by Charlotte Niemiec
During the Great Plague of London in the 1600s, an increasingly panicked and ignorant Government battled to contain a disease that ripped indiscriminately through the populace and ordered the slaughter of all the city’s cats. With no understanding of the disease’s origins or how it spread, these unfortunate feline scapegoats were believed to be the vectors of disease. But while the cull – in context – can be forgiven, the consequences were catastrophic; it obliterated, in one fell swoop, the creatures whose instinct it was to keep the city’s rat numbers at bay. The rodent population boomed, along with the fleas that fed on them, giving the bacterium that caused the plauge –Yersinia pestis – a freer run than it had ever had.
The tale may be anecdotal but, almost four centuries later, it serves as a fitting analogy to onlookers of the current U.K. Government as it flails around in an attempt to get a handle on a disease not far off one hundred times less deadly.
Have we lost our heads? The Government has metaphorically (for now – the idea has in fact been mooted) culled the cats, abandoning logic and taking the most counterintuitive course of action available to it at almost every turn. To begin with, it shelved its ready-made pandemic plan in preference for a never-before-tried-or-tested lockdown regime. Not once, in the history of pandemics – including bubonic plague – have we quarantined healthy people. But for this disease, with its roughly 99.7% survival rate, it was done without question. And the people nodded.
To protect the elderly, our NHS turned them away from hospitals and returned them to their virus-infested care homes, slapping a DNR where it thought it could get away with it – presumably to reduce the pressure on a ‘national’ health service that all but closed its doors to anyone without the disease, while imploring those with symptoms not to pay them a visit. And the people clapped.
To safeguard the vulnerable, the Government commissioned the development of a ‘vaccine’, to be trialled, tested and injected at the speed of light. No matter the consequences – the suspicious post-jab deaths, the eyebrow-raising adverse reactions, the diminishingly small efficacy rate – we are told the jab is ‘safe’ and we all must have it ‘for the greater good’. And the people queued.
The media largely ran with the Government line (and the Government’s money), no matter that the more important, more explosive stories lay on the other side of the debate; were those that rooted out the insanity, that questioned the narrative, that protected our freedoms. And the people believed it.
To further ensure its fully-vaccinated majority really is ‘safe’, the Government will now insist on a ‘vaccine passport’ to protect it from the great unvaccinated. This contradictory move is necessary, it argues, regardless of the current evidence suggesting the vaccine does not prevent infection, does not prevent transmission, may not reduce symptoms and so, logically, a vaccine passport has no scientific or medical justification. The powers that be continue to rescind more and more of our freedoms. And the people cheer.
The Government is now cycling through its tactical playbook to tempt, threaten, manipulate or blackmail the ‘selfish Covidiot anti-vaxxers’ at any cost. Some of its members resort to insults, others promise ‘kebabs for jabs’. Still others threaten to take away our fun if we don’t do as we’re told. Most of those hesitant to ‘get a vaccine’ regard such blatant and patronising coercion as ever more suspicious and double down on their conviction. A more sensible course of action, but one that the Government has not provided, is evidence that the vaccine is safe in both the short- and long-term, for every subset of the population, whether pregnant, on other medication, an allergy sufferer, prone to blood clots or heart problems. Nor has it been able to offer a compelling reason for those unlikely to be seriously affected by the disease to get a medical treatment that won’t prevent them catching it or spreading it. And the people castigate these vaccine hesitant foot-draggers.
Despite pitching Covid as a global pandemic – and therefore a worldwide problem requiring mass vaccination to ‘get us out of the mess’ – the U.K. Government has shown little solidarity with its international counterparts by sharing the spoils of war and is instead insisting on the vaccination of those so far down this disease’s pecking order as to be laughable, if it wasn’t so horrifying. Children, who rarely – if ever – transmit or suffer with Covid, are next in the firing line, despite the risks. And the people rejoice.
Primary school science teaches us that we can ward or fight off respiratory viruses by maintaining healthy immune systems, aided by fresh air, exercise and nutrition. It stands to reason then that the Government thought the best response to the crisis was to confine citizens to their homes, criminalise serious exercise, ‘fix it’ so that only fast food companies could viably function by delivering negligible nutrients to your door and then implement an ‘eat out to help out’ scheme that encouraged us to consume even more fat, sugar and chemicals for the good of the economy. And the people complied.
Next, the Government mandated face masks. Roundly rejecting their use at the beginning of the spread, it instead ushered them in after the first wave was over, in the heat of last summer, as Covid was, it was hoped, on its way out. Until then, SAGE members had repeatedly insisted that masks did more harm than good, that there was no scientific evidence available to back up their efficacy – and certainly not homemade masks hastily constructed from withered t-shirts. But, as Laura Dodsworth points out in her book A State of Fear, as the panic subsided and the Government felt its control slipping away, the masks served to remind us to be fearful, that ‘there’s a global pandemic on, you know?‘. The line changed. Masks now ‘overwhelmingly’ helped to prevent transmission and a naked face in public was a loaded weapon. And the people ceded control.
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Being generous, we could blame an incompetent Government blindsided by a ‘pandemic’ that hit just as it was popping the cork on finally ‘getting Brexit done’. But the actions it took went beyond naïvety and entered the realms of the Kafka-esque nonsensical. The last 18 months have been those of U-turns and false predictions followed by denials; hirings and firings of ‘experts’ paid to find or fabricate the evidence to fit the theory; promises to follow ‘the science’, to go by ‘data not dates’ – and then do the opposite. The mainstream media has refused to ask tough questions, social platforms have censored anything that doesn’t fit the fear narrative, scientists and medics and employees across the spectrum have lost their jobs and reputations for daring to speak out or refuse injection. The nurses on the ‘front line’ who worked around the clock last year without a vaccine will now be fired if they choose not to have one. This is their reward. The elites have flourished while the proles festered.
Much blame should be laid at the Government’s door for frightening its citizens and turning them into nodding, clapping, cheering automatons. But the people are not themselves entirely blameless, and tyranny does not operate in a vacuum. We are responsible for collectively swallowing the lies, the deceit, the buried evidence, the false predictions, the censored questions, the fairy tales told from Rose Gardens dreamed up in Barnard Castles in the air. Gullible en masse, we have refused to believe the evidence of our eyes, dropping last week’s headlines down the memory hole in favour of the latest scare, forgetting that the Government promised no further lockdowns, no vaccine passports, no jabbing of the under-18s, abandoning that most precious of resources: common sense. Why?
In the now oft-quoted Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith considers that:
In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it… the heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?
What then, indeed. If we are to regain control of our minds, to reassert our rights – to bodily autonomy, to question authority, to protest against tyranny – and claw back our freedoms and roam where we will, we must stand firm, speak out and reject the Party line. Because, as Winston determines: “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
Charlotte Niemiec is a freelance journalist.