AS President Xi Jinping of China continued to pursue his brutally absurd zero Covid strategy, for whatever reason of his own, throwing some of the world’s most heavily populated regions into strict lockdown as ‘surging virus cases prompted the return of mass tests and hazmat-suited health officials to streets on a scale not seen since the start of the pandemic’, the obedient media parrots, the UK, by contrast, finally threw open its borders as if the last two years of similarly ruinous measures were but a dream.
But the last two years were not a dream. They were not even a nightmare. They were instead a nightmarish reality, the painful damage of whose resultant, scandalous public health crimes is in real danger of being forgotten for good, until next time perhaps, but leaving us a more compliant and obedient as well as a heavily vaccinated people.
With the nation now distracted by war in Ukraine, distracted even from soaring energy prices, the overall rising cost of living, by the (generous and humane, or naive virtue-signalling, depending on your view) embrace of Ukraine’s refugees, it’s easy for most to forget that Friday (March 26) marks the second anniversary of when the UK’s own outrageously authoritarian-style lockdown measures became legally enforceable.
In the days before March 26, 2020, Boris Johnson had already set out a veritable encyclopaedia of unjustifiable public health rules which in an instant rewrote the contract between state and citizen, and which signalled the impending death of our former values:
‘You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no. You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home. If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them.’
These and multifarious other diktats flew brazenly in the face of the guidance contained within the UK’s pre-Covid Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy – a strategy which ‘could be adapted and deployed for scenarios such as an outbreak of another infectious disease, eg Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)’.
It beggars belief that to this day there has been no national discussion on why this plan was so comprehensively ignored.
Although discussed at length by the sceptical community, the strategy’s most salient points remain practically unknown to the general public, and one wonders if the document will be touched upon at all as part of the upcoming, official Covid Inquiry. The draft terms suggest not.
In brief summary, and to remind ourselves of how far the British Government have slid into disrepute, the strategy document envisaged a much more serious pandemic that Covid, with a fatality rate of 2.5 per cent and up to 315,000 deaths in 15 weeks. Yet there were to be very few curbs on behaviour. Indeed, the word ‘lockdown’ is nowhere to be found within the original pandemic planning.
In fact: ‘Large public gatherings or crowded events where people may be in close proximity are an important indicator of “normality” and may help maintain public morale during a pandemic.’
Yet on March 23, 2020, Johnson announced, among many other things, that: ‘We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with; and we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies. Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.’
The pre-Covid document said: ‘It will not be possible to stop the spread of, or to eradicate, the pandemic influenza virus, either in the country of origin or in the UK’. Nevertheless ‘STOP THE SPREAD’ was the alarmist stratagem hammered into us, ignoring the ‘do not panic’ central to original pandemic planning and feeding the hysteria that Lord Sumption immediately identified and warned against.
Are we really to believe that our supposedly (at the time) innocently-clumsy Prime Minister had been spooked into such an astonishing public health volte-face by such things as the Imperial College modelling of March 16, which claimed that in the absence of any non-pharmaceutical control measures there could be 510,000 deaths within approximately four months?
To believe so would be severely to underestimate Johnson’s opportunism and the influence over international public health policy ofactors such as Fauci, Gates and Farrar.
However, the fact that the Prime Minister was in all likelihood yielding to the influence of such external actors is irrelevant – it is he who sanctioned lockdowns, and as we are under his charge, so to speak, it is therefore he and only he that we can direct our grievances toward. The buck must stop with him. Irrespective of whether he was a pawn bullied into his actions or not, as Prime Minister, his chosen policy led to thousands of deaths. As they say: with great power comes great responsibility.
Regardless, if an impressionable, kind-hearted Johnson was indeed panicked into lockdown as consequence of his desire to protect the nation, the question remains as to why, when it quickly became clear that lockdown had made no difference at all, he announced two further stay-at-home orders? Even now, on the second anniversary of Lockdown One – and after the elapse of six times the duration of Imperial College’s original four-month, half-a-million-dead fatality model – his Government have recorded just 185,000 UK Covid deaths, a figure which in any case the ONS now acknowledge is pretty meaningless.
The multi-faceted, wild inaccuracy of that figure notwithstanding, it is still a number well short not only of Imperial’s, but even the Pandemic Preparedness Strategy’s far less catastrophic worst-case scenario modelling.
Yet the public have still been offered no adequate explanation for why the elderly were left to expire alone in care homes, schools were closed, mass gatherings were banned, businesses folded, borders were all but sealed, employees were ordered to work from home, hospitals and surgeries shut up shop, and meeting a friend for coffee in the park could result in a fine.
Will the Covid Inquiry make any attempt to dissect this travesty? One of its objectives is indeed to analyse the use of lockdowns. But if flagrant rule-breaker-in-chief Johnson himself has thus far faced little more than a police questionnaire, what can the public seriously expect of the Covid Inquiry, the trumpeted wrapping-up of the narrative? Little other than more of the same wishy-washy, round-the-houses rubbishing of deep national trauma, one suspects.
If the Prime Minister can ‘get away with it’, even when the lockdown transgressions of his ministers are plastered all over the press, can we really anticipate the Covid Inquiry to admonish his Government’s most heinous transgression: the inexplicable and disastrous torching of the original pre-Covid plan in favour of experimental lockdowns?
Even the Imperial College team’s most notorious member, Professor Neil Ferguson, long ago conceded that Government had got away with the ‘Chinafication’ of its pandemic response, and yet even though the Times reported his words, nothing came of Ferguson’s quite extraordinary and overt admission of guilt on behalf of his paymasters.
One can only assume that at the time the nation was too busy attempting to adapt to life under authoritarian rule to muster enough strength simultaneously to bay for lunatic Johnson’s blood. Either that or we had become the most stupid nation on earth.
Whichever way you cut it, the people of Britain were being crushed by an iron fist of hysterical stay-at-home orders.
‘Domestic travel restrictions have been lifted; we can meet with whomever we wish; we don’t have to self-isolate; all shops and schools are open – when are you going to let all this go? You should be glad it’s all over, and start moving forward with your life. Be grateful,’we are told by the many critics of those still banging on about lockdowns.
Yet the sin of lockdown cannot be forgotten until Johnson’s government performs penance, and that penance must come in the form of admitting, via the Covid Inquiry, not only that such a measure clearly did not work, but that two years later it is still not working in such countries as China, and will therefore never be implemented again.
In the new normal, that’s about as much compensation as the public can expect for the devastating losses incurred as consequence of multiple experimental stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules, school closures and enforced mask wearing.
It’ll have to do.
But without this admission, the nation will be left with perpetual uncertainty around the future, and around just what Government’s response might be to the more lethal virus outbreaks their public health experts say unequivocally are on their way.
Without this admission, the rotten and useless apparatus that is lockdown can be said to remain in the toolbox of a Government who have eaten humble pie over absolutely none of their pandemic interventions, both non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical.
Without any assurance that such a measure will never again be implemented, perhaps during some not-too-distant pandemic – whilst simultaneously grappling with energy restrictions, potential food shortages, out-of-control household bills, an NHS backlog, a scarred national psyche, and direct or indirect involvement in a foreign war, for example – the British people tragically risk looking back on the Covid lockdowns through rose-tinted spectacles.
For by then, those months on end of depressing isolation, crippling uncertainty and financial struggle, may be recollected as a breeze in comparison with the perhaps more grievously-evolved public health control measures of what looks destined to be a deeply volatile future – the great reset/lowering of moral standards then complete.
The upcoming Covid Inquiry could well be the last chance saloon for liberty, justice, and dignity as we once knew them.