Covid conspiracy theories

Here is one Covid conspiracy theory; side-affects from the vaccines are very rare and should not stop you taking the vaccine. This particular conspiracy is promulgated by Britain’s NHS.

Any side effects are usually mild and should not last longer than a week, such as [then the page lists things like a sore arm]

More serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or blood clotting, are very rare. [1]

If and only if you follow a link on the above page will you find information about blood-clotting. This is what we have:

The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of an extremely rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19.

For people aged 40 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk of clotting problems. For people under 40 without other health conditions, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine instead of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. [2]

The above is the current information at 27 July 2021. It tries to present the blood-clotting problem with AstraZeneca as something which is being studied. In fact the truth is it is already firmly established that AstraZeneca carries a risk of causing serious blood-clotting events. I have had to search very hard indeed to find this information on the Internet. I cannot prove it but it looks to me like Google may be suppressing it. (For example the search autocomplete feature which is usually very responsive did not help at all; and most of the pages returned were out of date). However the fact is that AstraZeneca causes blood-clotting events in 1 in 100,000 people over 50. For those under 50 the rate is 2 per 100,000. 17% to 20% of these events are fatal. It also seems that a study has concluded that giving AstraZeneca to people in the age group 18-39 would cause more deaths than lives saved. We can extrapolate from this to say that in children the risks from the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh the risks. This information comes from an Irish newspaper [3] which is reporting a study by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and information from the Irish HSE. These are the facts as they pertain to AstraZeneca.

I would not say that a 1 in 100,000 chance of a serious blood clotting event (in those aged over 50) which carries a 17% – 20% of being fatal – is so rare that it can simply be discounted. Taking myself as an example; I am aged 55 and in good physical condition with no existing health conditions. I am not overweight. The chances of my dying from Covid-19 are remote. It is therefore a rational decision for me not to get a vaccine in the UK – in particular since I cannot specify that I don’t receive AstraZeneca. (In the UK only people under 40 are being automatically offered Pfizer or Moderna). The information offered by the NHS that “the benefits of being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk of clotting problems” is probably not true in my case. It is simply misinformation. (“blood-clotting problems” is further misinformation since the fact is that 17%-20% of these will be fatal; not just a ‘problem’). At any event surely it is up to the patient to make the risk-decision assessment herself? Isn’t there some principle of “informed consent” which has simply been abandoned here?

Another lie told by the NHS is this one: “The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19.” This pretends there is a single vaccine. In fact there are multiple vaccines which use a range of different technologies and which carry different risk profiles. Again; surely it is the job of the NHS to present accurate information about treatments and allow patients to make their own choices? AstraZeneca has a risk of blood-clotting. Pfizer carries a risk of heart inflammation – especially in younger men. [4] These risks appear to be of a very small percentage and rarely fatal; less serious than the AstraZeneca blood-clotting problem.

We are supposed to live in free democratic and scientifically literate society. This is why millions of young people who are destined to become builders and hospital porters and florists are nonetheless forced each year to take exams in biology and chemistry and physics. So they can participate in a modern rational and scientifically aware society. But instead of offering actual information which enables people to make up their own minds the health bureaucracy feeds them untruths and tries to make up their minds for them. It is mind-bogglingly irresponsible.

Meanwhile the police are investigating a woman who made a speech at a public event in London in which she apparently compared doctors and nurses promoting vaccination to Nazi war criminals and referred to the Nuremberg trials. [5] This is obviously going too far and is extremely idiotic. But amidst the idiotic analogy she may have a point; there is a push to vaccinate and a sustained effort to supress information about the risks. Most outlets are not even reporting the rest of her speech. The BBC is rare in saying that “Speaking about the vaccine, she encouraged the crowd to challenge vaccinators about its safety.”[6] So – the NHS can publish what is manifestly false information about the risks from the vaccines but someone who calls for this narrative to be questioned is subject to police investigation. This really is rather Orwellian.

The state health bureaucrats wonder why there are so many conspiracy theories. Such as RNA vaccines will alter your DNA. But one reason is that people can tell when they are being lied to. This is what creates the ground in which conspiracy theories flourish. The public health bureaucracy has decided on a campaign of mass vaccination and they are not going to let scientific fact or the principle of informed consent get in their way. The conspiracy theories are the inevitable blow-back.



The backlash against ‘Freedom day’ – how valid is it?

Only Boris Johnson could come up with a cheap slogan like “Freedom Day” in the middle of a deadly pandemic. (This is reminiscent of his joke in the early stages of the pandemic about “operation last gasp”).

Idiotic remarks aside is it indeed crazy and irresponsible to remove all remaining Covid restrictions (laws and that ambiguous middle-ground of “government guidance”) now as this widely backed letter in the Lancet argues?

The authors of this letter – who could be said to be from the pro-lockdown side of academia – make 5 arguments. Let’s consider them. Before we do that let’s just remind ourselves of the context. Currently 50% of the UK population has been offered both doses of a vaccine (spaced apart by more than the manufacturer’s recommendations in the case of Pfizer of course). This includes all the especially vulnerable groups. By some point in September all over 18 year olds will have been offered 2 doses. Vaccinations in children has not yet been decided. Lifting all restrictions now will lead to more infections than if they were maintained until, say, September when all adults will have been offered a vaccination. This delay is what the authors of this letter in the Lancet want.

Continue reading “The backlash against ‘Freedom day’ – how valid is it?”

And so to the cover-up

This is a report on Dominic Cummin’s fascinating revelations about how the government worked (didn’t) during the early days of the epidemic.

It makes juicy reading. Especially when you consider how many died. The description of the Prime Minister responding to being asked difficult questions in meetings by saying “let’s take it offline” and then rushing out of the meeting shouting “forward to victory” sounds both plausible and terrifying. Cummins claims that lockdown was not considered until the 14 of March. This is my post from 11 March 20 reporting on the Director of WHO bemoaning the lack of action by governments. The Cummins revelations confirm what we already know – that for the first few crucial weeks of the epidemic there was a total failure at the heart of government not just in No. 10, but at the senior levels in PHE and the DHSC, to respond to the crisis. (This is another of my posts from the early stages when I point out what Cummins is now saying; that the government was rudderless and its response was completely inadequate).

A lot of the revelations concern Matt Hancock. He is depicted as incompetent and a liar. I read recently an anonymous account of a backbench Tory MP who said that Hancock has a tendency to report as true-fact-now things which are in fact just at the planning stage. This interpretation syncs with Cummins’s account. For example; it would explain how Hancock could have told the PM that patients were being tested in Care Homes when what he meant was that they were working on it.

Continue reading “And so to the cover-up”

Lies – the new normal

One of the most troubling aspects of public discourse in Britain these days is how lying has become absolutely normalised. There was a point when people tried to sneak in a lie or two (disguised in the spin) – but hoped not to be found out. Now, people lie brazenly, openly – with no fear whatsoever of being called out. The media simply passes on the lies without comment. It really is a very strange reality. Just to get a flavour here are two examples:

Yesterday during a Euro 2020 football match an International footballer was suddenly taken seriously ill on the field of play. He collapsed and medics started to administer CPR. The BBC, who was broadcasting the match, kept the cameras rolling. I can understand in a way. The BBC is in the same game as commercial TV stations. Everything depends on ratings, and there is nothing like an International footballer dying on pitch to spark ratings. In fact the player is currently in hospital; but as they broadcast the pictures of him receiving CPR no one knew that he wouldn’t die. That is why any decent editor/producer would have cut the camera away. But ratings are ratings. Money is money. I understand. But what I find troubling is the blatant lie the BBC has told to explain their actions away. This is it:

We apologise to anyone who was upset by the images broadcast. In-stadium coverage is controlled by Uefa as the host broadcaster, and as soon as the match was suspended, we took our coverage off air as quickly as possible. [1]

On the one hand it is a ‘clever’ lie and on the other hand it is an obvious lie. It is true that “as soon as the match was suspended, we took our coverage off air as quickly as possible” and it is no doubt true that the BBC’s coverage is from a feed supplied or controlled by UEFA. And so with these two truths they hope to cover the lie. Of course the simple fact is that they were completely free to cut to the studio at any time. As well as the lie we can notice the attempt to be on the side of the victim. The BBC is a victim of UEFA…. There are a lot of people in politics and in large Public Sector organisations (and privatised monopolies) whose entire careers are centred around constructing these kinds of lies. Heaven help their souls. But the reason they can do it is because the media never challenges the lies.

Here is another example, from the Telegraph. The shameless Brexit actors in No. 10 who are trying to change what they agreed on Northern Ireland (that is the Prime Minister and his advisers – many no doubt hired for their ability to lie) are trying to create a story to embarrass President Macron of France. Probably they are trying to shame him into giving way and allowing them to rewrite the Northern Ireland protocol. This is the story – duly produced by the Telegraph:

A UK government source said of the meeting: “The Prime Minister said to Mr Macron ‘How would you like it if the French courts stopped you moving Toulouse sausages to Paris?’ “He replied that it was not a good comparison because Paris and Toulouse are both part of the same country. “The PM replied: ‘Northern Ireland and Britain are part of the same country as well’. He was pretty struck by it as quite revealing as to how they see the issue.” [2]

First of all; the Prime Minister’s ‘argument’ “How would you like it if you couldn’t move sausages from Toulouse to Paris” is fake. They agreed to precisely these terms. But it is the lie which is interesting. Macron replied that it is not a good comparison because Toulouse and Paris are part of the same country. The lie machine inside No. 10 swung into action. (Quite possibly this was a pre-planned ambush). This is “revealing” as to how Marcon understands the issue; they opine. The Telegraph duly explains that it shows that the French see N. Ireland and Britain as a separate country. In fact Macron almost certainly used the French word pays which while it translates as country has a meaning more tied to the land. It can also mean ‘district’ or even countryside. Macron probably simply meant to highlight that the comparison is not valid because there is no land continuity between Britain and N. Ireland as there is between Toulouse and Paris – a fair point.

This looks like a completely shameless attempt to embarrass Macron on completely false grounds. A fake. A stunt. This is the level at which the UK currently conducts international affairs. A total embarrassment. And, again, this is only possible because lying is the norm. They lied when they signed the Northern Ireland protocol. They lie about a conversation with the French President. Lies lies, lies. And the media either never questions the lying or, as in this case, plays along.

In current public discourse in the UK there is simply no distinction between truth and lies.