Government Fear Propaganda Made Covid Worse, Says Report

A new inquiry by the charity Sense about Science has concluded that the Government’s top-down attitude to the pandemic and simplistic and exaggerated messaging hindered the public’s ability to respond and caused unnecessary harm. Amy Jones at UnHerd has more.

The inquiry used testimony from expert witnesses combined with new population surveys to analyse the impact of the Government’s approach and communications during the pandemic. It found that, rather than empowering individuals to make sensible decisions based on risk and knowledge about the pandemic, the government instead chose to focus on simplistic slogans, such as ‘hands, face, space’ and stringent universal rules.

By focusing on such paternalistic messaging, the government at times misled the public, for example leading people to believe that their risk of infection was higher than it actually was (the inquiry notes this is particularly true of children and the young.) In an attempt to increase compliance with the rules – even after evidence showed a huge disparity in risk for different age groups – the Government continued to imply that Covid didn’t discriminate.

This meant that groups at lower risk, such as children, were subject to stringent, harmful restrictions, the impact of which could have been reduced or avoided. It also meant that resources weren’t adequately allocated to those who were most at risk. As such, there was a failure to consider the cost of different interventions, which should be standard practice for policy decisions.

Modelling scenarios, for example, did not consider the harm of school closures, and therefore failed to consider optimal strategies for keeping children in school. The Government failed to effectively communicate the rationale behind such policy decisions, instead simply issuing blanket decrees – something which harmed people’s ability to adequately judge risks. In the first few months of the pandemic, the inquiry found that 60% of policies were set out in press releases, rather than in policy documents, and around 90% provided no clear link to the available evidence behind policy decisions.

“Deaths Have Increased Cumulatively”: BBC Producer’s “Asinine” Defence of False Extreme Weather Claim

Fresh insights into the techniques used by the BBC to catastrophise climate change are revealed in an exchange of letters with the producer of Justin Rowlatt’s  “Wild Weather” Panorama and a former producer of Top Gear. Justifying the Rowlatt suggestion that global weather is getting warmer and more unpredictable and the death toll is rising, the programme’s producer Leo Telling said the latter figure was “cumulative”. In reply, Ken Pollock called the explanation “asinine”, and suggested Telling recognised that: “The death toll in the U.K. is cumulative. It is difficult to imagine it not increasing, if you quote cumulative figures,” he explained.

The “Wild Weather” programme, broadcast in December 2020, was an emotion-charged rant that tried to show that human-caused climate change was behind a series of recent bad weather events. It led to two internal complaints being upheld against Rowlatt. On the death toll claim, the BBC accepted that deaths from natural disasters have actually been falling for many years.

Telling then went on to argue that heatwaves will lead to excess deaths in vulnerable groups with a lower tolerance to extreme temperatures. In addition, he stated that the heatwaves will lead to avoidable deaths through wildfires.

“How can you write with a straight face that heatwaves will kill more and more people,” replied Pollock, “without also accepting that cold kills 10 times as many people every year and extra heat may save far more people?”

How do you reconcile the fact that Singapore and Helsinki have average temperatures differing by 22°C, and yet you accept that a further 1°C could spell disaster, he went on to ask.

HSBC Rival Backs Free Speech After Suspension of Banker Over Criticism of Climate Change Activism

The head of one of HSBC’s biggest rivals defended free speech after HSBC suspended a senior banker for criticising the hysterical tone of the climate debate. The Telegraph has the story.

Bill Winters, Chief Executive of the FTSE 100 bank Standard Chartered, warned that “it’s increasingly difficult to speak out against anything” following the backlash against Stuart Kirk, HSBC’s head of responsible investing.

Mr Kirk was suspended by HSBC on Sunday after he took aim at climate activists and said “who cares if Miami is six metres underwater in 100 years?”.

Speaking to the Telegraph in Davos, Mr. Winters said that people “should speak their mind” and hinted that he would not have suspended Mr. Kirk, calling the presentation “very colourful”.

He added: “Do I agree with the views? No. Do I encourage free speech? Yes.” 

It comes amid a wider push to reconsider fossil fuel investment in light of the energy crisis sparked by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

In Britain, ministers are pressing oil and gas companies to invest in new projects in the North Sea just months after the COP26 climate change conference.

The Chief Executive of Saudi Arabia business Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, said on Monday that more drilling is vital to prevent energy shortages…

There are wider concerns in the City that a fad for ‘ethical’ investment is shutting down debate.

Accenture’s Europe boss Jean-Marc Ollagnier said that he would not suspend an employee if they gave views in a personal capacity, adding it is “not our job to judge” employees’ views.

In December, the head of outsourcer Serco compared ethical investors to “people who eat sausages, but don’t want to know how they are made” and warned that a reluctance to back defence companies was putting national security at risk…

Human rights activists also accused HSBC of hypocrisy for preventing discussion of climate change while refusing to condemn a brutal crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong, where it makes most of its money.

Worth reading in full.

The Climate Thought Police Have Conveniently Forgotten the Lesson of Climategate

Slowly and surely the forces of climate science misinformation reach out from their academic bases to throttle debate and proscribe off-message reporting. Leading the way recently was the University of Exeter, where an Associate Professor of Geography found a “distinct problem” in pictures being published of blue seas and people on the beach during a summer heatwave while the climate is breaking down. Over in the Politics Department, another associate professor is investigating how computers can be used to help track down climate change wrongthink.

Writing in the Guardian, Associate Professor Saffron O’Neill complained that ‘fun in the sun’ photos were a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown. Such images, she said, “can hold the same power” as photos of the tanks in Tiananmen Square, and smoke billowing from the twin towers. Writing on the climate science site Watts Up With That?, Eric Worrall said his first thought was “someone should check for fungus growing in the University of Exeter water supply”. But seriously, he continued, “imagine what a locked down medieval dystopia we would all endure if these killjoys were fully in charge”. 

O’Neill’s paper of course assumes that climate breakdown is leading to hotter and more frequent heatwaves. “Not everyone is having fun during heatwaves superpowered by climate breakdown – for vulnerable people they can be deadly,” she says.

Governments Worried About Covid Misinformation Should Start With Their Own Lies and Distortions, Says U.S. State Attorney General

Governments concerned about Covid misinformation should start with their own lies and distortions, Indiana’s Attorney General has told the U.S. Government. In a submission to the U.S. Surgeon General, who had requested information on the impact of online health misinformation during the pandemic in the United States, Todd Rokita joined with leading scientists Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorff to set out nine examples of disinformation propagated by the CDC and other health organisations that have “shattered the public’s trust in science and public health and will take decades to repair”. Read their full submission below.

May 2nd 2022

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General 

Action: Request for Information (RFI)

Subject: Impact of Health Misinformation in the Digital Information Environment in the United States Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Response: COVID-19 Misinformation from Official Sources During the Pandemic

Submitting parties: Todd Rokita, Indiana Attorney General; Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine; and Dr. Kulldorff, Senior Research Fellow at the Brownstone Institute and former Professor at Harvard University School of Medicine.

The Office of the Surgeon General requested information on the prevalence of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of such misinformation on the U.S. public health system in order to be better prepared to respond to a future public health crisis.

We agree that misinformation has been a major problem during the pandemic. The spread of inaccurate scientific information has made it difficult for the public to make the right decisions to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from COVID-19 and the collateral public health damage arising from the pandemic countermeasures. As such, the disinformation has led to great harm in the lives and livelihoods of Americans. We submit the following examples of disinformation from the CDC and other health organisations that have shattered the public’s trust in science and public health and will take decades to repair. 

Forget Science – Climate Now Has a Central Role in The Culture Wars

One of my first tasks as a journalist in the late 1970s was to compile a “Major losses and catastrophes” page for a monthly reinsurance magazine. Sources were much scarcer in those days, but the back pages of the daily Lloyd’s List would supply various reports from shipping agents and news agencies. Every month there would be stories of large weather-related disasters including wildfires sweeping Australia, monsoons failing in Asia, droughts continuing in California, hundreds of people dying on a Philippines ferry caught in rough seas. At the time, I was intrigued at how little of this made the headlines in the U.K. Go forward a few years and we have global catastrophes, morning, noon and night. Bad weather has been politicised to spread widespread fear and anxiety as established elites pursue their subsidy-driven, command-and-control Net Zero political project.

Journalist Helen O’Callaghan put it succinctly in the Irish Examiner recently: “Whether it’s watching a David Attenborough interview, or seeing fires raging in California, becoming aware of the climate emergency is leading to anxiety and distress.”

The medical journal the Lancet published a paper in 2020 stating that ecological grief and anxiety were reasonable and functional responses to climate-related losses, and, needless to say, an “urgent response is needed from clinicians, public health practitioners and policy makers”. The American Psychological Association goes on to note that climate change mental health disorders include “trauma and shock, PTSD, anxiety and depression that can lead to suicidal ideation and risky behaviour”. Community-wide impacts are said to include interpersonal violence, including domestic and child abuse.

Covid in Australia – a Doctor’s Perspective

There follows a guest post by a doctor in Australia, who prefers to remain anonymous, about his experience of the pandemic Down Under.

I entered General Practice 34 years ago in rural New South Wales. Needless to say, the changes since then have been immense.

In 1988, most GP’s admitted and cared for patients in hospitals, did regular house calls, delivered babies, performed surgery and practiced anaesthetics. Now, other than in remote rural locations, very few provide any of these services. As many patients inform me, most GPs seem to want to only look at their computers, order tests, prescribe drugs, give immunisations and refer to the specialists.

Twenty years ago, I underwent specialist training in Sports and Exercise Medicine, and now work purely in that area. I remain, however, registered as a General Practitioner. The Australian health system has plenty of similarities with the British system, though has a number of features which differentiate the two. In Australia, the vast majority of GPs work in the private system, working as contractors to health centres, being employed by private practices, running practices themselves, or in a dwindling number of cases working as solo GPs. Very few work as employees of the public sector or NGOs.

Each state has a Health Department, which can impose different regulations on GPs, such as Covid vaccination requirements, and runs the public hospitals in that state; the Federal Government also has a Health Department which oversees the registration of doctors, pharmaceutical benefits scheme and health budgets. Registration is governed by the Australian Health Professional Regulation Agency (AHPRA) via the Medical Boards. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) controls drug and device availability. There are both Federal and State Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) dictating policy settings. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is a lobby group representing less than 15% of doctors, but has political sway. Continuing education and training is provided by the Colleges – in the case of General Practice, this is both the Royal Australian College of General Practice (RACGP) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACCRM).

Early on after the advent of the Covid vaccination program, the TGA banned prescription of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for Covid infections, partly as they were seen as possible threats to vaccine uptake. Recently, the prescription of hydroxychloroquine for Covid infections again became legal, though only in Queensland.

Climate Scare Stories Flood Local Media, Courtesy of Well-Funded U.S. Green Agitprop Operation

Coming soon to a local newspaper near you – your own customised climate catastrophe story. All those much loved local landmarks, weep as they disappear beneath the waves within 30 years.

Last month the Wiltshire Times reported that vast areas of south west England could be under water by 2050 due to global warming. Among the sites that could be lost is Gloucester Cathedral, sited at an elevation of 19 metres. Last year it was turn of the Dorset Echo to inform its readers that the waters would soon be lapping around the village of Lytchett Minster, a mere 17 metres above sea level. Measuring sea level rise is a difficult task, not least because land also rises and falls. Satellite data has helped but estimates still vary around a 1-2mm annual increase. Even at the higher rate, it would take over 8,000 years to lap the steps of these two sites.

Of course fear-inducing stories like these do not just suddenly appear. Behind them is a seemingly well-funded American green agitprop operation called Climate Central. Based in Princeton, New Jersey, it claims to work with news outlets “to produce compelling and scientifically accurate feature stories”, helped by its own research. On the flood stories, it supplies a free interactive map and web tools that can be used by often cash-strapped local media to produce catastrophe-laced stories, based on what are obviously wildly improbable sea level rises.

Government Petition Sites That Never Lead to Change are Part of the Managed Illusion of Democracy

There follows a guest post by Dr. David Seedhouse, Honorary Professor of Deliberative Practice at Aston University, who says the public are being fobbed off with a Government petition website that never brings about any change.

For the last year I have run a website promoting participatory democracy: Our Decision Too. We have a small group of loyal supporters on the site who debate topical issues, providing examples of how citizens might be involved in direct decision-making, were we to have the opportunity. One of our members, concerned about the one-eyed mainstream media framing of the Ukraine-Russian conflict, asked if we might create a petition on the Government petitions site. Her original suggestion was:

We request that the House of Commons holds a full, emergency debate on the Government’s policy on the war in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is a complex issue, not a simple matter of Russia = bad, Ukraine and the West = good.

While any U.K. citizen can start a petition, only 80 characters are allowed in the title so we agreed this version: “Debate the history of Ukraine-Russian relations to inform U.K. policy.”

The petition was rejected on the ground that it was “not clear what the petition is asking the U.K. Government or Parliament to do”. Apparently, one of the rules is that petitions need to call for a specific action and it seems a debate doesn’t qualify. So we had another go: “Hold a referendum on sending deadly weapons to Ukraine.”

‘Extreme Weather’ Now the Main Propaganda Battleground for Green Activists

The relentless catastrophising of bad weather is becoming almost a daily occurrence at the BBC, as the Corporation seeks to shore up the elitist command-and-control Net Zero project. As we have seen at the Daily Sceptic, global warming went off the boil almost two decades ago, while it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep a straight face when promoting the farcical forecasts from climate models.

“Heatwaves, deadly floods and wildfires all mean people are experiencing the link between extreme weather [BBC-speak for bad weather] and climate change,” states Matt Taylor of BBC Weather. What link might that be, one might reasonably ask. Certainly nothing that has yet been established by scientific proof. Individual events, however biblical in their incantation, cannot be provably linked to long term changes in the climate – to do so is mere conjecture.

And not very good conjecture at that, if the latest BBC example is anything to go by. Taylor starts by presenting the graph below.