SOMETHING TO DECLARE

Long-term loyalty to a brand can blind the customer to its faults because the customer doesn’t see it for what it is now but what it used to be then. It’s like a favourite band whose albums have got progressively worse, but you still buy them because you own all the others – or when it belatedly hits you that the TV series you’ve been watching most of your life is actually bloody terrible and you only stick with it because it’s part of the furniture; were it a new show, you’d recoil from it, so why are you still watching – just because it used to be great? Well, yeah. That happened to me with ‘Coronation Street’ a few years ago, and if I ever catch a snatch of it now it looks like every bad Aussie soap ever made rolled into one – and ‘Hollyoaks’. Likewise, when the mainstream media ceases to be the go-to source when you want to know what’s happening out there, coming back to it after an absence will probably vindicate your decision to abandon it. I wouldn’t know that personally, however, on account of not having gone back.

If this year’s events have done anything for the MSM, they could well have broken the back of the camel with a hefty bale of straw. 20-odd million tuned in to Boris’ lockdown announcement back in March – perhaps the final swansong moment of the nation turning to television for such information. I don’t know the viewing figures for TV news since then, but I should imagine ratings are falling with the same speed at which coronavirus cases are allegedly rising. From everything I can gather – and from my own personal perspective too – trust in the traditional providers of info has tumbled the longer this situation has gone on. People either seem to feel the BBC, Sky, ITV and Fleet Street are nothing more than mouthpieces for the Ministry of Truth, broadcasting the official line and failing to do their journalistic duty by questioning or challenging it – or people simply don’t believe a word of what they’re being told anymore because they can’t relate the media message to what they’re seeing with their own eyes when they’re out and about. And who can blame them? Real life and media life are living in parallel dimensions to each other.

There certainly appears to be a narrative in place where Covid-19 is concerned, and we’re not being exposed to any other when it comes to traditional mediums of communication. Part of that is probably down to the so-called ‘Westminster Bubble’ whereby journalists and broadcasters are wholly ignorant of the real damage being done by on-off lockdowns in the midlands and the north, let alone Scotland. Indeed, the First Minister’s popularity amongst them undoubtedly reflects an absolute ignorance of the Covid disaster the SNP has presided over in Scotland; all the London media wants from north of the border is the anti-Boris who can do no wrong as long as she pitches herself against the Tories and bigs up her own performance without anyone bothering to issue any counterclaims. Overlook the fact that the Scottish Government are proving to be the most authoritarian and reactionary administration ever to hold power in these islands since the abolition of Absolute Monarchy; at least they’re not useless Boris and his dim chums.

No longer buying a paper or watching news bulletins, ‘Newsnight’ or ‘Question Time’ means there’s one alternative. Okay, the internet can be something of a Wild West when it comes to information, with every crackpot conspiracy theory to be found if you want it. But balancing that out are numerous sites offering reasoned, sensible and questioning debate and discussion on the topic none of us can escape – like TV used to do and no longer does. Having said that, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have their own methods of policing the narrative, only they do so in a sneaky manner, ‘shadow banning’ anything they feel contradicts the policy they’ve chosen to impose upon users – and ‘shadow banning’ effectively means users aren’t alerted to a particular opinion contrary to the consensus; it might still be there, but you have to embark upon a lengthy needle/haystack search for it. There was an instance of this early on in the pandemic when a couple of reputable medical men dared to air an alternative viewpoint on YouTube and were rapidly removed, presumably because their dangerous opinions didn’t adhere to the established emotional blackmail of ‘save the NHS’. Now I read that some providers have attempted to similarly hide the words of wisdom emanating from a trio of professors who have issued their own manifesto for dealing with Covid-19 – one that doesn’t involve lockdowns. Largely shunned by a MSM lacking all self-awareness of its own irrelevance, this has been an entirely online announcement, so shadow banning it is something we should all be concerned about.

On paper, the Great Barrington Declaration makes a lot of sense and it comes from people who know what they’re talking about. Dr Sunetra Gupta is an Oxford University professor and an epidemiologist whose specialist subjects on ‘Mastermind’ would include infectious diseases, immunology and vaccine development; Dr Jay Bhattacharya is a professor at Stanford University Medical School – also an epidemiologist as well as a physician, health economist and public health policy expert; and biostatistician Dr Martin Kulldorff is another professor – this time of medicine at Harvard University, with expertise in infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety. In other words, this trio with impressive credentials aren’t Neil Ferguson, the worst ‘do as I say, not as I do’ expert who commands inexplicable attention, a man whose accuracy in predicting the future is up there with Mystic Meg.

The Great Barrington Declaration was kindly forwarded to me by a friend last week and I was thankful due to the fact that I might otherwise have missed it. Just having someone with unimpeachable expertise in the relevant field actually say out loud that lockdowns aren’t working is such a refreshing change from everything we receive on a daily basis from the usual suspects. In political terminology, the Declaration could be regarded as a ‘cross-party’ affair, stating as it does from the first line, ‘Coming from both left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating results…with the working-class and the younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden.’ As it goes on to say, ‘Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.’

This breif, concise statement recites an entirely logical check-list of how our glorious leaders are sowing the seeds for future disaster and offers up sensible, well-thought out ways and means of dealing with the virus far better than we’ve managed so far – in other words, herd immunity . In fact, one could come away from the Declaration and view it as simply stating the bleedin’ obvious, and in many respects that’s exactly what it does. The difference is it’s been said by the actual experts for once, albeit the kind of experts governments aren’t listening to as they become increasingly sozzled on the power they never imagined they’d have over the people. The people made the necessary sacrifices because they bought into the narrative; but now they’re being told that’s not enough and they need to make more and more and more. And this will simply go on forever unless the propositions put forward in the Great Barrington Declaration are acted upon. Mercifully, it would appear the World Health Organisation has finally admitted lockdowns aren’t the answer and has spoken positively of the Declaration. Not before time too. Anyway, read it for yourself before your local closes its doors again…https://unherd.com/2020/10/covid-experts-there-is-another-way/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups%5B0%5D=18743&tl_period_type=3

© The Editor