Latest News

Government Agrees Plan to ‘Save Christmas’

Unpublished sketch by Telegraph cartoonist Bob Moran

At a COBR meeting yesterday afternoon chaired by Michael Gove, the UK Government agreed plans with the First Ministers of the devolved nations to allow up to three households to gather over the five-day period between the 23rd and 27th of December. People will be able to travel freely across all areas of the UK, with an extra day of leeway at either end afforded to anyone wishing to travel in and out of Northern Ireland, to allow for the added journey time. The announcement comes after days of speculation in the media about the fate of the Christmas festivities.

The temporary relaxation of restrictions came with several caveats, as the Times reports:

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, agreed the exemption with the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at a COBR meeting this afternoon, saying the Christmas rules “will offer hope for families and friends who have made many sacrifices over this difficult year”.

Mr Gove conceded that “the Christmas period this year will not be normal” but said that “families and friends will now have the option to meet up in a limited and cautious way across the UK should they wish”.

Family meetings will be limited to private homes and outdoor spaces, with people still expected to be banned from seeing others in pubs and restaurants across most of England.

The move means that people will effectively be forming a temporary ‘support bubble’ in which social distancing is not required, meaning that relatives will legally be allowed to hug each other. The easing of measures does not extend to the New Year, a particular disappointment for residents of Scotland where Hogmanay can be a more significant celebration than Christmas.

The Guardian has more from the leaders of the four devolved nations:

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that there was a risk inherent in any relaxation of the restrictions and asked everyone to consider very carefully whether the opportunity to mix for a few days is necessary.

She said: “We know that for some, contact with friends and family is crucial during this time as isolation and loneliness can hit people especially hard over the Christmas period. The ‘bubble’ approach aims to reduce this impact.”

Sturgeon’s comments seemed to tacitly admit of the mental health toll her restrictions had wrought. The Welsh Premier also remarked on the new plans:

The Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price, said the plans were “sensible”, adding: “However, it’s crucial we don’t lose the hard-gotten gains of the last few months for the sake of a few days. Flexibility shouldn’t mean a free for all. Sadly, this will not be Christmas as normal and people must know that any relaxation also comes with risks.”

Not exactly tidings of comfort and joy.

The announcement comes as the Prime Minister faces a significant rebellion from his back benchers over the new restrictions. The Telegraph has more:

Boris Johnson’s new “toughened” tier system risks reigniting the North-South divide, Tory MPs have warned, amid a mounting rebellion over the latest lockdown measures.

Conservative WhatsApp groups have been lighting up with “fury” and “anger” over the post-lockdown plan, according to one senior Tory who said: “The idea seems to be to move everybody up, Tier 2 becomes a shady Tier 3, Tier 3 is lockdown. Tier 1 is all but abolished. 

“There’s fury and anger at Boris Johnson on the backbenches about this. He doesn’t seem to care about the economic impact all of this is having. There’s going to be a major revolt.”

London MPs are pushing for the capital to be placed into Tier 1 because of the city’s economic significance but this risks angering Conservatives in “Red Wall” seats facing an “inevitable” return to Tier 2 and 3.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith was among those calling to spare the capital city the worst of the constraints, on account of the city’s huge economic importance.

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith is calling for London to be placed in Tier 1 along with fellow London MPs including Bob Blackman. 

Sir Iain, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, said: “London is critical to the UK’s economy. Just the West End represents 4% of GDP and it is completely dead. 

“The cavalier way we are treating the capital city is astonishing.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: The Wall Street Journal details how other European countries are intending to navigate the Christmas minefield.

No End to Social Distancing Until Over-50s Get Jab

Boris Johnson volunteers to… pretend he’s getting vaccinated

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a joint session with the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee yesterday that social distancing measures will not end until either everyone over 50 has been ‘offered’ a COVID-19 vaccination, or enough have taken it to bring the ‘R’ number below one, and predicted that normality might begin to resume by Easter. Laura Donnelly, Health Editor at The Telegraph has more:

The Health Secretary said he hoped the most damaging restrictions could be lifted by Easter, but said that depended on everyone on the first 10 groups of the vaccine priority list having been offered the jab by then.

He told a joint session of the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee: “After Easter, we think we will be getting back to normal.

“But those damaging social distancing interventions that have down sides, whether economic or social in terms of our well-being. I should hope that we can lift those after Easter if these two vaccines are approved by the regulator, which of course is an independent decision for the MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency].”

While speculation has run rampant on social media about whether Covid vaccinations would be mandatory, whether explicitly or implicitly, and the implications of that for civil liberties, Hancock’s comments appeared to suggest he is charting another course:

The Health Secretary said there would be a shift to an emphasis on “personal responsibility” rather than social distancing after Easter once vaccines have reached the most vulnerable people.

He said the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that this meant reaching point 10 on its 11 point list – which would mean everyone over 50 would have been offered the jab, and added: “Once you have protected, or given the opportunity to protect older people, then obviously the public health rationale, particularly for strict and damaging measures, is reduced.”

This subtle change in tone might prove a small consolation for ardent anti-vaxxers, though only those without travel ambitions. As we reported in yesterday’s Lockdown Sceptics, Qantas has already declared a vaccination certificate will be a necessary condition of international travel and other airlines will likely follow suit.

Another concern is that Matt Hancock also told the same Committee that he anticipated mass testing to remain in place after the pandemic’s over. The Mail has more.

He told MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee that he would like to see an “if in doubt, get a test” approach become the norm for anyone with flu-like symptoms.

For too long Britons’ natural instincts have been to ‘soldier on’ and go to the office even when they are unwell, which doesn’t happen in other countries, he suggested.

But Mr Hancock claimed the COVID-19 crisis had highlighted how problematic this behaviour can be for older, vulnerable employees, adding that it was “going to have to change”.

He said: “Why in Britain do we think it’s acceptable to soldier on and go into work if you have flu symptoms or a runny nose, thus making your colleagues ill? I think that’s something that is going to have to change.”

He added: “I want to have a change in the British way of doing things where “if in doubt, get a test” doesn’t just refer to coronavirus but refers to any illness that you might have.

“If you have, in future, flu-like symptoms, you should get a test for it and find out what’s wrong with you, and if you need to stay at home to protect others, then you should stay at home.”

Alarming.

Stop Press: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed while speaking on LBC that Matt Hancock overruled officials and bought more than three times the planned number of doses of the Oxford AstraZenica vaccine. Could be embarrassing if it turns out to be a dud. Laura Donnelly in The Telegraph has more.

Stop Press 2: Parliamentary Sketchwriter Michael Deacon offers Matt Hancock a crumb of sympathy in The Telegraph, observing that the Health Secretary is beginning to show a few signs of wear and tear after having spent so long answering questions recently. The heart bleeds!

20 Questions to Ask Your MP

Regular Lockdown Sceptics contributor Dr Claire Craig FRCPath, along with Dr Jonathan Engler, has kindly written this list of killer questions for readers to send to their MPs:

  1. Why are SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels flat or dropping across all age groups since May if the pandemic is still going?
  2. What percentage of the population is assumed to have had prior immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in the SAGE forecasting models?
  3. Why do 50% of household members not catch SARS-CoV-2 from infected persons with whom they live? 
  4. Why have Japan and South Korea not had any serious outbreak if the human species has no prior immunity to SARS-CoV-2?
  5. What percentage of the population of the UK is assumed to be immune to COVID-19 (including prior immunity) as of this date?
  6. What percentage of those diagnosed with COVID-19 since July have developed antibodies to COVID-19, confirming the diagnosis? 
  7. If 90%+ (SAGE Minutes: 21/09/20) of the population is still susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, why did the virus case numbers and deaths not double every 3-4 days throughout June, July and August, and indeed throughout the Autumn?
  8. Why have positive test results rocketed while numbers of symptomatic patients in the community and NHS triage data show they have flatlined since mid-September?
  9. Why are acute respiratory admissions through Accident & Emergency significantly below the normal for the time of year if the pandemic is still raging?
  10. Why are total hospital admissions, ITU occupancy and hospital oxygen consumption at or below normal levels for the time of year? 
  11. What percentage of deaths labelled as being due to COVID-19 have had the diagnosis confirmed at post-mortem since July?
  12. Why are the regions of the country that have had excess deaths not the same regions that have supposed COVID-19 deaths, unlike in spring? 
  13. Why has Liverpool testing by the Army failed to find COVID-19 in the community when they are supposedly at the centre of the alleged “second wave”?
  14. How is a 0.22% rate of diagnosed infection in the public in Liverpool to be reconciled with the ONS prediction of 2.3% infection rates in Liverpool on 11th November based on PCR testing?
  15. Why are much quicker lateral flow tests not being prioritised for hospital admissions to prevent the standard 24-48 hour delay with PCR results and ensure that those who are positive can be isolated to prevent hospital spread?
  16. Why aren’t all staff being tested by the lateral flow test to prevent the staffing crisis being caused by false positive PCR results?
  17. Do positive PCR tests for asymptomatic and symptomatic NHS staff, or anyone else, which result in them being required to self-isolate have confirmatory re-tests performed?
  18. Why is the country in lockdown when there are no excess hospital admissions, no excess intensive care bed use and no excess death rates (by date of occurrence) in the midst of an allegedly out of control, raging pandemic?
  19. Why are we in lockdown when the Government’s own Operation Cygnus pandemic plan stated that lockdown could only delay deaths by a few weeks at most? 
  20. What evidence is there that lockdown has prevented more deaths than it has caused?

Dr Craig adds:

SAGE believes over 90% of the UK population are still susceptible to COVID-19 (Sage Minutes: September 21st). There is now a large body of evidence (eg BMJ: September 17th) that 30-50% of the population had prior immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus because of its similarities to some types of common cold.

Rishi Sunak’s New Deal

Rishi Sunak finds even more money down the back of the Treasury sofa.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to reveal a New Deal-like package later today worth an eye-watering total of £4.3 billion in an attempt to fend off predictions by the Office for Budget Responsibility of unemployment almost doubling by next summer. The OBR also suggests that by the end of the year the economy will have endured a 10% contraction, the worst in 300 years. The Telegraph reports:

Mr Sunak’s decision to find billions of pounds for jobs support in Wednesday’s Spending Review will be seen as an acknowledgement that the unemployment crisis has a long way to go.

The Chancellor will pledge to “create and support” hundreds of thousands of jobs through tens of billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure, including roads, houses, railways and cycle lanes.

A £2.9 billion Restart scheme will help the long-term unemployed to find jobs by giving them “intensive, tailored” support to meet their individual circumstances. Another £1.4 billion will be allocated to Job Centres, helping the short-term unemployed back into work.

Mr Sunak will also extend the apprenticeship hiring incentive — which pays employers £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire – to the end of March, when the new tier system of Covid restrictions will end. The jobs schemes will effectively replace the furlough scheme, which finishes on March 31st.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Douglas Murray has written a piece in The Daily Mail taking a very dim view of the Government’s reckless attitude to the public finances.

SAGE: PCR False Positive and Negative Rates Unknown in June

A reader has drawn our attention to a paper by the Government Office for Science (GOS), released by Minister for Social Care Helen Whately in response to a question on November 18th, entitled “Impact of false-positives and false-negatives in the UK’s COVID-19 RT-PCR testing programme” by Carl Mayers and Kate Baker on June 3rd. He writes:

It shows:
1. They didn’t know the false positive/negative rate on June 3rd.
2. Estimates from previous studies on similar tests put it at 0.8% to 4%.
3. Yet when they discuss tests on May 31st they use an assumed false positive rate of 0.4%. (Why should they assume half of the lowest figure on the previous study range?) Assuming a false positive rate of 0.8%, over half of the 1,570 tests on May 31st were false positives. If one assumes a median rate of 2.3% they may all have been
4. They recommend (reasonably) that external quality assessments be carried out – this begs a follow up question in Parliament as to what the results of these have been.

The paper is worth reading in full.

Part 2 of Dr Roger Hodkinson’s Analysis of the Crisis

Yesterday, we published the first part of Dr Roger Hodkinson’s coruscating analysis of the pandemic, entitled “Who Failed and Why?“. Today we’re publishing the second part, entitled “How to Prepare for the Next Big One“. Here’s an extract from the section called “the Experts”:

The current heads of the CDC, FDA, and NIAID should also be removed from office and replaced by non-partisan experts approved by the US Congress. Pragmatism should be the prime quality for the appointments, and there is still lots of that around. Academic/medical credentials are required of course, but should not be the only factor in the search.

Dr. Fauci in particular has vacillated on matters of substance with his nightly hand-wringing in the media. He also insisted on a formal double-blind trial for hydroxychloroquine (a drug with initial successes in France and an outstanding safety record) while thousands of people were dying! That opinion was classic for an academic, but in this crisis he was totally out of his league – or gone “wobbly” as Maggie Thatcher would have said. He also dressed up absurd modelling predictions by saying that they “could happen”, which of course the general public read as likely to happen – significantly ratcheting up public anxiety.

The FDA was similarly culpable for denying immediate use of hydroxychloroquine, actually intimidating very capable infectious disease specialists until they boldly decided to ignore the edict en masse.

Worth reading in full.

Conversation With a Nurse

A reader has written in to describe her recent experience in an English hospital. NHS staff are prohibited from speaking to the press or posting on social media so we’ve omitted mention of the location in case the staff member in question could be identified.

I got damaged by a horse late yesterday afternoon and had to be driven to A&E. I was wearing my mask-exempt hidden disabilities lanyard (which I am genuinely entitled to) but the receptionists asked if I wouldn’t like to wear a mask anyway to protect myself in the hospital environment. There were three receptionists in close proximity, no distance between their chairs and the middle one, who was talking to me, only had hers over her mouth not her nose.

In the waiting area, I was the only non-masked person. They seemed to be quite busy. There was a prisoner there, handcuffed and chained to an officer, both bearded with token efforts at mask wearing but neither were challenged about their ill-fitting efforts.

When I got to triage, I had a most interesting conversation with the nurse. She said they still were not particularly busy and she was very concerned about the increases in certain types of cases. Domestic abuse was the example she gave, and subsequently when I was waiting for X-ray, an extremely distressed and beaten-up woman appeared, who was telling the paramedic how frightened she was that the “guy who did this might have decided to finish the job” if the emergency services had not been so quick.

The triage nurse went on to tell me that the first lockdown had been “lovely from a work point of view, nothing to do and lots of free food”. Apparently, if they were on shift and rang for a pizza, the companies just delivered to the hospital for free. She particularly mentioned Domino’s. The nurse said that this region had never been in any danger of being overwhelmed, and was now beginning to worry that there would be a backlash against ‘Protecting the NHS’ when they could clearly cope and the lockdowns continue to lose people their jobs, etc.

This hospital did appear to be letting companions in to wait with elderly patients, which I believe is better than many other places.

Stop Press: Fiona Hamilton has a piece in The Times describing how the court system is so overwhelmed that domestic abuse victims are being advised to take civil action rather than make criminal prosecutions, while court delays are growing so long that some complainants are attempting suicide.

Have We Been Given a Day Off Lockdown by Mistake?

“Are you sure you mean December 2nd and not December 3rd? … Of course, I’m not questioning your numeracy, Health Secretary… Yes, I am aware you have a degree in Economics. I think you may have mentioned that before, Health Secretary.”

A retired statistician has written in to say that he thinks the Government may have got its sums wrong.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No 4) Regulations 2020 at paragraph 1(2) state: “These Regulations come into force on 5th November 2020” and the accompanying information box says “Reg. 1 in force at 5.11.2020.”

Paragraph 23 (1) says: “These Regulations expire at the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which they come into force”, with the same accompanying information box.”

Now, you may recall that we were told at the time that the new lockdown came into force at 00.01 GMT on Thursday 5th November.

So one would therefore assume that the end of the period of 28 days would be midnight on Wednesday 2nd December so the new rules would come into force at 00.01 GMT on Thursday 3rd December after 28 complete days have elapsed.

Yet the guidance published on Gov.uk regarding the new “Tiers” system states: “The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2nd December.” Boris Johnson’s statement to the House of Commons said the same thing.
So, either we are being given a day off for good behaviour or somebody in Whitehall can’t count!

Defiant Yorkshire Salon Racks Up £27k Fine

Sinead Quinn of Quinn Blakey hairdressers near Bradford.

An heroic hairdresser in Oakenshaw near Bradford in West Yorkshire – Sinead Quinn – has defied orders to close her salon by the local council and racked up a series of fines amounting to an eye-popping £27,000. BBC News has more.

Sinead Quinn was working at Quinn Blakey Hairdressers in Oakenshaw, Bradford, on Saturday when Kirklees Council officers issued a £4,000 fine.

The council found the salon open again on Monday and Tuesday and issued two further £10,000 fines. It had £1,000 and £2,000 fines for previous breaches.

Ms Quinn said on Instagram she did not consent to or accept the fines.

The salon owner posted videos on the social networking site which show her talking to council officials and police, saying she had not broken any laws.

On the video, she is heard saying: “I don’t consent to any fines, so it will just be returned to sender.”

She had also displayed a poster on the salon door which refers to Magna Carta, and says the shop is “under the jurisdiction of common law”.

At the time of writing we have not been able to locate a crowdfunding page for the freedom-loving Yorkshire woman, but we will link to one in a subsequent update if such a thing exists. If anyone knows of one, please contact us here.

Round-Up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Two today: “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan and “Tiers [sic] of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.

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.

Sharing Stories

Some of you have asked how to link to particular stories on Lockdown Sceptics so you can share it. To do that, click on the headline of a particular story and a link symbol will appear on the right-hand side of the headline. Click on the link and the URL of your page will switch to the URL of that particular story. You can then copy that URL and either email it to your friends or post it on social media. Please do share the stories.

Social Media Accounts

You can follow Lockdown Sceptics on our social media accounts which are updated throughout the day. To follow us on Facebook, click here; to follow us on Twitter, click here; to follow us on Instagram, click here; to follow us on Parler, click here; and to follow us on MeWe, click here.

Woke Gobbledegook

We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today we have the news that staff at the publisher Penguin Random House held an “emotional” meeting to express their dismay at the decision of the company to publish Canadian Professor Jordan Peterson’s upcoming book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.

VICE reports:

Four Penguin Random House Canada employees, who did not want to be named due to concerns over their employment, said the company held a town hall meeting about the book Monday, during which executives defended the decision to publish Peterson while employees cited their concerns about platforming someone who is popular in far-right circles. 

“He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of his book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him,” a junior employee who is a member of the LGBTQ community and who attended the town hall told VICE World News. 

Another employee said “people were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives”. They said one co-worker discussed how Peterson had radicalized their father and another talked about how publishing the book will negatively affect their non-binary friend.

Douglas Murray took to Twitter and commented:

Any such ‘tearful’ staff should be fired immediately and their jobs advertised the next day. If you don’t understand free speech you’ve no right pretending to work in a publishing house. Penguin Random House Canada should “Reagan airport worker” the lot of them.

Worth reading in full.

“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.

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

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

If you’re a shop owner and you want to let your customers know you want be insisting on face masks or asking them what their reasons for exemption are, you can download a friendly sign to stick in your window here.

And here’s an excellent piece about the ineffectiveness of masks by a Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry.

Stop Press: The Welsh Government has instructed schoolchildren to wear masks at all times, even outdoors.

The Great Barrington Declaration

Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya

The Great Barrington Declaration, a petition started by Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya calling for a strategy of “Focused Protection” (protect the elderly and the vulnerable and let everyone else get on with life), was launched last month and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it ever since. If you Googled it a week after launch, the top hits were three smear pieces from the Guardian, including: “Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’.” (Freddie Sayers at UnHerd warned us about this the day before it appeared.) On the bright side, Google UK has stopped shadow banning it, so the actual Declaration now tops the search results – and my Spectator piece about the attempt to suppress it is among the top hits – although discussion of it has been censored by Reddit. The reason the zealots hate it, of course, is that it gives the lie to their claim that “the science” only supports their strategy. These three scientists are every bit as eminent – more eminent – than the pro-lockdown fanatics so expect no let up in the attacks. (Wikipedia has also done a smear job.)

You can find it here. Please sign it. Now approaching 700,000 signatures.

Update: The authors of the GDB have expanded the FAQs to deal with some of the arguments and smears that have been made against their proposal. Worth reading in full.

Update 2: Many of the signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration are involved with new UK anti-lockdown campaign Recovery. Find out more and join here.

Update 3: You can watch Sunetra Gupta set out the case for “Focused Protection” here and Jay Bhattacharya make it here.

Update 4: The three GBD authors plus Prof Carl Heneghan of CEBM have launched a new website collateralglobal.org, “a global repository for research into the collateral effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures”.

Judicial Reviews Against the Government

There are now so many JRs being brought against the Government and its ministers, we thought we’d include them all in one place down here.

First, there’s the Simon Dolan case. You can see all the latest updates and contribute to that cause here.

Then there’s the Robin Tilbrook case. You can read about that and contribute here.

Then there’s John’s Campaign which is focused specifically on care homes. Find out more about that here.

There’s the GoodLawProject’s Judicial Review of the Government’s award of lucrative PPE contracts to various private companies. You can find out more about that here and contribute to the crowdfunder here.

The Night Time Industries Association has instructed lawyers to JR any further restrictions on restaurants, pubs and bars.

And last but not least there’s the Free Speech Union‘s challenge to Ofcom over its ‘coronavirus guidance’. You can read about that and make a donation here.

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.

Quotation Corner

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

Mark Twain

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.

Charles Mackay

They who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin

To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions…

Ideology – that is what gives the evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require to have their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury

Nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get into the hands of experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man, who knows where it hurts, is a safer guide than any rigorous direction of a specialist.

Sir Winston Churchill

If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science.

Richard Feynman

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

C.S. Lewis

The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.

Albert Camus

We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

Carl Sagan

Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

George Orwell

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Marcus Aurelius

Necessity is the plea for every restriction of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

William Pitt the Younger

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. (Don’t assume we’ll pick them up in the comments.)

And Finally…

Excellent YouTube video from the comedian and satirist WhatsHerFace. This one’s called: “Welcome to THE GREAT RESET.”

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