How It Starts 996


The brevity of this post is out of proportion to the enormous importance of the subject. But I want to let you know I am thinking and working on it.

It is a recognised pattern for dictatorship to commence with emergency measures designed to combat a threat. Those emergency measures then become normalised and people exercising arbitrary power find it addictive. A new threat is then found to justify the continuation

It is by no means clear to me that it is a rational response to covid-19 to tear up all of the civil liberties which were won by the people against authority through centuries of struggle, and for which people died. To say that is not to minimise the threat of covid-19. It is also worth pointing out that a coronavirus pandemic was a widely foreseen eventuality. People keep sending me links to various TV shows or movies based on a coronavirus pandemic, generally claiming this proves it is a man-made event. No, that just proves it is a widely foreseen event. Which it is.

The lack of contingency preparedness is completely indefensible. It is partly a result of the stupidity of Tory austerity that has the NHS permanently operating at 100% capacity with no contingency, and partly the result of the crazed just-in time thinking that permeates management in all spheres and eliminates the holding of stock.

It is incredible to me that the UK is willing to throw away some £220 billion and rising on Trident against a war scenario nobody can sensibly define, but was not willing to spend a few million on holding stock of protective clothing for the NHS against the much more likely contingency of a pandemic. What does that say about our society?

Anyway, we are where we are. Nobody knows how deadly this virus is. There have not been, anywhere, sufficient reliable large general population samples to know what percentage of people who get the virus will die. We just do not know how many people in the UK have had it and not got seriously ill. My suspicion is that in a couple of years time it will be discovered the mortality rate was under 1%. But I do not know, and I do not blame the government for making worst assumptions in the absence of reliable scientific evidence. Personally, I am obeying lockdown and would advise others to do so too until the situation is clearer. But I do not want to see the police harassing people for going on a long walk or posting a letter. It really is a problem to have police empowered to stop and question a citizen for just walking in the street. It is also a problem that Peter Hitchens is being reviled for saying, in essence, little more than that. When you can’t criticise restrictions on liberty, you know society has entered a very dark phase indeed.

I would feel much more comfortable if they were open about what they do not know. All the excuses for not testing people rather than admit they did not have the tests rather rattles trust. The ability of the rich and well-connected to access tests also rattles trust.

But none of this justifies rule by fiat – if Parliament cannot sit, I personally believe it would benefit the nations of the UK to have no new laws for a while. There are too many laws already. It does not justify banning political gathering. I don’t recommend anyone to gather, and I don’t imagine they would gather, but the evil of banning political activity is much more serious than the danger of four lonely people in Solihull getting together to talk about coronavirus restrictions.

It certainly does not justify banning jury trials, which the Scottish government has just dropped from today’s Bill after a revolt led by Joanna Cherry. The bill still weakens the defence in trials by allowing pre-taped video evidence and dispensing with the right to cross-examine. If the accusers had been allowed to get away with their lies in the Alex Salmond trial without cross-examination, the result might have been very different. For God’s sake, if you cannot do justice, suspend it. Do not dispense rough justice.

This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.

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996 thoughts on “How It Starts

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  • N_

    “michael+norton wrote
    Children are super spreaders, it would be much safer for older adults, not to come in to contact with children.
    Children do not need to purchase food.

    Did you actually think before you typed that? Some children live in single-parent families and are three years old and nobody wants to leave a three-year-old on their own in the house. Not everyone has a nanny, a governess, a gardener residing on their estate, or servants living downstairs with whom they can leave their children.

    Your first four words suggest the Daily Mail have given you another phrase you can use in place of “chav” or “council trash”, and also that you have no idea of the rules of logic. Not all children are “super spreaders”, not all “super spreaders” are children, and parents are under a responsibility to ensure their children obey the regulations concerning social distancing. If Tesco’s told you to hop on your right leg as you walked around the shop, would you come up with a reason why only dirty rotters would object?

  • michael norton

    I live on a council estate, I have been a hard manual worker all my life, I do not have a nanny or any servants.
    Children are super spreaders. My daughter’s children have caught it and spread it to my daughter.
    The children spread it in school, nusery on on the swings or sharing sweets.
    If a young child catches covid-19 they apparently have relatively mild symptoms but for grandparents or other older people, catching is a 50/50 chance of snuffing it.

    • Pb

      I have no doubt what you say is true but if so why would they corral all the “Essential Workers” children together in schools and allow the less worthy to enjoy a lower risk environment at home?

      Because of childcare needs? No.

      You would ask a relative, friend or a guardian of one of the child’s school friends if they would look after them during working hours, if they did that they would almost certainly get a big clap and perhaps money.

      No the government put the children of Essential Workers at higher risk knowingly putting their parents and household at greater risk.

      That is the calibre of this government.

    • Nick

      As you say children are super spreaders
      But 50/50 chance of dying if a grandparent of snuffing it if you catch it?
      Hyperbole at its worst.

    • Clark

      But China concealed most of its cases and deaths, and they had (and have) a vicious lockdown. We’re calling the mild restrictions in the UK a lockdown, but it’s nothing compared with China. In Wuhan, the local housing authorities were welding shut the doors to tower blocks. Entire families were removed from apartments, dead. One person allowed out of each apartment every three days, to go to the check-point and roadblock at the end of the street to collect food. And China stopped publishing its routine death figures, so you can’t see the excess deaths that way either. This’ll give you some idea, though it only goes up to February:

      Coronavirus: How the deadly epidemic sparked a global emergency

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycrqXJYf1SU

      Wuhan’s “eased the lockdown”, right?

      – Amid reports that life in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus outbreak began in December, is returning to normal, a reader has written to give his experience of the easing of the lockdown.
      – …Life for residents of Wuhan is still more restricted than UK’s so-called lockdown. Each district is controlled by its own local authority so it’s not entirely uniform but the basics are the same.
      – To leave the community residence you need a green health code via an app on your phone. This is tied to your Chinese ID card and logs who you are and where you are. Your temperature is also taken.
      – To use the limited public transport you also need to log in and out using the app. Foreigners don’t have an ID card so they can’t use it.
      – Anyone returning to work also needs a special certificate verifying that the business has been given permission to restart. Otherwise you’re expected to return to your home within two hours.
      – Restaurants, cafes, stores, anywhere that people might gather are still closed. I can get to the supermarket five minutes walk from my apartment block, that’s all.
      – One hour a day exercise? No way.
      – So nobody should be mistaken that life in Wuhan is back to normal. And people in the UK need to think about what lockdown really means.

      • Nick

        Is that not what south korea did re the health app? It certainly worked for them? Is it not possible that if in China a more extreme version was used…that maybe they are not lying about deaths attributed to covid 19. It’s hard to trust any source.

  • Clark

    Since when have the 13,000 tested been 42.4% of the 67,000,000 UK population?

    Get off this site Pb. It’s not here as a platform for mass murderers like you.

    • Clark

      This reflects a shortage of tests, nothing more; of course testing is focused upon those most likely to be infected..

      And you Pb are beneath contempt.

      • N_

        The top of the government will have very accurate estimates of what proportions of the population are and have been infected with Covid-19. So will the hedge funds, Big Pharma, and Big Insurance. There should be no doubt about that. It’s the same as how Big Finance conducts much better electoral polling – including while the ballot boxes are open – than ever gets published in the media. I have no idea what those proportions are, but the idea that the Cabinet Office and Chief Medical Officer haven’t got a clue is false. Some tests will be done in secret without the person being tested knowing. The same goes for particular parts of society such as prisons.

  • michael norton

    As things slightly calm down in Italy they are going off like a rocket in France.
    France to extend coronavirus lockdown beyond April 15, French presidency says.
    You can now only go out for exercise, in France, after dark. To stop sunbathing.

  • N_

    Coronavirus: reported deaths/population is now 18.3 times higher in the US than in China.
    In New York state, it is 135 times higher. But NY is Democrat.
    In Michigan (Rust Belt state won by Trump in 2016) it’s 40 times higher.

  • michael norton

    Germany has twice as many covid-19 victims as in the U.K.
    Germany has one third the covid-19 deaths as in the U.K.

    So does that mean if you catch covid-19 in the U.K. you are six times more likely to snuff it?

    • Nick

      Given that germany has 3 times the amount of ventilators per head of population…that would seem right.

  • Marmite

    In China, which the Tories never tire of belittling like the racists they are, 1 per cent passed away. In Britain, the system was so badly wrecked that 10 per cent appear to lose their lives. Will anyone learn anything from this? Doubtful.

  • michael norton

    Very good news Boris out of danger.
    But the rest of us are in for hard times

    Coronavirus: Worst economic crisis since 1930s depression, IMF says
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52236936
    Lockdowns imposed by governments have forced many companies to close and lay off staff.

    Earlier this week, a UN study said 81% of the world’s workforce of 3.3 billion people had had their place of work fully or partly closed because of the outbreak.

  • Pb

    Figures from today’s testing

    Number tested 10,713

    Number of positive results 4,344

    40.5% of those tested, tested positive

    Sample population, all tested in one day in UK not incl Northern Ireland

    Yesterday’s figure was 42.4% of those tested returned a positive result.

  • michael norton

    Now one and three quarter million people have caught covid-19
    9,875 deaths so far for the U.K.

    we seem to be going for top spot, in Europe

    • michael norton

      Now three times as many deaths from covid-19 in U.K.
      than in China.

      China, Iran U.K. and Turkey have similar number of cases but
      U.K. has far more deaths?

      • michael norton

        China didn’t warn public of likely pandemic for 6 key days
        In the six days after top Chinese officials secretly determined they likely were facing a pandemic from a new coronavirus, the city of Wuhan at the epicenter of the disease hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people; millions began traveling through for Lunar New Year celebrations.

  • michael norton

    A third of the sailors serving with France’s aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle – 668 out of nearly 2,000 – are infected with coronavirus.

    Nearly all are on the carrier itself, the navy says. An escorting frigate and carrier pilots are also in quarantine.

    The carrier returned to the French port of Toulon early from Atlantic exercises. Twenty sailors are in hospital, one in intensive care.

    The infection total looks set to rise, as 30% of test results are not yet in.

    The navy is investigating how so many sailors caught the virus.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52308073

    Cruise ships and warships seem a hot bed of covid-19 transmission.

    Over 500 sailors on the USS Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus. One has died.

    The ship’s captain was fired this month after his letter pleading for help with the outbreak was leaked to US media.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52272249?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world/us_and_canada&link_location=live-reporting-story

  • michael norton

    The Middle Eastern country coming up through the covid-19 ranking, is Turkey, right behind Iran.
    Turkey is accelerating accelerating.
    Iran = 79,495 up 1,499 in 24 hours
    Turkey = 78, 436 – up 4,543 in 24 hours – + 6%
    the other middle Eastern country with a large increase is Israel = 12, 855 cases
    So the only Middle Eastern countries with very many cases of covid-19
    are Iran, Turkey and Israel.

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