Latest News

Take Back Control

Brendan O’Neill has written a blistering piece for Spiked in which he urges the British people to take back control – not from Brussels, but from Boris and Dom!

We can’t go on like this. We cannot continue to allow the Government to control every aspect of our lives. We cannot idly accept that the state has the right to introduce rules and regulations that dictate everything from how long we can stay in the pub to who we can invite to our weddings. We cannot sit back and watch as government scientists use jumped-up, fact-lite graphs of fear to try to terrify and pacify the populace and prep us for yet another onslaught on our liberties. We cannot just watch and nod as officials shut down more areas of the economy, with a stroke of their pen, plunging Britain further into the worst recession on record. This is not sustainable. Something has to give, something has to break. The only important question right now is this: how can we make sure that happens?

I know exactly how he feels.

Worth reading in full.

A Reply to Tom Chivers

Tom Chivers and James Ferguson disagree about the significance of the false positive rate of the PCR test

Tom Chivers took a pop at Lockdown Sceptics in UnHerd yesterday, arguing that writers on this site were exaggerating the importance of the false positive rate of the PCR test and, contrary to our claims, there really is a second wave hurtling towards us. The subhead was: “Sceptics who talk up ‘false positives’ are engaging in wishful thinking.”

Tom’s piece is worth reading for anyone interested in this debate – he makes some good points, although not all of them land with the same force.

I asked James Ferguson, the financial analyst who wrote about the false positive problem for Lockdown Sceptics on September 12th, to reply to Tom’s piece.

Tom Chivers delivers what he believes to be a series of deathblows to the idea (of which I am an adherent) that most positives are false positives and therefore that the September surge in cases is not necessarily the start of a second wave but potentially a false alarm. It should be noted from the outset that part of the problem here is that the Government has an unfortunate tendency to call positive tests, ‘cases’, when they are not. The PCR machines that the tests are run on come with a big sticker on the side warning that they are not to be used for diagnostics, only for screening. The manufacturers specifically warn against confusing a positive PCR test result with a medical case, the latter requiring both symptoms and a doctor’s diagnosis. This is typical of the slapdash approach that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Department of Health have taken to jeopardising our entire economy.

To return to Chivers’ case, he agrees that if the incidence of COVID-19 is 0.1%, then a false positive rate of 1% will mean that out of every 10,000 people tested, the test will correctly identify all 10 of those with COVID but will also wrongly positively identify 100 of those who don’t have it. In this instance, Chivers writes, it would mean that if you tested positive, you would only have “about a 9% chance of actually having the disease” (10/110). However, he argues, those that then insist that this means “there’s no real reason to believe that there is a second wave, because positive test results hugely overstate the real number of cases, (are) quite crucially wrong.”

Why? First, because the people being tested in Pillar 2 (community) tests are not selected randomly. He presumes that they have some reason to be tested, either symptoms (which they are supposed to have to apply) or at least exposure to another positive test. So, even if most people are breaking the rules and are having tests whilst asymptomatic, we can assume that 10% do have flu-like symptoms. This changes the maths quite a lot. For the 10,000 being tested, their likelihood of having the disease is higher than the 0.1% prevalence in the population as a whole. If the prevalence among test subjects is 1%, equal to the FPR, then the chances of being positive if you get a positive test result shoot up from 9% to 50%.

All well and good. However, Chivers has made his first error. It is true that the crucial relationship is between the incidence and the FPR. So, if Pillar 2 test subjects are not representative of the population, then the incidence within their subset rises and the proportion of false positives declines. At the same time, though, if Pillar 2 subjects have a higher incidence than the general population, they won’t be representative of the general population any longer and so any increase in positives is only relevant to that subset and not of the population as a whole. So, a surge in ‘cases’ would be of limited relevance to the country as a whole and, unless corroborated, certainly no reason to impose restrictions.

Chivers airily suggests that while the incidence in the general population is 0.1%, according to the ONS, “even if the true number (for those being tested) is only 1%, that makes a huge difference.” Maybe so, but this is sleight of hand. There were only 30-40 COVID-19 diagnoses a day throughout August in all of NHS England. Let’s say Brits are a very hypochondriacal bunch and only 1% of all those reporting COVID-type symptoms actually have the disease. That would make about 110,000 subjects (5%), out of the 2.25m tests carried out, symptomatic. This implies 95% of the test subjects had the same incidence as the population as a whole (0.1%) and just 5% were symptomatic with an incidence of 1%. That averages to a subset incidence of 0.145%, not “1%”, which would mean that 145 true positives out of 100,000 tests would combine with 1,000 false positives for a false positive rate, not of 50% as Chivers implies, but 87.3%. We shouldn’t be forgetting that the more hypochondriacal test subjects are, the less truly symptomatic and the more representative of the wider population, so even 87% is probably an overestimate.

Yet perhaps realising this flaw, Chivers goes on to assert that “it doesn’t really matter” because, as long as the testing hasn’t got any worse, any increase in the number of positives must logically reflect an increase in incidence. This is true enough. If the false positives stay roughly the same – for example, 1,000 out of every 100,000 – and the incidence rises from 100 (0.1%) to 1000 (1%) say, then the FPR drops to 50% and all the new positives might be assumed to be new cases. However, it is equally true that if the positives start to surge almost back to old highs, like they have in September, and yet the number of hospitalisations is no higher than the end of June, then some might think this is prima facie evidence that the tests might well have changed and that possibility should be investigated with as much vigour and speed as possible (think contaminated test kits).

Ah, I hear you say, but we don’t need to do that because the ONS tells us that the incidence is now 0.11% (as at 10th September) which is 3x higher than the 25th August trough. However, what the ONS doesn’t tell you is that they derive incidence in a very basic way from… you guessed it, positives per 10,000. So if there are 11/10,000 that means 73,700 in the whole country. But if instead we take hospitalisations (204 in England on 19th September, so assume about 225 for the UK), multiply by a factor of 10 for asymptomatics and multiply by 21 days for infectious period, we get a far more up-to-date estimate of 47k infectious cases, or an incidence of 0.07%, about 4x higher than the August lows admittedly but still down 93% from the peak rates of incidence we saw back in early April.

Patients can ask their doctors for a second opinion. I think it is only fair that lockdown Britain should be allowed the same courtesy.

James Ferguson’s Parliamentary Briefing

The top graph shows the number of cases rising, whereas the middle one shows hospitalisations and the bottom one deaths.

In addition to the above, James Ferguson has written another piece on the false positive rate, this time at the request of a Parliamentarian (whom he hasn’t named). So not an original piece for Lockdown Sceptics, but he has given us permission to publish it nonetheless.

Some of it will already be familiar to people who’ve been following the coverage of the false positives rate on this site, but some of it won’t. For instance, I wasn’t aware of this tidbit about Dr Susan Hopkins, one of Dido Harding’s scientific advisors.

PHE consultant Dr Susan Hopkins provided Baroness Dido Harding with a “rapid off my head [sic] response that could be used” clearly intended to dismiss the warnings about false positives out of hand, rather than invite further informative discussion. Hopkins confirmed a “population prevalence < 0.02%” whilst insisting that all serological tests (Pillars 1, 2 and 4) had FPRs that are “definitely less than 1 in 100 and… more likely 1 in 1000.” Yet she did not seem to understand the mathematical implications. With 0.02% incidence, a FPR of “1 in 1000” means 83% of positives are false, whilst “1 in 100” means 98% would be. Does H3 (Hancock, Harding and Hopkins) seriously not know this?

Worth reading in full.

Sir Graham Brady Tells Freddie Sayers Mood Among Tory MPs is Changing

Sir Graham Brady, the Conservative MP and Chairman of the 1922 Committee, has given an interview to Freddie Sayers for UnHerd in which he says he thinks the Government will not force a vote on his amendment – calling for a Parliamentary vote on all future coronavirus measures – but will concede the point. He also says backbench Conservative MPs are becoming increasingly sceptical.

I think like most people in the country my colleagues were pretty apprehensive then. We were facing a new virus, nobody knew how it would behave. There was plausible speculation that it could rapidly overwhelm intensive care capacity in the NHS, and of course the House of Commons was about to go off for an Easter recess. So it did seem reasonable at that point to grant emergency powers to ministers to be able to do what needed to be done if there were terrible pressures with which the NHS couldn’t cope.

We did that, perhaps some of us with a heavier heart than others, but were prepared to accept it as a set of temporary measures.

I think the mood has changed over time. Many of us have been making the case for sensible, cautious opening, since April. Certainly it was pretty obvious back then that you could allow open air markets to operate, and garden centres, all things that could have reduced the economic damage and also helped to give people who have been locked away in their houses for too long a little bit of interest and some fresh air. So all of that could have been done much more quickly than it was.

But increasingly, some sectors like aviation and the events sector have been completely put out of business by the restrictions. As that has become apparent, and sections of the economy have been shut down for a very long period of time, more and more of my colleagues are spending time in their constituencies talking to constituents who are losing their jobs, losing their livelihoods, people who have built up businesses over many years and are seeing them failing, and that is changing the mood. People are recognising that there is a balance to be struck here. We all want to encourage the safest approach in terms of hand hygiene and social distancing (most people have shown they’re quite willing to do their bit) but it’s got to be balanced with the recognition that there are other downsides if you overdo the restrictions.

Worth watching in full.

Ofcom Judicial Review Update

The Free Speech Union has just updated the GoFundMe it launched to cover its legal costs in the Judicial Review it is bringing against Ofcom with respect to the “coronavirus guidance” the regulator published on March 23rd, the same day the full lockdown was imposed. As I’ve written about before, this “guidance” has contributed to the suppression of dissenting views about Covid in the mainstream media, particularly the BBC.

When, on April 20th, Ofcom slapped down Eamonn Holmes, an ITV presenter, for arguing in favour of always maintaining an open mind with respect to different theories about the coronavirus crisis and the Government’s response to it, the FSU believed this was an action of considerable consequence for free speech in the media.

The FSU decided it ought to take action. If a small public interest group dedicated to free speech stood for anything, it should stand for upholding the rights of broadcasters and journalists to discuss matters of considerable public interest without fear of censure by a state regulator. Given that it is likely that Ofcom will become the regulator of the internet in due course, we considered it vitally important that Ofcom should pay proper attention to Article 10 of the Human Rights Act that states that we all have the right to free expression. Ofcom should encourage – rather than discourage – open-mindedness, open debate and tolerance for dissenting views. Ofcom was establishing a worryingly bad precedent.

We made a complaint to Ofcom in the hope that it would realise the error of its ways if we brought the conflict between what it had done and its duties under the Human Rights Act to its attention. However, when Ofcom refused to budge on the issue, the FSU decided to initiate litigation to make the case for open-mindedness and free inquiry.

A judge will shortly be deciding whether to allow us to proceed with a Judicial Review of Ofcom’s censorious behaviour. We think we have a strong case but litigation is never certain so we have asked the judge for a “Protective Costs Order” which would place a limit on the liability faced by the FSU should we lose the case. Given that Ofcom claim already to have spent over £16,000 just responding to our application for a court hearing, the amount at risk could be considerable. The bigger the size of this fund the more likely that the action will go ahead and we will have the opportunity to strike a major blow in favour of free speech and the right to challenge the Government’s narrative.

If things go our way and we defeat Ofcom in court, the money in this fund will be held over and used to support other litigation to protect free speech.

Thanks again for all your support, which has already helped us a great deal. If we can ask just one more thing, it’s that you share this GoFundMe on social media. The more the word gets out, the better our chances of being able to fight these and similar battles in future.

Please donate to the Free Speech Union’s “Fighting Fund” GoFundMe here so we can take Ofcom to the High Court and, if you can, share the link with others. This is a vitally important case.

Global Panic and Mass Hysteria

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ’t.” – Hamlet

We’re publishing another original piece today, this one by Manfred Horst, a a senior consultant to pharma and biotech companies. It’s a rueful reflection on how the world responded with mass hysteria to what is, essentially, just another virus, no worse than a bad flu.

None of the governments which imposed societal lockdowns and deprived their populations of most of their fundamental liberties seems to have done so on the basis of any kind of benefit/risk analysis. They all followed the advice of some very peculiar “experts” – mostly virologists and epidemiological model builders. They all seem to fear that they could be held to account for an exponential number of deaths resulting from this “new” disease. They all seem to however completely disregard the enormous damage which their measures are inflicting on their citizens, their societies and the world at large. None of them listened to – let alone stimulated – contrarian opinions from other experts, who often had to accept an appearance in alternative media outlets in order to make their views known. Hopefully, the cautionary tale of the current hysteria will serve as a lesson for the future. Science is not monolithic dogma, but continuous hypothesis testing and falsification. Supposedly scientific models predicting the future can be as awfully wrong as any oracle or prophecy.

Worth reading in full.

A Solicitor Writes…

A solicitor who is very well-informed about the impact of the coronavirus guidance on businesses – particularly small businesses – heard something quite ominous in Boris’s 8pm statement last night that less eagle-eared viewers will have missed.

You have probably spotted the worrying sentence in the PM’s address today “in retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations”. As ever, we await the actual law, but it sounds very much as if the Government is planning to give the guidance legal force. This will presumably take precedent over the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 so that risk assessment for COVID-19 would become incidental. We have already seen steps towards that approach in 5G(b)(ii) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020 but it sounds like the plan is now to force businesses to take measures to protect against transmission which would not be warranted by a risk assessment.

In other words, businesses will be forced to jump through even more hoops before staff can return to work, having to comply with volumes of pointless red tape instead of using their common sense. Is Jeff Bezos a donor to the Conservative Party?

Government “Pauses” Plans to Allow Fans Back in to Stadiums

For me, this was the worst piece of news yesterday: the Government has changed its mind about letting fans back into sports stadiums from October 1st. As a QPR season ticket holder, I miss going to see my team play more than anything else and was so confident that things would soon return to normal – after all, outdoor transmission of the virus is almost unheard of – that I renewed my season tickets for me and my son a few weeks ago. I didn’t factor in the idiocy of this Government.

Even the bedwetting Guardian thinks this measure is completely unnecessary.

The government has dealt a devastating blow to sport by pausing its plans for the partial return of fans to stadiums on 1 October because of the rapid spike in Covid-19 cases. It will add to growing fears that clubs could go out of business due to lack of gate receipts for potentially months more to come.

The decision, which was first reported by the Guardian on Monday, was confirmed by Michael Gove, who told BBC Breakfast: “We do want to, in due course, allow people to return to watch football and other sporting events but it is the case that we just need to be cautious at the moment and I think a mass reopening at this stage wouldn’t be appropriate,” the Cabinet Office minister said.

I’m sorry to report that Michael Gove is himself a Ranger.

Letter to an MP

A reader has sent us the letter she wrote yesterday to her MP, Stuart Anderson. This one’s a doozy.

Dear Stuart,

I’d appreciate your response to the questions below:

As the number of PCR tests being done has increased massively over the course of the summer, why are the case numbers consistently presented to the public without a clear framework of percentages of the tests done?

Why is a positive test now automatically called a ‘case’?

Why is the fatally flawed PCR test still being used to measure cases when the only statistics of any real importance are deaths and hospitalisations?

Does Matt Hancock understand that ‘less than 1%’ false positives when a virus is circulating at such low levels means that most positive cases are in fact false positives? Does he even care?

Why does he insist that the case numbers are doubling every seven days when they’re clearly not? Is he just really thick? Is he blatantly dishonest? Is he both?

If it’s down to dishonesty, why is he lying to the public?

Why was yesterday’s television briefing by Whitty and Vallance concentrating on a potential 49,000 ‘cases’? Is this because they really like big, scary numbers?

Why are they being encouraged to extrapolate the currently non-existent doubling as part of a worst case scenario?

Have they been told to do this by Hancock? By Johnson? Is this why they cover their backs with the repeated use of words such as ‘if’ and ‘could’?

Why is everyone so keen to use the word ‘exponential’ when any increase (I include France and Spain in this) has been nothing of the sort?

Why is everyone so keen to use France and Spain as examples, but not Germany, Sweden, etc.?

Why are scientific advisors being wheeled out to smooth the path for further restrictions with their doom-laden scaremongering?

If the ‘worst case scenario’ of 200 deaths a day from Covid by Hallowe’en is true, is that really enough reason to lock down the country again?

If 200 people died a day of flu, would it be front page news? Would it lead to a tv address by the PM outlining yet more restrictions on civil liberties?

If masks and social distancing work, then why no discernible impact on flu and pneumonia deaths?

As the pool of people vulnerable to becoming seriously ill from Covid is limited and shares many of the criteria of the pool of those vulnerable to serious illness from other respiratory ailments, what is the likelihood of them dying of both, twice?

Why did we not lock down the country in the winter of 1999-2000, when (off the top of my head) 50,000 died? See also (again off the top of my head) the bad flu seasons of 2014-2015/2017-2018?

Is the ongoing issue of casually assigning Covid deaths to those who died with, rather than of Covid being properly addressed?

Are you surprised to discover that keeping work colleagues, schoolchildren and families apart for months and then allowing them to meet again has resulted in an uptick in infections of all kinds?

If the government hadn’t locked the country down over the summer, do you think more people might have developed immunity to the virus by now?

Why does Patrick Vallance keep insisting that immunity in the population is at such low levels? Has he not heard of T cell immunity?

If the majority of new cases are in care homes, followed by workplaces and schools, how will closing pubs early or preventing people meeting socially in groups of seven have any effect on these?

Why do the latest restrictions treat outdoor spaces as though they were indoor spaces?

Why is the government paying any attention whatsoever to what Neil Ferguson has to say?

Why does the government think it’s in any way appropriate to rush through a vaccine, and then start by injecting the most vulnerable people in the population with it?

Seeing as bad flu seasons are often the result of ineffective vaccines, why would even a safe Covid vaccine be any more successful, particularly as there is no coronavirus vaccine in existence as yet?

If the NHS is in imminent danger of being overwhelmed, why have the Nightingale hospitals been mothballed?

If the NHS isn’t in imminent danger of being overwhelmed, why do we need another lockdown?

As the NHS wasn’t overwhelmed in the Spring, why does the government assume it will be now – or is that no longer the primary reason for imposing further restrictions on the public?

If ‘protecting the NHS’ is no longer the primary reason for imposing further restrictions on the public, then what is the reason?

And finally…

When is this Government going to take responsibility for its poor decisions and stop blaming, threatening, and punishing the British public for a catastrophe of its own making? And when are you going to stop defending its actions?

Postcard From Istanbul

We’ve received a “Postcard” from a reader who’s just back from Istanbul. Doesn’t sound too bad, once you realise the rules aren’t being enforced.

Unfortunately, the “city of mosques” has become “the city of maskes” as Istanbul pretends to play its part in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. But before fellow sceptics stop reading or cross Istanbul off their Covid bucket list, there is good news. Despite fairly rigid enforcement of “maske, maske!” in shops, public transport and museums, we walked the streets naked – except for our clothes – without challenge or even a second look from the Istanbulis. The face mask here is not considered a virtue signal, rather it is considered a talisman. It does not matter where it is worn, so long as it is worn. Under the nose, under the chin, on the elbow (yes!) and I even saw one person with a mask on the back of his neck. These all seemed acceptable and, in fact, there were plenty of people who, like us, had simply abandoned them. The police were not enforcing mask wearing and were among the worst offenders for not doing so. Our hotel was next to the Karakoy Police station where Istanbul’s finest sat sunning themselves daily, ready to fall asleep at a minute’s notice. They watched us walk past several times a day without comment.

Worth reading in full.

Round-Up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Four today: “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” by the Pet Shop Boys, “How Long” by Charlie Puth, “Closing Time” by Leonard Cohen and “Banned From the Pubs” by Peter and the Test Tube Babies.

Love in the Time of Covid

We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. We have a team of moderators in place to remove spam and deal with the trolls, but sometimes it takes a little while so please bear with us. You have to register to use the Forums, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email the Lockdown Sceptics webmaster Ian Rons here.

Woke Gobbledegook

We’ve decided to create a permanent slot here for woke gobbledegook.

Monday saw the publication of a report by the National Trust on the links between various National Trust properties and slavery and colonialism. This is from the introduction to the report:

The National Trust has made a commitment to research, interpret and share the histories of slavery and the legacies of colonialism at the places we care for. Those histories are deeply interwoven into the material fabric of the British Isles; a significant number of the collections, houses, gardens and parklands in our care were created or remodelled as expressions of the taste and wealth, as well as power and privilege, that derived from colonial connections and in some cases from the trade in enslaved people. We believe that only by honestly and openly acknowledging and sharing those stories can we do justice to the true complexity of past, present and future, and the sometimes-uncomfortable role that Britain, and Britons, have played in global history since the sixteenth century or even earlier.

Slavery is “deeply interwoven into the material fabric of the British Isles”?

Come off it.

The Telegraph has more.

“Mask Exempt” Lanyards

We’ve created a one-stop shop down here for people who want to buy (or make) a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and it has the advantage of not explicitly claiming you have a disability. But if you have no qualms about that (or you are disabled), you can buy a lanyard from Amazon saying you do have a disability/medical exemption here (takes a while to arrive). The Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. You can get a “Hidden Disability” tag from ebay here and an “exempt” card with lanyard for just £1.99 from Etsy here. And, finally, if you feel obliged to wear a mask but want to signal your disapproval of having to do so, you can get a “sexy world” mask with the Swedish flag on it here (see above).

Don’t forget to sign the petition on the UK Government’s petitions website calling for an end to mandatory face nappies in shops here.

A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption.

And here’s a round-up of the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of mask (threadbare at best).

Stop Press: A German children’s charity got laboratory tests done on one of the masks typically sold in shops after it had been worn by a child in school for eight hours. Eight hours! Result: 82 bacterial colonies and four mould (fungoid) colonies. More here.

The Care Home Scandal – A Call For Evidence

Lockdown Sceptics has asked an award-winning investigative journalist, David Rose, to investigate the high death toll in Britain’s care homes. Did 20,000+ elderly people really die of COVID-19 between March and July or were many of them just collateral lockdown damage? With lots of care homes short-staffed because employees were self-isolating at home, and with relatives and partners unable to visit to check up on their loved ones because of restrictions, how many elderly residents died of neglect, not Covid? How many succumbed to other conditions, untreated because they weren’t able to access hospitals or their local GP? After doctors were told by care home managers that the cause of death of a deceased resident was “novel coronavirus”, how many bothered to check before signing the death certificate? The risk of doctors misdiagnosing the cause of death is particularly high, given that various safeguards to minimise the risk of that happening were suspended in March.

David Rose would like Lockdown Sceptics readers to share any information they have that could help in this investigation. Here is his request:

We are receiving reports that some residents of care homes who died from causes other than Covid may have had their deaths ascribed to it – even though they never had the disease at all, and never tested positive. Readers will already be familiar with the pioneering work by Carl Heneghan and his colleagues at the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, which forced the Government to change its death toll counting method. Previously, it will be recalled, people who died of, say, a road accident, were being counted as Covid deaths if they had tested positive at any time, perhaps months earlier. But here we are talking of something different – Covid “deaths” among people who never had the virus at all.

In one case, where a family is deciding whether to grant permission for Lockdown Sceptics to publicise it, an elderly lady in reasonable health was locked in her room for many hours each day in a care home on the south coast, refused all visitors, deprived of contact with other residents, and eventually went on hunger strike, refusing even to drink water. She died in the most wretched circumstances which were only indirectly a product of the virus – and yet, her death certificate reportedly claims she had Covid.

I’m looking for further examples of 1) elderly people who died as a result of the lockdown and associated measures, but whose deaths were wrongly attributed to “novel coronavirus”, and 2) those elderly people who clearly died from other causes but whose deaths were still formally ascribed to Covid because they once tested positive for it, even after the counting method change.

If you have relevant information, please email Lockdown Sceptics or David directly on david@davidroseuk.com.

Samaritans

If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.

Shameless Begging Bit

Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the past 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. Doing these daily updates is hard work (although we have help from lots of people, mainly in the form of readers sending us stories and links). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links we should include in future updates, email us here.

And Finally…

In the latest episode of ⁦our London Calling podcast, James Delingpole⁩ and I commiserate with each other over our mutual heartbreak regarding the PM. Send in the army to make sure people drink up by 10pm?!? It’s as if he’s reading from a script written by his enemies. Has a Marxist terrorist cell kidnapped his baby? “Wreck the economy or the kid gets it.”

Listen to our ramblings here and subscribe on iTunes here.