumstances, and diseases, change. Deal with the situation at hand. Until last winter I’d never had a flu vaccine – I’ve never had flu so I didn’t see the point, and I’d managed nine years teaching in a secondary school until the age of 58 without having a single day...

Response to Vaccine Passports

by Guy de la Bédoyère The other day I wrote a piece for Lockdown Sceptics in which I referred to my intention to have the vaccine, though in fact the piece was about the terrible prospect of governments chasing after zero Covid. That piece has now been responded to on this site by an anonymous academic who explained his/her belief that vaccine passports make a mockery of free consent, and that I was in error when comparing the choice to have a vaccine with whether or not to choose to have a driving licence. The author also seemed to have concluded that I am in favour of vaccine passports. Indeed, it had never occurred to me that it might be read that way. Not only was I not talking about vaccine passports, but I also do not have a view on them, either pro or against so I was completely bewildered by the piece. I am reserving that judgement for when and if they are introduced. The author’s argument was that having a driving licence had nothing to do with being obliged to have a medical procedure. Really? That, I think, completely missed my point. I was talking about how we currently accept driving licences to protect us all from unqualified drivers or passports (not ‘vaccine passports’) to help protect...

The Ne Plus Ultra of Zero-Zealotry

by Guy de la Bédoyère Those of us contribute to and read Lockdown Sceptics have had the opportunity to consider a wide range of views. There’s been a healthy debate. I’ve tried to steer something of a middle course in an effort to find common ground that might help us get out of this mess. I’ll lay my cards on the table. I am going to be vaccinated as soon as I can. That is my choice, and I am glad that it is my choice. I accept for example that in order to protect other people I needed to learn to drive and to have a driving licence to prove it. Similarly, I accept the normal passport as a means of proving who I am and protecting me and everyone else from maniacs and others not entitled to come to this country. I also accept that there are consequences of making choices. If I choose not to have a driving licence, then I would have to accept I cannot drive on a public road. And I doubt if anyone would want me to. If I chose freely not to have a passport then I would not be allowed to travel. So, I have no problem with the notion of vaccine choice as another facet of choice with consequences. I grew...

Who Has Lost Out The Most?

by Guy de la Bédoyère I wonder how helpful at this stage Dr Alberto Giubilini’s article really is. It belongs to a range of claims that one group or another has suffered more or less than others either from lockdowns or other Covid-suppression measures. In this case, he argues that the young have been hit more than anyone else in the Government’s quest to make us all pay the price for Covid in the interests of ideological moralism. Some of what he says is true. I certainly agree with him that the media’s obsession with trying to find unrepresentative stories about younger people dying from Covid in an attempt to make a false extrapolation that ‘we’re all in it together’ is grossly misleading. The data, as he says, speaks for itself and only in this last week we have learned the sad fact that 60% percent of Covid-related deaths in the last year in the UK have occurred to the disabled, confirmed by the ONS. And it is absolutely correct that young people’s lives and prospects are being devastated for the sake of something that barely affects them. With four adult children of my own, all in their thirties, I am painfully aware of the impact of lockdowns and other restrictions on their lives and those of their own children....

‘Existing Isn’t Living’ – Charles Walker MP on Radio 4’s World at One

by Guy de la Bédoyère I freely admit that of late I have tried to adopt a more conciliatory tone, frustrated by the polarisation of the debate about how to get out of this crisis and the apparent inability of people to listen to each other. But with the news getting worse every day, vaccines gradually diminishing as an escape as scientists reel back at the earth-shattering discovery that viruses mutate, and lockdowns turning into a permanent policy in the fantasy world of Zero Covid (now they are necessary to help the fight against mutations), I am close to the point of giving up. Living in Britain in 2021 is like cowering in a submarine while enemy depth charges explode all around you. You daren’t rise to the surface and instead just sink lower and lower. The only difference is it’s our own Government dropping them. I don’t mean to sound trite. I’m well aware what real despair and depression can do to people. I have seen it at first hand. But as things stand it’s getting more and more difficult to understand what the point of carrying on is, if the only vision of the future the Government and large swathes of the population have is of living in a country where we can’t do anything, can’t see anyone...

Striking the Right Balance

by Guy de la Bédoyère Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.Karl Popper, philosopher One of the most unedifying developments in the whole debate about lockdowns has been the descent into ever more polarised positions, especially the vilification of anyone deemed to be a dissenter about the efficacy of lockdowns. But it cuts both ways. Some who dispute lockdowns have been as intolerant of the other point of view. Why is this? I think because as the crisis has deepened and lengthened, it has proved to be beyond any easy resolution. Lockdowns have worked in certain ways, but they certainly haven’t exterminated the virus and they aren’t sustainable. We have had three lockdowns, but they haven’t stopped a chronically high death rate. Non-lockdowns haven’t worked either. We can pick and choose our data, but almost every country has paid a price of sorts. Now you can see the ever-mounting recriminations. The most ardent proponents of lockdowns, including those who were ambivalent at the start, blame the Government for not being quick enough, sustained enough, or committed enough, and anyone else for somehow being complicit in the deaths of Covid victims. Those most opposed to lockdowns...

Quo Vadimus?

By Guy de la Bédoyère (‘Where are we going?’) It’s worth starting by reminding ourselves that the situation we are now would have been unimaginable even as late as last September. All the privations and sacrifices of the previous six months were weathered by the majority of the population on the basis of various promises and undertakings made by the Government and its scientific advisers. Far from getting better, as we all now know to our costs the crisis has become far worse and there seems to be no end in sight. Of course, at this stage blaming the Government or indeed anyone else for how we got here is pointless. It achieves nothing. Castigating Boris Johnson or Neil Ferguson now for the decisions made in 2020 is as futile as the efforts of Neil O’Brien and his friends to pin our present malaise on the shoulders of anyone who has dared to question how we reached this point. It’s a waste of energy and, more to the point, achieves nothing except to try and find a scapegoat for a natural disaster nobody and no government was ever going to be able to tackle without a hideous level of collateral damage. The truth is that the crisis was out of control long before anyone knew there was a crisis to...

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March 2023
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