For years, virtue-signalling and persuasion have been slyly inserted into BBC news and current affairs programmes, cajoling viewers and listeners in how and what to think.
The shite stream also flows at a deeper, more subliminal level in some of the Beeb’s drama. But they threw the stealth out of the window on Monday night’s edition of the ‘Eastenders’ soap opera. Unashamedly, the scriptwriters dusted down their worst cliches and threw the kitchen sink at a character who had made the choice not to vaccinate.
As Karen wandered away, browbeaten and faltering, I wondered if the ghost of Joseph Goebbels might have revived. Did it sit up, grinning, alerted by the BBC’s shameless use of propaganda, that depicted a normally strong character as a feeble-minded “anti-vaxxer”?
In my imagination, Joe’s phantom went one further, in its excitement at the shallow platitudes slapping millions of TV faces hard. As two other characters made it clear that vaccination is most certainly not a subject where we have the luxury of choice, I envisaged Joe’s spectre jacking itself off, breathlessly. Ghostly sperm billowing through some parallel Nazi universe, like acid rain.
My wife went for her first Covid vaccination on Wednesday. Dad has received his. So have my brother, sisters-in-law, and a host of friends. There have been a few adverse reactions in the first 24 hours, but nothing to prick up your ears. Everyone safe and sound, Lord love ‘em all.
Earlier in the week, our local GP surgery reminded me to book my appointment. I politely told them ‘no thanks’, although I will keep considering the offer.
Not rejecting it outright: but sensibly seeking a good reason to be jabbed. Maybe one will appear? If it does, I will. No drama. I have given it months of quiet thought, assessing the reward and trawling through the risk. Paying attention to a set of moving uncertainties. Like you would.
An easy comparison is the flu jab. As a kid, I scarfed up all of the standard vaccinations: MMR, meningitis, diphtheria and so on. No problem. Then, as an adult, yellow fever and malaria jabs for trips abroad. All good. But flu? I have had it on countless occasions, and my T-cells and antibodies know what to do. Why take a jab for something my immune system deals with competently?
Wouldn’t there be at least a couple of hundred better things to do, for me and the seriously over-burdened National Health Service? I have done my damnedest to take responsibility for my own health in recent decades. Probably two calls on the doctor over the last 20 years.
Clearly Covid-19 is a more unknown opponent. Terribly nasty to suffer, and awful to die from. No disputing that. In January 2020, Maureen and I were knocked for six, for a day or two, by a bug hitherto unencountered. New and dizzying sensations of illness were fought off. Daughter Lauren and husband Chris had something similar, wiping days from their lives.
Two months later, my son Rory attended the final day of the Cheltenham Festival races, amid 60,000 other gambling, sweaty humans, at a time when we were told that the novel coronavirus was hopping from body to body at rocket velocities. He came home the next day. We were all fine.
Those two sets of events were enough to convince me that my immune system had grappled buck-naked with Covid, and sent the nasty little toad scampering. “You can fuck right off, SARS-Cov2,” I like to think my system said, mimicking its host.
My immune system would definitely be talkative: “If you come back, twat, our T-cells know how you operate, even if our antibodies lose their power over time. You can mutate all you like shithead, but don’t forget we have been kicking the fuck out of coronaviruses for decades before you sprang out of a Chinese bat turd. We‘ve got your family blueprints, motherfucker. Do one.”
I love my immune system. What a pal. Always there, fighting my corner, remembering the weak points of my assailants, and defending mine. No surprise that I big it up. Boost it with vitamins C, D and zinc, plenty of sunlight, turmeric and garlic, and, recently, a daily juiced up half-pint of celery, pineapple, lemon, apple, ginger and cucumber. And less alcohol. Far less. Lots of walks and fresh air. Long sleeps. All told, a cracking defence, guarding me like Kev Costner shielded Whitney.
In contemplating a Covid vaccine I also gazed upon data from the illustrious and mighty World Health Organization (WHO), which cites an average 99.95% chance of surviving the virus for those under 70 who contract it. More precisely for my age group, the rate for beating infection among the 50-69 bracket is 99.5%, according to the US Centre for Disease Control. Official scientists. Not the so-called tinfoil hat brigade.
Given those brilliantly favourable odds, and my pugnacious inner minder, the need to vaccinate against something that is relatively innocuous for my age group is not clear. How is Covid-19 more of a threat to me than falling down a flight of stairs or being involved in a terrible car crash? Life inevitably carries some risk. Correct me if that is wrong.
I do get it totally, understand completely that the elderly, chronically ill and otherwise vulnerable want the jab. Of course. And anybody else that wants to feel ‘safe’ or seeks to get out again in crowds during the spring and summer. I would be gagging for it, in their shoes.
Take my missus as one example. Maureen has respiratory issues; and works with children, an environment where vaccination will be expected. So she took the jab. Fair play. Her choice. Totally respected, always and forever.
Among our three kids, Rory is up for the vaccine. Not because he fears for his health, but due to his lust for pubs, gigs and festivals when his freedoms return. Daughter Lauren is similar, feeling no need for an injection but concerned about the possible exclusion from the travel required for her job. Daughter Josie sees little reason to be vaccinated, but worries that she may be coerced by workplace dictates.
That spectrum of opinion among my nearest and dearest makes me proud. We have fed on fascinating debate and counter-debate, without sanctimony or fear. Proper conversation, no name-calling. Wit and kindness flying around. Family operating like a democracy should. Consideration, individual choice, the right to disagree. Good, respectful attitudes, enshrined in our Western ways.
Aren’t they? You might dwell on that question, if you pay any heed to the one-sided media ‘debate’ about vaccines in the UK, or the slime of Eastenders. Toxic doesn’t begin to describe the almost universal dismissal on TV, radio and printed media of anyone who quite reasonably says ‘thanks but no thanks’ to the jab. The only narrative in town says: ‘Just get vaccinated’. Never mind the tiny mortality rate for the young and healthy. Move on, nothing to see there.
You can only hope that the current generation of mainstream journalists will wake up one day and hang their heads in shame. Most of the writers for the Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail, Mirror, Express and Sun. Almost all reporters for the BBC, Sky, ITV and most radio stations. As they recall the taste of their tongues deep in fathomless government and corporate rectums. And try and explain to their children that they took money for gaslighting on behalf of vaccine manufacturers and politicians.
A good journalist is duty-bound to inform. No more, no less. By that measure, it is fair, reasonable and NECESSARY to tell Joe Public that the risk in declining the jab may be matched by an equal risk in taking it. It may. The vaccines still being rushed to market represent new medical technology, whose longer-term outcomes are unknown.
(As quickly as possible, we are told the new vaccines by-pass the traditional injection of dead or live virus. Instead, cells within the body are forced to manufacture a protein that resembles the ‘spike’ protein from SARS-CoV-2, so that the immune system swings into action and produce an antibody response to that mimicking protein. In short, setting up a defence for any future coronavirus intrusion. Maybe this is a brilliant innovation. Time will tell. But, to repeat, nobody knows, yet.)
What has been terribly under-publicised or just plain ignored by media is that Covid-19 vaccines have been distributed under ‘emergency use’ authorisations, issued by bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency. Whether you like it or not, every jabbed human is taking part in a still unlicensed, and highly experimental final phase of an immense clinical trial, set to finish in 2023. Maybe that is all fine and dandy. I genuinely hope so.
But would you buy an untested car? Just because others were? Because the Queen and Dolly Parton or your favourite celebrity each bought one? Maybe you would. Whatever, you at least have the right to be told in the clearest terms that you are something akin to a guinea pig. The right not to be bombarded with unfounded reassurances that “this is completely safe”.
The Nazi Germany parallel nags a little. The Nuremberg trials at the end of WW2 gave rise to a set of principles governing human experimentation. It was deemed that without “informed consent” from those being experimented on, a war crime is committed. Is that relevant? I don’t know.
There is good reason that vaccine trials typically take a long time, and that trial volunteers are traditionally observed for years after they receive their injections. The last time that a vaccine was rushed, for swine flu in 2009-10, recipients died of narcolepsy. It is neither theory, nor conspiratorial, to underline that the current vaccine manufacturers and regulators can have no clue as to what the ‘gene therapy’ contained in Covid-19 jabs might do to people’s immune systems in 12 months, 2 years or 10 years from now.
One giant hill of shit that fouls the horizon is how vaccine manufacturers have been given legal indemnity preventing them being sued, in cases of liability claims. There are government funds from which it is possible to claim, but the bottom line is that you bear the risks of the vaccine yourself.
All good journalism would point out this uncertainty. Every day. Unremittingly and unapologetically. Instead, we are spoon fed a narrative that a Luftwaffe equivalent is bombing our bodies. An “emergency” that leaves no time for research. Deliberately creating unwarranted tension, keeping the fearful on their toes, infantilising swathes of the population. Genuinely useful and informative news about Covid-19 can sometimes seem as rare as eunuch sperm.
Some medical professionals have forecast that instances of auto-immune disease will be triggered by the vaccines. Health Secretary Matt Hancock stuttered and dithered in Parliament yesterday when asked how many recent UK deaths have occurred with potential links to the vaccine. In the European Union, as of 25 March, there had been 3,964 deaths from vaccine adverse reactions, according to the official EudraVigilance database. In Israel, where the vaccination rate is the highest in the world, the fatality numbers after two months of intensive inoculation with the Pfizer vaccine look to have soared when gauged against the preceding period.
My personal take – irrespective of what anyone says – is to watch from the sidelines. For the time being. To try and get a handle on this grand experiment in molecular mimicry. Yeah, I know, there could be some hefty consequences, including no ‘vaccine passport’, no access to pub or cinema. Oh well.
At least I don’t live in Israel, where the refusal to vaccinate is already leading to the termination of employment contracts, and effectively becoming a second-class citizen. Creating a world where being able to produce the right notification, or piece of paper, is necessary. The historical irony is almost too much to bear.
How did it get this way? A partial explanation is that journalists stopped throwing out tough questions. Such a query might ask how the unvaccinated can be a threat to people other than themselves. “How does that work Minister, once the vulnerable have the jab?”
Another might ask Mr Hancock about the peer-reviewed study in Wuhan that found a 0% asymptomatic virus transmission rate in a survey of 10 million people. In short, that healthy people were not transmitting the virus. “Minister, do we need to tweak our view of lockdowns and masks?” (I might have to reconsider that Rory brought the virus home from Cheltenham.)
At the end of this long and tortuous road sits one obvious question. One that everyone with any spirit of enquiry in their DNA should be asking of ‘authorities’ that have shot down our freedoms, irrevocably screwed up the education system, murdered thousands of recovering elderly in care homes, shut down our entertainments and pleasures and lifted mental health and domestic violence to new heights.
Here’s the question. What absolute certainties will the Covid-19 vaccine bring, what new benefits that we can rely on to compensate for the Himalayan range of time, money, energy and life shoved down the tubes over the past 12 months?
All I can honestly see, for sure, with 100% certainty, from the manufacturers and governments, beyond all the constantly-changing percentages of death and hospitalisation risk, is that it will ………help ease the symptoms of the virus if you ever happen to get it.
What? Is that the promised land, the ticket to freedom awaited by so many since floppy Boris declared the need to ‘flatten the curve’ for a few weeks? Our symptoms most definitely will not feel so bad. Chapeau! Let’s break out the champagne.
What has been made abundantly clear is that after receiving the ‘shots’ you will still have to social distance, wear a mask in shops, stay away from strangers and sanitise. Same old new normal. On with the zombie show, in the open-air prison. Maybe you think it’s OK to be misled non-stop?
And what about saving lives? That jury is out, standing by a closed pub, still watching the death figures. A ‘Third Wave’ of virus is being talked up by government advisers and media like a movie booked for the autumn. Beware the ‘variants’, say the experts. ‘Vaccine refuseniks’ are already being blamed in some quarters.
I find myself out of step with most people. At the most basic level, the word ‘pandemic’ continues to be bandied about, yet hardly a single acquaintance knows anybody who has died. It is difficult to be optimistic when intelligent friends say that they lack ‘permission’ to travel more than 5 miles for a walk, or that the most destructive British public policies of the past century that also trample on inalienable human rights are somehow worth getting behind. And when the Labour Party that I once voted for bends over and gives the Tories a free pass.
Britain’s Parliament has just voted to extend the draconian government powers enshrined in the Coronavirus Act 2020, with a huge majority of 484 to 76. In the background, the world’s richest people are ramping up the talk of an economic “Great Reset”. The Financial Times just ran a headline arguing that the “EU must prepare for era of pandemics”. Guess the FT has a really good crystal ball.
When the propaganda wrinkles my nose, I sometimes return to April 2020 words from Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser. I’ve mentioned his clarity before.
“The great majority of people will not die from this and I’ll just repeat something I said right at the beginning because I think it’s worth reinforcing: Most people, a significant proportion of people, will not get this virus at all, at any point of the epidemic which is going to go on for a long period of time.
Of those who do, some of them will get the virus without even knowing it, they will have the virus with no symptoms at all, asymptomatic carriage, and we know that happens. Of those who get symptoms, the great majority, probably 80%, will have a mild or moderate disease. Might be bad enough for them to have to go to bed for a few days, not bad enough for them to have to go to the doctor. An unfortunate minority will have to go as far as hospital, but the majority of those will just need oxygen and will then leave hospital. And then a minority of those will end up having to go to severe end critical care and some of those sadly will die. But that’s a minority…the great majority of people, even the very highest groups, if they catch this virus, will not die. And I really wanted to make that point really clearly.”
Never underestimate the horse’s mouth. Whitty reiterated similar themes a few days ago. Yet the British government has just advertised a £2 million tender for a company to undertake a Covid public information multimedia advertising campaign. The last two words catch the eye. As did the length of the contract, until 2023. Do they know somehing that we don’t? Are there time lords working for Boris?
It is hard to resist the image of the spectral Goebbels reaching for his Nazi helmet and spraying more jism out into the ether, as the new PR team goes about its wretched business. Meanwhile, a full four years away, in March 2025, the World Bank expects to close its Covid-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Programme. What balls of crystal they must have rubbed over in Washington DC, to insert that precise date. Maybe Joe rubbed his.
There are no conspiracy theories above, just facts and a few opinions, belted at you with a straight bat and a lashing or two of humour. Have to admit, though, to a rising admiration of Frank Zappa’s decades-old conjecture that the “illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion”. Did anyone notice that the world economy has tanked? While we all fretted about our breath.
What else Frank? “At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
Now there’s a thought.