Latest News

Parliament to Debate Petition Calling For “No Penalties For Declining Vaccine”

The petition on the Parliament website, “Prevent any restrictions on those who refuse a COVID-19 vaccination“, has reached over 278,000 signatures and Parliament has announced MPs will debate it on December 14th. You can watch it live on the UK Parliament YouTube channel.

The Government response given on September 11th was hardly reassuring, coming with an ominous “however”.

There are currently no plans to introduce a Covid-19 vaccine in a way that penalises those who do not take up the vaccine. However, the Government will carefully consider all options to improve vaccination rates, should that be necessary.

A Lockdown Sceptics reader suggests: “It’s really important ahead of the debate on December 14th that as many people as possible write to their MPs to oppose any coercive measures when it comes to the vaccine, and to ensure the vaccine doesn’t become a requirement for business, travel, employment etc.”

We quite agree. Time to hit that compose button. Here’s the Write To Them link again.

A Postcard from Switzerland

A Lockdown Sceptics reader has gone to work in Switzerland for the winter, a country which has faced its autumn surge without a new national lockdown.

I’m working in the Swiss canton of Valais for the winter season. I was initially going to be working in France but Macron decided on another full lockdown so that was off, especially as it seems the ski season opening has been pushed back until late January now. The Swiss have been very reluctant to have a lockdown again and at the national (federal) level restrictions are light: masks, limits on numbers gathering and so on. Individual cantons can set their own rules within reason, much like individual states in Germany or the USA. My canton (Valais) has decided to shut restaurants and bars but all shops etc. are open and the lifts are working on weekends. Some of the rules are just stupid, such as wearing a mask on an open ski lift, but as across most of Europe many of the decisions are political and not medical, to play the game whilst ignoring it in private.

The Swiss in the mountains are keen to push ahead again and in about a week the restaurants and bars should be open for business and they are keen to hoover up tourists from Germany, Italy and especially France who are now threatening to stop travellers at the border. The government here knows that the ski season is worth billions and without foreigners from outside Europe and likely no Brits either they need to make all their money from what they can. Pootling around the resort is a little dull but a lot of places aren’t too bothered about masks either so it feels much more normal. There has been a half-hearted effort at putting up ‘two metres’ signs and similar but they are cheerfully ignored. After months of bullying and shouting from the UK authorities it feels great to be left alone.

The big moment will be this weekend when all the lifts really start moving as the snow has arrived, all the way down to the valley with more to come. There have been murmurings at federal level about limiting lift capacity and so on but this seems more to settle nerves. If we can get through December then I see no reason why the Swiss won’t just plough on and be done with it. The trees are coated in snow, the mountains look more chocolate-boxy than ever and hopefully by the time I go home some semblance of sanity will have returned.

Switzerland’s “cases” have been on the decline for weeks, since November 9th, despite no lockdown.

Switzerland is one of the places we’ve highlighted before which proves that lockdowns are not necessary to avert catastrophe and that SAGE’s doom modelling is wrong. Another is Sweden, where the latest EuroMOMO figures show the “second wave” has not yet produced any excess deaths and appears to be on the decline (though these figures could be revised in future weeks).

Can someone please tell Boris, Gove and Hancock?

Save Our Rights UK Censored By Facebook

Facebook has taken down the private group page of Save Our Rights UK, reported to have been 42,000 members strong. Is this part of the social media site’s vaccine crackdown? The lockdown-sceptic group has organised and participated in numerous protests, most recently in London last weekend where protestors faced brutal treatment from the police. The group’s public Facebook page is still up, for now.

More Big Tech censorship of the little guys fighting for freedom.

Take a Bow, David Warburton MP

What follows is a letter sent by David Warburton, Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome, to a Lockdown Sceptics reader explaining why he voted against the new tier system on Tuesday. It’s a corker.

Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to get in touch on such an important question. I’m conscious that last night’s vote was one of the most consequential in recent decades: for public health, the resilience of our economy and for the preservation of notions of individual responsibility and liberty. I did vote against the proposed tier system last night and thought it may be helpful to share my reasoning as to why I could not offer my support for this system in its current form.

I very much welcome the constructive approach the Prime Minister has taken in consulting widely within the parliamentary party. We’ve seen additional support offered to those hospitality businesses – such as pubs – which stand to be most severely affected by the continuation of the restrictions we’ve seen. We’ve seen further ground given in other areas, but I remain unconvinced that this tier system struck the right balance between the competing imperatives we’ve faced since March. The need to balance protecting our loved ones from harm and keeping the virus contained and the equally vital need to preserve individual liberty and the means by which people can provide for themselves and pursue their own ambitions.

I have seven key reservations which I outline below – and led me to vote against the tier system. For the sake of clarity I’ve outlined them below in bullet-point form:

1, First, the regulations fail in their essentials. For government regulations to work (which can only be achieved through public consent), they must be clear, and underpinned by cohesive internal logic. But the rules that have been proposed are contradictory and, in many cases, seem almost arbitrary. From last orders at 10pm but 11pm closing (do we all order four rounds at 10pm, or do venues have to pay staff for an hour with no takings?), to the vaguely defined ‘substantial meal’. From allowing soft drinks all day but alcohol only with food, to an astonishingly labyrinthine and impossibly convoluted ‘bubble’ system, with no obvious sense of cause and effect. 

From work meetings being allowed in public or private places (only for self-employed), to no one allowed to meet from separate households either outdoors or indoors, unless they’re on a train or travelling. 

2, I have been asking (both publicly on social media and in private conversations with Ministers) for the data – a cost benefit analysis – which informed the decisions around the Tier system. Apparently the Cabinet Office had been putting this together all weekend for us, which sadly suggests that the data was not the basis for the proposed rules. The crucial question we have to ask ourselves is what is the cost to lives, to livelihoods, to businesses, to mental health, suicides, to all non-Covid related heath and – of course – the future of the economy of the restrictions, against the likely lives saved from those same restrictions.

The ONS have calculated that there will be/will have been 200,000 excess non-Covid deaths caused by the restrictions. This is nearly four times the number of presumed Covid deaths. Bristol University put the figure at 560,000. While I don’t suggest these figures are anything other than an estimate (given the circumstances and fast-moving picture), they should nonetheless give us pause to question the wisdom of continuing a course of action that has produced them.

3, The regional basis for the tiering is problematic. The apparent incidence of Covid-19 is inflated in areas (like our own) that are affected by nearby towns or cities. And many, having had lockdown for a month, find themselves moving into stricter restrictions than were imposed before lockdown.  This would seem to imply that lockdown was ineffective. Which itself would imply that the stricter Tier system will also be ineffective. Figures show that the previous Tiered system was having an effect on infections, whereas lockdown did not have a proportionately greater effect. So why will 99% of country continue under effective lockdown?

There is also a clear implication that the Tiers will continue until Easter. This will be devastating to lives and businesses in our area – while costing all of us, and future generations, almost £1 billion a day. It’s imperative that businesses are allowed to open – including those in the hospitality and tourism sector which contribute so much to the economy of the West Country. The restrictions have gone a long way towards the destruction of hospitality and tourism (and much else) in the West Country. 

4, The NHS pressure argument is dubious. We have seven unused Nightingale hospitals in England (more in the other countries of the union). The excess deaths are barely above the annual average, and there is capacity even in regular hospitals. But even if the NHS does suffer pressure ,this  is not unprecedented – and has been the case every winter for year upon year under successive governments of both main parties. But this has never before been regarded as a reason to make it illegal for people to be allowed to take risks with their health.

5, The data showing massive increases in infections/deaths has been shown to be dubious at almost every turn. For the under 60s, there is a 1 in 300,000 chance of death. For the over 60s, there is a 99% survival rate.  For the over 80s, it’s still 90%. 

6,  There is an alternative to hand – based on individual responsibility that we exercise in our own lives anyway. We should allow the vulnerable to isolate and protect themselves, as with any other virus – no-one suffering from ‘flu goes to visit and then embrace elderly relatives.

7, I have very real anxieties about the precedent that’s being set here: of the state arrogating itself the power to impose such stringent measures on its population when the data upon which this is based is chancy and uncertain. Liberty is like innocence, easy to remove and extremely difficult to regain. And a future government with less benign intentions could easily use this precedent to interfere further – and for malign motives.

So, given the economic, social, health, livelihood, business, mental health costs, the unemployment, insolvencies – each of which is a personal tragedy – I could not, in good conscience, vote to compromise lives and destroy livelihoods. I recognise the pressures under which the Government is operating, and applaud many of the mitigation measures that have been implemented thus far. But I felt impelled to vote against a system which poses such an economic and social threat to our part of Somerset.

I do hope this explains my reasoning for my vote last night and my sincere thanks again for getting in touch.

Vaccination Certificates By The Back Door?

GP and Lockdown Sceptics reader Dr Helen Westwood has written to alert us to some serious concerns she has about the Government planned vaccine rollout.

I am a GP and am utterly dismayed by the handling of the Covid response by the Government and the sacred cow we call the NHS.

Currently CCGs up and down the country are scrambling to get the vaccination program rolled out. NHSE have published the service specification for Primary Care Networks (groups of GP practices) to deliver the vaccines. As this “Enhanced Service” arrangement is voluntary, and it is fraught with difficulty, our PCN has decided not to sign up.

Trafford CCG is putting significant pressure on the individual practices within the network to sign up to deliver the service. If the Practices do not sign up then the responsibility for commissioning a service goes back to the CCG. They have no contingency plan in place (in no small part because of a lack of guidance from NHSE to the CCG’s). This is unsurprising and entirely predictable. Despite all the boasting about being the first country to grant temporary authorisation for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine they have no idea how they are going to deliver it.

Is it also worth noting that it is only temporary authorisation that has been granted – the vaccine does not yet have marketing authorisation in the UK. This effectively means it is “unlicensed” and as such the prescriber has a duty to explain this to the patient. In usual practice this means that the liability in case of adverse effects lies with the prescriber, not with the pharmaceutical company.

An additional concern I have is that the service specification states that GPs are not to record the vaccination on the patient’s GP electronic clinical record system. Instead it is to be recorded on “Pinnacle”, a system used by pharmacists. As reported in Pulse:

“Vaccination data ‘will flow from Pinnacle and Sonar to the GP patient record in a similar way it currently flows from community pharmacies for flu vaccinations’, it said.

“NHS England aims to ‘implement as soon as possible a fully automated process’ via GP practices’ own IT systems, but ‘this is unlikely to be in place from Day 1’.

“PCN groupings will get access to Pinnacle and Sonar as well as training on how to use the systems ‘free of charge and prior to vaccinations commencing’, NHS England added.

“Recording vaccinations in Pinnacle/Sonar ‘will generate payment’, NHS England said.

“However it added: ‘GP practices must make arrangements within their PCN grouping for the nomination of a host practice which will receive payments due under the ES for and on behalf of the GP practice.’

“It said this was ‘necessary to take account of the varying number of practices, PCNs and designated sites within PCN groupings as well as the fact that data recorded on Pinnacle and Sonar will be used for a variety of different purposes’.”

I am concerned that the data are to be used “for a variety of different purposes”. Does this mean vaccination certificates? I suspect many patients would not be happy about this and would be under the impression if their GP was administering the vaccines the information would be recorded in their confidential medical record.

WHO’s Revised Vaccine Criteria “Wouldn’t Have Picked Up Narcolepsy”

A Lockdown Sceptics reader has flagged to us a letter to the BMJ in June 2019 from Dr Jacob Puliyel, a paediatrician in Delhi, who warns that the WHO’s new vaccine assessment system, adopted in 2013, would no longer pick up rare side-effects such as the narcolepsy that occurred with the swine flu vaccine.

In the old system, reactions that were temporally associated with immunization, for which there was no alternate explanation, were classified as ‘probably’ related to immunization. It facilitated signal detection. This cannot be said for the currently used WHO causality assessment.

In the new causality assessment, only reactions that have previously been acknowledged in epidemiological studies to be caused by the vaccine are classified as a vaccine-product-related reactions. Reactions observed for the first time during post-marketing surveillance (Phase 4 clinical trial) are not considered as “consistent with causal association with vaccine”. All new serious adverse reactions are labelled as coincidental events “inconsistent with causal association”, or “unclassifiable” and the association with vaccine is not acknowledged. It has, in effect, made phase 4 trials redundant.

He concludes:

Given these apparent anomalies, the new WHO’s algorithm for causality assessment of an adverse event following immunization (AEFI) is not fit for purpose and it fails to inspire confidence that it can identify new, uncommon AEFI. It will erode faith not only in the immunisation programme but also the public’s trust in their physicians.

Worth reading in full.

Watch Dr Puliyel explain the problem in more detail here.

Stop Press: The CEO of Pfizer has admitted that he is “not certain” their vaccine stops transmission of COVID-19. To be fair, this would largely be due to “asymptomatic transmission”, which appears to be a myth put about by China.

Stop Press 2: The Telegraph reports that the Government has said it will be months before having the vaccine will exempt a person from having to self-isolate if contacted by NHS Test and Trace because it’s not been confirmed it prevents transmission.

Stop Press 3: The Mail reports that the Government is planning to compensate people who suffer extreme Covid vaccine side effects with payments of up to £120,000 under an existing compensation scheme. Instils confidence.

Sceptic of the Week

This week’s winner is TV dancer Brendan Cole, who has been branded “totally irresponsible” for claiming face masks do not protect against Covid.

He dared to quote on Twitter the Danmask-19 study that found even surgical masks correctly worn offer no significant protection. Seems zealots don’t like to hear actual science. The Mail has the details.

Brendan’s fans, including medical professionals, were left fuming by his “c**p” post and were quick to tell him they had unfollowed him.

Others urged the New Zealand-born ballroom dancer to delete his controversial message, claiming it was full of “misinformation” and would “put others at risk”. 

Dr Joshua Wolrich claimed that Brendan had his facts mixed up and there was proof of the contrary, adding: “Think before you share c**p that fits what you want to believe otherwise you become directly responsible for people coming to harm. 

“Do the right thing and delete this information.”

While one Scottish nurse echoed the doctor’s sentiments, angrily penning: “That is not what we need at the moment. Follow the bl***y guidance and wear to protect others.”

Another fan branded Brendan as “totally irresponsible”, writing: “I work in healthcare and have had patients refuse to wear masks because of this type of misinformation putting others at risk.”

More of his 88,000 followers told the TV star that they were “disappointed” in his “selfish” actions spreading “fake news” and even told him to just “stick to dancing”.

It is not the first time Brendan has voiced his controversial views on social media, as he previously took to Facebook to slam COVID-19 safety measures as “outrageous”.

He penned: “For the first time in recent history we are being controlled in so many ways. Why can we not protest? 

“Why can we not have an opinion and discuss these differences of opinion openly without being silenced or called names. 

“Why is there so much fear and hysteria being pumped down our airways when the numbers (often put in a certain way to look worse than they are) don’t reflect the outrageous measures being put in place. 

“I’m not saying it’s not dangerous and if you have been affected by it then I am truly sorry for you. 

“However, other lives are important too and millions of lives and businesses are being ruined.”

In terms of preventing transmission to others – the usual retort from mask zealots – worth remembering that countries like Italy and France hardly seem to have benefited this autumn from their mask mandates, while in America a study claiming to show masks lower transmission had to be withdrawn when “cases” resurged.

Well done, Brendan. Stand your ground.

Round-up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Just one today: “Injected with a poison” by Praga Khan.

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, it’s Nike Japan’s effort to bring Western woke moralising to an Eastern audience in the form of a new anti-racist advert, which backfires horribly. Philip Patrick explains in the Spectator.

The ad snappily titled ‘The Future isn’t Waiting’ features scenes of bullying and discrimination directed at mixed-raced athletes in Japanese schools. They then fight back and triumph through the power of sport – and the power of Nike sportswear. Boycotters have claimed that the ad massively overstates a real, but far from endemic or Japan-specific problem, and is stirring up division under the fig leaf of Nike’s progressive ‘corporate values’ while really just cynically exploiting currently fashionable ideology for profit.

One reason the Nike ad may have been so badly received here is that the Japanese are simply not used to this kind of advertising. Japanese commercials, often far more entertaining than the programmes which interrupt them, are blissfully free of this sort of sermonising. In fact, they are one of the things I feel nostalgic about when I return to the UK, knowing that as soon as I deplane at Heathrow I will be relentlessly battered around the head with messages of diversity from every billboard, poster, and TV commercial I encounter. And it won’t stop until I get back to Japan.

The most egregious faux pas was the US-based company presuming to lecture the Japanese for its own blatant self-serving ends.

But perhaps the more substantial factor that led to the backlash here, and which from my experience is not just limited to older Japanese citizens, is the country’s distinct aversion to being lectured to from outside. Gaiatsu, or outside power, is a word likely to raise the hackles of even the mildest Japanese person, and for a US-based sportswear manufacturer to wag its corporate finger at Japanese society and offer its own self-serving solutions was never going to go down well.

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 will not 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 reader wonders whether some lockdown sceptics are missing out on the liberation that is arming oneself with a reasonable excuse and going out with a naked face.

It seems to me that most sceptical commentators are prepared to complain about face masks but are not prepared to take any action, claim exemption and go public about the fact that it’s not against the law to be without a mask if you have a reasonable excuse.

Why is this?  If you read the Government guidance it’s quite clear that you don’t have to have a specific disability to claim exemption and the scope for “reasonable excuse” is broad. Irrespective of the fact that there’s no scientific basis to suggest wearing masks works in the community, most sceptics are anxious about the downsides and hence have a perfectly reasonable excuse not to wear them.

Subject to being considerate of those who are terrified of Covid, I find not wearing a mask liberating, especially when I meet other unmasked people, be they disabled or not. I’m sure many more sceptics would feel better if they did the same but why do so many sceptical commentators go on about mask-wearing being the law, reinforcing the idea that we can do nothing about it when clearly we can?

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 Toby’s 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”. Follow Collateral Global on Twitter here.

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

We know they are lying. They know they are lying, They know that we know they are lying. We know that they know that we know they are lying. And still they continue to lie.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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.

Alexander 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

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

Joseph Goebbels (attributed)

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…

Will Knowland with his wife and five children

In his Speccie column this week, Toby highlights the plight of Will Knowland, the teacher who has been dismissed from his position at Eton College for posting a lecture questioning radical feminism on his own YouTube channel.

The conflict being played out at Eton is quite serious, not least because similar battles are being fought across the educational landscape. It began in September with an English teacher, Will Knowland, composing a video lecture in which he encouraged his students to question the idea that there’s something fundamentally toxic about masculinity. According to a letter addressed to the ‘Eton community’ last week, he felt it was important to acquaint the boys with a more positive view of their sex to counter the radical feminist ideology that’s promoted by the school’s leadership team, which portrays traditional male characteristics as inextricably bound up with a system of patriarchal oppression.

After Knowland posted this video on the school intranet, a member of staff complained to the head. The gist of it was that the content of the lecture was degrading and humiliating and, because of this, the headmaster had a legal duty to prevent it being given. Allowing it to go ahead would have constituted a form of discrimination against women — a ‘protected’ characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

To no one’s surprise, trendy Hendy sided with the complainant. He told Knowland to ditch the lecture and remove it from the school’s internal website. Knowland complied, but when the head also instructed him to take it down from his personal YouTube channel he said he would only do so if he was given a good reason. The head’s claim that the content of the lecture breached the Equality Act is debatable. The Act is ambiguously worded and is often invoked by the promoters of equality, diversity and inclusion to silence dissenters from woke orthodoxy in educational settings. So Knowland was prepared to accept the first of the head’s demands. But even on the most cautious reading of the Equality Act, it doesn’t circumscribe what teachers are allowed to post on their social media accounts. When Knowland stood his ground and said he wouldn’t remove the video unless he was given a good reason, the head suspended him and set a process in motion which ended with his dismissal. Not great, given that the 34-year-old teacher is married with five children, one of them disabled, and they live in a grace and favour house belonging to the school. An appeal is scheduled for December 8th.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Read this tribute to Will Knowland by his former student Cameron Hilditch in the National Review.