SCIENCE FRICTION

DoomwatchAs political slogans go, ‘Follow the Science’ was a useful default phrase whenever the shifting sands of SAGE pushed the Government into one more U-turn in the Covid U-bend last year. The scaremongering boffins feeding the PM their flexible advice on what to do and what not to do in order to stay safe, save lives and prop-up the NHS evidently felt able to chop and change on a whim because they were science people and whatever they said was therefore scientific; any challenges to their wisdom – though the MSM largely avoided those, anyway – could be rebuffed by essentially saying this is the science and you simply follow it, end of. It’s just as well the voices questioning the validity of the science were few and far between when it came to mainstream platforms, and their small numbers meant they could easily be written off as crackpot conspiracy theorists. It’s a neat way of silencing your critics, but killing potential debate with one word or a phrase is very 2020s, of course. Question Identity Politics and you’re far-right or racist (or maybe being one means you’re both); question the Trans issue and you’re a Transphobe; question Islam and you’re Islamophobic and so on.

One would think anyone so fanatically committed to a cause would be prepared to argue their case with a convincing and persuasive argument; but dogmatic fanatics are not rational, logical individuals who can defend their corner with rationality or logic, which is why they tend to resort to name-calling, trolling, abuse, cancel campaigns etc. They’ve twigged that most will accept their position just because they can scream louder than the opposition – and it’s not a nice sound, after all. Not that one has to scream where Covid issues are concerned, however. ‘Jean in Suffolk’, a listener participating in a Talk Radio phone-in the other day declared ‘Vaccinations should be compulsory for everyone. Some people have to be protected from themselves.’ In a similar vein, an online friend of mine from one of the overseas Anglosphere territories posts daily updates that read like government propaganda bulletins; I wouldn’t have previously credited them with such slavish subservience to the official line, but maybe I too often make the mistake of assuming everyone of my acquaintance has the same instinct as me to question and be suspicious of anything that emanates from a government department. I didn’t put that instinct on hold in 2020 and I’m certainly not doing so now.

At the moment, it feels as though we’re sleepwalking into a very scary place indeed and that sleepwalk is unimpeded by those one would expect to step back and see the bigger picture had they not been cowed into compliance. For example, I’m not quite sure how anyone could realistically defend some of the moves being proposed in that most frighteningly authoritarian pandemic police state, Australia; but somebody must be or else they wouldn’t be happening. According to a report issued last week, ‘People in South Australia will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The State will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person.’ No, that wasn’t written by Chris Morris, nor was it adapted from an embryonic manuscript for ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ that Orwell abandoned because he felt it was too far-fetched. It’s for real.

Pre-Covid, the so-called quarantine app is something that few would have been surprised to hear was compulsory in China, but a Western democracy? Perhaps the manner in which the democratic nations of the free world have taken so easily to Chinese ways reflects the gradual and deepening infiltration of Western government, business, industry, media, academia and institutions by the mighty Yuan over the last decade or so – something that has been achieved with the kind of impressive stealth a neutral could admire were it the work of an evil genius in a Bond movie. I suppose you know the aim of the infiltration project has been all-but achieved when controlling the populace in the style of an unelected Communist plutocracy suddenly doesn’t seem such a bad idea to Western leaders after all. With the curve still defiantly un-flattened, the Government here is now renewing the ‘emergency’ Covid legislation for another six months. Say no more.

And how’s following the science going amidst this adoption of pseudo-totalitarian rule? As a mantra, Follow the Science was so ubiquitous for so long that it’s interesting to see how its most enthusiastic advocates are now choosing to disregard the science because it doesn’t fit their agenda. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (the JCVI), an independent expert advisory panel of almost 60 years standing, was turned to by the Government to provide its usual advice and recommendations, this time on the subject of vaccinating children aged 12-15. The conclusions of the JCVI were that jabs at that age weren’t necessary; this wasn’t what the Government wanted to hear, so it asked them to reconsider; some JCVI members resigned in protest, but those remaining stood by their conclusions, which the Government has apparently decided to overrule by testing out their chosen stance in that ever-dependable arena, the Court of Public Opinion.

But the JCVI are a scientific body, one which presumably follows the science; in response to its recommendations, ones based on scientific calculations, the Government seems determined to push ahead with vaccinating children, despite medical and scientific advice from the experts stressing the opposite. Mind you, this is an administration that appears committed to vaccine passports even though vaccines don’t prevent transmission, so insisting those who least need to be jabbed should be jabbed (and applying emotional blackmail via their trusty MSM support network) isn’t as shocking a move as it might have once seemed. And, as ever, there’s always more going on than receives publicity. An NHS vaccination memo slipped out a few days ago in which the question ‘Is there a financial supplement for vaccinating eligible 12-15 year olds?’ was accompanied by the following answer: ‘Yes. In addition to the £12.58 item of service fee, a further supplement of £10 can be claimed per vaccination dose to eligible children and young people aged 12-15.’ Well, it’s one way of saving the NHS, I guess.

Let’s face it – scepticism is an entirely natural reaction now. Who has broadcast the Covid message? Politicians and the mainstream media. Who has enforced it? The police. None of these institutions have exactly covered themselves in glory over the last 10-15 years, so it’s no wonder so few trust them anymore. One might as well expect yer average Afghan to trust the West after abandoning them to the Taliban. The cynical exploitation of the unique and often frightening situation of the last year and-a-half by those in power has been unforgivable. Certainly, a government engaged in so many anti-democratic abuses of civil liberties under the convenient cloak of a pandemic should provoke mass defection to the opposition, yet this is where there’s so much cause for despair.

Under normal circumstances, one could endure a terrible government because the thought of kicking them out and replacing them with something better is always there; yet when one looks across at the Labour Party in the realisation that they’re the sole realistic alternative to the Tories, one is immediately aware there is no alternative anymore. They’re just as awful, if not worse. But perhaps at a time when so much choice is being taken out of our hands, that’s the abysmal excuse for choice we still have left. Hey, Biden’s a pitiful President, but at least he’s not Trump! Hey, Keir Starmer’s a pitiful Prime Minister, but at least he’s not Boris! If only there was some scientific formula to solve this conundrum, we could follow it.

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7 thoughts on “SCIENCE FRICTION

  1. Thankfully from my experience there seems to be a discrepancy between fear generating headlines, the online shouty below the line commentators and everyday people (A highly amusing Walesonline headline today stated that ‘Apathy was hardening’ in response to the low vaccine uptake in north Wales). A lot of people I have talked to have differing opinions and experiences with the vaccine. Some felt coerced by a sense of public duty while some just wanted to go back to normal and thought taking the vaccine would help. Others have taken the vaccine just to go on holiday. Most of the people I have spoken to have felt they were lied to and are reluctant to have boosters knowing the situation will not change from cycles of lockdowns, restrictions and postponements. Nobody I have met has decried anyone else for taking, refusing or postponing the jab. Whatever way you look at it, trust in science, democracy, policing, policy making and news media is at an all time low. Yuri Bezmenov, the KGB defector would call it the ‘process of demoralization.’ I sincerely hope he is wrong.

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    1. If there can be such a thing as ‘positive exploitation’, the early days of lockdown were a gift for government and authorities in general to take advantage of the unique circumstances by uniting the nation against a common enemy ala WWII and winning back some lost trust in the process. That they failed so spectacularly and have instead exacerbated the divisions that were already present speaks volumes. I agree suspicion, mistrust and general loathing of the powers-that-be is languishing at an all-time low, certainly lower than at any time I can probably ever remember; and it’s hard right now to see how that situation can change.

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  2. It should never be the job of governments to ‘Follow the Science’ blindly, their job is to take a wider view of all the social and economic impacts and reach a balanced policy which acknowledges the science but is not enslaved to it. The quality of that policy judgement will dictate the electorate’s response at the ballot-box. But it’s a brazen cop-out to claim ‘following the science’ simply to cover illiberal impositions on the nation.

    It’s not possible to excuse the gross infringements of liberty which so many Western governments have employed under the guise of protecting the public. Given how much has been sacrificed, apparently so willingly by so many, one is bound to ask whether the ‘Do Nothing’ option may not have been a better approach.

    Setting aside the detail of those manifold abuses, the best I can surmise is that the overall objective all along has been to enable the irresistible virus to pass through the whole population (because that’s what all successful viruses do), but at a pace at which the effects can be better accommodated – that is the death rate, the hospital-swamping rate and the reduced worker productivity rate. Left to its own devices, Covid would have got through us all by now, eliminating the vulnerable, damaging some others but leaving most hale and hearty – that’s still going to happen, simply over a longer time-span.

    The positive effect of the vaccine programme has only been to mitigate the worst effects, not to eliminate either them nor the virus itself, spreading the reduced pain over an extended period of time, in the expectation that such a profile would be more socially and politically acceptable. Whether it is or not may become apparent next time an invitation to vote occurs.

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    1. It does make you wonder if spreading the impact of Covid over a wider time frame will help or hinder the Tories by the time we reach the next General Election in perhaps a couple of years. Will the fact they might be in a position to claim ‘we’ve just won the war’ have a Falklands-like effect on the electorate, or will it do for Boris what VE Day did for Churchill? And, of course, that’s presuming he’s still in the job by then. At the moment, it seems foolhardy to look further ahead than a week.

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  3. If you are interested in how the Australian establishment has been increasingly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, it is worth reading ‘Silent Invasion’ by Aussie academic Clive Hamilton; it was published three years ago. Unfortunately the title seems a bit xenophobic. Last year he co-authored with German journalist Mareike Ohlberg an excellent book called ‘Hidden Hand’ on CCP influence in other Western countries, notably our own. One interesting issue is that The City of London is the main global clearing house outside of China itself for trading in Renminbi (Yuan). Given that Brexit means that The City’s clearing house status for trade in Euros could be lost to Frankfurt, then it appears that our sovereignty has just been transferred from Brussels to Beijing. Australia gets a brief mention in this book as well in the name of Daniel Andrews, who has said that he wants Victoria to be ‘China’s gateway to Australia’. The Victorian state government has also signed onto the Belt and Road Initiative. The CCP has been working at state level in Australia, just as it appears to be working with the devolved governments here. The CCP employs a similar strategy in the USA at state level and in Canada at provincial level. In each case it is a way of these second tier levels of government becoming more authoritarian than the primary one, as a means of influencing the latter. Think about how mask wearing was only enforced in England after it had been in the People’s National Socialist Republic of Scotland.

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      1. ‘Belt and Road’ was originally modelled on the ‘Silk Road’ to run westwards through Asia. But there is another ‘Silk Road’ planned to run south to Australia and New Zealand, to plunder their mineral resources, access their transport facilities and acquire their farmland and livestock. The last of these being because the population of the PRC are seemingly content to live without (former) ‘Western’ standards of freedom, if they can have a ‘Western’ standard of living, including the McBKFC diet. As for our northern neighbours, the Scottish Nazi Party, abetted by the ‘Greens’. have just voted to introduce ‘vaccine passports’ from 1st October, so no doubt Michael Gove amongst others will want the same for England.

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