Don’t tell him, Pike!

As Cliscep goes deep into endorsing WW2 analogies, with Gove as Goebbels just the latest, I propose Jaime Jessop as Captain Mainwaring:

Mainwaring sincerely believes he’s fighting the good fight but what he says is totally counterproductive. This applies to James Delingpole’s tweets I embedded two days ago as well, in my view. Persuasive not.

Of course, we can all see that Mainwairing is in fact a pompous fool. All analogies have their drawbacks. One problem, though, with defining yourself and your side in a political argument as akin to the bravest of the brave and the opposition as the moral and practical equivalent of Nazis is that, well, the pompossibilities are endless. Narcissism extra time.

We need to lighten up. Not just for our own sanity, but for our humanity and its concomitant, humility.

180 Comments

  1. Agree about the need to lighten up. Mentioning the war and mentioning Nazism or fascism is not the same thing. When people mention Nazism or fascism they’re usually referring to the brutal censorship and the intellectual dishonesty associated with the suppression of alternative points of view which characterised the rise of these movements. The Holocaust came after.

    You may argue that it’s the wrong analogy because the times are so different. Nazism was born in an environment of terrible suffering and incipient revolution – the main question being: what kind of revolution? Mussolini, Hitler and Franco gave an answer that was more acceptable to much of the élite than the answer proposed by social democrats, let alone by Stalin.

    On big issues like nuclear disarmament or the Iraq or Vietnam wars I imagine many of us have found ourselves marching (figuratively or literally) behind banners whose wording we might not totally agree with. I suggest we concentrate on analysis and leave the question of how-much-hyperbole to lexicographers.

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  2. Geoff,

    >”Agree about the need to lighten up.”

    And then you don’t?

    >”When people mention Nazism or fascism they’re usually referring to the brutal censorship and the intellectual dishonesty associated with the suppression of alternative points of view which characterised the rise of these movements. The Holocaust came after.”

    Yes, I get that. I think we all get that. Nevertheless, death caused in the pursuance of ‘preferred narrative and policy’ has been used on this website as part of the analogy.

    >”I suggest we concentrate on analysis and leave the question of how-much-hyperbole to lexicographers.”

    But if an individual chooses to analyse through analogy, one cannot hope to address their analysis without considering the accuracy of the analogy – and part of the assessment of accuracy has to be a consideration of scale. This is not a question of lexicography. Jaime has rejected the label because she does not accept the criticism of exaggeration. That matter is central to the analysis. And before we go further down the rabbit-hole of suggesting that I am getting hung up on non-essential issues, I would like to remind anyone who is interested of what I said to Jaime a few days back:

    “Any differences of opinion we might have over what is rhetoric and what is reality are somewhat secondary to our shared dread of the future.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I was brought up (even since senior school i.e. since late 1950s) in the belief that the person who first brings up the Nazis in support of their argument, is already losing it.

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  4. Yes, thanks Hans, ‘Allo ‘Allo! makes a lovely set of four. On the other thread I began this stream of thought with a highly truncated version of the great sketch starring Peter Cook and Jonathan Miller, as Perkins, in Beyond the Fringe:

    Then here it was Dad’s Army followed by the deranged Basil Fawlty confronting the Germans, courtesy of John ‘Manuel’ Ridgway.

    I never met my father’s father, who died just before I was born, but Dad insisted that Dad’s Army was right in all respects, with his Dad having brilliantly anticipated the role of Mainwaring in the local Home Guard. It was that laughable.

    And yet … the foe was indeed devilish. It’s not wrong to laugh about this key time in history and the way it’s been depicted since. Jonathan Miller was later at pains to insist that they were sending up the war films of the 50s, not the real sacrifices made by British forces, without which he as a Jew would have been on a cattle truck to ghastly oblivion. As a British Jew under Nazi occupation. And there would have been collaborators. He didn’t, as far as I remember, say that bit. But I think it was implicit.

    I strongly agree with John that “part of the assessment of accuracy has to be a consideration of scale”. This stuff is very hard.

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  5. John,

    “Geoff,

    >”Agree about the need to lighten up.”

    And then you don’t?”

    “Any differences of opinion we might have over what is rhetoric and what is reality are somewhat secondary to our shared dread of the future.”

    We need to lighten up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One advantage of humour is that it allows you to use hyperbole when it would otherwise be verboten. Professor Stephan Lewandowsky (for it is he):

    Humour is a great communication tool. Hyperbole is permissible, yeah!

    twitter.com/STWorg/status/344202751217106944

    Though he might have been joking, I suppose.

    He was responding to a talk given at an AGU conference about communicating climate science. The speaker had said this:

    In comedy you can actually use sensationalism and you can use hyperbole to your advantage, versus… If other people, you know, the scientists, go out there and be really extremist, really sensationalist, you guys really get harped on for that, but if somebody uses humour, the more extreme you can get, the better.

    Incidentally, that talk had a segment about a Yes Men stunt called SurvivaBall, an inflatable costume to help you survive global warming that looked a little bit like Covid-19 and would probably reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus:

    It would certainly aid social distancing.

    Not so incidentally: this search at Twitter…

    fascists OR fascism OR Nazis OR extremist OR authoritarian OR Weimar OR 1930s from:STWorg

    …finds lots of examples of Lewandowsky calling people Nazis, often indirectly, but his meaning is always clear. He’s a bit of a ranting hypocrite. He genuinely believes (else why tweet such stuff so often?) that Brexit is the most extremist right-wing project in Europe since WW2, a coup by a cabal of quasi-fascists who have used a Weimar-type situation to seize power.

    Which is a conspiracy theory, no?

    Poor chap. He needs an inoculation against misinformation. I’d buy him one but I can’t think of anything suitable. Suggestions?

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Vinny, it’s oft been said that Lew is the best example of that which he espouses. Yet before he jumped off the deep end into the climate domain, he did decent work, including on misinformation. Maybe it’s a Saruman thing; dabbling in the ways of dark arts convinced him of their irresistible power 😉 If so, bit late for an inoculation.

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  8. If I told these folks, once I told them a million times: Stop exaggerating!
    The world seems to be suffering from a huge number of badly performed humorectomies.
    That said, I am sure there were comedians yucking it up on the eve of the attack on Fort Sumter way back when.
    My neighbors have told me that if President Trump loses, they are selling and leaving our fair city. My neighbor behind me, if Trump loses, looks likely to head up the neighborhood “truth” commission. And since we have known each other for approaching fifty years, he has the goods, so to speak.
    As for me, I am fool enough to volunteer at a voting location this Tuesday with the lovely Mrs. hunterson7. We hope to be able to get home with minimal BLM/Antifa interactions and hole up in our pro-2A home for the duration. Or until my lifelong neighbor comes round for the “invitation” to the “Truth” Commission.
    So we faced down the Covid bs with aplomb and lots of road trips, and we will face down “Civil War, The Sequel!” with the same.
    I promise to send more updates as possible as this late republic charlie foxtrot plays out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Alan:

    I was brought up (even since senior school i.e. since late 1950s) in the belief that the person who first brings up the Nazis in support of their argument, is already losing it.

    A view closely related to Godwin's law. And in this instance I agree with you, that it *is* a sign of weakness. It’s also extremely counterproductive in this area, I believe, a point driven home for me by someone who used to work for me, and someone I feel quite a bit of affection for, questioning James Delingpole patiently after he’d begun to take this rhetorical route:

    James’s tweet and follow up, making use of Hitler’s Willing Executioners, of all things, led to even more extreme rhetoric from anti-lockdown activists, as I showed on Friday. But none of it, I believe, will have convinced the waverers, or the 70% that Geoff says have been agreeing with the government. “Don’t tell him, Pike!” remains my model here.

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  10. On the day of the US election an impressive comity has broken out on Twitter.

    At least that’s a definite maybe.

    https://twitter.com/ErikTheDiveGuy/status/1323480094116093952

    Heartwarming, isn’t it?

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  11. The problem is, you can keep saying Nazi/fascism analogies are unhelpful, and you can keep on trotting out the old ‘bringing up the Nazis means you’ve lost the argument’ trope, but reality keeps coming at you, and it’s going to keep coming at you:

    https://twitter.com/riseupmelbourne/status/1323405372309164033

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  12. Jaime Jessop:

    The problem is, you can keep saying Nazi/fascism analogies are unhelpful…

    Some people no doubt say that but I don’t. Not always. I have though called out atrocious Nazi analogies, including snide humour, such as this from you on Cliscep on 14th September (my emphasis):

    Here in South Lincolnshire face nappy compliance is almost 100% in Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Lidl. Amazing. You’re 10 times more likely to die from ‘flu or pneumonia, there’s no good scientific evidence that mass wearing of face coverings prevents transmission of this virus, as recently publicly stated by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries, the social, psychological and probably even physical harms far outweigh any hypothetical benefit at this stage, but because the government said you MUST wear a face covering, they did. Will they get on the cattle trucks if the government tells them that it’s for the ‘common good’?

    and this from James Delingpole on Twitter on 24th October:

    Boris’s Willing Executioners

    One of the things you’ve helped me with, though, Jaime, is how deeply dishonest paranoia is. (I could also have learned this from studying Adolf Hitler, ironically enough, but hey.) Here’s how it goes.

    You point to X and, when challenged, you point to Y, which, though bad, is clearly a far, far lesser thing than X. And then you say “You see, I was right to say X.”

    No you weren’t. Or as John said, using longer words, earlier on this thread:

    But if an individual chooses to analyse through analogy, one cannot hope to address their analysis without considering the accuracy of the analogy – and part of the assessment of accuracy has to be a consideration of scale. This is not a question of lexicography. Jaime has rejected the label because she does not accept the criticism of exaggeration. That matter is central to the analysis.

    Unlike the streets of Florence yesterday there were few video cameras around when the following happened to some Jewish women in 1942 who had actually survived being transported in cattle trucks to Auschwitz and were then saved from the gas chambers by the authorities’ decision to work them to death.

    (Sorry to Alan and others for the graphic nature of what follows. You could though have read worse in Daniel Goldhagen’s 1996 book Hitler’s Willing Executioners, which James Delingpole chose to play his little rhetorical games with ten days ago.)

    That story was new to me, only spotted because I follow the Auschwitz Memorial Twitter account and was looking out for examples of those who had been transported in cattle trucks because of Jaime’s casual use of the term to abuse her fellow-countrymen in the UK.

    Hitching one’s hobby horse to a cattle truck in which innocents of all ages were tortured and murdered even before they arrived at an extermination camp? Is that the new normal?

    That part of current rhetoric needs to come to an abrupt stop.

    Just as the light-hearted tone of some of this thread has now died a death.

    But be clear, this remains the “Don’t tell him Pike” division of persuasive incompetence.

    It’s hard to say everything, in perfect balance, in response. An apology and commitment never to do the same again would though help a lot.

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  13. Richard,

    I think Netflix is carrying the main burden in maintaining public morale. Two documentary series of particular interest are:

    Einsatzgruppen: The Nazi Death Squads

    And:

    The Devil Next Door – The story of the trials of ‘Ivan the Terrible’, monster of Treblinka

    I had already viewed the former on PBS America. The latter happened to be what I was viewing when the great Cliscep Nazi Analogy Scandal started to catch the eye. I can recommend either of them for anyone who has yet to understand the true relevance of ‘hyperbole’ to the debate.

    But before anyone else does so, I’d like to draw attention to the fact that I do not totally disapprove of Nazi analogies and have used them myself, particularly when commenting upon John Cook’s proposals to indoctrinate against ‘climate denial’ (i.e. “strategic inoculation could create a level of ‘herd immunity’ and undercut the overall effects of fake news”). Even so, I felt it important at the time to say:

    “Other than the fact that both the National Socialists and climate alarmists can both be seen to harbour sincere concerns for the fate of their children, there is, of course, no comparison to be made between their respective moral or ethical positions. To make such a comparison would be odious in the extreme.”

    I think a similar caveat should be made regarding government policies towards lockdown.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m not sure I can really muster up the enthusiasm to counter all these complicated, contorted, overly academic and dare I say, somewhat arrogant and pompous rebuttals of my fascist/Nazi analogising. It’s tiresome. I get that you don’t like being compared to a Nazi collaborator because you chose to obey an insane, non-evidence-based diktat from an illegitimate government ruling by decree, but the truth is, if in July there had been mass non-compliance of this outrageous imposition upon our freedom, then it’s quite likely that the government would have thought very carefully before trying to go further. Many people (including myself) believe it was a test of compliance (and intelligence) – we failed, spectacularly. ‘Going further’ means that kids are now traumatised and psychologically and physically abused in schools, going futher means that now many, many thousands more people will die. Going further means that millions will die in the Third World when our economies crash because of lockdowns. Going further means that Twitter and other social media platforms are censoring anti-mask tweets and academic studies demonstrating that masks don’t work remain unpublished. That’s Nazi enough for me and I’m terribly sorry if some find the comparison ‘odious’. Tough, basically. My compassion is for the living and the suffering and if I have to endure accusations of paranoia and hyperbole for aggressively defending the rights of those people to live freely and happily rather than face fascist restrictions upon the healthy, then so be it.

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  15. “…an insane, non-evidence-based diktat from an illegitimate government ruling by decree…”

    By every rule in our constitution, the government is utterly legitimate and indeed a large majority. While much rule by decree was done through the emergency covid act, the 2nd lockdown is a voting thing. The fact that one may dislike the result (I do), does not make it a diktat / decree. It simply means that the majority of MPs across all the parties (Labour more so than Conservatives, I suspect), support it. Not only that, it appears that the majority of the country is still pro hard measures rather than relaxation. Re evidence, good point. Has anyone see how Witty and Valence fared before the Science and Technology committee’s grilling? Or at least I hope it was a grilling!

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  16. Andy,

    ” . . . . the 2nd lockdown is a voting thing.”

    LOL. On the Left, we have the ultra hard lockdowners, on the Right we have the lockdowners. If the government had a shred of decency (or democratic legitimacy), they would never have put this outrageous, non-evidence-based legislation before Parliament. They of course KNEW that Labour would vote for it.

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  17. Jaime, of course, but that doesn’t make it illegitimate or a decree / diktat. It was arrived at entirely by the approved methods of parliament and our democracy. Not to mention that even beyond just the rules and regs of parliament, PMs have also done what most of the public actually approve of (currently). So the vote does indeed reflect the net public mood. This doesn’t make the evidence base (or lack thereof) right, and nor is it always good to go with fear even if that’s where your public are going. But resisting this, would likely cause more calls of anti-democracy / recklessnes etc than currently.

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  18. ANDY 4.04pm
    Yes, I caught a bit of The Flowerpot Men being grilled by Graham Stringer (who is very laid back) and by I think Jeremy Hunt. They looked very unhappy as they juggled with the difference between projections, predictions, and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey graphs from nowhere. Unfortunately I had to go out.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It was farcical apparently. One Twitter user remarked that they both walked off wearing “s**t-eating grins” which I found amusingly hyperbolic! They had to answer some difficult questions of course, but the Flowerpot Men got off lightly by all accounts, although it was still sufficient to show that lockdown is being instituted on a false prospectus and that these pair of jokers proposing to wreck our economy and wreck all our lives are utter, untrustworthy w**kers. But don’t expect the government to now u-turn. They’ve shown singular determination so far in inflicting the maximum harm upon the country that they possibly can.

    Andy, technically, this lockdown (even more than the last) is illegitimate. The legislation which the government uses to lock down the country is not actually the Coronavirus Act 2020 but the Public Health Act 1984, and nowhere in that act does it make provision for the extreme measure of quarantining the healthy. The government has also manifestly failed to justify their extreme measures in terms of science and evidence and has manifestly failed to demonstrate that these measures are in any way proportionate in terms of mitigating risk vs. the inevitable harms. Illegitimate acts on this scale mean that the government is illegitimate.

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  20. Geoff, “The Flowerpot Men”, I love it 🙂

    Jaime, technically, if it has a specific vote for this action, which no doubt will be won, it becomes legit by the rules (rather than semi-legit for first lockdown via exceeding implied prior scope), notwithstanding the route of justification (or rather lack thereof!). The scope is explicit for this vote.

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  21. “…although it was still sufficient to show that lockdown is being instituted on a false prospectus…”

    Well I hope this hits home with a wide audience then, not least all the MPs who are voting for it.

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  22. Darn it, Mrs H has been calling them the Flowerpot Men for weeks now, but you’ll just have to take my word for it, as I never posted to that effect. Still, great minds think alike. I suppose it means that Boris is Little Weed.

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  23. This is what Nazis did. This is what their latter day equivalents in our supposedly democratically elected and ‘legitimate’ government do. This is why the Nuremberg Code came into being, to prevent forced experimentation on human beings. This is forced experimentation – the mass compulsory vaccination of the population with highly experimental and rushed vaccines, poorly tested and some never before trialled on humans. This is what our government is seriously contemplating:

    “Our analysis under 3 establishes two parity arguments:
    a. If Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ measures are compatible with human rights law, then it is arguable that compulsory vaccination is too (lockdown parity argument);
    b. If compulsory medical treatment under mental health law for personal and public protection purposes is compatible with human rights law, then it is arguable that compulsory vaccination is too (mental health parity argument).
    Given vaccine hesitancy, it may be necessary to compel vaccination in order to achieve herd
    immunity. The justifications for compulsory vaccination map onto the criteria for detention and treatment contained in the Mental Health Act 1983. The law permits compulsory interference with bodily integrity under mental health law. This derogation from the common law principle of no treatment without
    consent is compatible with the ECHR. It is arguable that if compulsory treatment under mental health law is compatible with human rights law, so too is compulsory vaccination.”

    Any offence at my analogy, any academic protestations of the supposed “extreme odiousness” of Nazi comparisons, pale to insignificance when one is presented with the very real human rights abuses of lockdowns and the very real prospect of continuing human rights abuses via forced experimental vaccination for a disease which is less dangerous to the majority than seasonal ‘flu.

    https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/9253/pdf/

    Mainwaring would have been horrified if he’d known what would be happening 80 years later in his beloved Great Britain.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I have always thought of them as Doogle and Dillon with a wavering Zeebadee between them. But the Flowerpot Men is genius.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Jaime, regarding your last post, I share your concern, but you should make it clear (though I thank you for the link) that the views expressed are not those of a Parliamentary Committee, but are a submission to a Parliamentary Committee. They also note:

    “Neither the Coronavirus Act 2020, nor the PHA 1984 grant the executive the power to mandate vaccination. Indeed, section 45E of the PHA 1984 and schedules 75 18 and 19 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 rule out provisions requiring medical treatment, including ‘vaccination or other prophylactic treatment’.

    A policy of compulsory vaccination would thus require primary legislation.”

    It’s worrying, IMO, that anyone can even make the argument, for compulsory vaccination but what will be desperately worrying is if Parliament looks seriously at the submission and legislation is introduced, or – worse, much worse – still, passed. As I’ve opined at Bishop Hill, I’m not an anti-vaxxer (far from it) and I would, in principle, be perfectly happy to have a vaccination against Covid-19, but only when I’m completely satisfied that it has been properly tested, and is as safe as can be. Compulsory vaccination shouldn’t be necessary if those who believe in any vaccine can make a sufficiently strong case that it will be perfectly safe (or, at least as safe as these things can be).

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Mark, yes, I read that too. What I was trying to point out is the worrying fascist tendencies at work in the entire government response to Covid, the common theme of coercion and compulsion which marks that response. Compulsory mass mask wearing is a human experiment, just as compulsory mass vaccination with experimental, rushed vaccines is; they seem to have got away with the mask mandate using the Coronavirus Act (or was it the 1984 Public Health Act)? It was this, and my reaction to it (and James Delingpole’s very public aversion to wearing a mask and his condemnation of those who do), which started off this whole sorry episode arguing about the use of Nazi analogies. I would have let sleeping dogs lie, but Richard seems intent on exacting some sort of apology from me for my unwarranted comparison, which I’m not going to give, because I don’t think I was that far off the mark. He also thinks that he can dictate to me that my ‘rhetoric’ must come to an abrupt stop – after attempting unsuccessfully to publicly humiliate me by putting this post up. It’s not going to happen, not unless he completely bans me from commenting on this blog. His sensitivities are not more important than my right to aggressively and allegedly hyperbolically use comparisons to fascism and Nazi Germany to critique this and any other government’s outrageously disproportionate reaction to Covid involving the trashing of very basic human rights and by demociding people. I’ve seen much passion from Richard in his attempts to counter my allegedly OTT ‘rhetoric’ and my criticism of this government overall, even to the point of accusing me of lacking compassion for Covid victims, but I haven’t seen much empathy from him re. lockdown victims, or maybe I missed that. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a whole lot of empathy on this blog for the victims of lockdowns, but there’s been concern for Richard’s sensitivities expressed by e.g. by John and there’s been a general consensus that I’m ‘wrong’ to have played the Holocaust/Nazi card, however loosely, but again I must have missed the general consensus that the government is ‘wrong’ to lock up healthy people and kill the innocent.

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  27. Somebody on Twitter referred to them as Bill and Ben, the Pol Pot men, which I thought was quite clever, and apt. Tut tut, more hyperbole, but for some strange reason, mentioning a Cambodian genocidal dictator doesn’t quite evoke the same emotional reaction which comes with mentioning a Germanic one, even though the Khmer Rouge managed to bump off some 2 million innocent Cambodians in just four short years.

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  28. Well, Jaime, I’m in broad agreement with your opposition to lock-down and to the measures the Government is taking, and to the way it is implementing them. I am deeply depressed that the official Opposition’s line isn’t to oppose the Government for being wrong, but only for not being sufficiently zealous. It’s a strange world when the only Parliamentary opposition comes from the Government’s own back-benchers.

    As for sympathy for the victims of lock-down, I have it in spades, but perhaps I haven’t articulated it here. On Monday morning I went to the gym for the last time in who knows how long (despite only having re-joined on Sunday!) and two stories really hit me. One is a recovering cancer victim who has been going to the gym since the last lock-down ended. After every session she felt a little bit stronger and a little bit better. That recovery process is now to be cruelly ended. On Monday I saw a mentally disabled youth at the gym (I’ve seen him before, he has to be helped by a family member). As his session ended he was beaming from ear to ear – he loves going there. Now that enjoyment is about to be cruelly ended, and he won’t even understand why. I was deeply moved and deeply angry as I left. The gym owner has taken huge steps to make it a Covid-free environment. So much so that only 3 people at a time are allowed to use its facilities (and it’s divided into three areas), but even that isn’t enough for this Government.

    I understand (while disagreeing with the extent of) the fear generated by Covid-19, and the desire to protect people form it. I don’t begin to understand why we can’t find some sort of sensible middle-way that allows people to get on with their lives, while taking sensible precautions and while shielding the vulnerable. The route the government is taking (with the opposition shouting “more, more!”) is destroying the economy (with all the long-term health problems that will cause) and destroying lives, both today and tomorrow. I despair.

    Liked by 5 people

  29. It doesn’t make sense at all Mark, however you measure it. If you wanted to try and make sense of it, I’m guessing you’d have to dispense with the usual yardstick and start using a wholly unfamiliar one.

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  30. Mark (and others) I despair as well but for different reasons. We can all conceive of situations where necessary measures could be enacted leaving room for exceptions to be allowed in particular circumstances that enable people to get on with their lives whilst allowing distancing. However, we also know why restrictive measures are being taken – it is because of those who refuse to abide by rules, any rules. Those who party in their droves just before lockdowns without masks or distancing. It is those who prevent reasonable measures from being taken. So “unreasonable” measures prevail and everyone suffers because of the few. Then others add their voice objecting to the “unreasonableness” of the measures that are taken to protect the majority from the few. There is no right answer

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  31. Alan: Well said. There is no right answer. Too much conspiracism can obscure that reality, however “complicated, contorted, overly academic and dare I say, somewhat arrogant and pompous” one pretends to find those who point such basics out!

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  32. Jaime: “This is what Nazis did.”

    If you say so, again and again and again. It must be true. Goebbels advocated the same approach.

    Oops. I must have meant Michael Gove. As you were. Back to the funny farm.

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  33. Richard,

    >“complicated, contorted, overly academic and dare I say, somewhat arrogant and pompous”

    Don’t forget ‘Nazi collaborator’. That was the best bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Alan,

    “However, we also know why restrictive measures are being taken – it is because of those who refuse to abide by rules, any rules. Those who party in their droves just before lockdowns without masks or distancing. It is those who prevent reasonable measures from being taken. So “unreasonable” measures prevail and everyone suffers because of the few. Then others add their voice objecting to the “unreasonableness” of the measures that are taken to protect the majority from the few.”

    A comment subsequently endorsed by prominent members on this site. As I’ve said before, genuine sceptcism has died here at Cliscep. The thirst for empirical evidence has been sated by a desire to conform, to appear virtuous, to ‘do what is right’ without ever questioning WHY one is doing that. I never imagined that the Covid brainwashing virus would infect even those sceptical of climate change, but it has. The self-righteous proselytising, the snide little comments and mini pile ons more reminiscent of ATTP’s blog, the defense of non-evidence-based policy and the defence of government fascism is bewildering in the extreme. No, actually, it’s not bewildering, just very disappointing, but having spent a lifetime observing and resisting groupthink, it’s no longer surprising. It can rear its ugly head anywhere, literally.

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  35. Jaime,

    >”The self-righteous proselytising…”

    You mean like:

    >”My compassion is for the living and the suffering and if I have to endure accusations of paranoia and hyperbole for aggressively defending the rights of those people to live freely and happily rather than face fascist restrictions upon the healthy, then so be it.”

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  36. “By every rule in our constitution, the government is utterly legitimate and indeed a large majority.”

    Well, yes and no. I’ve commented here before on the flaws of Nazi/Fascist analogies (the two movements were allied but different in important respects) and was all set to cite Godwin’s ‘Law’ this time round but, by the time I’d remembered the wretched man’s name, Richard had beaten me to the quip. My chief objection is that they are ahistoric, comparing as they do this or that feature of the regime with a perceived modern parallel while ignoring the all-important historical context. But, all that said, let’s not forget the irony that Hitler became Chancellor though ‘utterly legitimate’ means. (Well, not utterly ‘utterly’ but you get the point.)

    I suspect – OK, I know – that J J’s politics are very different from mine but I fully share her concern about the disastrous handling of the pandemic in England (here in Scotland, the care homes scandal can IMO reasonably be called a ScotGov-driven atrocity) and her anger at the Westminster government’s increasingly authoritarian conduct. She’s also right to scorn Starmer’s obscene “opposition” and would add that almost everyone purporting to be further to the “left” is generally worse.

    (In passing, Nutty ScotNat blogger Craig Murray, who mixes being politically as daft as a van load of brushes with gutsy and competent reporting of stories the establishment wants to bury, commented recently that “Nobody with any grasp on their right mind believes the Labour Party is now anything but the substitutes’ bench for the Neoconservative team”. Quite.)

    Whatever, I seem over the last couple of days to have been “cancelled” by friends of many years standing because I sought a meaningful debate on the scientific merits of the “Great Barrington Declaration” regardless of the political stance of the sponsoring American Institute for Economic Research.

    So, saddened and dispirited both, I segue over here for a bit of insight and, dare I say it, good manners and humour only to find myself in the middle of a not-dissimilar spat. What’s an ageing Scotchman to do?

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  37. John,

    No, not like that. Like this:

    “Those who party in their droves just before lockdowns without masks or distancing. It is those who prevent reasonable measures from being taken.”

    But do carry on. If that’s the best you can offer in response, I’m more convinced than ever that this blog is transforming into ATTP’s little brother. Sad really.

    Like

  38. You will be pounded to dust by these fascists. They will take everything you once held dear. 516 MPs voted for a lockdown which will never end. I warned you, but you were more concerned about ‘inappropriate’ Holocaust analogies than the approaching terror.

    Like

  39. >”What’s an ageing Scotchman to do?”

    Whisky springs to mind. Then just sit back and enjoy the show.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. At the risk of looking as though I’m flip-flopping all over the place (I’m not, at least not in my mind – I think my concerns are consistent), I also have to offer Alan’s comment some support.

    I hate wearing a face covering while shopping (today, while stuck for a ridiculous length of time in a huge queue in Wilkinson’s I was close to hyper-ventilating). However, I consider that wearing a mask indoors, in close proximity to others, is probably a sensible measure during a pandemic, but even if I’m wrong about that, I think it’s a relatively modest restriction on my liberty, and one I’m reluctantly content to acquiesce in. I find the likes of Delingpole (who, so far as I’m aware, has no medical reason for not wearing one), with his ridiculous behaviour in pointedly not wearing a face covering and criticising those who dare to question his naricissistic and selfish behaviour, to be nauseating.

    I’ve mentioned it before, but in my small market town the Council has instituted a pedestrian one-way system on one of the busy shopping streets with narrow pavements (which can’t simply be stepped off, because of all the drivers illegally parked on double yellow lines). This strikes me as an intelligent response to the situation. The rule involves only minor inconvenience, and if we all follow the one-way rule, we’ll not need to pass within a hair’s breadth of people going the other way. Yet the rule is almost universally ignored, and I’m regularly going the correct way, with a sea of people walking towards me. In a local supermarket the other day a man with a mask (thus demonstrating he didn’t have a medical reason for not wearing one) took off the mask while he made a tedious and lengthy call on his mobile ‘phone. All he had to do was go outside, or deal with the call a few minutes later, but instead he preferred to break the rules.

    It’s thanks to mindless and selfish morons like these that a weak government is imposing ridiculous restrictions on those of us who do have sufficient concern for our fellow citizens. I despair both for the reasons I expressed earlier, and also for the reasons expressed by Alan. Despair all round, really….

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Mark,

    “However, I consider that wearing a mask indoors, in close proximity to others, is probably a sensible measure during a pandemic.”

    Sorry, but that’s not good enough. This is (was) a sceptic site where we demanded empirical evidence, robust science, data, accuracy, quantification of effects.

    1. Show me the science which demonstrates that wearing a flimsy surgical mask or face covering has any significant effect on transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

    2. Define “close proximity”.

    3. Show me the data which proves that we are even in the midst of a ‘pandemic’ still.

    4. Demonstrate to me that, even if masks are presumed to work in significantly slowing transmission, they will at this late stage in the supposed ‘pandemic’ have a net benefit in the prevention of serious illness and death.

    5. Show me the medical/social cost/benefit analysis which demonstrates that the enforced wearing of masks has significantly greater benefits in terms of saving human lives when weighed against the probable social, psychological and even physical harms associated with their use.

    The government has removed our human rights on the basis of virtually no scientific evidence or data, just a few goddamn modelling curves which it didn’t even bother to label; we at least should strive to qualify our statements by reference to science, facts and data. Shouldn’t we?

    Like

  42. Well, Jaime, we’ve broadly been on the same page over this so far, but this time I profoundly disagree with you. The reason my scepticism is strong regarding “climate chaos” (copyright the Guardian) is because of the massive economic damage and associated costs associated with the policy prescriptions insisted on by climate hysterics. To me, those costs and harms are obvious and significant, whereas the damage they seek to avoid is remote and far less obvious. There is a strong (but not perfect) analogy with shutting down and destroying the economy over Covid-19 – the damage caused by doing so is also immediate, huge and obvious, but then (unlike with climate change) the harms those policies seek to avoid are also immediate and obvious.

    Wearing a face covering on the other hand (and you don’t have to do so if it would cause you harm because you have a medical condition) is a vanishingly small infringement of my civil liberties, and cots me no more than the price of the face covering. It does me no harm. It might do some good. I’m certainly not going to die in a ditch over that one, and I’m surprised that others apparently are.

    As for your 5 points:

    1. You’re cheating by inserting the word SIGNIFICANT. If wearing a face covering has ANY effect on transmission, that’s good enough for me, as I think it should be for all right-thinking people.

    2. “Close proximity”? Well, while shopping, I’ve had plenty of people within inches of me, simply because they’re too selfish and impatient to wait for a few seconds until I’ve moved on.

    3. Pandemic? 492 people died in the UK yesterday (or at least their deaths were recorded) within 28 days of a positive Covid test, and the trend within the deaths numbers seems to be rising. That’s sufficient evidence for me, even if it isn’t for you.

    4. I think your 4th question is simply bizarre. IF facemasks significantly slow transmission, then it must follow that they will have a net benefit with regard to serious illness and death. If fewer people catch Covid, then barring some quirk in the statistics, pretty much by definition, fewer people will fall ill and die from it.

    5. Well, you’ve sneakily inserted the word “significantly” there, and I don’t think that’s legitimate. Any net benefit is good enough for me, given that the cost is minor. Where’s your evidence for ” the probable social, psychological and even physical harms associated with their use”, given that those with medical conditions (including mental ones) are exempted from wearing face coverings?

    I’m concerned that the Covid debate is splitting between fanatics on both sides, a bit like the Trump/Biden thing in the USA. Surely common sense can allow a practical middle way between destroying the economy and creating masses of non-Covid deaths on the one hand, and letting it rip and producing lots of Covid deaths on the other hand?

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Jaime,

    >”If that’s the best you can offer in response…”

    I think we are in danger of segueing into a Monty Python sketch there. But if you really were hoping for something more substantial, then try this. You have said:

    >”…there’s been concern for Richard’s sensitivities expressed by e.g. by John and there’s been a general consensus that I’m ‘wrong’ to have played the Holocaust/Nazi card, however loosely, but again I must have missed the general consensus that the government is ‘wrong’ to lock up healthy people and kill the innocent.”

    You may recall an article I wrote recently on “How Governments Think About Public Safety”. You should do, because you took the following quote from it:

    “And the moral of the story is that governments are quite willing to cause death if it can be hidden within a statistic that accompanies a presupposed greater good.”

    You then responded with:

    “Yep. We’ve seen this with smart motorways. We’re seeing it with ‘climate change’ and net zero. We’re seeing it clearly with Covid-19 lockdown policies. Deaths will result/have resulted from the imposition of all three madcap policies. Deaths from net zero will remain effectively hidden for years, but reliance upon scare stories generated by computer models and uncertain science to formulate government policy will hopefully come into sharp focus in the coming months as the death toll from lockdown becomes more obvious.”

    Do you recall who liked that comment?

    The point is that it is perfectly possible to share a concern regarding the apparent callousness of a government when dealing with people’s lives, without resorting to comparisons with genocidal regimes. Equally, pointing out that the cure can often be worse than the disease does not justify characterizing the physicians as though they were all Dr Mengele. The sad thing is that your rejection of criticism regarding the use of certain rhetoric has resulted in you accusing someone (who actually agreed with you on the central point) of taking a stance akin to a ‘Nazi collaborator’. You claim to be crusading against threats to liberty and yet you don’t even know who is on whose side. As a further example of your obtuseness, note that I said:

    “Any differences of opinion we might have over what is rhetoric and what is reality are somewhat secondary to our shared dread of the future.”

    And yet, you then say:

    >”I warned you, but you were more concerned about ‘inappropriate’ Holocaust analogies than the approaching terror.”

    Honestly, if you can’t take the trouble to register what has actually been said, then I might as well give up now.

    So, if you don’t mind, I’ll pack in at this point and transfer my interest to the scotchman/scotsman debate. The Scots have had all the fun watching a bunch of Sassenachs tearing lumps out of each other. I think it’s time for the tables to be reversed.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. John, that’s a bit better, but it’s basically a defence of yourself and a repetition of the attack upon me for using ‘hyperbole’ to express my concern at an existential threat to society, liberty and human rights and my emphasis on deaths and suffering CAUSED by lockdown measures.

    What I said is:

    ”…there’s been concern for Richard’s sensitivities expressed by e.g. by John and there’s been a general consensus that I’m ‘wrong’ to have played the Holocaust/Nazi card, however loosely, but again I must have missed the general consensus that the government is ‘wrong’ to lock up healthy people and kill the innocent.”

    I’m still missing the general consensus which condemns outright that policy on this site; indeed the general consensus appears to be that the measures are legitimised, at least in part, by ‘science’ and data. You appear to be a member of that general consensus. But nobody appears to be able to provide evidence of that science and data. Mark says, for instance:

    “Pandemic? 492 people died in the UK yesterday (or at least their deaths were recorded) within 28 days of a positive Covid test, and the trend within the deaths numbers seems to be rising. That’s sufficient evidence for me, even if it isn’t for you.”

    He seems to think that’s good enough evidence to claim that that a deadly pandemic is raging across the land stiil. It is NOT. Nobody on this ‘sceptical’ site is likely to challenge any of the eminently challengeable points he has made, yet they’re very likely to challenge my alleged hyperbole and paranoia and join the little gang making snide comments and cynical put downs on a post which was written specifically by another member to ridicule me personally.

    But no, I don’t mind if you ‘pack it in’ because it seems fairly obvious now that we are going to get nowhere with this ‘debate’ and all that will happen is that there will be opened up an even greater rift between myself on the one hand and you, Richard, Alan and Mark on the other, a divide which will ultimately become irreconcilable, if it isn’t already.

    You liked my comment on avoidable deaths caused by madcap government policies, but you also liked a comment from Mark just above which included this absurd, non-evidence based and actually deeply offensive comment:

    ” In a local supermarket the other day a man with a mask (thus demonstrating he didn’t have a medical reason for not wearing one) took off the mask while he made a tedious and lengthy call on his mobile ‘phone. All he had to do was go outside, or deal with the call a few minutes later, but instead he preferred to break the rules.

    It’s thanks to mindless and selfish morons like these that a weak government is imposing ridiculous restrictions on those of us who do have sufficient concern for our fellow citizens. I despair both for the reasons I expressed earlier, and also for the reasons expressed by Alan. Despair all round, really…”

    FFS, so we’re all mindless, selfish morons now if we dare to put ‘lives at risk’ by taking off our useless, pointless muzzles in supermarkets to make a phone call! Is that it? It’s because of such ‘selfish morons’ that the government decided to lock down the whole country for a second time is it? This is how fascism is sustained and enabled by the populace. It’s divisive and it’s deeply dangerous. Soon. they’ll be demanding that all the exempt wear a yellow star (i.e. a lanyard) and are forced to queue up separately at supermarkets so as not to ‘endanger’ their more virtuous and responsible muzzle wearing fellow citizens. But there I go again, playing the Nazi card. No wonder that people like Delingpole and many others get so upset at mask wearers. They are, in a very real sense, enabling a health tyranny, with their blind virtue signalling, their self-satisfied occupation of the moral high ground and their refusal to question the validity of their actions based on the dubious assumption that they ‘might help’ and that they’re not causing any harm, even though there’s not a shred of robust scientific evidence demonstrating this. Christ, I despair, I really do.

    Like

  45. @ Jaime yesterday “..genuine sceptcism has died here at Cliscep.”

    We are right to be sceptical about whether there is a climate apocalypse on its way, or whether lockdown measures are justified by the data. But we must also be sceptical that there is an incipient fascist takeover.

    The face-covering issue: I use one where required. There is not much non-compliance here in Norfolk that I have seen. I disagree with it, but will go along with minor inconvenience to avoid a scene. Is it effective? Seemingly not, else the case numbers would not have risen so much. I feel better when I hear distant coughs in the supermarket to think that the owner of that cough is wearing a face covering. For asymptomatic people, I doubt that a face covering has any effect at all.

    I disagree with the lockdown. It is dehumanising, because it doesn’t treat us as individuals. As has been mentioned, non-compliance is the reason, even if it’s not justified. To make an analogy: we prohibit speeding, and those who don’t comply are fined (although my perception is that a vanishingly small proportion of speeding motorists get caught). What we don’t do is ban driving altogether because a minority don’t comply with the rules. The lockdown treats us all as identikit parcels of toxin that have to be corralled.

    There was a seemingly innocuous question on the beeb this morning that got me thinking. They had one of their regular Q&A sessions, and a viewer asked whether the anti-covid measures like masks would also be effective against flu. The answer is pretty obvious. Three winters ago the excess deaths due to flu summed to 20,000. So suspicious types might wonder whether enforced masking up is the new normal: next flu season, up go the signs on shop doors…

    But I don’t think so. As compliance is wilting now, I see no prospect that the public will put up with such restrictions again.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Mark (7:48 pm yesterday):

    In a local supermarket the other day a man with a mask (thus demonstrating he didn’t have a medical reason for not wearing one) took off the mask while he made a tedious and lengthy call on his mobile ‘phone. All he had to do was go outside, or deal with the call a few minutes later, but instead he preferred to break the rules.

    It’s thanks to mindless and selfish morons like these that a weak government is imposing ridiculous restrictions on those of us who do have sufficient concern for our fellow citizens.

    Thanks Jaime for alerting me to that one, which I’ve now liked, just as John did.

    Let’s be clear that Mark isn’t necessarily saying that you’re a mindless and selfish moron, which would be quite strong, though I wouldn’t censor it. The point is that the cost of complying for this particular guy was close to zero, but he wouldn’t. Mark also wrote:

    I find the likes of Delingpole (who, so far as I’m aware, has no medical reason for not wearing one), with his ridiculous behaviour in pointedly not wearing a face covering and criticising those who dare to question his naricissistic and selfish behaviour, to be nauseating.

    Not just criticising them but calling them “Boris’s Willing Executioners” in a deliberate echo of Goldhagen’s horrific account of the very worst of the Holocaust. But yes.

    Sometimes one has to call one’s own side out, as John has implied. We are on the same side, largely, on lockdown and you are causing needless division by overstating the case. But freedom of speech is yours, in that I won’t remove or bowdlerise any of your comments on this or any other of my threads.

    Like

  47. “I call myself a “Scotsman”? Am I too east coast!!!”

    I claim absolutely no expertise here but “Scotch” is, as you know, an earlier usage than “Scottish”. The latter became the polite norm in, if I understand it right, the 19th Century, what with Walter Scott, phoney tartans, the Widow at Windsor hiding out in Balmoral and all that. I assume that that factoid explains why the older usage has persisted in the US.

    As ScotNats and their hangers-on like to take umbrage at “Scotch” as derogatory, I call myself Scotch whenever I can. To pinch a Dave Macon quip, needling Nats is all the exercise I take, esp when they insist on calling any and all their critics “BritNats”. There’s nothing wrong in my book with “Scotsman” or “Scot” except that they’re less fun.

    I remember in the run-up to IndyRef queuing in our local butchers and hearing a well-spoken (OK, posh) Scotch lad pointedly ask for a “Scottish pie”. When I sniggered, I got that dirty look that only teenagers can manage. Scotch pies have of course been called Scotch since whenever, much like Scotch whisky, Scotch mists and, er, all those other Scotch things.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Ryelands,

    I think you will find that you are both wrong. The accepted term now is ‘person of Scottishness’.

    Incidentally, we have ‘Anglophile’ and ‘Francophile’ but no corresponding term for a lover of the Scottish. Why is that? And I ask the question as an Englishman who falls into that category, i.e. the sort of Englishman the Scottish seem to hate the most!

    Liked by 1 person

  49. JOHN RIDGWAY 05 Nov 20 am

    I think we are in danger of segueing into a Monty Python sketch there.

    Is that so bad? At least it will prove to Jaime that we’re not ATTP.

    I do feel the harping on about words like “fascist” is about as useful as denying warmists the use of “denialist.” We’re not the Judaean People’s Liberation Front here, are we?

    Jaime should be allowed all the allegory or analogy she wants. Accusing her of hyperbole is about as useful as accusing the prophet Ezekiel of being over the top when he compares the people of Jerusalem to the whore Oholibah, who:

    “..lusted after Assyrians—governors and officials, warriors in full armour, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men…. She saw men carved on the wall, images of the Chaldeans carved in bright red, wearing belts on their waists and flowing turbans with dangling ends on their heads,..she lusted after them and the Babylonians crawled into her bed, whose members were like those of asses, and whose seed came in floods like that of stallions.”

    I mean, it wasn’t strictly true, but we see what Zeke as getting at.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Geoff,

    >”Accusing her of hyperbole…”

    I didn’t actually ‘accuse’ Jaime of hyperbole. I simply maintained that her remarks were hyperbole and that they had proven ‘troubling’. There is nothing wrong with hyperbole other than it can lead to misunderstanding and, in some circumstances, can cause offence – intended or otherwise. However, Jaime has rejected the ‘hyperbole’ label, wishing instead to be taken at face value. So I guess the real controversy is concerned with whether or not Jaime’s analysis of the situation is accurate.

    Anyway, as I have said, I do not wish to pursue this matter any further. It has long-since ceased being productive and, in my case at least, is now eclipsed by the Anglo-Scottish war I am trying desperately to start with our Scottish friends. 🙂

    Jaimie,

    Just one last point of clarification before I go, if I may. You say:

    “…the general consensus appears to be that the measures are legitimised, at least in part, by ‘science’ and data. You appear to be a member of that general consensus.”

    Again, given that I have said more than once that I fear that the lockdown will do more damage than good, and that I have done as much as anyone on this site to question the science (i.e. by drawing attention to the problems associated with mass testing and apparent inconsistencies in claims for test specificity) I am inclined to say that this must be a case of mistaken identity. As for the ‘little gang making snide comments’, well I guess that is the English way of dealing with egregious accusations.

    Like

  51. Geoff:

    Jaime should be allowed all the allegory or analogy she wants. Accusing her of hyperbole is about as useful as…

    Let’s leave the Old Testament excerpt to one side for the moment – though for the record I wouldn’t support any attempt to bowdlerise Ezekial! And on Cliscep Jaime is indeed allowed “all the allegory or analogy she wants” – I for one have just said I won’t remove anything she writes on any of my threads.

    But are we required to applaud her in every case? Or remain silent when she doubles-down by calling individuals who do object to something or other fascist sympathisers?

    This goes back a long way. On 14th March Jaime wrote this to me:

    You accuse me of paranoia because you disagree with me, but you have no evidence that I’m paranoid. I wish you wouldn’t do that. It’s insulting. But it seems that’s where we’re at now.

    But I did genuinely think she was being paranoid. I wasn’t using that as a insulting rod to beat her with simply because I diasagreed with her. (We were disagreeing partly about the use of masks, with Whitty and co discouraging their use and Jaime outraged about that. That’s really quite funny now.)

    I tried to explain:

    Jaime: This is what I meant by paranoia – the lack of any expression of uncertainty about people’s motives here:

    Richard, as the CMO and deputy CMO are advocating that the ‘herd’ quickly acquire immunity, this would necessitate that they are infected quickly before summer – hence the advice that masks are not effective (if their strategy is to be successful). They won’t be honest and say that outright of course (it would cause riots), which means that the population who trust the experts genuinely think that masks are not effective, including those most at risk of dying or getting a serious illness.

    Now that you understand what I meant by it, an apology about your certainty about my own motives, which I know for certain you got wrong, would be fine.

    No apology was forthcoming – or even an acknowledgment that this issue about certainty of other people’s motives was a legitimate point. This is what has led to ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ and ‘cattle trucks’ being laced into the cake like cyanide since.

    Instead Jaime has attacked my own motives, erroneously, throughout our ‘debates’, like this in September:

    You keep wearing your muzzle/face nappy like a good little boy Richard. Your contempt for me personally is plain to see now, your attacks upon my character ever more bizarre and ill-judged, driven by I know not what, though I have my suspicions. Now you’ve outed my anonymous account on Twitter, no doubt in the hope that I will be reported and banned.

    But I didn’t have that motive at the end, to give just one example. I judged it was a very low chance that Jaime would be banned from Twitter as a result of what I had quoted – and it turns out I was right.

    This ascribing of (extremely) bad motives to those she disagrees with in government and at least bad ones to those who take issue with her on here is for me a major disbenefit of encouraging Jaime to ‘let it all hang out’ on Cliscep. It debases some really important conversation. Steve Mc showed he understood this when he deleted people for ‘venting’ or ‘piling on’ on Climate Audit. I was a victim of that dastardly, indeed fascist, treatment more times than I would like to remember! And it did me a lot of good. And, more importantly, it did Climate Audit’s threads much more good than it did me.

    That’s not our culture though. More’s the nostalgia.

    Like

  52. “This ascribing of (extremely) bad motives to those she disagrees with in government and at least bad ones to those who take issue with her on here…”

    Yes. I agree with any opinion being expressed here, short of a (pre-woke) definition of hate speech. But that doesn’t mean I agree with the line of argument that the above kind of expression implies, i.e. such extremely bad personal motives have actually been demonstrated to exist (across most cases), or are (mainly) causal regarding events in the covid or the climate domains or whatever. To challenge this line of argument, is *not* to challenge or censor its expression. But merely to say one thinks that it’s (mostly) wrong. It would be censorship to disallow such challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. John,

    “Again, given that I have said more than once that I fear that the lockdown will do more damage than good, and that I have done as much as anyone on this site to question the science (i.e. by drawing attention to the problems associated with mass testing and apparent inconsistencies in claims for test specificity) I am inclined to say that this must be a case of mistaken identity.”

    Not really good enough though is it, if you’re agreeing with Mark’s statement that taking off a mask to make a long phone call is equivalent to risking the spread of a deadly pandemic virus and therefore ‘putting lives at risk’. Mitigation scepticism in terms of cost-benefit analysis is a different kettle of fish from scepticism of the ‘science’. Also, it’s all very well to put up a technical post about test specificity but if you then agree that a person not wearing a mask for 10 minutes or so in Sainsbury’s or Waitrose represents a health hazard to those around him, it kind of undermines your scepticism in general. How do you KNOW this person (apparently healthy) is infectious? How do you KNOW his immune status? How do you KNOW that healthy, asymptomatic people contribute significantly to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (making this virus somewhat unique in the history of viral epidemics)? What is so unique about SARS-Cov-2 – which has caused little more deaths than other similar epidemics throughout the years – that it requires that healthy persons be compelled to wear a mask whilst shopping and risk stern condemnation from their fellow citizens if they dare to take it off even for 10 mins or so to take a phone call? Until you, Richard, Mark, or Alan can explain this by reference to science, facts and data, I shall continue to be sceptical of the quality of scepticism on this site. Hell, Richard even made a point of exemplifying the poor quality of his scepticism by deliberately ‘liking’ the comment in an apparent effort to ‘rub it in’, as they say. Bit of an own goal there Richard and a pretty poor showing all round I have to say.

    Like

  54. DRAKE’S ARMY
    On the other thread Jaime has linked to a graph which proves beyond doubt election fraud.

    Scott Adams retweets this, with two graphs
    https://twitter.com/AndySwan/status/1323990699017228288
    clearly demonstrating fraud in Wisconsin and Michigan. The two graphs are labelled ABC News and FiveThirtyEight but I don’t think either source realise what they’ve been publishing. We know from climate and covid that journalists are graph-blind.

    Liked by 2 people

  55. “proves beyond doubt”

    Not quite yet. Whatever the labelled source, the graphs could have been drawn wrong, could have wrong input figures mis-transcribed from the real data, could have been slipped in by bad actors wanting to start an unsubstantiated outrage, whatever. For the record, I think that these all v unlikely, and presumably there are already other threads out there investigating sources / authenticity etc (I think I even saw McIntyre engaged on this in Twitter). But one can’t say ‘beyond doubt’, without a lot more confirmation. Pending same, Huge Significance though.

    Like

  56. Geoff,

    “DRAKE’S ARMY”

    Well Cliscep seems to have finally reached the bottom of the pit. I’m out of here. Goodbye to you all.

    Like

  57. JOHN
    Er, it was a joke, an attempt to lighten up. Sorry

    ANDY
    Beyond reasonable doubt then. Unless you believe someone’s got to the innards of the computer which ABC News was using to produce the graphs, and managed to skew them in such a way as to make a half a dozen sceptics believe that there’s a been fraud when there hasn’t, AND at the same time produce correct final results. You can’t do that. You can’t have one candidate’s vote making a sudden vertical bound while the other’s doesn’t budge.

    Note that everything else about the graphs is absolutely predictable, flattening out to indicate slowing of counting towards the end. When counting slows at one point in Michigan, the slope becomes less steep for both candidates. The only step changes are at the end, and they just happen to bring Biden up with Trump.

    Note also that the last places to report are Democrat-leaning inner cities. Same thing in Georgia and Nevada and Pennsylvania. In the UK inner cities report first for obvious reasons – they’re better organised, with more council workers, automated counting gear etc. That’s at least five states where the most likely Biden-voting wards have been saved till last.

    And if that’s not enough, there was Biden’s claim to have the world’s greatest electoral fraud organisation..

    Liked by 1 person

  58. Gosh Trumpism rules even here. I’m also out of here. Wait for me John.

    Like

  59. Wow, John stomps off at the humorous mention of Drake’s Army by Geoff on a post which satirises Dad’s Army, with me targeted as the main object of ridicule being compared to Mainwaring. So, it’s OK if I’m the object of a piss-take, but not so OK if the ‘gang of four’ get ribbed?

    Anyway, on the subject of deaths and hospitalisations, head of the NHS Simon Stevens, is currently regurgitating some pretty outrageous government propaganda on the supposedly deadly ‘second wave’ which threatens to overwhelm the NHS.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. Only just looked at this thread, having responded to Jaime’s comment on the other one. Stand down, mes amis!

    There is some misinformation being shared about the highly complex US vote-counting. But it seems clear that Scott Adams and Andy Swan (thanks Geoff) are making the key point Steve Mc and others have been banging on about: for some reason the districts likely to vote Republican have to declare well in advance of Democrat-leaning ones. So if there is any scope for voting fraud with the mail-in ballots, the Dems know the targets they have to reach to win the state. I believe they have done this.

    Will the courts be able to overturn the result if this has been happening? Here’s one straw in the wind:

    The book that writes this all up will have to be long and meticulous.

    I’m sorry that this comment makes clear where I stand on the US election. I don’t believe cheats should succeed. With Geoff and Jaime (and Steve and Willis) on that.

    Liked by 3 people

  61. ALAN KENDALL

    It’s not Trumpism to point out clear evidence of fraud by the Democrats. If clear evidence of fraud by Republicans emerges, call me a Bidenist, I won’t mind.

    RICHARD DRAKE (05 Nov 2020 2.03 pm)

    ..encouraging Jaime to ‘let it all hang out’ on Cliscep […] debases some really important conversation. Steve Mc showed he understood this when he deleted people for ‘venting’ or ‘piling on’ on Climate Audit. I was a victim of that dastardly, indeed fascist, treatment more times than I would like to remember!

    Steve was obviously right to moderate severely, because on a popular blog like his, important analysis could get lost in a sea of fandom. We don’t have that problem, which means that threads are a manageable size, allowing everyone to fight like cats and dogs have their say.

    Is McIntyre discussing this on Twitter? I think I’m a follower, but I haven’t seen anything.

    I agree with you that the use of words like “fascist” tend to obscure more important things, and Jaime happens to supply a lot of those more important things. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s another word in the English language that expresses pithily what she means. “Authoritarian, but not in a nice way” is too cumbersome.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Geoff: He sure is. As I said on the other thread, Steve’s tweets and replies is the place I tend to hang out. (Twitter may well be suppressing his tweets from being seen by you unless you click right there.) I’ll come back on the other stuff later, maybe as late as when we know who the next President is.

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  63. The 2 cases in the Swan post are different. The Trump vote does go up in the Wisconsin case, albeit only 20 or 25% of the amount of the Biden vote. In the Michigan case, if the Trump vote goes up at all in sync, it is less than 10% (lines are too thick to tell really).

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  64. P.S. I saw corresponding reported numbers for the Michigan chart saying that there was no actual rise in Trump votes at the moment of the Biden block rise, but I haven’t seen equivalent numbers for Wisconsin.

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  65. Lockdowns had no effect; mask mandates had no effect. Scepticism: it’s what it’s all about folks. Not belief. Not ‘well, it might help’, not ‘I’m just obeying the law’, not virtue sigalling indignation. We have a moral and civic DUTY to question that which we are fed by our governments and we have a duty to resist those measures which will do us and our fellows far more harm than good.

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  66. Resisting can mean many things though. Do we all have to agree with James when he uses the hateful term “Boris’s Willing Executioners” of his fellow-countrymen? Is to question that, and to be sceptical of how persuasive it is, to be on the wrong side of the whole issue?

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  67. Richard, I’m really not that concerned about the choice of language or analogies now; it’s clear that we have a very serious situation here and that our governments mean to do us harm. We should stop arguing about terminology and pull together. We’re on the same side here – at least I hope we are.

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  68. “it’s clear that we have a very serious situation here and that our governments mean to do us harm”

    I think the UK and many other governments policies are way OTT and might indeed cause us net harm (in various ways not all of which are easy to measure). So if by ‘mean to do us harm’, you only mean this without reference to motivation, i.e. they mean to carry the policies through, then yep they do. And we are indeed in a serious situation. If however by this you mean that (largely) our and other governments are actually adopting such policies with a deliberate intent to harm us, then I’m not on a side that thinks this. And per Richard above for instance, this is not just about terminology. To label public persons who merely think that they’re doing the right thing (and who are mostly not covid literate anyhow), as Boris’ executioners, is not just deploying an exaggerated term; this implies a fundamentally different context and causality. Which also doesn’t mean that some common elements can’t be found with that other time and place (not least emotive factors rising over rationality); but to paint these as (largely) equivalent is imo, just plain wrong. And may cause social harm of its own.

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  69. Andy, this is just silly. Our government – and other governments – are adopting policies which they KNOW will do great harm and which they KNOW will be ineffective overall. They are adopting those policies based on deliberately alarmist projections and false or out of date data – knowingly, with intent. That is enough to condemn our government and others and to accuse them of meaning to do us harm. Forget motive; we cannot be sure what the motive is. But their very actions condemn our governments as malign. Even MPs – those few genuine MPs left in Parliament – sense (or know) there is something much darker hidden in the background. This man is not a crazed conspiracy theorist, nor is he paranoid.

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  70. And at Manchester University, the governing body has fenced off a student residence. Lots of Fascism going on in the UK at the moment

    President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “I sincerely apologise for the concern and distress caused by the erecting of a fence around our Fallowfield Halls of Residence today. This was not our intention – in fact, quite the reverse.”

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  71. Jaime, I saw the statement; it’s appallingly put across, and so hopefully this kind of thing will hasten the beginning of the end for majority support from both the public and the politicians on current policy. Both of which majorities nevertheless believe that their support is leant to best *net* benefit in an equation of moral and complex relatives, and in a situation where there is any science you like on offer. So as I think JIT noted somewhere, they are following the line of least resistance. But it’s hard to see how that line will not start to crack as expressions like this unfold. We will simply have to disagree. Their actions cannot be pinned down to knowledge of *net* harm, only some harms in exchange for others (which is oft the case for much public policy); all of which have different perceptions and are associated with different fears and even have different science PoVs (which each have legit scientists behind them).

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  72. Met police officer tells journalist to stop filming . . . . “because you’re part of the protest and there’s no protests allowed”:

    Only in a fascist police state are political protests banned. We are there.

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  73. Andy, here’s what is happening I believe. Fear of Covid is diminishing rapidly to be replaced now by anger and by fear of the state. Fear of Covid was what kept the people in control. Fear of the state will maintain that control. Will anger overcome fear of the state? If it does not, we are in for a very bad time indeed.

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  74. Jaime: “Fear of Covid is diminishing rapidly to be replaced now by anger and by fear of the state. ”

    Well we have somewhat to agree on here, although there’s a lot of inertia in this and I have to doubt ‘rapidly’. Nor do I think that fear of Covid was being used to arbitrarily or nefariously control the populace (as a main thing, no doubt there are side things and opportunism), if that’s what you meant above. Because governments were just as afraid as the people, yet afraid in most cases too of being wiped out if they were perceived to have let hospitals be overwhelmed and their citizens die in droves. I agree too that there are likely to be tipping points re public fear and anger, and a big test will therefore present itself by next spring (April / May) at the latest I think. If heavy restrictions of many sorts to freedom continue beyond then, and also in context of past waves and evolutionary biology saying that corona must lose virulence over time, plus no doubt further medical advance and hopefully realisations, then indeed we’ve morphed to something else. Something more sinister, no matter what name / fears it was originally due to. If things are considerably eased but some restrictions remain, I guess it depends which ones and for how much longer, and how enshrined they become in permanent-looking law rather than devices that are clearly meant to be temporary.

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  75. P.S. plus too *actual* covid status by late spring, though I doubt very much, if *accurately* reflected, this could still be fuelling pandemicky fears by then, via any evolutionary morph or ‘3rd wave’ or whatever.

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  76. “Lots of Fascism going on in the UK at the moment”

    Calm down, Pike.

    I submit that it’s not just ahistoric but silly to compare each and every incident of heavy-handed policing or the Government’s iffy lockdown legislation with the Nazi regime however oppressive it seems for now. We don’t have paramilitary bodies comprising hundreds of thousands of declassé thugs bypassing law and order (and the police) to beat up and kill political opponents by the thousand. We don’t have burgeoning mass racist movements, we don’t (OK, not yet) have the economic chaos of a depression. And so on. There was a deal more to Fascism than some over-eager rozzers, a clique of nutty politicians and those oh-so-creepy civil “servants”.

    Even as Plod v Plebs scraps go, ’tis as yet a skirmish compared to, say, the 1984 miners strike or the more recent Gillets Jaunes protests. Police have been shooting innocent civilians in the street (and on the Tube) in the UK since whenever. And so on.

    Yes, it is very distasteful, the arrrest of that retired nurse trying to rescue her 97-year-old mother from a care home being the incident that most chilled me. I forget where I read it but did a Top Plod not warn early doors in the lockdown that setting the police against those they’re meant to protect was a formula for disaster?

    (BTW, I loved “Bill and Ben, the Pol Pot Men”. Another one I liked was someone struggling to grasp what Cominic Dummings represented socially who wondered if his family were Stranded Gentry.)

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  77. Mr Ryelands, are you serious or just deeply ignorant?

    “I submit that it’s not just ahistoric but silly to compare each and every incident of heavy-handed policing or the Government’s iffy lockdown legislation with the Nazi regime however oppressive it seems for now. We don’t have paramilitary bodies comprising hundreds of thousands of declassé thugs bypassing law and order (and the police) to beat up and kill political opponents by the thousand. We don’t have burgeoning mass racist movements, we don’t (OK, not yet) have the economic chaos of a depression. And so on. There was a deal more to Fascism than some over-eager rozzers, a clique of nutty politicians and those oh-so-creepy civil “servants”.”

    Are you aware that there were other Fascist régimes than Nazi Germany ? Do you know that their ways of taking power differed?

    If you do have this knowledge, why did you select the least comparable parallel?

    The easiest way to explain your response is that you have never heard of Mussolini and Franco, whose régimes lasted rather longer than that of Hitler. Perhaps my reply will be wasted on you.

    You refer to a regime that was forcibly taking power. However, in Italy in the 30s, once the regime was established, I suspect there were not many occurrences of mass violence. If you move on to Spain in the 50s and 60s, the régime was not characterised by groups of thugs beating protestors to death. Everyone just lived in fear of the state,obeying laws just because those were the laws. (qv wearing masks)

    If you look at the UK, Parliament allowed the Government in March to put the country under a soft version of Martial law. Parliament and the country acquiesced in this. Those laws have now been re-enacted, thanks to Socialists, who think that everything should be controlled by the state. If you cannot see nascent Fascism here then you are deluded. The examples of Fascist action are growing daily

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  78. Squadriso:
    “Founded 23 March 1919 by Benito Mussolini, in the course of a reunion in the San Sepolcro Square in Milan [5]. Squadrismo as a movement expanded instantly after the creation of the ‘Fasci di Combattimento’ [6], and by Spring 1920, fascists put into place a political militia of ‘squadre’ in various parts of Northern Italy, mostly in Trieste [7]. Many of these ‘squadristi’ (name given to individuals in the squadrismo movement) joined the ‘Fasci di Combattimento’, but some remained independent from Mussolini’s control [8]. From this point onward, various assaults by Trieste squads against Socialists and Slavs took place [9]. Thousands of squads formed ‘action squads’ and spread terror throughout the country-side. The squads were groups of thirty to fifty, often led by former army officers [10]. In towns where socialism was still strong, squadrismo was a tool of intimidation [11]. It was so violent that some have described the events as a civil war. This profoundly decreased the Italian government’s credibility, which was seen as incapable of keeping law and order [12].

    The habitus of squadrismo was characterised by violence [13], which was utilised in a political way, where ‘squadristi’ acted under the oversight of local leaders, also known as ‘Ras’ [14]. The fact that squadrismo had protection from national and local leaders also legitimised and banalised their violence, enhancing the idea that there was no opposition possible to the new Fascist party [15].”

    Blackshirts (evolved from above, but more formal units):
    “Their methods became harsher as Mussolini’s power grew, and they used violence and intimidation against Mussolini’s opponents.”

    Concentration camps (fascist Italy):
    “After the occupation of Greece and Yugoslavia in 1941, Italy opened concentration camps in its occupation zones there. These held a total of up to 150,000 people, mostly Slavs. Living conditions were very harsh, and the mortality rates in these camps far exceeded those of the camps in Italy. [of which about 50, mainly political prisoners not Jews].

    The White Terror (Spain):
    “In the history of Spain, the White Terror (also known as the Francoist Repression, la Represión franquista) describes the political repression, including executions and rapes, which were carried out by the Nationalist faction during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), as well as during the first nine years of the regime of General Francisco Franco… …Fascists viewed the purging of leftists from Spain as the political reaction that was required in order to re-establish the monarchy in place of the Second Republic. The Francoist Repression was motivated by the right-wing notion of a limpieza social, a cleansing of society. This meant the killing of people viewed as enemies of the state… …Throughout Franco’s rule (1 October 1936 – 20 November 1975), the Law of Political Responsibilities (Ley de Responsabilidades Políticas), promulgated in 1939, reformed in 1942, and in force until 1966, gave legalistic color of law to the political repression that characterized the dismantling of the Second Republic;[11] and served to punish Loyalist Spaniards.”

    Courtesy of wiki. Also Franco’s British biographer Paul Preston estimates that the dictator was responsible for the cold-blooded killings of upwards of 150,000 people during the war and in the years afterwards. Rapes, sexual violence, forced abortions, the theft of children, often with police and medical authorities complicit, and general violence and intimidation continued much longer.

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  79. “Mr Ryelands, are you serious or just deeply ignorant?”

    Mr “Man-in-a-barrel”, are you serious or just Aspergically offensive?

    “Are you aware that there were other Fascist régimes than Nazi Germany ?”

    Germany wasn’t a Fascist regime though I accept that “fascism” (with a lc ‘f’) has become a generic and IMHO rather sloppy term for inter-war totalitarian regimes particularly in Europe. Germany was National Socialist, Spain was Falangist – only Italy was Fascist. Ironically, Hitler’s route to power in Germany was less violent than Franco’s in Spain where, as you may recall, there was a three-year civil war.

    I accept that Mussolini’s rise to power was rather different but it wasn’t what you’d call sweetness and light as Andy W illustrates. Besides, if you think the regime was somehow less violent, try reading a little Libyan or Ethiopian history (see esp Graziani). But of course all that happened “off shore”.

    In passing, recall that Hitler provided matériel to Haile Selassie’s army. Isn’t history messy stuff?

    “If you move on to Spain in the 50s and 60s, the régime was not characterised by groups of thugs beating protestors to death.”

    True but by then not only was it in terminal social and economic decline but it’s misleading to suggest that everyone went about “obeying laws just because those were the laws”. I recall Spanish friends of mine from the time describing how they were severely beaten by the police after being caught daring to try to organise political opposition in the late 1960s despite their being, by their own admission, little threat to anybody.

    Here in Britain we are indeed, as elsewhere, in a serious crisis that promises only to get worse but all this hysterical screeching about “fascism” (or even Fascism) not only does a disservice to the victims of those inter-war regimes but makes the screechers look just a little silly. Not every authoritarian is a fascist, a quasi-fascist, a wannabee fascist, not even when in a flat panic or after reading the Collected Works of Dominic Cummings.

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  80. Fascism (historical) is not the same as fascism (general). Please stop this censoring of the use of language and the accusations of ‘offence’ caused to long dead victims of historical fascism. If somebody wants to call this government or any other government ‘fascist’, then either agree or disagree, but don’t attempt to censor the use of the word itself. That in itself is a form of fascism.

    “1. any ideology or movement inspired by Italian Fascism, such as German National Socialism; any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism
    2. any ideology, movement, programme, tendency, etc, that may be characterized as excessively prescriptive or authoritarian”

    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/fascism

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  81. “but don’t attempt to censor the use of the word itself”

    As noted several times, not doing that, any opinion is welcome in my book. But challenging the opinion should also be welcome, or indeed this is censorship. It is not the terminology, it is the concept it carries, for me at any rate, with which I disagree. Plus indeed, specific references to Boris’ willing executioners and Nazis, do represent a precise brand of fascism anyhow.

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  82. Andy,

    “Plus indeed, specific references to Boris’ willing executioners and Nazis, do represent a precise brand of fascism anyhow.”

    You’d better take the former up with James Delingpole; nobody on this site mentioned that, except Richard of course, in reference to JD’s tweet, attempting to draw some comparison with my terminology on this site I suspect.

    How does specific reference to the Nazis in a well defined context constitute ‘a precise brand of fascism’? I’m fascinated to hear your explanation for that.

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  83. “Fascism (historical) is not the same as fascism (general).”

    If you deprive the word “fascism” of its historical context, you render it all but meaningless and reduce it to a cheap term of abuse. That that is done as frequently as it is (typically, I’m sad to say, by lefties but not, I now understand, exclusively) makes it neither correct nor wise.

    “Please stop this censoring of the use of language and the accusations of ‘offence’ caused to long dead victims of historical fascism.”

    I neither tried to censor you nor used the word “offence”. If you look at my posts above, you’ll see that I defended you against those who (arguably) did and that you “liked” my comment.

    “If somebody wants to call this government or any other government ‘fascist’, then either agree or disagree, but don’t attempt to censor the use of the word itself.”

    No-one is trying to stop you using any word you like. It’s your perfect democratic right to make a fool of yourself but I’d advise against exercising it quite so often.

    “That in itself is a form of fascism.”

    And that, as an attempt to bully me into silence, is (in itself, even) as insolent as it’s silly.

    ++++
    “. . . any ideology or movement inspired by Italian Fascism . . .” (CED)

    You miss the point of a dictionary. As it goes, I was many years ago involved in the printing of a critical new edition of the Collins English Dictionary using a then-new technology which the publishers were keen to use but were not familiar with. As the printer’s technical manager for the project, I got to know the CED’s production people well. A lovely crew who taught me to respect their craft, they always stressed that the job of a dictionary was to reflect the way language was used, NOT the way one thinks it should be used. Citing a dictionary as intellectual authority to close a debate may convince some but it doesn’t persuade me.

    There. I’m done. I’m outa the madhouse of this thread.

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  84. Jaime, “How does specific reference to the Nazis in a well defined context constitute ‘a precise brand of fascism’”

    I didn’t say that referencing Nazis constitutes fascism. I said such references are to a specific brand of fascism, rather than to a generic definition.

    The Nazis are by definition a precise brand of fascism, originating in 1930s Germany; which per any invocation as comparative, is supplying a context.

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  85. Ryelands,

    “If you deprive the word “fascism” of its historical context, you render it all but meaningless and reduce it to a cheap term of abuse.”

    No, by using the term to refer to authoritarian dictatorial governments, you do not abuse them, you merely sharply criticise their form of governance by referring to it, as I quoted:

    “any ideology, movement, programme, tendency, etc, that may be characterized as excessively prescriptive or authoritarian”.

    That is as good a description of this rotten government as I can think of. It’s not a “cheap term of abuse”, it is the USE of a word consistent with its explanation in a dictionary. You object to my providing the dictionary definition because you say it reflects “the way language [is] used, NOT the way one thinks it should be used. Citing a dictionary as intellectual authority to close a debate may convince some but it doesn’t persuade me.”

    But I didn’t cite it as an intellectual authority, I cited it in exactly the way you describe a dictionary functions – as a source of information on how words are USED. In this case, fascism was used by myself and MIAB to describe this government’s mode of authoritarian governance. It required no specific reference to history or the origin of fascist ideology in wartime Italy.

    But you jumped on MIAB for using it, accusing people in general who do use the term fascism of ‘screeching hysterically’. “Calm down Pike” you advised him when he used the term. To my mind, you were attempting to censor his use of the term by engaging in such aggressive criticism. Perhaps we all need to calm down a bit and allow others to use terms of reference which they see appropriate without the risk of instant condemnation from other people who vehemently object to the alleged inappropriate and/or offensive use of that term. Your interpretation of my motivation being to bully you into silence by referring to censorship of language as a form of fascism is in itself rather silly and somewhat over-sensitive on your part.

    This is a madhouse thread, started by a madhouse post which has created a lot of ill-feeling. So, in recognition of Richard’s well deserved efforts to promote good relations between commenters on this site, I hereby award him this:

    [Size of wooden spoon image adjusted to reflect excellence of joke – Ed]

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  86. Another joke.

    “Ah, Pike! You too shall be on ze list!”

    https://www.breitbart.com/2020-election/2020/11/06/leftists-never-trumpers-begin-compiling-lists-of-trump-supporters/

    Hahahaha. Funny. My sides are splitting here, but don’t mention the ‘N’ word whatever you do.

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  87. “I recall Spanish friends of mine from the time describing how they were severely beaten by the police after being caught daring to try to organise political opposition in the late 1960s despite their being, by their own admission, little threat to anybody.”

    Case proven

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  88. “Even as Plod v Plebs scraps go, ’tis as yet a skirmish compared to, say, the 1984 miners strike”

    Plainly delusional. I vividly remember when the theatres, pubs and restaurants closed during the miners’ strike. It was such a shame when the churches closed. Yes and the barber shops were all shut. And there were limits on the number of people allowed to enter the few shops still allowed to open. And we were forbidden to travel or leave the country or visit friends.

    Yes, that was a truly dreadful time to be alive.

    Fortunately we live in a more enlightened age and some of us enjoy living in captivity

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  89. Jaime: It’s not necessary to use the ‘N’ word to speak strongly against this tendency:

    That’s in response, not to a has-been former presidential candidate, but to a well-known Democratic Congresswoman who believes her party is on the winning side of the election. It’s gross and disturbing.

    And what if one did call AOC a Nazi or fascist? Here’s how the conversation went earlier on this thread:

    Jaime: The problem is, you can keep saying Nazi/fascism analogies are unhelpful…

    Richard: Some people no doubt say that but I don’t. Not always. I have though called out atrocious Nazi analogies, including snide humour, such as this from you on Cliscep on 14th September

    It’s not a blanket ban. Geoff Chambers, Richard Drake, Jaime Jessop, and I think John Ridgway, are as one on that.

    And I stand by the word ‘atrocious’, and the others I used, when you deployed a hateful and twisted analogy against those ordinary people in this country, including Mark Hodgson and myself, who were then obeying the instruction to wear masks in places like supermarkets. That was Nazi analogising that was out of control and it led to the current discussion.

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  90. Geoff, just 42 hours ago:

    On the other thread Jaime has linked to a graph which proves beyond doubt election fraud.

    I replied:

    There is some misinformation being shared about the highly complex US vote-counting.

    I was being diplomatic – and aren’t I always? 🙂

    Steve Mc has looked into it further and this wasn’t the smoking gun it seemed. See my latest comment on the US election thread

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  91. Lockdown Sceptics today:

    “A reader has emailed us with a good suggestion.

    Rational scepticism has so far failed. It’s time to deploy ridicule. There is now a sufficient flow of codswallop coming from the Government to support a ‘Downfall’ parody at least once a week – possibly daily. First one should be Boris/Adolf berating Witless and Unbalanced because the data they relied on to bamboozle the British public into supporting Lockdown 2.0 was riddled with errors: “I know they’re idiots, but they’re not that dumb! Even Carrie saw through that bollocks.”

    Come on, Downfall parody creators. It’s time to get to work. The only lockdown-related one we can find is this one and it’s eight months old. The reader has suggested the following starter-for-10:

    Adolf/Boris: What is it with you boffins? You promised me 4,000 deaths a day, and what did we get yesterday? A pathetic 355. What the f**k?!? And don’t tell me it was a scenario, not a prediction. We all know – everybody in this f**king room knows – that it was meant to scare everybody witless, and give me cover.

    Lackey: Cover for another lockdown, mine Fuhrer?

    Adolf/Boris: [taking off glasses] No, you inverted pyramid of piffle. Cover for making a bedwetting clown of myself back in March by listening to you lot, with your charts and graphs. You promised me – promised me – that this time it wasn’t some half-arsed spreadsheet with numbers pulled out of Professor Ferguson’s rectum. You swore to me that this time you knew what you were talking about. You promised me a wonder weapon – a copper-bottomed prediction of an Ebola-like plague if we didn’t immediately lock everyone up. A forecast that would not within days be shown to be laughably wrong. A forecast that would drive Heneghan, Gupta and the rest of those infernal sceptics clan back into the sea. And what did I get? More of the same balls that you’ve given me since you bounced me into this whole pantomime back in March. Why did I listen to you? Good God, you promised me 85,000 deaths in Sweden if they carried on the way they were, and the last I heard it was scarcely any more than 6,000. You realise what a fool I look now?”

    Lackey: But, mine Fuhrer, we were trying to save the NHS…

    Boris/Adolf: Screw the NHS! Turns out, it’s the NHS that’s been giving everyone the virus…”

    https://lockdownsceptics.org/2020/11/07/latest-news-186/

    Now that IS funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  92. Not so funny, this letter was so shocking that people thought it was a spoof. It’s not. Head teacher of school in Liverpool tells parents that their children WILL be tested and barcoded and ‘secured’ if the test is positive and that this is NOT optional. Seen enough yet to start using the ‘f’ or ‘N’ word?

    No doubt they’ll be erecting a sign that day over the school gates: ‘Testing Sets You Free’.

    https://www.broadgreeninternationalschool.com/our-school/whilst-school-is-closed

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  93. Jaime, satire / ridicule has throughout the ages been a great tool to oppose official orthodoxy. One ancient Egyptian scribe in idle moments, drew his pharaoh as a rabbit, whose war chariot was not pulled by stallions but by little puppy dogs. Maybe said pharaoh wasn’t quite as brave in war as the official texts made out.

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  94. Re testing Liverpudlian children. Toby Young retweets Liverpool Council’s reply to him:

    “Hi Toby, the letter sent to parents at this school was incorrect – parental consent is required.

    This is an entirely voluntary testing programme and only parents who return the consent forms will have their child tested.”

    Add twitter dot com to below link to see (stops auto-loading here, to preserve Geoff’s computer!)
    /lpoolcouncil/status/1325368311593529345?s=20

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  95. Andy, thank heavens for sanity, but why send out such a bizarre, threatening, almost dystopian letter in the first place? Apparently, the school is in special measures and rated poor by Ofsted. You have to wonder why the government would pick on such a school to trial mass testing of school children by army grunts.

    I imagine depicting the divine Pharaoh as a rabbit must have been a sin comparable to drawing a cartoon version of Allah. It’s nice to know that humour is so ancient, but not so nice to know that the response to by some it can be equally primitive.

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  96. Jaime, “but why send out such a bizarre, threatening, almost dystopian letter in the first place?”

    You remember that conversation many months ago about how over-zealous, over-empowered officious type folks appear out of the woodwork when a population is in fear (per my examples of the cruel ‘gas testing’ of children, plus other stuff from WW2). In the absence of detail, my first guess is that this is the ultimate explanation.

    “I imagine depicting the divine Pharaoh as a rabbit must have been a sin comparable to drawing a cartoon version of Allah. It’s nice to know that humour is so ancient, but not so nice to know that the response to by some it can be equally primitive.”

    Indeed so. I doubt the ancient cartoonist would have survived had his identity been discovered. It likely wasn’t though, otherwise the work would have been scrubbed along with him. So hopefully, he laughed inside to a ripe old age 🙂

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  97. Perhaps the rabbit pharaoh cartoon has been misinterpreted. Instead it is a plea to a god of procreation to empower the pharaoh to spread his seed like a langomorph.

    I am surprised that rabbits occur in Egypt. In all the years I worked there – mostly in the Eastern Desert it is true – I never saw one. A fox once, and I suppose it must have eaten something.

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  98. MIAB,

    Utterly disgraceful. Earning an honest living is now illegal in the UK. What’s even worse is that there are people on social media saying things like ‘you can wash your own car, it’s no big deal, in order to stop spreading the virus’. Meanwhile, the Samaritans claim that lockdown has not caused a rise in suicides, based on a single study which looked at a few counties totalling 9 million people, with a long list of caveats. Wonder how much the government paid them to say that?

    Liked by 1 person

  99. MIAB
    It’s not real fascism though, is it? Like, the UK isn’t a real Monarchy, because the Queen hasn’t poisoned or decapitated any of her close relatives.

    Not yet anyway. Not as far as we know.

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  100. When does it get real I wonder?

    “In an interview Thursday, the coronavirus task force member and infectious disease expert pushed back on the notion that scientists were “authoritarian” for promoting strict lockdowns and social distancing measures.

    But the 79-year-old suggested the American spirit of independence had gotten in the way and the nation needed to follow their orders, whether they liked it or not.

    “I was talking with my UK colleagues who are saying the UK is similar to where we are now, because each of our countries have that independent spirit,” Fauci said during a panel with other experts in Washington, DC.

    “I can understand that, but now is the time to do what you’re told,” he said, as first reported by CNBC.”

    When they attempt to make us do what we’re told, I guess.

    https://nypost.com/2020/11/13/anthony-faucis-new-covid-19-guidance-do-what-youre-told/

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  101. From the BMJ:

    “When good science is suppressed by the medical-political complex, people die.

    Politicians and governments are suppressing science. They do so in the public interest, they say, to accelerate availability of diagnostics and treatments. They do so to support innovation, to bring products to market at unprecedented speed. Both of these reasons are partly plausible; the greatest deceptions are founded in a grain of truth. But the underlying behaviour is troubling.

    Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.

    Politicisation of science was enthusiastically deployed by some of history’s worst autocrats and dictators, and it is now regrettably commonplace in democracies. The medical-political complex tends towards suppression of science to aggrandise and enrich those in power. And, as the powerful become more successful, richer, and further intoxicated with power, the inconvenient truths of science are suppressed. When good science is suppressed, people die.”

    https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4425?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_term=hootsuite&utm_content=sme&utm_campaign=usage

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  102. “not real Fascism”…that’s a strange argument to make. It’s almost as if you think this is a reasonable way for officials to behave. Only if they had brassards with fasces on them would it be true Fascism? Admittedly, they do not seem to have clubbed the car wash owner to death but this is polite British Fascism. Forcing people to go out of business because “it’s for your own good”

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  103. The latest state enforcement service:
    We’ve welcomed the arrival of new COVID marshals who have been deployed across Havering this week to support the Council’s fight against coronavirus, read more https://t.co/cAiOC9yQDR https://t.co/dhAdlaELE4

    “Though the Marshals have no formal enforcement powers, they will escalate breaches and issues where non-compliance continues.

    They will work closely with the Council’s Public Protection Team or the Police who have the authority to take enforcement action.

    This could include a Penalty of between £200 and £10,000.”

    But it’s all OK because this is “not real Fascism “

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  104. Is it permitted for Downing St advisors to travel to work when they could effectively work from home?

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  105. Meanwhile, in Denmark, people are out on the street protesting against the proposed introduction of forced mandatory vaccination for certain groups.

    Real enough for me. Too real.

    I think Geoff’s comment was sarcasm BTW.

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  106. Yes, my comment was sarcastic. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. An American whose name I forget said long ago: “Sure you could have fascism in the US, but you’d have to call it anti-fascism.” (And lo and behold: antifa.) “Little Hitlers” has long been the term for officious authoritarian personalities who like bossing people around. Formerly, public opinion was against them and their actions remained isolated incidents.

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  107. Simon Dolan’s definition of fascism “a form of authoritarianism characterised by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy” seems more applicable to a high priced boarding school for boys in the 1950s And no mention of trains running on time or of jackboots.

    I did my PhD work in 1964-7 in the Basque Country of Northern Spain in a town that Franco used to go sea fishing from. I saw him visit several times and the crowds that lined the streets, all with eyes watching each other. Once I was taken in by the Coastal Police for having in my possession aerial photographs of the coastline. Not a pleasant few hours ensued, until I was rescued by a prominent citizen.

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  108. Update: 9th February 2021.

    10 years in jail for going on holiday and lying on a form about which countries you visited. That sounds pretty fascist to me. Thousands of pounds in fines if you do not submit to being tested three times during your term of imprisonment after going on holiday. That sounds pretty fascist to me. No end to the current lockdown in sight even though they’ve coerced 12 million people to be vaccinated, with 50,000 adverse reactions up to Jan 24th, including 5 people going blind, 6 spontaneous abortions and 143 deaths (which doesn’t include the mysterious 4-fold increase in ‘Covid deaths’ at carehomes among those vaccinated). That sounds pretty fascist to me. Private companies threatening not to employ those who haven’t had the jab. That’s a bit fascist, I’m sure you’ll agree. Police beating up Polish cafe owners in Manchester because they dared to open up in defiance of the government sounds pretty fascist to me. Don’t bother making holiday plans this year, says Van Tam. That sounds pretty fascist to me. Oh, and have you seen the government’s NHS ads? Wow, even Goebbels would nod approvingly at such corrosive propaganda in the form of blatant emotional manipulation designed to make the totally innocent feel guilty. My, haven’t things moved on. It’s OK though, I don’t expect any apology or even the slightest hint of a suggestion that I may just have been right about this government and its intention to do us great harm

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  109. I disagree. I think Goebbels would be ashamed of such a pathetic campaign. “Act like you’ve got it.” What, get on a bus and start coughing uncontrollably? “You can spread it.” Oh, can I? Thanks. I’ll take this stupid mask off then. “Stay Home. Protect the NHS.” Above all don’t go bothering your GP about those funny lumps you’ve had for months.

    Yes, it does look as if it’s designed to keep citizens fearful and compliant. But does it prove they intend to do us great harm? Maybe they’re just stupid and incompetent, with possibly a dash of unconscious malice. Or maybe they’re testing us, seeing how far they can go with their propaganda and suppression before we revolt. With the added advantage that they are no doubt compiling a list of the awkward squad who can be rounded up in case of a real emergency. Who’d have thought that Conservative Women would be a bigger threat to their plans than the Trotskyists?

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  110. Geoff,

    “Or maybe they’re testing us, seeing how far they can go with their propaganda and suppression before we revolt.”

    That in itself would be proof that they intend to do us great harm. Their ‘testing’ has already resulted in serious and irreversible damage and very many deaths via ‘collateral damage’. If they’re testing us to see how far they can go before we revolt, that is evidence of intent and the harms being done are therefore evidence of their intent to do us harm. Massive incompetence on a scale never seen before might get them off the ‘intent’ hook, but that explanation looks vanishingly unlikely to me.

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  111. Before the Nazis started breaking windows and beating people up they were accused of mangling the German language in their incoherent ravings. This is from “No Escape from Stalag Britain” by Will Jones at Lockdown Sceptics this morning:

    Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said yesterday: “The more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays, in terms of crossing borders, in terms of household mixing, given where we are now, I think we just have to say the more you are stepping into making guesses about the unknown at this point.” 

    That’s Vantamspeak for: “We’re going to lock you up for ten years if you disobey anything we think up on the spur of the moment.”

    Hannah Arendt and others laboured hard to explain how boring little functionaries could be transformed into mass murderers. Of course, Van Tam isn’t anything like a mass murderer. But he’s a good example of how it works. It starts with a warning about “not making elaborate plans,” which leads to a zero birth rates and economic collapse. But Van Tam will still be there.

    Liked by 1 person

  112. Van Tam is a very boring little functionary and he is complicit in mass murder. The kind of talk he engages in is designed to deliberately leave people with little hope that this will ever end, constantly snatching away the false horizons which only days or weeks before were presented to us by a criminally duplicitous government. It also encourages the destruction of the tourist and holiday industry via the generation of huge uncertainty. So, Hancock says look forward to a great British summer and Van Tam steamrollers any expectation that our imprisonment will end by saying don’t book a holiday, just days later. The cruelty is the point.

    https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/lockdown-the-cruelty-is-the-point/

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  113. Now another boring little functionary, with a brain the size of a pea, but with malice which encompasses the entire globe, tells us that there will be no foreign holidays until the whole world is vaccinated, as demanded of course by Kill Gates. The fascist New World Order is here and it has banned international leisure travel for years to come. This will of course devastate countries which depend upon tourist income, especially poorer countries in Africa and it will devastate endangered wildlife in those countries which depend upon tourism to generate the revenue to fight poaching.

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  114. Sumption is right. He has been right all along. It’s gone from ‘3 weeks to flatten the curve’ to ‘it’s just a mask’ to a global Big Tech/Big Pharma tyranny in just 10 months. The psychopaths had this planned for years. It’s not a conspiracy theory anymore, it is your worst nightmare coming true before your very eyes.

    Mainwaring couldn’t possibly have imagined what the globalist Fourth Reich aka the Fourth Industrial Revolution would eventually look like. The Nazis were small time gangsters by comparison.

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  115. This letter to the editor, published in the BMJ, just gets one thing wrong. It’s actually ‘mass murder’ in which politicians, the media, the medical establishment and government ‘scientists’ are complicit. If we ever get to Nuremberg style trials it will be a case of ‘pack the court’ – with the accused.

    https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n314/rr-8

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  116. Since new variants of Covid-19 can only be transmitted from one person to another, what measures would you take to eliminate or minimise new variants from entering the U.K. via people travelling from abroad? Because some of the more worrying new variants come from specific parts of the world. Would it not be sensible to control more carefully individuals who have visited those countries? So what should we do to individuals who potentially put others at greater risk by deliberately hiding their exposure whilst abroad?

    Protection of freedoms is all very well, but there are times when this must be subordinated to protection of the population from a highly contagious disease. We have awarded the authority to make such judgements to the government. IMHO to call such judgements fascist seems quite over the top, but then it’s quite within your rights to make them in our non-fascist society.

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  117. ALAN KENDALL
    Sensible questions. So let the government find some sensible answers. A few hundred people with an urgent need to fly in from a couple of countries shouldn’t be a big problem. As it is, castrating them in order to limit their close contacts seems a bit excessive. That’s not in the government’s plan? Don’t worry, it will be.

    The ten year prison sentence makes sense of course, since it makes a ten thousand pound fine for organising a demo seem reasonable in comparison. Everything the government announces this week will seem reasonable in the light of what they’re going to announce next week. No doubt the government is planning to ban the likes of Jaime from the internet. But where’s the fun in that if you can’t also break their front door down and rough them up a bit?

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  118. Geoff much as I disagree with Jaime (and you sometimes) I would never support her (or your?) banning from social media or the internet. You appear to be criticising the Government because you anticipate actions that you disagree with. Actions that have no basis in fact as far as we KNOW.

    I have difficulty believing some of these wilder speculations. Any Government needs to carry majority support and with the Conservatives carrying an 80 seat majority this is far from assured. Breakaways are all too common in these situations. Already there have been murmurs from backbencher groups eager to protect freedoms.

    I note with interest that you don’t really address the questions that I posed (and which you categorised as being sensible). Any government would have to deal with them.

    It’s so very easy to criticise without offering reasoned alternatives, as happens here. Put your money where your mouth is. How would you wish our authorities to act to protect us from another wave of COVID-19 infections, hospital admissions and deaths, whilst protecting freedoms? Or would you let these new variants rip?

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  119. Alan,

    Would it not be sensible to control more carefully individuals who have visited those countries? So what should we do to individuals who potentially put others at greater risk by deliberately hiding their exposure whilst abroad?

    ALL ‘unnecessary’ international travel is currently banned. Is that ‘sensible’?

    10 years for lying on a form about a visit to Portugal or a very low prevalence African country whose residents desperately need tourist income to survive – the same sentence for burglary with intent to commit rape. Is that ‘sensible’?

    “Ten years is the maximum sentence for threats to kill, non-fatal poisoning or indecent assault. Does Mr Hancock really think that non-disclosure of a visit to Portugal is worse than the large number of violent firearms offences or sexual offences involving minors, for which the maximum is seven years?

    Unwelcome mutations are just as likely to originate in the UK. The so-called Kent variant probably did. So did several cases of the South African variant. At the moment, we are probably a net exporter of mutant viruses.”

    The so called ‘South African variant’ MAY (on the basis of current ‘research’) reduce vaccine efficacy (ability of the vaccine to reduce community transmission – which none of the trials for the vaccines demonstrated conclusively that this was a feature of the vaccines anyway). It MAY have a small effect on reducing the antibody response of the vaccine, but not enough to really affect the ability of the vaccine to reduce serious disease. Is it sensible to ban international travel, cancel people’s holidays abroad and threaten them with 10 years in stir to reduce the ‘risk’ to the public of ‘foreign variants’ when we’ve got plenty of our own home-grown ones? Coronaviruses ‘mutate’ – spontaneously, naturally, randomly. It’s what they do. PANDEMIC coronaviruses do it all over the world, in every country – because it’s a pandemic. They’ve been doing it many thousands of times since Wu Flu first appeared in Dec 2019. It’s what ‘flu does – except flu mutates at TWICE the rate of SARS-CoV-2. Did we shut down the world for ‘flu?

    Define the ‘risk’ Alan. Define the harms generated by intervening to reduce the risk. Then define whether a policy is ‘sensible’ or not. Personally, I consider it to be batshit crazy, so batshit/pangolinpoo crazy that it cannot possibly have the remotest connection to public health policy. Anyway, please excuse me, I hear a size 10 standard army issue knocking on the door.

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  120. Jaime I note that you are full of criticisms but make no attempt to address the (sensible) questions I asked. It’s easy to gripe, more difficult to be constructive.

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  121. I have a lot of time for Jonathan Sumption, but I think he goes too far in this quote:

    “Hotel quarantine rules are a form of imprisonment in solitary confinement. They are brutal, inhumane and disproportionate. Laws like these are the work of people who think that there is no limit to the oppressive cruelty, economic damage that we must put up with”.

    Putting someone in a hotel for 10 days as a form of quarantine might or might not be disproportionate, but I don’t think it’s either brutal or inhumane. Those are very strong words indeed, and I don’t think they make any sense in the context of a 10 day stay in a warm and comfortable hotel, while being fed and with access to TV and internet and (for anyone with enough intelligence to plan ahead) access to whatever you had the foresight to bring with you, such as books, games, or whatever you need to survive for 10 days without going out, and all in the knowledge that after 10 days you can go home.

    Inappropriate? Possibly. Disproportionate? Maybe. Brutal and inhumane? I really don’t think so. I share concerns about the outright zealotry of those who seem to want to lock us up forever, and I am for a much quicker easing of restrictions than those in charge seem prepared to contemplate (I think we’re well past the peak, with vaccinations and herd immunity kicking in, and spring weather knocking on the door). But I think exaggerated language damages the cause of those who advocate a different approach.

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  122. Alan,

    “Jaime I note that you are full of criticisms but make no attempt to address the (sensible) questions I asked. It’s easy to gripe, more difficult to be constructive.”

    Er, the criticisms (thoughtfully constructed, abundant in facts) WERE my attempt to address the questions you asked. I’m afraid I cannot be blamed if you thought they were merely an unconstructive gripe.

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  123. Mark, ‘brutal’ is more subjective of course, but I think 10 days in isolation, unable even to leave the room, is quite ‘severe’ to say the least. Inhumane is less subjective. Anything which violates human rights legislation might be deemed to be inhumane and there is a good argument to be made that enforced hotel quarantine for travellers regardless of their infection status does indeed contravene human rights laws; specifically article 5 of the ECHR.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/quarantine-hotels-could-contravene-human-rights-says-lawyer/

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  124. Jaime
    Two of my questions were:
    1. Would it not be sensible to control more carefully individuals who have visited those countries?
    2. So what should we do to individuals who potentially put others at greater risk by deliberately hiding their exposure whilst abroad?

    Your responses (supposedly “ thoughtfully constructed, abundant in facts”) were
    1. “ ALL ‘unnecessary’ international travel is currently banned.” and
    2. “ 10 years for lying on a form about a visit to Portugal or a very low prevalence African country whose residents desperately need tourist income to survive – the same sentence for burglary with intent to commit rape. ”.

    And so it went on. For every question I got no answer whatsoever. Nothing but questions that I was directed to answer.

    Don’t you have any real answers?

    For question 1 we could rephrase it asking “For necessary travel to those countries, should returning travellers be subject to ANY control?
    And for those lying about their potential to infect others, should there be any penalty, and how severe should it be?

    See if you can dodge these questions.

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  125. Jaime oh my apologies, upon reading more carefully what you wrote I can perceive hints of answers. Perhaps I am wrong but I dimly see answers amongst the plethora of your questions, that you believe people should be free to travel where they like (that is one of their freedoms being abused by our fascist government) and upon returning home, potentially Covid-ridden, they should not be quarantined in comfortable hotel rooms – that abuses their freedom. Presumably they should be allowed to travel to their final destination without hindrance. In other words, let the virus rip. Or have I misunderstood?

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  126. Alan, when you stop dodging my answers by quoting only small parts of them, leaving out the relevant bits which did address your questions, then I’ll maybe see if I can answer your second set of questions without dodging them. 🙂

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  127. Alan, I’m sorry, but ‘let it rip’ is not a scientific term and is not supported by any data at all re. the spread of Covid-19, either when it first appeared in Spring, affecting mostly an immunologically naive populace, or most especially now, nearing the end of a winter ‘flu season (with no ‘flu!) when it’s quite likely that SARS-CoV-2 is transitioning to a seasonal endemic coronavirus. ‘Let it rip’ is a term used by alarmist politicians and the media who wish to convey the false notion that if we do not lock down society to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 it will rip its way through the population causing hundreds of thousands of fatalities – like it did in Sweden. Each ‘new variant’ is NOT a new virus which is going to cause another pandemic or even an epidemic. It’s just unscientific nonsense – for which Yeadon was cancelled for trying to counter.

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  128. But Jaime I asked my questions to all. I would dearly like to learn what people who have differing views to my own would have done that differs from that done by the Government. So I asked three unambiguous questions and sort equally unambiguous answers. Geoff responded but didn’t really answer. I can just about discern what answers you might be giving but, so sorry, I do not see unambiguous answers. All I can clearly see is a plethora of questions you address to me. 🙃

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  129. Alan, I’ve tried to explain why closing down borders and subjecting people to harsh quarantines and the threat of 10 year prison sentences is not a sane or scientific response to the emergence of ‘variants’. SARS-CoV-2 has been around for over a year now and has traversed the globe several times over. All the while, it has been ‘mutating’ (not the correct technical term – mutations occur in genes) at a steady rate which is about half the rate at which the ‘flu virus ‘mutates’. Many thousands of these mutations (changes or deletions of the amino acids on the surface of the virus) have been recorded and not a single one (prior to the infamous ‘Kent variant’) has proven to have any effect on SARS-CoV-2 in terms of transmissibility or lethality. Certainly, no new ‘mutant strains’ of the virus have emerged which could be considered a whole new threat to the human race because they are biologically distinct from the original Wuhan strain.

    But suddenly now we’ve got this hysteria about ‘new variants’ coming into the UK and how we must close down borders – after they’ve been open for over a year! It’s nuts. I recommend you read this, co-authored by Professor Balloux, which puts into context the current hysteria surrounding ‘new variants’.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-19818-2

    “The most plausible mutations under putative natural selection are those which have emerged repeatedly and independently (homoplasies). Here, we formally test whether any homoplasies observed in SARS-CoV-2 to date are significantly associated with increased viral transmission. To do so, we develop a phylogenetic index to quantify the relative number of descendants in sister clades with and without a specific allele. We apply this index to a curated set of recurrent mutations identified within a dataset of 46,723 SARS-CoV-2 genomes isolated from patients worldwide. We do not identify a single recurrent mutation in this set convincingly associated with increased viral transmission. Instead, recurrent mutations currently in circulation appear to be evolutionary neutral and primarily induced by the human immune system via RNA editing, rather than being signatures of adaptation. At this stage we find no evidence for significantly more transmissible lineages of SARS-CoV-2 due to recurrent mutations.”

    46,723 ‘mutations’ had no effect on transmissibility, but suddenly we’ve got a Kent variant which is 70% more transmissible and up to 90% more deadly and (horror!) we have Brazilian variants and South African variants which threaten to evade our defences and render the vaccines useless! So we must stay at home and stop all international travel for the plebs – ‘to protect the vaccine’ (not us). Yes, Tedros at the WHO actually said this recently. What he is implying is that we should weaken our own natural immune systems by not going out or going on holiday, by not mixing with people, by wearing masks, social distancing etc. in order to protect the Sacred Covid Vaccines. In reality, the natural immune systems of the vast majority of the population are well able to cope with SARS-CoV-2 (and its variants) and the threat of ‘vaccine escape’ presented by the emergence of new variants is not insignificant, but vastly overblown.

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  130. Again Jaime, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?? Nothing? You are giving me all the reasons you wouldn’t do what you consider a fascist British Government has done, but still I await any response about what you would have recommended. The format of my questions is not difficult to understand, although formatting acceptable responses may well be.

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  131. I would do what the government did for most of a year – nothing. No restrictions on people entering the country, none on those leaving. Testing at ports of entry maybe using rapid LFT kits. Nothing fundamental has changed. SARS-CoV-2 is still ‘mutating’ at the same rate it always has. It’s ‘mutating’ in this country and abroad. Infections are plummeting around the globe. This is a ‘pandemic’ which is running out of steam. There is no earthly reason why we should be now stopping international travel, especially considering the huge harms which that will inflict across the world, especially upon the poor. This draconian policy lacks both reason and compassion.

    There is a new ‘variant of concern’ detected in Bristol. What do YOU suggest we do Alan? Quarantine travellers to Bristol and threaten people with 10 year jail terms if they don’t reveal that they have recently travelled there? Then do the same when a new VOC emerges in Bognor Regis, or Norwich, or Manchester?

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  132. The ten day quarantine is eminently sensible. If we had followed such a course at the beginning, WuFlu would never have reached these shores. (I believe I saw a report of 1300 separate inoculations of the virus in the UK in the initial stages.)

    It’s quite obvious that people told to self-isolate off the plane just can’t be bothered in some cases. So this scheme takes that option off the table.

    Re: the ten years in jail, I would bet the farm if I had a farm that no-one will ever suffer this penalty for offering fake flight passes in passport control. In a month (he said optimistically) this will all be in the rear-view mirror, with prevalence here very low and immunity levels high across the board. That said, the 10 year sentence is absurdly high. Nonsensical.

    I also like Sumption, but in this case he’s gone too far.

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  133. JIT,

    “The ten day quarantine is eminently sensible. If we had followed such a course at the beginning, WuFlu would never have reached these shores.”

    You’ve got your tenses mixed up. In January 2019, it MIGHT have been a sensible option to close the borders completely, or impose harsh quarantines on travelers from high risk areas, but they would have had to have remained closed until now. Then we might possibly have avoided being infected by SARS-CoV-2, we could have vaccinated the entire population by autumn, re-opened the border and Bob’s yer uncle – Covid free! No deaths. Yippee, we escaped. Just the small matter of having completely killed the international tourist industry in the UK, but no matter.

    Closing the borders NOW, when Covid is here, and it’s there and it’s everywhere, is just plain STUPID. But, but . . . . . the ‘variants’. As I explained above, plain stupid, NOT ’eminently sensible’. Hancock has completely lost touch with reality, as Sumption rightly points out. Britain is an international travel hub, NOT an island in the middle of the South Pacific with more sheep than people! We are at the very heart of the joined up global community – US and Far East to the west, Europe and central Asia to the east, Africa to the south. To think that we can simply close our borders to the world now to stop the ‘variants’ buggering up the vaccine is just barking mad.

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  134. Jaime. Thank you for at last answering my questions. You would have done nothing. I don’t agree, but see little point in trying to convince you otherwise.

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  135. There would be a point in trying to convince me otherwise Alan. I am not immune to reasoned argument.

    I just do not believe I have been presented with one.

    Anyway, whatever, I’ve commented on the climate change post which you specifically requested I put up on Cliscep, so hopefully we can at least agree there.

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  136. Blimey, that didn’t take long. That’s it, Easter cancelled, summer hols cancelled . . . . . cos the Bristol variant.

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  137. This is what ‘let it rip’ is about. Charles Walker does it admirably when questioned by a totally cucked reporter at World at One. He even uses the swear word ‘bloody’ on several occasions which, as we know here at Cliscep, is quite beyond the pale. Bottom line: this government is conducting an “extended exercise in almost studied and deliberate cruelty for a nation that is now increasingly anxious and under pressure”. The goalposts have not so much been moved but “ripped out and carried off to another playing field.” The vaccines, which the government is singularly DETERMINED to ensure that we have, are NOT going to end this nightmare anyway, because there will always be an ‘unknown variant’ lurking in a dark corner of the British Isles, ready to render them completely useless, so we’ll have to stay locked down forever.

    If this fascist government, having created a lockdown police state where we have no real freedom to do anything at all, which refuses to offer any real hope of any way out of that nightmare, which continues to assault us with corrosive propaganda, alarmist messaging and threats of extreme punishment for not ‘following the rules’, does NOT intend to do us great harm, then Satan himself is a playful fluffy kitten who just happens to have sharp little teeth and claws. The government is killing us – literally and metaphorically – and ministers are getting off on it. But DON’T mention the bloody Nazis.

    https://lockdownsceptics.org/existing-isnt-living-charles-walker-mp-on-radio-4s-world-at-one/

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  138. ALAN KENDALL
    Your sensible questions referred to the importation of new variants from South Africa and Brazil, I think. It should be possible, surely, to bring those flying in from these countries via a separate corridor in Heathrow, park them somewhere while their tested, and impose restrictions, like compulsory registration of their addresses or whatever. It’s not for me to conjure up the detailed plans, but just to point out that such detailed, targeted plans should be within the abilities of a civilised country.

    It’s also possible that all such detailed plans are a waste of time, because by the time you’ve discovered a variant you’ve already got it, in which case there’s nothing to be done except provide more vaccinations and hospital beds.
    We have specialised epidemiologists who should be able to tell us which of these two policies – micromanaging particular incidents or dealing passively with the crisis as it unfolds – is the better, shouldn’t they? No. Because in their models there’s no difference between the globetrotting businessman and my mum who hasn’t been out of the house for a year.

    So if we can’t form two queues at Heathrow, and we can’t get the hospitals back to the level of efficiency they had in the fifties, let’s threaten people with prison. There’s plenty of empty cells to spare, I expect.

    I do appreciate your sensible criticisms, though I wholly reject your suggestion that critics should be obliged to provide solutions to the problems they raise. That’s the government’s job, and when they can’t do it for a whole year, we’re justified in standing on the sidelines and shouting rude words. We’re not asking them to land a space ship on Mars, for goodness sake. We just object to the UK being transformed into one giant re-education camp.

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  139. Geoff. I wholeheartedly disagree with you on two points:
    1,” detailed, targeted plans should be within the abilities of a civilised country.”. But no one can cater for the selfish idiots that are instrumental in breaking lockdowns – the close packed hoards of beach and sun worshippers on British Beaches last summer, the psychopath in my home town that had Covid symptoms who deliberately attended parties in two pubs, so infecting more than 35 people, the Scottish health official that broke the lockdown to visit her second home, the MP with a Covid diagnosis that travelled to Scotland by train. If there were no enforced quarantine or penalty for non-compliance, can you really trust people entering this country to self isolate and be honest about their foreign travel, especially if it is in their interest not to? Is it fair to those that obey instructions meant to prevent even greater Covid horrors to allow the selfish amongst us free rein?

    2, “ I wholly reject your suggestion that critics should be obliged to provide solutions to the problems they raise.” I totally disagree, especially when you oppose actions taken by a democratically elected government. Disagree yes, but to repeatedly and vehemently oppose without suggesting viable alternative solutions is just “pi$$ing in the wind”. That’s why I think Labour has been near totally useless, it criticises but has little to offer in the way of alternatives. It’s why I despise Jaime with her constant opposition to what the Johnson Government has done and is doing. Now we have learnt that she would have done nothing, letting the virus infest the country in an attempt to get herd immunity, and hang those that suffer. She has lost any respect I had for her. It even brings into question the hard science posts she used to write. Are these now suspect, because if she can be so selective about what evidence she will select to push her viewpoint about Covid, did she do this for other topics?

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  140. Wow, I’ve been nothing but polite to Alan, I’ve attempted to address, in detail, calmly and concisely, the points he raised, but because he disagrees with me on Covid policy and because he disagrees that I have a right to be highly critical of the government, this is the response I get. This is a microcosm of our society today. If you don’t buy into lockdowns, if you don’t agree that they’re saving lives, if you think they’re doing far more harm than good, then you are to be despised and shunned, treated little better than shit on a shoe. I’m through trying now and, as Alan even disregards my climate change scepticism because of his fanatical dislike of me, I’m pulling that on Cliscep too now. The Nazis in government must be so happy with what they’ve done to this country and its people, driving a wedge between friends and family, turning people against one another, making them despise one another even.

    “It’s why I despise Jaime with her constant opposition to what the Johnson Government has done and is doing. Now we have learnt that she would have done nothing, letting the virus infest the country in an attempt to get herd immunity, and hang those that suffer. She has lost any respect I had for her. It even brings into question the hard science posts she used to write. Are these now suspect, because if she can be so selective about what evidence she will select to push her viewpoint about Covid, did she do this for other topics?”

    Liked by 1 person

  141. Jaime. I am allowed to have an opinion, and I thought that Cliscep actively encouraged discussion. Since Spring you have known my views about Covid and attempts to corral it. Yes you have been careful to be non-argumentative with me over the last few days, but hardly forthcoming – arguing that you had answered my questions, when clearly you hadn’t. I was also careful to thank you when you finally gave answers. It would appear that you haven’t changed since Spring when we fell out big time – you essentially believing that COVID-19 is little different from seasonal flu and therefore no special measures need be taken, whereas I have thought the exact opposite. Over the intervening months I have watched you becoming more convinced and strident believing the Johnson Government must have evil motives for what they are doing. During this time you have provided evidence to support your views, but what I have noticed is that you ignore information hostile to your views or dismiss it out of hand. This is your right, but it hardly suggests a balanced approach to an exceedingly complex issue.

    Recently I have begun to worry that Cliscep’s willingness to discuss and debate issues such as COVID-19, Trump, gender rights and so on, with only tenuous links to climate, is putting off some, like original founder members, former regular commentators and potential commentators just visiting. Perhaps they read contributions that are biased (either by you or me) and conclude this site is not for them. I recently had reason to look at discussions here several years ago. There is a host of contributors who have disappeared. Why have they gone? Some, like tiny CO2 are still active elsewhere.

    I am sorry you are upset. You are wrong if you believe I fanatically dislike you (rather the opposite) although I do dislike your views on COVID-19. I will not be continuing with this topic.

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  142. Alan, your personal attack on me was vile and unwarranted. Because you disagree so vehemently with my views on ths government and its response to Covid-19, and rather than engaging with the points of fact and science which I presented to you, you chose (once again) to play me rather than the ball. But then you went on to denigrate all the hard work I have put into this site over the years and that really hurts. I’ve no more to say now.

    Liked by 1 person

  143. I can’t take part in this debate because every time I post my browser blocks (I think it’s the length of the thread) Just as well, perhaps.
    Simon Jenkins had a reasonable article in the Guardian pointing out that the ten years prison warning wasn’t enshrined in a new law, but simply Hancock’s eccentric interpretation of existing law on forgery. Opinions on whether Matt is Hitler incarnate or an incompetent shyster or just another Tory minister trying to give a helping hand to some friends in need depend on details like that. We’re not claiming to write the definitive history of the 21st century on this blog.
    Alan Kendall no doubt spoke for many when he said:

    “Recently I have begun to worry that Cliscep’s willingness to discuss and debate issues such as COVID-19, Trump, gender rights and so on, with only tenuous links to climate, is putting off some, like original founder members, former regular commentators and potential commentators just visiting. Perhaps they read contributions that are biased (either by you or me) and conclude this site is not for them. I recently had reason to look at discussions here several years ago. There is a host of contributors who have disappeared. Why have they gone? Some, like tiny CO2 are still active elsewhere.
    [to Jaime] I am sorry you are upset. You are wrong if you believe I fanatically dislike you (rather the opposite) although I do dislike your views on COVID-19. I will not be continuing with this topic.”

    Cliscep’s policy of giving contributors complete freedom of expression means that we’re often going to go off topic. (Though I’d point out that Mike Dombroski’s two recent interesting and on-topic articles have generated less interest than these old off-topic ones – a pity in my opinion.)

    A few years ago climate hysteria was a question of scientific speculation exaggerated by biassed activists, repeated by incompetent journalists, and believed by ignorant politicians. Now those same journalists and politicians believe that Trump plotted to murder Congressmen and Putin puts weapons of mass destruction in his opponents’ underpants. In these new circumstances, itr’s difficult to determine what’s not relevant.

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  144. Geoff,
    The topics of Trump plotting to murder Congressmen (an exaggeration?) and Putin(‘s henchmen) putting weapons of mass destruction in his opponents’ underpants are NOT topics IMHO that ought to be discussed within Cliscep unless a clear link to climate change can be established (Good luck with that). I don’t wish Cliscep to go down the path of Bishop Hill which, but for the efforts of Mark Hodgson keeping climate and energy matters to the fore every single day, would cease up. I suspect people like him are being put off contributing more here by being branded fascists or Nazis. Just a thought.

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  145. BARRY
    If Ben doesn’t come here and write about his GWPF report I certainly will.
    ALAN KENDALL
    People like Mark and yourself stand zero chance of being branded as Nazis or fascists. People like us are regularly branded as flat earthers,Trumpists, believers in QAnon conspiracy theories etc. When you’ve spent a decade or so trying to persuade journalists and academics to treat climate with the same rational approach that they bring to other important subjects, and you find that they are Russian underpants theorists, you realise you’ve been wasting your time.

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  146. Et tu Beth?

    I thought Australia was even more stringent regarding incoming foreign travellers and has been for some considerable time. Do you not approve? The alternative is to do nothing.

    “Despise” was too strong and I regret using it.

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  147. putting the link in for the report pdf, just seem to leave a massive white space in the comment?

    [I can see the cover of the report: Geoff]

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  148. Beth. I thought entry into Australia from abroad was even more stringent than what is being proposed by the Johnson Government, yet you seem to be siding with Jaime, so seeming to support a position that nothing needs to be, nor should be, done. Do you disagree with your Government’s position?

    BTW I regret using the word despise, it was too strong. But I do hate/abhor/ (choose whatever synonym you wish) for Jamie’s approach, that I perceive to be one sided concerning these horrendously difficult problems of how to counter the spread of the virus.

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  149. Alan – until we we recognise we really can’t stop the spread of a virus, that is now endemic.. we will not solve the problems of how to live with an endemic virus.. precautions, yes, shielding yes, treatments yes.. spend MORE money doing all these and other things– yes.. but lockdowns have failed, they are now causing far, far more harm than good.(and I’m NOT talking economically) And yes, I have had family members die, with the virus – and one funeral where there were five of us, and another by zoom) This will be my last comment on anything covid related.

    Liked by 1 person

  150. Barry. I appreciate your reasoned comment.

    With regard to COVID-19 Mark 1, I can only agree, but with respect to variants originating in other countries, perhaps with capabilities that are worrying, stringent controls upon foreign entry could prevent those variants from gaining a foothold. Seemingly quite a few Pacific countries have successfully pursued this policy.

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  151. O/T – not sure what to say as a lurker/sometime comment poster –

    beththeserf says it for me at 12 Feb 21 at 11:06 am

    Alan Kendall says: 12 Feb 21 at 1:31 pm – “Despise” was too strong and I regret using it.”

    I would just say I read most posts on this blog (since BH stopped posting) because they cover climate & other interesting current topics & comments from different angles make me think/look into other sources.

    seems sad that some of the best & to my mind useful contributers are leaving the blog, hope they rethink.

    Liked by 1 person

  152. I’ve observed the recent developments on this thread with sadness, and have been contemplating for a while whether to contribute, and if so, what to say. I’ve finally decided to offer some thoughts. As is the case with DFHunter, I find I’m increasingly a lurker, rather than a contributor, but I think all of us, whether lurkers or commenters, are to some extent stakeholders. As a “stakeholder” I’d like to offer some thoughts, which I hope might be of interest to those who are the owners of this site.

    1. There’s no reason why all sorts of topics shouldn’t be covered, but the title of the website is “climate scepticism”, and it is climate scepticism that unites most of the disparate readership (sadly there’s not much in the way of contribution from climate alarmists, save for occasional forays from aTTP, and I think that’s a pity). Therefore, I think that it makes sense to concentrate on climate issues.

    2. To the extent that articles invite discussion on non-climate topics, there’s always a danger that they’ll generate serious disagreement, since happily we stakeholders hold a variety of political and other views. I think it’s therefore imperative that emotion should be kept to a minimum, whether in terms of the formulation of views or the manner in which they are expressed.

    3. We are at our best when we treat each other with respect, even if individual comments cause irritation or even anger. Can we please strive to remain polite.

    4. Rational debate is imperative, especially if there’s to be any chance of influencing any disinterested visitors. If the language used is intemperate, and/or if we appear to be behaving like ferrets in a sack, then there’s precious little chance of interesting or influencing visitors, and a danger of losing existing stakeholders.

    That’s it really. If anything in the above causes annoyance, I apologise. If it’s deemed inappropriate, please feel free to ignore it. But it’s how I feel, and I’m concerned that cliscep is in danger of imploding.

    Liked by 2 people

  153. Well, if anyone’s interested, climate catastrophism scepticism meets lockdown and mass vaccination scepticism via Mike Hulme, former UEA climate scientist, on my own blog. I maintain my insistence that Covid scepticism and climate scepticism are not a thousand miles apart – but I will not do it here for obvious reasons.

    https://climatecontrarian.wordpress.com/2021/02/13/mike-hulme-climate-emergency-and-extinction-denier-is-also-a-lockdown-and-mass-covid-vaccination-sceptic/

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