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Mumbo jumbo, BoJo-style

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OUR bumbler-in-chief, Mr Johnson, was recently around my neck of the woods calling vaccine scepticism ‘mumbo jumbo’. He repeated the phrase to show just how ridiculous it is to be anything other than wholly prostrate to the doctrines of Big Pharma and their toadies in government.

The expression ‘mumbo jumbo’ has an interesting origin. Today a synonym for nonsense, it is originally the name of a West African god who was invoked to resolve domestic disputes.

While travelling through Mandingo country (which today spreads across The Gambia, Guinea, Senegal and more) in the late 18th century, adventurous Scotsman Mungo Park came across ‘a considerable town, near the entrance into which I observed, hanging upon a tree, a sort of masquerade habit, made of the bark of trees, which I was told, on inquiry, belonged to Mumbo Jumbo.’

Park goes on to describe Mumbo Jumbo’s role:

‘This is a strange bugbear, common to all the Mandingo towns, and much employed by the pagan natives in keeping their women in subjection; for as the kafirs are not restricted in the number of their wives, every one marries as many as he can conveniently maintain — and as it frequently happens that the ladies disagree among themselves, family quarrels sometimes rise to such a height that the authority of the husband can no longer preserve peace in his household.

‘In such cases, the interposition of Mumbo Jumbo is called in, and is always decisive.’

That last line is a great one. After all, it seems today that we have a similar set-up to the Mandingos. Instead of using it to keep our women in line by dressing up in a funny outfit and pretending to be a deity, mumbo jumbo is constantly invoked by the powers-that-be to keep us all on a tight leash.

Take, for example, the Health Secretary’s recent visit to a hospital, where a doctor with natural immunity to Covid-19 took him to task for mandating vaccination for all NHS workers. The doctor, like many, is sceptical of the efficacy of the vaccine, particularly as he has already been infected, with post-disease immunity repeatedly confirmed to be superior to the jab-induced alternative. 

With the time-limited effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines, the doctor told Sajid Javid that the government simply would not be able to inject the whole population on a monthly basis in order to keep up antibody levels.

Moreover, the doctor had the temerity to mention the massively pertinent, but rarely spoken of, fact that most of those hospitalised with the virus are both significantly overweight and with co-morbidities.

To Mr Javid, however, this was all – you guessed it – mumbo jumbo, although he didn’t quite utter the phrase. No doubt Al Johnson would agree. Instead, the Health Secretary claimed, they are listening to ‘vaccine experts’ (aka Head of Sales for Pfizer and AstraZeneca). This, of course, raises the question as to why we bother with democratic representatives if they are unable to go against any advice offered by ‘experts’: we may as well put the reds of Sage straight into Downing Street and cut out the middle man.

It’s a strange world where basic questions and demands for accountability are regarded as ‘mumbo jumbo’. Until the panic over Covid wrecked the mental faculties of much of the Western world, immunity after virus infection was a given, as was the individual’s right to weigh up the pros and cons of undergoing a medical procedure.

But here’s a thought. Although the original readers of Mungo Park’s account of exploring the interior of Africa no doubt looked down on all that mumbo jumbo(hence the modern meaning), perhaps we, today, would benefit from becoming a bit more like the Mandingos and respecting that comically named deity.

After all, what our leaders dismiss as mumbo jumbo increasingly appears to be the only thing that makes sense. 

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Frederick Edward
Frederick Edward is from the Midlands. You can see his Substack here.'

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