Fear

Brits Told To “Keep Life Moving” by Wearing Face Masks in New Government Scare Campaign

It’s as if ‘Freedom Day’ never happened. A new Government ad campaign tells Brits to carry on wearing face masks and to use the NHS Covid app so as to “keep life moving”. One poster warns that “Covid is still with us” and that you can still pass on the virus “even if you’ve been vaccinated”: “[So] let’s wear face coverings in crowded places to protect others.” The Evening Standard has the story.

An official information campaign, which will hit airwaves, newspapers and other media from Thursday, will see the Government replace its “hands, face, space, fresh air” slogan with its new catchphrase: “Keep life moving.”

A video fronted by TV doctor Dr Amir Khan will also recommend people continue to follow social distancing guidance, as the film shows a young man stepping off a pavement to allow an older neighbour to pass.

The advice comes despite Monday being trumpeted as England’s ‘Freedom Day’, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson removing almost all legal restrictions, including social distancing guidelines.

Pressure has also been placed on young people to get a vaccine, as Health Secretary Sajid Javid reiterates the Prime Minister’s plan to make full vaccination a “condition of entry to nightclubs” by the autumn.

The campaign will warn, however, that being doubled jabbed does not entirely protect you from being infected with coronavirus, or from being told to self-isolate.

The campaign instructs people to stick with the behaviour that has become “second nature” over the past year of lockdowns. This advice appears to have been pulled directly out of Susan Michie’s rule book. In June, the top Government adviser and long-time member of the Communist Party of Britain said measures adopted during the pandemic should become part of our “normal” routine behaviour, just as wearing car seat belts has become commonplace. The Evening Standard continues:

The recommendations include using quick-result lateral flow tests twice a week and booking a PCR test if there is any sign of even mild coronavirus symptoms.

People will be encouraged to keep washing their hands regularly, to check in to pubs, bars and restaurants using the Covid app, and to wear face masks in crowded places where “distancing is not possible”, such as public transport or small shops.

It will also place renewed emphasis on the importance of ventilation in fighting infection during social gatherings, while vaccine take-up will also be pushed.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: “Mask-wearers, in my experience, need no encouragement,” says Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens. “So what’s the aim?”

Man Calls for Introduction of Arm Bands That Show Wearer Has Weakened Immune System and Would Like to Keep Distance

It was revealed last week that the BBC is offering white lanyards to staff who are returning to the office but would like to continue ‘social distancing’. The Corporation has since exceeded itself by publishing an article highlighting “calls” for the introduction of wearable symbols showing that the wearer has a weakened immune system and would like to keep a distance.

There’s just one call mentioned in the article, actually, from a man who would like the system to become an “accepted way of people identifying themselves”.

Neil Collingwood, 64, from Leek, Staffordshire, said the ending of England’s lockdown rules on July 19th was not good news for people less able to fight off Covid. 

Even people with two vaccine jabs were not completely without risk, he said. 

He has made a prototype armband.

It “is bright orange and uses the universal symbol for first aid”, Mr Collingwood explained. 

He has it in mind for adults with weakened immune systems, or who are immuno-suppressed, and less able to battle infections naturally. …

“There are about half a million people in the U.K. whose immune systems are not effective,” he said. 

Recent studies suggest they do not receive as much protection from Covid vaccines as other people.

Mr Collingwood, who has chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a form of blood cancer, as well as type one diabetes, leaves the house only to exercise and occasionally take photographs as part of his work as a historian and author. …

“I’ve already had people who have refused to get out of my way,” he said, “with one person shouting ‘grow up it’s not going to kill you.'”

“Some of the people in my situation may be 10 or 12 years old, they will never – as things stand – be able to have normal lives,” said Mr Collingwood. 

“I probably don’t have all that long left, but I’m damned if I want to sacrifice what time I have got left because of stupidity, and the fact we are not being considered as a very important vulnerable group.”

Worth reading in full.

BBC Offers Lanyards to Staff Wanting to Continue Social Distancing When Returning to the Office

Having recognised that a sizeable proportion of its workforce does not want to return to normality just yet, the BBC is offering white lanyards to staff who are returning to the office but would like to continue ‘social distancing’. Employees are also being asked to disclose their vaccination status, but they have been told they will still be able to come to offices if they have not been vaccinated against Covid. The Telegraph has the story.

A memo sent to BBC employees on Friday by Bob Shennan, the BBC’s Managing Director, said the organisation “knows that some of you are anxious about returning to the office” in September.

“To address this, we are introducing a new white BBC lanyard to indicate that the wearer wishes to be given extra space. If you see a colleague wearing this lanyard then please respect their position,” he wrote.

He told staff the white lanyards would co-exist with their “sunflower” equivalents used by people with hidden disabilities. 

BBC staff were also informed that the number of people allowed to use office lifts simultaneously would rise as more employees return to the office. 

Some signs restricting the amount of toilet facilities that can be used would also be removed, Mr Shennan wrote.

A BBC spokesman said: “We’re taking some simple and effective steps for staff safety and to ensure that critical public services remain on air.”

The Government has endorsed homemade badges made by the “Distance Aware” initiative that read “please give me space” and encouraged people to print them out at home if they were worried about a lack of social distancing.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: A reader has been in touch with details of an email sent to the staff at his local gym containing instructions from the Government to “set a good example” by continuing to wear face masks.

Just been to my Nuffield gym in Kingston, chatting to the trainer and he showed me the email to all staff from the CEO. Apparently, all the big health clubs and gyms were ordered in to see the Government and were told they must “do their bit” from July 19th. That means all staff carrying on wearing masks in order to “set a good example”. So, this is coming from the Government, not the health clubs and you can bet if gyms were ordered in so were supermarkets, etc. Say no more. Not really freedom is it?

Ipsos MORI Poll Showing Large Support for Permanent Restrictions Far Off the Mark, New Data Suggests

A new polling organisation, Prolific, has challenged recent polling by Ipsos MORI that suggested a surprisingly high percentage of Brits believe lockdown restrictions should stay in place “permanently”.

Prolific believed that if the questions asked by Ipsos MORI were changed slightly, the results would come out very differently. How right it was! The results of its own poll have been published in the Financial Times.

A 70-person Oxford-based polling start-up called Prolific… decided to carry out their own 24-hour survey, using a representative sample of 978 people in the U.K. – very similar to the Ipsos poll which surveyed 1,025 people – to see what the results would be if they changed the questions a little. As they explained to us: 

“We ran pretty much the same study as Ipsos, but we… adapted our survey accordingly. Specifically: 

“We added a timeframe to the study, ‘Until Restrictions lift on July 19th’ We removed the word ‘rule’ from the study and replaced it with ‘idea’ 

“We modified the wording of the scale items to make it seem less like a rule, e.g. ‘Having to wear masks in shops and on public transport’ → ‘Wearing a mask in shops and on public transport’ .”

Prolific also changed the question that Ipsos had asked about restrictions remaining in place “permanently, regardless of the risk of Covid” to “permanently, even if there were little to no risk of Covid” – as we pointed out in our post earlier this week, the word “risk” tends to have negative associations, 

And it turns out the results from all these changes were rather different. Specifically: 

“Just three per cent support a permanent curfew, compared to 19% according to Ipsos.

“Just six per cent support permanent closure of nightclubs, compared to 26% according to Ipsos.

“13% supported a permanent 10-day quarantine when returning from foreign holidays, compared with 31% according to Ipsos. 

When it came to masks, there was slightly less of a difference between the two polls: 31% said they should continue to be worn in shops and on public transport, compared with 40% in the Ipsos poll who said wearing a mask in a public place should be mandatory. 

Here is what the Prolific poll results look like as a whole, compared with the Ipsos results represented as crosses (full key below):

What a difference! And as Will Jones recently highlighted, “actions speak louder than words”. The fact that so many people are deleting the NHS Covid app – or never downloaded it in the first place – is surely an indication of the true level of support behind Covid restrictions.

Worth reading in full.

How Would You Prepare Your Former Self for the Age of Covid?

We are publishing an excellent comment today by reader Jimi Cazot that he wrote in response to a Telegraph article on the introduction of Covid vaccine passports. Jimi asks: “If you could go back 10 years and speak to your former self, what would you tell that unsuspecting fool?” His answer below is bound to resonate with many readers.

In the future, many of your national assets will be owned by China. Most of the goods you buy will be made there too, which you will not purchase from your fellow countrymen but a sole supplier owned by an American.

The most successful politicians will not be elder statesmen committed to public service but young upstarts who view the job as a stepping stone towards tremendous personal wealth in later life.

Your Government will pass bills to quash peaceful protest and enable the recruitment of child spies. This won’t be limited to the intelligence services but bodies like the environmental and food standards agencies too. When you ask “why”, nobody will be able to tell you.

Your Government will set up ‘nudge units’ staffed by unknown behavioural scientists. They will tell you what to eat, drink and how you should behave. There will be patronising health and safety signs everywhere you look.

“The media will grow dependent on Government advertising revenue and cease reporting opinions and events that contradict official narratives.

The internet will be dominated by a small number of big-tech companies who will delete all information that they disagree with.

In the name of safeguarding students from harm, schools and universities will cease debate and enquiry. People with contrary views will be barred from campuses. Even student newspapers will be censored by ‘sensitivity readers’.

At work, you will be made to undergo psychological re-education. The people lecturing you will have no knowledge of psychology but nonetheless try to change you at a subconscious level.

People will be sacked from their jobs for saying there are two biological sexes or for telling an ill-judged joke. They will not be forgiven if they apologise.

Every major institution and employer will sign up to this censorious culture and soon you will censor yourself when speaking to friends and colleagues without even knowing that you’ve done so.

When a virus emerges that only kills 0.3% of those who catch it – the majority of which older than the average span of a life – you will be bombarded, 24-hours a day, by terrifying public messaging.

The police will stop you from meeting a friend for a coffee in the park. They will rummage through your shopping bags to make sure you’ve only bought things that they deem essential. They will film you as you walk in the countryside and put the footage on the internet so to shame you.

Neighbour will be told to spy on neighbour, and when you have friends round for dinner the police will knock on your door and give you a fine.

You will be told to stay two metres away from other people at all times. You will be made to wear a facemask even though there’s no evidence that they do anything at all. When this becomes apparent, scientists will say you must wear them so as not to frighten other people. Your freedom will end where another’s fear begins.

Families will be kept from dying loved ones. Widows will be denied the comfort of human touch. Daughters will be arrested for collecting their mothers from care homes.

Vast numbers of children will be sent home from school and denied a proper education just because one classmate lost their sense of smell.

Weddings will be cancelled. Nightclubs will be closed. Churches will be shut. Singing and dancing will be prohibited. Lovers will be kept apart.

Vaccines will be created using messenger ribonucleic acid technology. When the inventor of that technology warns against its use by those at little risk from the virus, records of him will be expunged and someone more ‘helpful’ will be credited with his work.

You will be told that the vaccine isn’t compulsory, yet those who refuse might be sacked from their jobs. They will be made to queue for longer at airports. They will be put under house arrest if they come into contact with someone who has the virus, whilst those who have had it will not. They will be stopped from going to bars and stadiums. There will be two classes of people: the clean and the unclean.

Your unassailable and decadent leaders will ignore the rules they set for others again and again, blissfully untroubled by the cries of hypocrisy.

Global leaders, bureaucrats, scientists, royalty and the super-rich will meet in private to discuss how we all must live. They’ll say there are too many people and not enough resources, but nobody will ask who we should get rid of and how. Blinded by hubris, they’ll believe that they alone can bring about a utopian future. The language they speak will be impenetrable to most, it made up of meaningless phrases like ‘stakeholder capitalism’, ‘collectivisation’, ‘sustainable development’ and ‘Build Back Better’. Every now and then, however, they’ll make things very clear: “You will own nothing. You will rent everything. You will be happy.”

Few will question what this means, how it will be brought about or what mandate they have for doing so. Those who do, or any of the above, will be insulted, ridiculed and so pushed to the margins of society that they are effectively silenced.

Most will stand on their front doorstep at 8pm every Thursday, clapping their hands and bashing saucepans.

Now, what do you think your former self would say?

Therapists Warn Of Rise in Anxiety over the Easing of Restrictions

Reports suggest that a high proportion of Brits not only disagree with the easing of lockdown restrictions on July 19th (or ever, in some cases) but are also seeking help from mental health organisations due to their anxiety over ‘Freedom Day’. MailOnline has the story.

One in five people are suffering from what experts have dubbed “Covid Anxiety Syndrome”, with people reporting fears of losing control as the restriction rules put in place to protect people from contracting the virus are removed.

Meanwhile, mental health charities have warned of a surge in treatment requests while an opinion poll has revealed half of people want restrictions to remain in place.

Research by the London South Bank University (LSBU), shows that 40% of respondents to a survey avoid touching things in public, and nearly 25% are avoiding being in public places. 

Professor Marcantonio Spada from LSBU’s Centre for Addictive Behaviours and Professor Ana Nikčević from Kingston University first identified the concept of Covid Anxiety Syndrome in April 2020.

Their research found that people were developing a particular set of behaviours as a result of their fear of the virus.

Covid Anxiety Syndrome consists of forms of coping such as a constant attention to threat, worry, avoidance and excessive checking, that can keep people locked into a state of continuous anxiety and fear of contracting the virus.

Professor Marcantonio Spada, Professor of Addictive Behaviours and Mental Health at LSBU, said: “Our data indicates that after one month of re-opening of society many people are still struggling with aspects of Covid Anxiety Syndrome, a similar figure to what we previously observed during full lockdown.

“This means that there are still many people who find it difficult to disengage from the Covid threats which may make return to normal daily living harder as restrictions ease.

“Our new findings show how vital it is that people affected by Covid Anxiety Syndrome receive support. Mapping out how we will do this will become a priority for mental health service providers.”

Meanwhile, an opinion poll carried out for the Observer has revealed 50% of people believe Freedom Day should be pushed back.

The poll, of more than 2,000 people, also revealed around 65% will continue to wear masks in shops and supermarkets while 54% will wear them on public transport. …

Research by mental health charities backs up the findings, with Mind reporting that 55% of adults and young people are concerned about seeing and being near others when restrictions ease next week. 

Nearly half, 46%, of those who have been vaccinated, say they are still concerned they will catch the virus. 

It comes after Mind reported that one in four adults experienced mental distress for the first time during the pandemic, with NHS figures showing an increase in people’s contact with mental health services since March 2020.   

Worth reading in full.

Alarming Number of Brits Want Restrictions to Continue Permanently, According to New Poll

Last month, leading SAGE member and renowned Communist Susan Michie caused a stir (among sceptics, at least) by suggesting that mask-wearing and social distancing should become part of our “normal” routine behaviour and stay in place “forever“. Unfortunately, her view is not quite as fringe as we might hope.

New polling by Ipsos MORI for the Economist suggests that a high percentage of Brits believe a number of lockdown restrictions should stay in place “permanently”, including nighttime curfews (19%), travel quarantine (35%), and face masks (a whopping 40%!). Well over 40% of Brits also believe that only those who have been vaccinated against Covid – and are able to prove it – should be allowed to travel abroad (“permanently”).

Matthew Holehouse, a British Politics Correspondent at the Economist, says this could be an anomalous result because we’re living through a “very strange time for public opinion”: “Do some people struggle to differentiate how they feel now from how they’ll feel once covid is gone?” Either way, the results are alarming.

The write-up from the Economist is worth reading if you can get past the paywall.

Stop Press: There’s bad news from YouGov, too. Its latest polling suggests that more than one-fifth of Brits are “very nervous” about lockdown restrictions ending and more than 50% are either “very nervous” or “fairly nervous”.

What kind of nation have we become?

The YouGov findings are also worth viewing in full.

“Existing in Lockdown Is Not Enough – Some of Us Want to Live!”

There’s a great letter in the Telegraph today asking where broadcasters find Brits who want to remain in lockdown. These people may be happy to merely “exist”, the author writes, but “some of us want to live”! Judging from England fans filling Wembley Stadium and dancing in streets across the country last night, many more are in the “get back to normal” camp than some reporters suggest.

SIR – Television reporters constantly interview members of the public who claim that they don’t want lockdown to end. Where do they find these people?

If their lives have not been blighted by the lockdowns of the last 16 months, I can only assume that they don’t work or run a business; they don’t go shopping; they never eat out; they don’t have school-age children or students in their family; they don’t know anyone in hospital or a care home; they don’t have health problems or ever need to see a GP; they never go on holiday; they never go to the theatre, a cinema or to a concert; they don’t support a charity; they neither attend nor support nor try to organise a local club or organisation; they don’t go to public talks or meetings; they don’t have or want any social contact; their family never plans an event such as a wedding; they don’t wish to attend any funerals.

This amounts to existing, not living. Some of us want to live!

Valerie Monaghan
Cowbridge, Glamorgan

Ugandans Told to Lock Down or Get Locked Up

Ugandans, whose Ministry of Health preaches the idea of “fighting the virus not the people”, have been told that they could be thrown into prison if they break lockdown rules by operating banned businesses or even by not wearing a face mask when outside. BBC News has the story.

According to new rules released by the Health Ministry in a statutory document, those found operating banned businesses such as bars, nightclubs, cinemas and shops selling non-food items face time in prison.

Current lockdown measures also restrict cultural ceremonies like weddings to only 20 people, and anyone found hosting a larger number might be jailed.

Heads of households or owners of premises or property who fail to report people infected with Covid to health officials may be imprisoned as well.

Not wearing a mask outside of one’s residence or assisting someone to escape from quarantine, could land one in jail.

Since the country first went into lockdown in March 2020, security forces have in some cases meted out violence on the public while enforcing control measures and several people have been killed.

Officials warn that Uganda is currently going through a second wave of Covid infections which should have peaked by early August.

Graphic from Reuters.

Lockdown rule-breaking – which also includes praying in open places – could land Ugandans in prison for two months, according to Voice of America. State Minister for Health Anifa Kawooya says the new measures are necessary. “These penalties are not punishments. In one way, it is to instil attitude change… That the moment that you know that if I don’t observe these [standard operating procedures], this will happen.”

The BBC News report is worth reading in full.

Five Year-Olds Are Suffering Panic Attacks About Meeting Friends After More Than a Year of Lockdowns

It’s not just adults who have been affected by the Covid campaign of fear. Children as young as five are now having panic attacks over meeting their friends following more than a year of lockdowns, according to the Telegraph.

Experts said young children had become increasingly anxious, with some fearful of leaving their homes, amid an explosion in “locked-in trauma” across the country.

Waits of up to four years for help on the NHS have forced a growing number of families to seek help from private psychologists – only to find that they are oversubscribed and unable to take on more patients, a Telegraph investigation reveals.

Leading private therapists said they are taking twice the normal level of calls from worried parents, forcing them to turn away patients, or open waiting lists for the first time in their careers.

Experts said many children were suffering behavioural problems fuelled by lockdowns, social distancing and fear of infection, with many now anxious about everyday social activities…

Dame Rachel De Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England, said a survey of more than 550,000 children – the largest such poll in history – will show mental health to be the greatest concern of this generation of children.

She said her visits across the country, as part of a forthcoming commission, had found children suffering “locked-in trauma” and struggling to adjust to changes to their lives since the pandemic…

Dame Rachel told [a meeting run by the NHS Confederation]: “I’ve been around the country and seen those sad little faces… putting their arms around their friends as they tell me about having their trauma from losing a grandparent, not being able to go to a funeral. Coming out of lockdown and not knowing how to make friends anymore, not knowing how to talk to anyone else,” she said…

During the 12 months since the first lockdown, 420,504 children and young people have received NHS treatment for mental health problems, an 11% rise in two years.

But experts say this is just a tiny proportion of those who need help.

Child Psychologist Maryhan Baker has seen demand for her services double in recent months, with average waiting times jumping from two weeks to nearly four months.

“I’m working longer hours and more evenings to fit more people in but the demand is beyond my own individual capability,” she said.

She said many parents who approached her for help had been warned by GPs “not to bother” waiting for an NHS appointment.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better. There are a lot of children who were maybe just a bit anxious before the pandemic presenting now with compulsions, eating disorders, self-harm and other control behaviours,” she said.

Worth reading in full.