For some inexplicably tone-deaf reason, the former UK Health Minister Matt Hancock – the man who was most responsible for every decision made about the Covid pandemic in Britain – decided to release his book Pandemic Diaries a few weeks before Christmas.
Did he think this might be a great stocking stuffer for those members of the public who’d lost loved ones or hadn’t been able to say goodbye to them when they were dying in the hospital due to his decisions over lockdown (decisions he himself ignored, as evidenced by his being caught on CCTV in a clinch with an employee –not his wife)?
Or maybe those people that won’t be celebrating Christmas because they are out of work after their employers were unable to trade for months?
Stay with me, Americans reading this, because there is important information here for you as well.
Hancock’s book, co-written with journalist Isabel Oakeshott, details all the tough calls that Hancock had to make and every pronouncement from him during the long months of lockdown, delivering his bad news, inexplicably wearing the same pink tie (as if this might lighten the tone of the dreary news he was about to impart).
I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy and read Pandemic Diaries, but I’ll take Oakeshott’s word for it. Essentially distancing herself from the final product, she recently wrote in the Spectator that Hancock ‘still wholeheartedly believes that as health secretary during the pandemic, he made all the right calls. He is utterly scathing of anyone who argues that repeated lockdowns were avoidable; does not have the slightest doubt over any aspect of the government’s vaccine policy; and thinks anyone who believes any other approach to the pandemic was either realistic or desirable is an idiot.’
Oakeshott took the job as writer because she wanted to get to the gritty truth – ‘who said what to whom; the driving force and thinking behind key policies and decisions; who (if anyone) dissented and how they were crushed’ and figured the best way to do was to align herself with the ‘first insider account from the heart of government of the most seismic political, economic and public health crisis of our times.’
Hancock’s ego was such that he laid bare to her what she called a load of sensational raw material, and although the Cabinet Office requested some 300 deletions, there are still a batch of key lessons that she shares – lessons that don’t surprise us, as we’ve been banging on about them for three years.
The first of the three biggest revelations is that the government started out with a plan to vaccinate only the vulnerable (primarily the very elderly) since the disease had a very low mortality rate among mostly everyone else, and ended up attempting to vaccinate everyone, even children – one of the ‘most extraordinary cases of mission creep in political history,’ says Oakeshott.
‘Once he had far more than was needed for the initial target group of elderly and clinically vulnerable patients, he seems to have felt compelled to use it.’
Even the head of the Covid vaccine taskforce was alarmed by his haste and warned him that he might ‘kill people.’
As Oakeshott notes, ‘Sadly we now know some young people died as a result of adverse reactions to a jab they never needed.’
In the UK, she says, some experts have linked the UK’s deadly outbreak of Strep A in children to the fact that their immune systems were weakened by a lack of exposure to other people (and other bugs) during the long months of lockdown.
The second big revelation is that Hancock and the scientific advisors did not take monitoring side effects seriously enough. Hancock worried that the system might be ‘shonky,’ but the scientific team never really followed up. And certainly, in America, the CDC tried its damnedest to keep this information under lock and key for 50 years.
And finally, and most damningly, Oakeshott saw alarming evidence of an ‘aggressive government-driven campaign to smear and silence those who criticized the response. Aided by the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health harnessed the full power of the state to crush individuals and groups whose views were seen as a threat to public acceptance of official messages and policy.’
In January 2020, Hancock told Oakeshott, his special adviser was already in discussion with Twitter to ‘tweak their algorithms.’ Hancock also contacted his old buddy Nick Clegg, the former UK deputy prime minister and currently a senior player at Facebook, to essentially ban any criticism of government policy.
Most shamefully, the UK government enlisted a team that had formerly been charged with discrediting ISIS propaganda to tackle ‘anti-vaxxers.’ This crowd ended up vilifying many eminent scientists who’d simply argued against lockdown except of the very vulnerable – two of them prestigious Oxford epidemiologists.
The government also quickly banned anti-lockdown protests.
A recent published study by Israeli researchers, led by Yaffa Shir-Raz, a health and risk communication scientists at the University of Haifa, carried out extensive interviews with 13 doctors and scientists from seven different countries who had been uniformly severely censured for daring to disagree with government policy. One doctor had a $1 million lawsuit filed against him; another, Jackie Stone, a Zimbabwe doctor who successfully treated Covid patients with ivermectin and colloidal silver, faces imprisonment; and leading cardiologist Peter McCullough may lose his license. Others have lost their posts at universities, and one even had his home raided by police.
This is only a tiny sampling, but the playbook has been used uniformly by governments, not simply because those in charge, like Hancock, believed what they were doing was right, but because they were working in tandem with drug companies like Pfizer, whose chief exec has pronounced the arrival of Covid as ‘Christmas every day.’
I like to believe that Hancock, like most government ministers and congress people, largely acted in good faith.
By incredible coincidence a friend of mine just sent me the following quotation today:
‘The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.’
That quote came from Adolf Hitler in his autobiography, Mein Kampf,
Covid is a salutary lesson for us all to learn from. We must never so readily allow our governments to take away our freedoms again.
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