FRASER Myers, deputy editor of the internet magazine Spiked, recently launched an unwarranted, unfair and personal attack on Andrew Bridgen MP over his attempts to have the demonstrable harms of the Covid-19 vaccines and the equally demonstrable and continuing phenomenon of excess deaths debated in parliament. In the process Myers earned the plaudits of the Spikedocracy with fellow writers Brendan O’Neill and Joanna Williams being vocal in their support. We can assume that columnist Ella Whelan supports him as she participated in the administration of the Covid-19 vaccines.
The attack was unwarranted in the sense that it was akin to kicking a man when he was already down – Bridgen has been expelled from the Conservative Party – and it was unfair in that it ignored any of his individual claims and failed either to refute his evidence or provide alternative evidence. These points were well made by Will Jones in the Daily Sceptic. The attack was also personal in referring to the vaccine side effect suffered by Bridgen (who is not an ‘anti-vaxxer’) as ‘nothing more serious than hay fever’. Perhaps Fraser Myers does not suffer from hay fever, which is often characterised as sneezing and sore eyes. While not life-threatening, according to the NHS website ‘it can have a negative impact on your quality of life. Very severe hay fever may disrupt your productivity at school or work’. Bridgen had never suffered previously from hay fever, and he did have other side effects about which he said very little and continued to support the vaccine rollout on his regular, now discontinued, slot with Mike Graham on TalkTV long after he reported the side effect.
On Sunday night Andrew Doyle, the host of Free Speech Nation on GB News, brought the protagonists together on his show to exchange their views. The floor was first given to Fraser Myers, and he opened with all guns blazing, launching a fact-free attack on Andrew Bridgen with the repeated ‘conspiracy theory’ trope. Bridgen’s response was to say ‘guilty as charged’ and to refer to the fact that he had produced no fewer than 32 refereed scientific articles in support of his claims. He also pointed, accurately, to the fact that the Covid-19 vaccines had not been subjected to Phase III trials, hitherto considered essential to test both the effectiveness and the safety of a novel medical intervention.
Myers tried to ridicule the suggestion that the Covid-19 vaccines had not been properly tested, to which Bridgen raised the question of why the Big Pharma companies involved had been granted immunity from prosecution if the vaccines were considered safe. Later in the debate he also pointed to the fact that India had refused to grant the vaccines licences and were unwilling to grant the manufacturers immunity from prosecution. Myers had no response to this; in fact, he did not respond directly to any point raised by Bridgen and claimed that it was obvious in the early days of the vaccine rollout that the vaccines had ‘broken the link’ between Covid-19 infection and death as a result.
This is an extraordinary claim given the low infection fatality rate from Covid-19 and also the fact that early in the vaccine rollout an article in The Lancet pointed out that the absolute risk reduction (ARR) of death from the Covid-19 vaccines across all the versions available hovered around 1 per cent. Bridgen emphasised this later in the debate with reference to the correlated outcome of low ARR which is the extraordinarily high numbers needed to be treated (i.e. administered a Covid-19 vaccine) to save a single life against the level of adverse vaccine side effects.
Myers had no retort other than to tell Bridgen that he could quote ‘as many papers as you like’, thus exposing both his prejudice and ignorance that, on the one hand, the vaccines work and should not be questioned and his inability to trade scientific punches. While the personal nature of Myers’s attack was sustained, Bridgen stooped to ad hominem criticism only once when he pointed out his background in biological sciences, including virology, and questioned whether Myers was similarly qualified.
Doyle did not intervene much except to pass the debate back and forth but did intercede with a question about how ‘helpful’ it had been of Bridgen to compare the vaccine rollout to the Holocaust. Bridgen must be very tired of having to defend this point as he not only quoted someone else, but no direct comparison was made between the outcome of the Holocaust to the outcome of the vaccine rollout. It was the nature of the ‘crime’ alleged to having been committed that was being made. Time will tell who was correct.
The conspiratorial nature of Bridgen’s allegations was raised repeatedly and in relation to points that went beyond the vaccine rollout to consider the nature and origin of the Covid-19 virus and the possible collusion between the United States and China over gain of function research. Bridgen raised further questions in relation to this, all of which went unanswered by Myers. His refusal, in any event and whatever the truth, to acknowledge ‘cock up’ as opposed to conspiracy was raised to which he dealt a killer punch by asking, if it was all a cock-up, why did nearly every democratic and some not so democratic governments across the world act as one over their response to Covid-19? I do not suppose a response will be forthcoming in the pages of Spiked.