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Lockdown 3.0 Set to Continue to Summer 2021

Despite all the vaccine optimism and the promise of a relaxation of the rules over Christmas, the dreadful financial forecasts by the OBR yesterday came with some underlying assumptions that appear to foresee restrictions continuing until summer 2021. Guido Fawkes has done the digging.

The Chancellor, in his statement today, used the forecasts from the OBR’s “central scenario” when it comes to Covid complications. So Guido took a look at those underlying assumptions. The OBR assumes, presumably with good reason given how closely it works with the Treasury, widespread deployment of a vaccine by the middle of 2021, not by the Spring, with a high to medium level of restrictions until then. The differences in implied borrowing, growth, and scarring are stark.

The “upside” scenario the Government is clearly not confident of taking place, involves restrictions “broadly equivalent” to October 2020’s tiers 1 and 2. The Government’s modelled upside is the previous tiered system. Meanwhile the “central scenario” expects the whole country to be between tiers 2 and 3 right through until “mid 2021“. No household mixing until June…

As Boris stated earlier this week, his post-lockdown plan is for a “new, stronger and more sustainable tiers framework on December 2nd”, styled as “tougher than in October” – reinforcing the Government’s view that we will find ourselves in the OBR’s “central scenario” where things “may vary regionally and temporally”, however are still predominantly repressive, until the start of summer. Guido can only hope the forecasters are once again wrong.

Read it here.

Hospitals Still Not Protecting Patients From Covid

Professor Carl Heneghan from the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine has warned that UK hospitals are still failing to prevent the spread of the virus among patients. It comes after outbreaks in cancer wards in Edinburgh’s Western General and Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital left a number of patients dead. The Scottish Sun has the story.

The Oxford University expert spoke out as he said levels of ward-acquired infections in Scotland during the ongoing second wave were a “really serious issue”.

It came as it emerged planned ops, including cancer surgery, have had to be axed in Greater Glasgow and Clyde due to pandemic pressures – and more than 100,000 Scots are waiting on key diagnostic tests.

Prof Heneghan said: “Community admissions are coming down but we are seeing this ongoing problem of hospital- acquired infections. It is a big issue now, as it was in the first wave. Staff are becoming infected and then go back and forward betw­een areas in hospitals. We urgently need to get on top. It’s particularly important as we go into winter, where we’ll have Covid hospital-acquired infections, and potentially other infections like respiratory syncytial virus and influenza in hospitals.

“Where we’ve seen problems, it’s often mixing non-Covid patients and Covid patients, and staff taking the virus between areas. What we need is completely separate entrances, separate staff working on these wards, and the staff need to be quarantined when they’ve been working. No mixing. The PPE reduces your risk but not to zero. The more times you see patients who are symptomatic, the more you are at risk.”

Prof Heneghan said old-style community  hospitals – many of which have shut – could have been used for Covid patients to stop disruption at larger health facilities.

He added: “If we look to places like Germany, they have nearly three times as many beds as we’ve got, and they have many more smaller facilities in the community. That allows Covid patients to be put in those facilities and centralised hospitals to keep running.”

In a nod to the Louisa Jordan field hospital at Glasgow’s SEC campus – which hasn’t treated any Covid patients – he said: “If it was a problem to use Nightingale hospitals or staff them, why  procure and pay for them when you could have been thinking about smaller facilities to separate patients?”

The newspaper notes that the number of patients catching Covid in Scottish hospitals doubled in a week during October to 189 as the virus spread to non-Covid wards.

How tragic that we have spent so much money and imposed so many restrictions on the healthy in experimental and often vain efforts to contain this virus, yet have failed to take the basic steps necessary to protect the vulnerable, such as keeping infectious patients separate from other vulnerable patients.

Worth reading in full.

Oxford Vaccine Red Flags

Hilda Bastian in Wired has looked in detail at the AstraZeneca trial and is extremely unimpressed, arguing the vaccine “isn’t up to snuff”.

Presumably, neither of the two trials from which they combined data could have provided a clear answer on the vaccine’s efficacy on its own. To make things worse, Oxford-AstraZeneca reported only the results for certain subgroups of people within each one. (For perspective on this: The two subgroups chosen leave out perhaps half the people in the Brazilian trial.) Meanwhile, one of their key claims is that giving half a dose of the vaccine on the first injection, followed by a standard dose on the second one, led to better outcomes – but neither of these trials had been designed to test this hypothesis. In fact, it’s since emerged that the half-dose/full-dose option started out as a mistake, and one that was only caught when some people in the study didn’t have the usual high rate of adverse effects.

The problems are legion.

There are other problems, too. In the press release, Oxford-AstraZeneca reports that two of the dosing regimens “demonstrated efficacy.” Presumably, none of the others did, but they didn’t give specifics. Of the only two regimens they reported, one (the mistaken first half-dose, followed by a full dose at least a month later) came in at 90%, and the other (two standard doses at least a month apart) achieved only 62% efficacy. You’ll see reports that the vaccine had 70% efficacy, on average; but that’s un-knowable, because we only have numbers on these two regimens, as opposed to everyone in the trials – and how they arrived at those percentages isn’t explained. As far as we know, some of this analysis could hinge on data from just a few sick people. That means the findings could be a coincidence, or they could be biased by other factors. For example, it has since been revealed that the people who received an initial half-dose – and for whom the vaccine was said to have 90% efficacy – included no one over the age of 55. That was not the case for the standard-dosing group, however, where the reported efficacy was 62%. This demographic difference could be more important than the change to the size of the first dose.

That’s not the end of the problems. Overall, the Oxford-AstraZeneca trials appear to include relatively few participants over the age of 55, even though this group is especially vulnerable to COVID-19. (People over 55 were not originally eligible to join the Brazilian trial at all.) Compare that to BNT-Pfizer’s trial, where 41% of the volunteers were over 55. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine also seems to produce relatively high rates of adverse events. If you want to dig further into this vaccine’s story and issues, I’ve laid out a more detailed rundown of the Oxford-AstraZeneca trials and sources here.

The Oxford vaccine is a more traditional type of vaccine so the lower efficacy and stronger side-effects are more in line with what was originally expected. The concerns do call into question though how political any UK decision to approve the vaccine will be, as well as how many will agree to have it and how far the Government will deem it sufficiently protective to bring the emergency to a close. The Pfizer and Moderna RNA vaccines appear to be more effective (if more expensive and logistically challenging), but we don’t yet know for how long or if they will prevent serious illness or transmission. There are also questions of long-term safety.

Even if a vaccine does enable this crisis to come to an end in the next six months, there is still the problem of what happens next time. We can’t go through this every time a new flu-like pandemic gets going.

Stop Press: A new peer-reviewed article has appeared in Annals of Internal Medicine, “Ethical and Scientific Considerations Regarding the Early Approval and Deployment of a COVID-19 Vaccine“, questioning the ethical basis of the current Covid vaccine trials. Is this the kind of anti-vaxx messaging that Keir Starmer wants banned?

FIVE Places That Prove Lockdowns Aren’t Needed

UK positive tests reported

The foundational myth of 2020’s dangerous new cult of lockdownism is that without severe restrictions on the freedom and movement of the general population COVID-19 will afflict and kill hundreds of thousands of people. That is the only claim that could plausibly justify such extreme infringements of our liberty with all the extraordinary costs and harms that come with them. Disturbingly, its sole basis appears to be a belief in the epidemiological modelling by Imperial College and others which purports to show that this calamity is likely, or at least a reasonable worst case scenario.

Many have pointed out that the Government’s own surveys show that the UK R rate fell below 1 before the recent national lockdown, though this hasn’t stopped the Government claiming it was the lockdown wot done it.

This is far from the only evidence that lockdowns are not necessary for COVID-19 epidemics to slow and decline. Below are the latest graphs from Worldometer for five places (two countries and three US states) which have not imposed a lockdown or many restrictions at all on a national, state or local level this autumn. While most of them have seen a busy autumn in intensive care, hospitals have not been overwhelmed and are operating within normal seasonal bounds. In all of them the epidemic is now (in terms of positive test results) either in decline or plateauing.

Assuming these slowing and declining trends continue, these data will become solid proof that lockdowns and other extreme restrictions on the general population are not necessary to “control” COVID-19 outbreaks, even in winter, and therefore cannot be justified as a matter of proportionate public health policy.

Stop Press: Prof Carl Heneghan has warned that as “cases” plummet, the data the Government will use as the base of its announcement today about which areas will be in which tiers will be out of date by December 2nd.

Scientist Demands Retraction of Original PCR Study

Dr Pieter Borger

A reader writes with news about a challenge being issued by a Dutch scientist to the original paper which underpins the supposed scientific validity of the Covid PCR test.

Today, Dutch scientist sceptic Pieter Borger has issued a paper to journals for publication demanding retraction of the paper with the origin of our PCR test. The original paper was submitted January 21st, and published  January 23rd – the fastest peer review ever! Keep in mind that the virus was only DNA sequenced on January 7th. That paper apparently is the origin of all PCR tests in Europe. Borger says it is dodgy science and should be retracted.

These are his charges from an earlier unofficial publication (translation courtesy of Google translate):

1. Use is made of non-specific primers and probes. This can be established because the letters with which the primer is indicated are not fully stated. This gives the researcher the opportunity to further specify which primer he will eventually use. The researcher may enter the letters left blank himself.

2. The probes must be specific to detect the gene. In the January 2020 article, one probe is said to be specific for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The other probe is common to SARS-CoV viruses. With the group of scientists I work with, we have determined that in reality those probes are the same. Whether those probes are both specific for SARS-CoV-2 or whether they are both more general for SARS-CoV viruses, I don’t know. This test is bad design for this reason alone.

3. I have explained the importance of a correct primer concentration above. We have found that these concentrations are in many cases four to five times too high.

4. There are six primers in total. We found that the GC content was significantly too low for three primers; the correct GC content should be, as I have explained above, between 40% and 60%. Two of the six primers tested were found to have a GC content of 28% and a 34%. This also means that the PCR test is a bad design.

5. Based on the article from January 2020, I investigated which annealing temperature is used in this PCR test. I have explained to you that within a primer pair the temperature difference may be one or at most two degrees. In this test, the temperature difference in one of the important genes turns out to be about 10 degrees in reality.

I have the impression that RIVM itself has also established that something is wrong here and that this was the reason for RIVM to change the protocol and for that reason removed one gene from the test, namely this gene.

6. Insufficient parts of the virus are detected to determine whether one is indeed dealing with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (corona). I am referring to my imagery from above with regard to the auto parts. With the SARS-CoV-2 virus (corona) it is important to examine the entire RNA strand. Otherwise you will not know whether you are dealing with the whole strand or just some fragments.

7. The coronavirus PCR test has no negative control. The aim is therefore not to rule out the possibility that other coronaviruses have been detected.

8. In the PCR test described in the January 2020 protocol, a number of cycles of 45 is assumed. However, it is not indicated at which number of cycles the test should be read as positive or negative. I would like to point out that at 35 cycles you detect almost no infectious virus anymore. Then you will understand that increasing by more than 35 makes no sense anymore. The test does not indicate when you should start reading and that is a major defect in the test. RIVM first used 30 multiplications as a starting point. You cannot just increase the number of cycles to 35 as the RIVM has done. Then you change the rules during the game. Cycles of between 30 and 35 are also a grey area. Again, after 35 cycles, there is no more infectious virus. This applies to 97% of the cases. This has been scientifically proven.

9. The aforementioned January 2020 publication also shows that the test also gives false positive results. Because the result was negative with retesting. This means that you should always re-test if the test is positive. I do not know if this also happens in practice. I do know, for example, that top athletes in case of a positive test often have themselves re-tested and the test then regularly turns out negative. If I tested positive myself, I would insist that I be retested. If that re-test also turned out positive, I would demand a third test. Only if that third test also turned out positive, then I would like to assume that I have indeed tested positive (aside: that does not mean that I am infected with the virus). Only then will you have reduced the uncertainty about the reliability of the result to minimal proportions.

10. My last but by no means least point of criticism is that the article describing the PCR COVID-19 test is not peer reviewed. Why I think this I have explained above. I find that very bad because the test is used for diagnostics.

He adds: “Incidentally, I also notice that two of the authors of this article are also part of the editorial board. In itself there is nothing wrong with that, but it is an extra reason to be careful with the placement of the article.

I presume the actual scientific retraction demand, when we see it, will be more precisely formulated.

This seems like an important developing story, that no doubt will be ignored/censored elsewhere.

“China Is Trolling Us”

Lockdown Sceptics regular contributor Dr Clare Craig has written a scathing Twitter thread about the peer-reviewed study in Nature purporting to show that Wuhan had no infectious virus left at all in May. She calls foul on this highly implausible finding, placing the study alongside the earlier ones from China from which came the asymptomatic transmission myth that has been so effective at shutting down Western societies.

China is trolling us with this and Nature should be embarrassed at having published it. It claims 10 million people were tested in the last two weeks of May in Wuhan. That’s over 700k tests a day. I do not believe that – do you? It then claims that not a single Covid case was found, i.e., Covid disease with symptoms capable of spread – weeks after all the drama. I do not believe that – do you? The ultimate trolling is that what they are claiming to report is a 0.003% false positive rate (all their ‘cases’ were asymptomatic, no viral culture and no transmission). I do not even believe that. It is a total fabrication. What’s the point of peer review if it lets something like this into Nature? Scientists have to start looking more critically at the politics. The studies showing asymptomatic spread were almost all Chinese too with non-Chinese studies observing no spread.

Read it here.

A Vivisection of the Idiocy

We are publishing today Part 3 of Dr Roger Hodkinson’s analysis of the Covid lunacy, written back in the summer but published for the first time on Lockdown Sceptics. Find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. From the introduction:

In this Part Three I intend to dismember limb-by-limb virtually every intervention that has been so forcibly foisted on us, using a combination of (largely) common sense and (some) medical knowledge. If my rant seems excessive to sensitive eyes, I urge you to hold your venom until the end, and then compare the utterly indefensible arbitrary measures with the untimely and unnecessary deaths for so many of our loved ones, and the totally unwarranted devastation of the global economy with hundreds of millions (that’s MILLIONS by the way) of people now out of work and facing a highly uncertain future. The manipulated scale of the threat and the inestimable consequences of the so-called ‘control’ measures begs for a vivisection as the beast is still alive. So here it is.

Well worth reading in full.

We hope to publish Part 4 – “The Autopsy” – in a couple of weeks.

Wanted: National Alliance Against Lockdown

The National Alliance Against Lockdown

Kathy Gyngell, editor of the Conservative Woman, has penned an impassioned plea for some properly financed, concerted opposition to the increasingly totalitarian approach of the Government to the pandemic.

It’s crazy. There are several anti-lockdown groups and many brilliantly outspoken critics of lockdown – scientists, businessmen, lawyers and commentators – out there. They include Lord Sumption, Peter Hitchens, Karol Sikora, Carl Heneghan, Luke Johnson, Toby Young and Simon Dolan, to name but a few.

Add to them the 70 MPs of the Covid Recovery Group, led by Graham Brady, Mark Harper and Steve Baker. And also the millions, some 30% of the public, that successive polls show haven’t been roped into the Save Our NHS lockdown mantras.   

Yet despite this evidence of potential dissent, the case against lockdown has had no traction politically – none. Despite the Daily Mail alone of the MSM taking up the cause.

Why? Because beyond following each other on Twitter, publishing and endorsing each other in a new online industry, there’s been no serious or adequately financed, co-ordinated opposition to the Government’s authoritarian diktats. Not that I can see, anyway.

Is it then surprising that however cogent – legally, scientifically and morally – their case is, that these disparate and fragmented groups and individuals have failed to change the conforming mainstream media’s reporting narrative?

Or that, eight months after Britain was turned to the dark side, they’ve failed to prevent a seemingly beleaguered Boris Johnson from entrenching himself in his bunker as the nation’s Big Brother, against whom there is no rising up?

Or, indeed, that we now find ourselves listening to the Prime Minister’s latest and (in true Orwellian style) ever-changing social rules, which he tells us we must endure in the name of this spectral disease through to next October? With every newspaper co-operatively giving its columns over to dutiful explanations of ‘what they mean’ to an already subjugated and compliant public.

Is it surprising that we watch helplessly as Covid-free normality recedes further across the horizon? Or to find that, in this period of restriction, our ‘liberty’ and economic activity is to be conditional on following whatever the latest set of arbitrary rules and/or compliance with vaccination or testing, is chosen for us? 

Kathy goes on to outline nine key points that need to be pressed home to policymakers by this hoped-for alliance, including “how the public have been frightened and misled into supporting lockdown in the deliberate fostering of a climate of fear and hysteria” and “how the populist ‘Save our NHS’ Covid priority policy was misjudged and mismanaged, leaving millions of patients untreated and at risk of illness and death from all other conditions and diseases”.

Worth reading in full.

And any public-spirited philanthropists feeling moved to come to their country’s aid at this time of Government-induced peril, do get in touch.

Round-Up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Just one today: “Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be” by Max Bygraves.

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, new guidance from Universities UK stating that vice-chancellors and other senior university leaders “should be given anti-racist training on ‘white privilege'”. From the Telegraph:

Institutions must “go beyond” unconscious bias training when it comes to tackling racial harassment on campus, according to new advice from Universities UK (UUK).

University chiefs, staff and students all need to be taught about “racism, racial harassment and microaggressions and white privilege” through training that is drawn up specially form an anti-racism perspective, the guidance says.

UUK, an organisation which represents vice-chancellors, has published recommendations for senior leaders to eradicate racial harassment at universities.

It comes after a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission last year found that there was an “alarmingly high rate” of racial harassment on university campuses.

Nearly a quarter of ethnic minority students said they had experienced racial harassment at UK universities, according to the watchdog’s report which concluded that many universities are unaware of the scale of the problem and are overconfident in their ability to respond to it.

The guidance, from the advisory group set up by UUK, calls on senior leaders and governing bodies to acknowledge issues that exist in their universities and acknowledge that higher education “perpetuates institutional racism”.

Universities are also told to review their curricula to ensure that they are teaching students in a way that is “diverse and inclusive”.

The guidance notes that “curricula that are based on Eurocentric, typically white voices will perpetuate existing inequalities”. It adds that teaching courses from such a perspective is “unlikely to reflect the experience or viewpoints of many members of the student and staff body”.

UUK cited a report published last year by the National Union of Students which claimed that a lack of a “sense of belonging” may contribute to the black, Asian and minority ethnic students performing less well academically.

Perhaps UUK would like to explain why “white” children in UK state schools are the least likely racial group to go to university? Where’s the “white privilege” there? And one would have thought that European universities would be entitled to teach their own academic and literary traditions. Are European institutions no longer to be allowed to sustain a distinctive intellectual culture? Is that not why people from all over the world come to study in them?

Stop Press: Seems like a good time to recap this excellent piece from Quillette back in February: “The Misguided Moral Panic About Racism in British Universities” by Wanjiru Njoya and Doug Stokes. As they point out, the notion that British unis are hotbeds of racism is completely bonkers. They are among the least racist institutions in the world.

“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: A famous doctor who demanded a mandatory mask law has been snapped partying maskless on a boat surrounded by bikini-clad women in the latest instance of hypocrisy from one of our self-appointed moral guardians. Mikhail Varshavski (pictured in the blue cap below), known as “Dr Mike” online and dubbed the world’s “hottest doctor”, was celebrating his 31st birthday in flagrant breach of the very rules he has been insisting on for everyone else.

Read the full story in Summit News.

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 over 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…

Bob’s cartoon in today’s Telegraph

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