Saturday, December 4, 2021
HomeCOVID-19We can’t let the Scapegoaters win

We can’t let the Scapegoaters win

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UNDER the current Swiss Covid-19 regulations, I am forbidden from visiting museums and galleries, and from travelling home to England. If I were a sports star or a world leader at COP26, I would miraculously be invested with immunity, but as a mere retired grandmother, I am a potential killer.

If I did submit, against my will, to being vaccinated, I could jump on a plane to Manchester and visit its Art Gallery, where I could see my mirror image, a 19th century painting.

William Holman Hunt’s The Scapegoat  was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856. It depicts the scapegoat described in Leviticus which, on the Day of Atonement, would be driven off into the wilderness as a sacrificial cleansing of the sins of mankind. A powerful symbol which has found parallels throughout history, from Adam and Eve to the Holocaust, it represents the human imperative to offload shortcomings on to the innocent, to shift the blame on to a whipping boy.

Scapegoating has come to the fore with the emergence of the Covid pandemic, with the unvaccinated singled out for vilification. TCW Defending Freedom has highlighted the former US Surgeon General who laid the blame for the death of fully vaccinated General Colin Powell – ‘from complications of Covid’ – on all those individuals who choose not to be vaccinated. Tony Blair has put his oar in, stating that it’s everyone’s ‘civic duty’ to get the jabs. All this in spite of the fact that vaccination remains voluntary. 

Now, with signs of resistance, for example parents rejecting the coercive vaccination of their children, the powers that be are having to ramp up their rhetoric. Health Secretary Sajid Javid has described those who oppose the vaccination of children as ‘idiot anti-vaxx campaigners, passing on vicious lies to ordinary people’. He is ‘leaning towards’ making Covid vaccination mandatory for all NHS staff. His colleagues are just as threatening.

In Australia, a cartoonist has been sacked after comparing the Vaxx Pass enforcement to Tiananmen Square. He showed a tiny lone individual staring down a hypodermic needle representing the barrel of a giant tank. Michael Leunig called it a Charlie Chaplin-like metaphor for overwhelming force meeting the innocent powerless individual. Alas, it was an inference too far for Melbourne, the most locked-down city in the world. 

So it is interesting that the Council of Europe has warned about the non-medical use of vaccine passports, and using them as a means of coercion for a non-medical purpose: ‘The possible use of vaccination certificates, as well as immunisation data, for purposes other than strictly medical, for example to give individuals exclusive access to rights, services or public places, raises numerous human rights questions . . . and it could pose risks of discrimination, even stigmatisation or arbitrariness.’ 

As people better understand the implications of coercive vaccination, first through encouragement, in publicity from the government; then by warnings, about putting oneself and others at risk of serious illness, even death; by bribery, through gifts of money, pizzas, and tickets; and finally through blackmail, via passes and certificates which allow access and services to the favoured but not to the resistant – the parallels with the emergence of Fascistic regimes are becoming ever clearer. 

Typical features of this new Covid Fascism include :

·         overwhelming state power

·         the promotion of conformism

·         identifying common enemies – the scapegoats

·         total control of the media

·         contempt for individual rights

·         overuse of the police and military

·         justification of the above in the interests of ‘security’

·         contempt for academics, experts and intellectuals.

This is happening at a much faster rate than in the 1930s. Until February 2020 the world was still recognisable as the Old Normal. But last December the now infamous Professor Ferguson was interviewed by the Times,  specifically about lockdown, but applying the concept more widely: ‘It’s a Communist party state [China], we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought. And then Italy did. And we realised we could.’ 

Italy is still doing it. Workers in both the private and public sectors are faced with the choice of getting vaccinated or being suspended from work without pay. As one worker admitted: ‘I took the jab. I need to work.’             

For many who decline to be vaccinated, it’s not just a matter of losing the job, but personal and social shunning by former colleagues and friends, even family members. The unvaxxed are beginning to be stereotyped as dangerous enemies of civilised society. Take the comments by Mike Smithson on the Political Betting website, where he compares the unvaccinated to the blackout refusers during the Blitz: ‘Everything was about survival and the rules were strictly enforced . . . Simply by refusing to be jabbed, [vaccine refusers] are not only putting themselves at greater risk but those they come into contact with . . . To my mind it is right that they should be vaccinated, no ifs no buts. I support Sajid Javid in his plans that NHS staff have to be vaccinated.’

To compare enemy bombing to a virus which has recovery rate of more than 99 per cent, to which some people have a natural immunity and for which affordable and effective prophylactic treatments already exist, is both absurd and patronising.  

Either you have principles, or like Groucho Marx, you have others; knowledge and understanding, or superstition and fear. The choice to stand by your beliefs is a very hard one, and will ensure in the current circumstances that you will suffer. So probably will your family. The shadowy puppeteers who are attempting to control everything know this, and are ruthlessly playing on your fears and basic instincts. 

But have ordinary people become so cowed, so irrationally terrified, that they’ll submit to state suppression for the sake of a fortnight in Ibiza? Where is the Blitz Spirit that Mike Smithson so condescendingly refers to? Do we now want to live under a Fascist regime? If not, we have to start saying no, and be prepared to take the dangerous and painful consequences. The Spanish Civil War politician La Pasionaria is supposed to have said: ‘It is better to live and die on your feet than to survive on your knees like a slave.’ Is society up for this? Are you? Are the Scapegoaters going to win?

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Janice Davis
Janice Davis is a grandmother and former girls’ grammar school teacher

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