Malicious Intent on Climate and Covid

[Follow on from the discussion at Climate, Covid, Brexit, Peace Prize and Bikeshedding and Baloney – Trump Edition]

What JAIME said (31 Oct 2020 2.56 pm):

There is no direct evidence of ‘malicious intent’ in this government’s or any other government’s actions. If such existed, they’re hardly likely to leave it lying around are they? What there is is evidence of motive to lock down major economies, forcing a very convenient global ‘reset’ post Covid. What there is is abundant evidence of malign and coordinated activity on the part of governments – the deliberate creation of alarm by wholly immoral behaviour modification techniques, the massaging of statistics to create a false sense of alarm, direct lies from government officials, relentless, tiresome and ultimately corrosive propaganda and advertising, evidence of planning for lockdowns weeks before they happened, deliberate censorship of opposing views, culpable ignorance of opposing views in order to perpetuate the preferred narrative and policy and, lastly but not leastly, a knowledge that the preferred policy is killing and will kill many thousands of people regardless of its supposed effectiveness in saving lives, yet a dogged pursuance of that policy even in the face of this evidence and proposed sensible alternatives. It cannot be argued that ministers are unaware of the huge potential and actual harms that their policies inflict upon the nation and its economy, yet they persist in doing what they do, refusing to listen to reasoned argument as to why they should desist. That is definitely malign. I look at what’s happening and I see the immense human suffering caused by governments and I consider it is ‘evil’. I have suggested motive which might explain the intent.

[I’d like to quote JOHN RIDGWAY’s reply (31 Oct 2020 5.32 pm) but the length of the thread and the number of embedded tweets etc is more than my Mac can handle. It copied and pasted the above and then gave up.]

Disagreement about malicious intent, hyperbole, and the wisdom of Nazi analogies seems secondary in importance to the questions raised about the basis of government policy. (My own feeling about the Nazi analogy is that it’s unfair to the Germans, only 30% of whom were persuaded by that particular brand of nonsense, whereas approval for government policies on Covid is nearer 70%. Techniques of mass persuasion have come a long way since the thirties. A Twitter ban is so much more efficient than a book burning, and less messy.)

The bit I’ve bolded in Jaime’s comment above can be applied directly to climate and energy policy. Furthermore, there is absolutely no doubt that scientists and their allies in the media have been lying knowingly for a decade or more. Anyone who says “e-mails were taken out of context” or “five independent enquiries showed that the scientists did nothing wrong” is lying deliberately with the sole aim of suppressing debate. And it’s been hugely successful. 

It’s early yet in the Covid saga to know whether our rulers are mad or bad or a bit of both. The question hinges very largely on how much they know, how much they should know, or could know if they wanted to, and what are the pressures on them to admit or ignore what they know. We know quite a lot about what’s going on in science and in the media, because in both cases the livelihoods of its practitioners depends on them publishing their results. We know less about what’s going on behind the scenes in Whitehall and at Number Ten. Does it matter much?


  1. I’ve copied and pasted a comment I made most recently on the CCBPP thread because I think it’s relevant here:

    “Models. Crap models. AGAIN! How can any reasonably intelligent person fall for this ruse a SECOND time? The answer is, they can’t. Goebbels Gove and Boris the Red know exactly what they are doing and it’s got nothing to do with controlling a virus, everything to do with controlling people. Dressing fascism up as ‘science’ seems to be their thing, but that science is so bad, it’s laughable. However, they seem to think the public will swallow it and sadly, they may be right.

    Ignoring the (allegedly) hyperbolic terms of reference to Gove and Johnson and government policy, which appears to have become a bit of a distraction of late and is of secondary importance, as Geoff rightly points out, what does this tell us about the government, that they are so willing once again, to suspend rational judgement, to embrace extremely dubious ‘scientific’ modelling in favour of the imposition of a second, open-ended, extremely punitive and destructive lockdown?


  2. Geoff: “The bit I’ve bolded in Jaime’s comment above can be applied directly to climate and energy policy. Furthermore, there is absolutely no doubt that scientists and their allies in the media have been lying knowingly for a decade or more.”

    I beg to differ. There are bad apples in every barrel, and the climate-change barrel is huge, so there’ll be quite a few. But in percentage terms the great majority are not lying, they are *believing*. This is far more powerful than lying, and can drive millions, indeed hundreds of millions, or per the major religions more than a billion, into striving passionately and coherently and *honestly* towards a cause that is utter b*ll*x, and indeed based completely on (emotive) falsehoods. These beliefs are so strong they literally bypass rationality and cause people to read wrongly what should be black and white in front of them (as I think it was Brendan O’Neil who put it, ‘everyone helps everyone else to be blind’). That such can occur is also well established, just not in the climate-change domain because, well, almost all the people who would confirm this, are believers! If lying was our only problem, the whole catastrophic climate change thing would have collapsed ages ago.

    “Anyone who says “e-mails were taken out of context” or “five independent enquiries showed that the scientists did nothing wrong” is lying deliberately with the sole aim of suppressing debate. And it’s been hugely successful.”

    It’s been so successful largely because it *isn’t* lying. Stand-alone lying is far, far weaker. Belief can infect whole heirarchies, elites, and a mass of grass-roots support that gives them some legitimacy, indeed it can even be a majority in some cases. The bad apples / actors per above, who *are* lying, also come in two brands. One brand are ‘noble cause’ liars; who knowingly lie for the cause (for instance in this case to cover up inconvenient issues that may damage the cause) because they think this is for ‘the greater good’. So their lying isn’t caused by the fact that they don’t believe the cultural b*ll*x, but by the fact that they believe it even more passionately than for ordinary adherents, to the extent that they sacrifice behaviour to provide support. [So the lying is not in contradiction to the cultural cause, but in service to it, notwithstanding which it *is* conscious lying]. The most extreme such cases may however wield sizeable influence. The other brand are the free-riders of various sorts, who *don’t* believe the cultural b*ll*x, but simply see an opportunity to make a killing out of it (as status or money or whatever). However, even in this latter category, it’s a hell of a lot easier to fall into the belief of something that is going to directly benefit one too.

    One of the main aims of culture is to supress any debate that questions its narratives, as in turn this would threaten the group / membership, and the entire ‘purpose’ of cultures is to keep the membership going. All the narratives are just the form that happened to emerge for said group, the actual information content is not relevant, only its emotive impact. Demonization is just one of the tools used to suppress debate. Why would ‘proper / moral’ people want to debate with evil / bonkers folks whose motivation is worse than Nazis, i.e. not just burning Jews but *intentionally* burning the whole planet, and for what? Evil profit motive, or just evil! That is how many of the most passionate supporters *genuinely* feel about climate skeptics. They are not lying. How would you feel about debating a Holocaust denier? Or even if they happen across an inconvenient truth, giving them space you know they’ll use inappropriately for leverage to their deeply flawed cause? This is how very many grass-roots (and scientific) supporters feel about climate ‘deniers’, and in the passionate ones it’s worse. Such is the danger of assigning extreme moral attitudes to a perceived ‘other side’.

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  3. Andy West at 2.03pm, I would like your comment if my pc would let me! Anyway, I agree pretty much with every word. I think the quote I set out below, collected again today from the Lockdown Sceptics website, is another apposite comment on both Covid and climate change, and the quasi-religious nature of the fervent believers. Apologies if it’s regarded as off topic:

    “Honest open debate, indeed the fierce collision of differing opinions, is a wonderful thing. If the lockdown lobby were interested in developing the greatest possible sophisticated understanding, they would cherish the contribution of the sceptics. They would glory in the contradictions of their own arguments being pointed out to them. Following Hegelian dialectics, thesis would create antithesis would create synthesis. But, sadly, sophistication is not high on their agenda. A crushing uniformity of message seems to be more up their street. So to hell with Hegel (and Plato too); the arguments must be structured, not as an eternally progressing dialectic of knowledge, but rather as a flat, stale, unprofitable split between orthodoxy and heterodoxy. Rather than being painstakingly ground out in a crucible of trial and error, a corpus of infallible knowledge that we have come to know as “The Science” has simply been revealed. As many sceptics have noticed, the sole custodians of this knowledge, the keepers of the arcana, are the members of the scientific priesthood. They zealously claim all rights of interpretation, mediation and exegesis. Wielding their esoteric degrees as armour no factual nuance can penetrate, they have no trouble shouting down the citizen-scientists. Ah but those fellow priests, sometime quite high priests, who spout heterodox opinion are a thornier proposition. But the sacerdotal rite of peer review comes to their rescue, so that even the most bumptious of novices can denounce the most learned and venerable. With the help of giant online corporations richer and more influential than the Knights Templar, any inconvenient book, article, blog and petition is placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Contrarians are no-platformed, but not before that platform (or scaffold) has witnessed the last of the heretics’ ashes blown away on the wind. Before long these orthodox priest-scientists will have changed, through their dogmatism and intolerance, the very nature of medical science. In the rise of the public health professor, at the expense of the traditional clinician, we are seeing the emerging dominance of a new Augustinianism. For just as Augustine of Hippo hardwired the concept of original sin into the burgeoning cult of Christianity, so the goons of public health have got everyone thinking in terms of mass infection rates, reproduction numbers, and cases. Those who resist, those who retain an attachment to individualised clinical need, are attacked and dismissed as adherents of a twenty-first century Pelagian heresy. As Christopher Hitchens was fond of saying, quoting Fulke Greville, we are all of us now “objects in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick and commanded to be well”.”

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  4. Let’s face it, we are experiencing climate change, usually warming. The best evidence for this for me is the slow poleward and upward documented march of species habitats. That said, the cause of this change is debatable and the CO2 control knob seems to me both unproven and highly unlikely to be overly consequential. Evidence is taken out of context and opponents to one’s point of view are commonly branded in extreme cases as fascists. Anyone expressing climate scepticism, without careful preparation is likely to be so branded.

    As you might imagine lecturing upon climate without following the party line was likely to be somewhat perilous in the pre-Climategate days in UEA. Post Climategate was even more fraught.

    When I came to the topic of the environmental consequences of using fossil fuels in my UEA lectures I would open up a flip-chart and ask students (up to 80 of them some years) to provide reasons to believe in CAGW. Dozens of suggestions were forthcoming, all of which I dutifully added to a growing list on the right side of the chart. The left side remained stubbornly empty until somebody volunteered that CO2 was a greenhouse gas. Only in some years did students provide additional items that I could add to this lone component – like the rise in atmospheric CO2 matching some estimates of CO2 released from fossil fuel use, or possible feedbacks from increased atmospheric CO2. I then explained that the long list on the right hand side of the chart could be evidence of climate change, but not of CAGW. Only the paltry list on the left MIGHT be evidence of that. This caused huge discussion between different student factions and emphasised the different types of evidence used to support climate change as well as my particular stance on the subject. Although I was prepared to deal with topics like scientific consensus and climate models (I had an extra flip chart ready and waiting) I never had to, because the students never offered them as evidence. I only once encountered student hostility in my classes and this was immediately drowned by other voices wanting to hear more.

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    … the climate-change barrel is huge.. But in percentage terms the great majority are not lying, they are *believing*.

    You know I have no quarrel with your analysis in terms of culture. Possibly the believers are in the majority, but I was thinking of the influential sources, the conduits between “the science” and “informed opinion,” i.e. the environment correspondents in the serious press and the academics clustered round “the Conversation” and similar outlets. And I chose the example of Climategate because it’s so obvious that no honest person who had spent five minutes looking at the evidence could dismiss it as of no consequence.

    We know George Monbiot spent more than five minutes looking at the evidence because his first reaction was to call for Professor Jones to resign. Then he retracted, and joined all his colleagues in claiming the affair was closed. In your terms he is a noble cause liar, of course. We also know that there were people who didn’t look at the evidence, for example Bob Watson, ex-head of the IPCC, currently head of the UN Biodiversity thing, because he told us so. So yes, there are believers and liars, with the liars like Monbiot leading the ignorant believers like Sir Bob – ex chief scientist at NASA, ex chief scientific adviser to the World Bank, ex chief scientific adviser to the government. Thickies like Sir Bob are of no importance, since they simply follow what the liars tell them.

    When you refer to

    …the danger of assigning extreme moral attitudes to a perceived ‘other side’

    I imagine this is aimed at Jaime and her use of words like “Nazi.” (She also referred to “red Johnson” I think.) I defend her right to her outbursts because she accompanies them with fine analyses. One day we may even exercise our right to discuss conspiracy theories here 😉

    On discussing with a Holocaust denier – you may know we are involved in a wave of mass hysteria here in France which is every bit as fraught and irrational as anything around Covid. And would you believe it? I’m on the wrong side of the argument again.

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    What a shame you didn’t put your lecture on Youtube. You might have been the new Jordan Peterson, before Jordan Peterson.

    I wanted to comment about something you said on another thread about regretting we didn’t stick to climate, like WattsUpWithThat. In fact WUWT does climate and proper science, and sometimes climate and small-government-low-taxes conservatism. Just as Paul Homewood does climate and the economics of energy policy, and Steve McIntyre does climate science, Russian hacking of the DNC, and responsibility for use of poison gas in Syria. It’s an untidy world, and we reflect that.


  7. Geoff: “And I chose the example of Climategate because it’s so obvious that no honest person who had spent five minutes looking at the evidence could dismiss it as of no consequence.”

    Yes there are a range of cases, mitigating factors etc. But the whole point is that (the great majority of) believers *cannot see* the evidence. As Brendan O’Neill put it so well: “they all make each other blind”.

    “I defend her right…”

    And I have specifically done exactly so. And also defend your right to discuss any conspiracy theory you choose, too (plus historically some conspiracy theories have turned out to be right, of course). But this doesn’t mean I agree with material, will not critique same, and indeed specifically feel that some, albeit inadvertently, is essentially giving a helping hand to that which is the real ‘enemy’ in the climate domain and elsewhere, i.e. the culture.


  8. Geoff. I don’t believe I wrote that I regret this site not sticking to climate. I certainly never meant to imply this and haven’t followed this advice myself. What I regret is the near absence of topics that do deal with climate itself. When Jaime was not so distracted, we had a regular supply of hard sciences and an appreciative audience. WUWT manages to enclose those sort of topics every day whereas we have been silent for some time. But I am only a commentator here.

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  9. Alan,

    “When Jaime was not so distracted, we had a regular supply of hard sciences and an appreciative audience.”

    Thanks for that. I am distracted, in fact now driven to distraction by all this horror going on around us, watching our society and economy crash and burn because of the absurd actions of governments around the world. It fills my head every day and haunts my dreams by night and I feel that if I do not find some way of retreating from this madness, it will engulf me. I wish so much that I could find peace and return to writing about the simple things in life – climate and weather – but our readers are not at peace either and they are rightly disturbed too by world events, so even if I was to go back to writing about hard science, I’m not sure it would now generate the interest it once garnered. Investigating the legitimacy of climate change science is not high on folk’s list of priorities right now.


  10. Andy,

    ” … the climate-change barrel is huge.. But in percentage terms the great majority are not lying, they are *believing*.”

    To which Geoff answered:

    “You know I have no quarrel with your analysis in terms of culture. Possibly the believers are in the majority, but I was thinking of the influential sources, the conduits between “the science” and “informed opinion,” i.e. the environment correspondents in the serious press and the academics clustered round “the Conversation” and similar outlets.”

    We’ve argued about this before, you and I, about malicious intent (lying) in the climate change culture vs. blind belief. Your argument is weighted firmly in favour of belief; I tend to believe that deliberate deception plays a more significant role than you give it credit for. The CCC are very influential in advising this government on climate change policy. Quite apart from the fact that Gummer accepted bungs from renewables industries without declaring them, it is now plainly obvious that the CCC lied about the costing of net zero. Andrew Montford goes so far as to accuse them of being institutional liars. This matters. A lot.

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  11. Agreed, Jaime. The other thing is that

    They are institutional liars.

    is a whole lot shorter, and thus punchier, than paragraphs of cultural analysis.

    And it’s demonstrably true.

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  12. On Covid there are myriads of examples every day but here’s a Guido guy praising Tony Blair:

    Now, Tom may well be drastically wrong in saying “Get it out now” but I’d also be sure he isn’t lying. There’s much more genuine uncertainty. A reason the scale of the rhetoric we use matters.


  13. Jaime. So noted, but I don’t think there’s anything new here. Am familiar with the CCC situation. And I wouldn’t trust Gummer as far as I could throw him, think he’s a bad’un. But the point is that none of these things would fly (especially at this huge scale and long timescale), if there *wasn’t* overwhelming cultural belief suppressing all challenge and enhancing all support. Imagine a different committee attempting to put past parliament a proposal of similar impact / technical implications / (stupendous!) costs, regarding some other issue that *didn’t* have overwhelming cultural support (or other emotive support, like the raw fear / panic re covid). It wouldn’t stand an earthly. In fact it would get nowhere near parliament, because objectivity would shoot it down a hundredfold before it could ever receive such a chance, regarding cost-benefit and technical matters and whatever else the particular issue raised. If by some miracle it did make it into parliament, it would be laughed out of the house. But Near Net-Zero was certainly not laughed out of the house, nor even questioned re cost-benefit, or even costs alone! It was simply patted on the back, *because everyone culturally believed the planet would fry if we didn’t do this*. That belief is sufficient to short-circuit their rationality to even ask a sensible question. Or at least for some, they didn’t speak out even if they felt uncomfortable or that (for a subset, subconsciously, for others, explicitly) this level of solution was OTT, albeit they still believed in the general principle (of major global damage due to climate-change). These ones didn’t speak out because of cultural pressure, which makes it *immoral* to speak against the climate doom / salvation narratives.

    The culture enabled the whole chain of action (which sucks in some bad actors), and similar chains all over the world. It’s not the other way around, a few bad actors cannot cause this, and leaders, orgs, authorities, influencers, national and international institutions and governments of many flavours are folding left right and centre to the cultural diktat, which the great majority of all therein *honestly* believe in. None of this means we shouldn’t skewer the Gummers of this world, if possible, for their part in the play. Many such actions aggregated (if successful, of course), help damage the beast. But it is only by knowing the nature of the beast that we also know it will simply sacrifice a pawn and work around this (if indeed its powerful measures to protect the pawn fail). You are not facing a few liars or the Gummers of this world, you are facing the fact that the whole of parliament believed, *blindly* sanctioned, and so do practically all authorities world-wide, Trump excepted.


  14. Don’t know what other people think, but this seems fairly malicious to me: deciding on the basis of these graphs to wreck the economy, squash human rights, put hundreds of thousands out of work, destroy society and kill thousands of non Covid patients, then refusing to reveal the sources of the graphs to a national newspaper. Wow.


  15. @ Jaime a few observations and questions about that graph.

    i) A version was published before the briefing: I saw it on the BBC’s website. The lines were labelled, but there were no confidence intervals.
    ii) Is this the exact figure shown in the briefing? I watched it live, but can’t remember the exact version.
    Assuming it is the figure that was shown,
    iii) The first wave peak looks to be about 800: the peak in England was 975. (Or is this daily transmogrified into weekly, i.e. daily deaths averaged over the peak week?)
    iv) The graph is dated 9 October. Most of the curves are already clearly too high when looking at the present death rate. Also there must be a more recent update. (I saw a headline on the front page of the Telegraph complaining that the latest data, which is not so frightening, should have been shown at the briefing but wasn’t.)

    I still won’t call gov’t actions malicious. Locking down is the path of least resistance: look at the “opposition”, whose policy is not opposite Boris’s, but is a demand for more, why wasn’t it done before, &c.


  16. JIT, yes, I’ve seen the BBC version where they label the graphs. What we need is to see the studies which generated these ‘worst case planning scenarios’; they should be published along with all their assumptions so that other experts can examine them. Not making such information available but using it for the purpose of destroying lives is malign.

    Starmer is not the ‘opposition’; he’s just the bad cop in place to make it look like Johnson ‘good cop’ is being reasonable. The UK has been a one party state for quite a while now. The to and fro ‘debate’ in Parliament is a charade – all MPs want the same thing.

    On those graphs, here is what Snowdon has to say:


  17. Jaime, “The UK has been a one party state for quite a while now.”

    Only one year ago, the two biggest parties could hardly be further apart. And a true one-party state does not appear in anything like that timescale, unless by military coup. Correlation (that both parties are pulling in a similar direction on this particular issue, albeit Labour wants more), does not necessarily mean causation (that this is because they are now ‘one’ entity). I.e. they have a (hidden) deal sufficiently strong to call them out as a single party. Far more likely, both are both simply reacting to the same public fears and ‘line of least resistance’, which JIT notes above. This does not mean I approve of the official opposition’s current stance; they could gain enormously right now from holding the government’s feet to accountability on covid policy. But they’re just as afraid as nearly everyone else. And in trying to place some distance between himself and Boris in order to gain recognition / gravitas plus raise challenge, I think Keir jumped the wrong way. So on this issue the current result may be similar, but overall a one party state would be an entirely different kettle of fish.

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  18. I don’t buy that at all Andy. Any apparent difference has been merely illusory for a long time now. The British people are in for a very rude awakening. Perhaps after 6 months of lock down, with Labour constantly backing ever more punitive government measures, they will finally realise once and for all that their vote is worth nothing.


  19. Jaime. I didn’t say that the above lends value to anyone’s vote, indeed it devalues. But re causation… “I don’t buy that at all Andy”, I guess we’ll just have to live with some healthy disagreement 🙂


  20. Unsurprisingly not everyone is keen on taking advice from T Blair on what to do next on Covid. I was expecting many conspiracist tropes in the fightback, but not this ancient one:

    Malicious intent? Don’t accept newfangled alternatives. Get yours here!


  21. Johnson, Macron, Chilean president Sebastián Piñera, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte and the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, are all bullying Scott Morrison to commit to net zero 2050. Is it any coincidence that Chile, Italy, France and the UK have, and are, punitively locking down their populations? Malign intent to force through the Green agenda at any cost, including the lives of the innocent and vulnerable? Ben appears to think so. I am virtually certain now that lockdowns are being ruthlessly exploited both as a power grab and as a shockingly cruel means by which to force countries into a ‘build back better’ regime, where freedoms and democracy are both very limited. Whether it was planned or it’s merely opportunistic is now somewhat beside the point – it’s happening. The climate ‘crisis’ and the Covid ‘crisis’ are now fully intersectional. We’re being scammed and mercilessly bullied into giving up our happiness and our freedoms.

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  22. Modelling and malicious intent:

    “It wasn’t that difficult to spot that the slides used by the Government in its press conference on Saturday were out of date, and that the worst estimate – the 4,000 death “worst case scenario” – was not only incorrect (on November 1, just over 200 deaths occurred when the model was predicting 1,000) but also weeks out of date.

    At this point, we were puzzled. How could the Government’s approach to data at this vital time be so shoddy? Rather than thoughtful, analytical and cautious, the Government’s approach has been to frantically rush out worst-case scenarios irrespective of the need for accuracy.

    The Office for Statistics Regulation is also concerned – it has warned that the use of data has not consistently been supported by transparent information provided in a timely manner and, as a result, there is the potential to confuse the public.

    We are also concerned: the use of data is not just confusing, the errors are positively misleading.

    The former Prime Minister Theresa May said this week that “For many people, it looks as if the figures are chosen to support the policy rather than the policy being based on the figures.”

    The growing number of errors seem to occur in only one direction (the worst case scenario) which underpins the point.”

    You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to conclude that the government is deliberately using out of date worst case scenarios which are not supported by the data itself to justify destroying lives, liberty and the economy.

    So then we ask, was the PM, who is supposed to be in charge, pushed into this disastrous policy, and by whom?

    “But he wanted the weekend to mull it over – and wait for a bit more data to see if his local restrictions were working. This evidently worried those who thought he’d change his mind. News of his lockdown plan then leaked, along with photos of confidential documents held by only a handful of people. One graph pointing to a peak of 4,000 daily deaths ended up on Twitter – and such figures travel fast. So it ended up as a Halloween horror story making panic inevitable, forcing the Prime Minister’s hand and bouncing him into announcing a lockdown.

    Skullduggery is always part of politics. But the power struggles within the Prime Minister’s inner circle this time led to a shambolic, twice-delayed Saturday press conference and perhaps the world’s most-watched PowerPoint presentation. The most startling figure – of those 4,000 daily deaths – was shown. But the figures fell apart after further scrutiny. It was weeks out of date, already revised downwards twice – it should never have made it to No 10, let alone been shown to 15 million viewers. This newspaper today reveals how even a supposedly more reliable six-week projection for hospital use contained basic errors.”

    Who are “those who thought he would change his mind” and what is their malign motive for enforcing an uncosted, unjustified, catastrophic national lockdown? For indeed, they must have motive, and it must be malign.

    “The debacle raises serious questions over the quality of the data being used to make decisions in No 10 – and whether feuding has crushed impartiality. I understand that, even now, there is no internal assessment that balances the total damage of lockdown – to the economy, society and public health – against the lives it seeks to save. To plunge Britain into lockdown without making this basic assessment is extraordinary.”

    If Johnson was pushed, when will he start to push back?

    “Some of his allies say, now, that he no longer runs No 10 but is instead run by No 10. As he considers what might have been a needless political humiliation over lockdown, he might feel the same. But unlike coronavirus, it’s a problem very much within his power to solve.”

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  23. Like

  24. @ Jaime

    Interesting commentary. Malice? Incompetence? Noble cause corruption? Whatever way this is sliced, it looks bad for trust in gov’t. It will be interesting to see who else reports on it.

    Last night the U of Manchester tried to fence in its students at Fallowfield (apparently it was not a complete fence, but kept different blocks apart). It is hard to see how anyone on high in the university could not have predicted that this would appear to its victims and outsiders as anything other than malice. I note the VC has apologised, and the fencing (taken down in a near-riot), will be removed. I wonder whether the VC would like her house surrounded by construction fencing to prevent her from socialising with neighbours?

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  25. Also: re the absence of cost/benefit analysis. This is one of the most important things that would kill Net Zero stone dead. Its absence there speaks volumes about intent and trust in the public, as does its absence in lockdown planning.

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  26. Yeah, agree with Jit on both counts. Those are powerful excerpts from Boris’s main cheerleader newspaper Jaime. The delay in the news conference last Sunday is something that needs explanation. The use of dodgy data and the suppression of cost/benefit analysis, at least from the presentation, is all bad. But

    Not making such information available but using it for the purpose of destroying lives is malign.

    as you put it four days ago is ridiculous. You haven’t proved that purpose. If you had proved that purpose you’d have more justification for the ‘fascism’ label. Which you haven’t used this time around. For which I for one am grateful. Useful contribution.

    And then there’s Theresa May. I’m gonna have to come back to that!


  27. It’s tradeoffs for many with mixed motives (in the inner cabinet, just for starters) is another way to put it. We need the very best at the top. They’ll never be perfect even then.


  28. Any advance on malicious intent? Leaving cancer patients to die because they ‘can’t stop cancer developing’ but in fact can stop it from developing further, but *obviously* not when they’re tending to Covid patients seems pretty malicious to me.


  29. That was a really terrible comment from Stevens Jaime. It’s great that Claire Fox is in the House of Lords. Who do you give the credit to for that, by the way? Cummings? Boris? I’d rule out Hancock to be honest. But the terrible thing is, we don’t know. I still like Steve Baker. Does that make me a collaborator? Duncan Smith is something else again. Good man. But somebody also chose Fox to be a peer. That surely increases the chances that lockdown will only be four weeks. And that’s what we should be aiming for now.


  30. To restate my question:

    That was a really terrible comment from Stevens Jaime. It’s great that Claire Fox is in the House of Lords. Who do you give the credit to for that, by the way? Cummings? Boris? I’d rule out Hancock to be honest. But the terrible thing is, we don’t know. I still like Steve Baker. Does that make me a collaborator? Duncan Smith is something else again. Good man. But somebody also chose Fox to be a peer.

    Did you read this part, Jaime? Something good happened coming out of the government, at least in my view. How do we explain such things?

    I’m not trying to play games here. Whatever Yeadon thinks about the future (and I assume that he is wrong, like everyone else) we either work with the good or we give up. But where is that good? How do we explain the elevation of Claire Fox?


  31. If this cost-benefit analysis is correct, it means that 560,000 ‘average lives’ will be lost due to extended lockdown vs. 45,000 ‘average lives’ saved if the government’s highly implausible worst case scenario turns out to be correct. Whichever way you slice it, this means that the cost of lockdowns in terms of human life dwarfs the potential benefit (even assuming they work). Now, tell me if it is not vanishingly improbable that government ministers are not aware of these calculations, or similar – that’s probably the reason why they refuse to publish any cost-benefit analysis. Then tell me that the continued imposition of lockdown does not constitute democide. Argue that case, please. Personally, I think that it cannot be argued, therefore we are left wondering why the government would sacrifice so many valuable life years for so little comparable life years in return. There simply HAS to be another reason for these lockdowns and it cannot be benign.


  32. Richard, I’m not sure what you are trying to get from me. An acknowledgement that there are still a few good MPs left in the Tory Party? Well, 38 of them voted against Lockdown 2 so that suggests they’re not all bad, but how many genuinely opposed the measure? A handful I would suggest. They all knew that it would be passed anyway, so voting against might be genuine political conviction or it might be political manoeuvering. I don’t trust Baker; he’s way too slippery and far too inclined to flip-flop in my opinion. He tells us on the one hand that lockdown was introduced on a dodgy premise then urges that we all obey the rules anyway. I couldn’t ‘work’ with someone like that. Unless Tory MPs get off their backsides and oppose en masse an extension of this lockdown whatever is happening re. ‘cases’, then they cannot claim to be ‘good’ (see above).


  33. Another stunning article from Lord Sumption:

    “Yet ministers insist on treating the entire population as an undifferentiated mass. No justification has ever been advanced for this irrational and, to my mind, immoral, policy.

    The justification now advanced for the latest lockdown is substantially the same as for the first, namely to save the NHS from being overwhelmed. I regret to say that there is a serious question of trust here. After six months of relentless propaganda of this kind, I do not believe them.”

    What he is in effect saying is that the government has acted immorally and it has lied to get us into lockdown again. Coming from a former supreme court justice of such impeccable character and standing, that is damning indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Jaime, “What he is in effect saying is that the government has acted immorally and it has lied to get us into lockdown again”

    Notwithstanding his comment on the deliberate avoidance of scrutiny at the end, nowhere can I see in this article does he say, either ‘in effect’, or directly, that the government has lied. He says several times that they are behaving irrationally (or implies same via more rational policy options being available), plus along the way, he adds that they’re too reliant on exaggerated models and failing in their communication (which would be among various consequences of irrational behaviour). Well I couldn’t agree more; it is irrational group behaviour. And he also says that, in his opinion, this behaviour is immoral. No doubt many others would agree, even though more (on current polls) wouldn’t. But for sure something doesn’t have to be lies or deliberate bad intent to fail a (objective, i.e. as future history would see it) morality test.


  35. Andy, I’ll repeat:

    “The justification now advanced for the latest lockdown is substantially the same as for the first, namely to save the NHS from being overwhelmed. I regret to say that there is a serious question of trust here. After six months of relentless propaganda of this kind, I do not believe them.”

    That is Sumption saying in as polite a way as he possibly can that the government is lying about saving the NHS from being overwhelmed. You can’t really interpret it in any other way . . . . . but I’m sure you’ll try! 🙂

    But anyway, de Pfeffel is not pleased with the quality of lies which his generals put out to the public:


  36. He calls into question trust, morality, models, communication, and more. But he does not cite lies as causation. There is always room for interpretations. But he does explicitly cite irrational behaviour. You can’t beat a good Downfall video though.


  37. “In fabricating a legal pretext for enacting an illegal lockdown, Johnson breached constitutional precedents stretching back centuries to arrogate blunt coercive powers on a gigantic scale. These precedents cannot be easily repaired, but what is crucial for the moment is to prevent any further damage being done. As things stand, Britain is on the road to a totalitarian society.

    All this is, in some sense, by design. Too many bad decisions have been made, too many lies repeated, and too much unnecessary suffering encouraged to be explained by incompetence alone. Johnson is not stupid, but something much darker, brooding behind a beguiling veneer of sociopathic charm growing thinner by the day. To an extent probably not even fully realised by himself, the devastation he has enacted is intentional, and his hunger for destruction will keep expanding until he is removed from office.”

    This is deadly serious folks. It looks like we have a genuine psychopath in charge of the country – and Hancock keeps him good company as his general in command.


  38. Then again, who knows, it might just be a case of extreme hysteria and absolutely staggering incompetence. SA have eased the restrictions – the pooch can now be taken for a walk, etc. – after it was revealed that a pizza worker lied about his contacts. Seriously though, ‘experts’ and government officials will destroy the lives and livelihoods of 2 million people at the drop of a hat if they think the dreaded Rona is ‘out of control’.


  39. Big Tech are now censoring tenured professors of science reporting on actual randomized peer reviewed studies, basically because the science doesn’t support their political world view – which now appears to be overtly fascist in nature.


  40. Re Claire Fox, it appears that her name might have been put forward by Munira Mirza. It certainly upsets many people to have a RCP supporter in the Lords and it hints at a degree of ethical agility on the part of Ms Fox, which she displays whenever she is asked about the IRA and its bombing campaigns.


  41. Picking up on a point that Geoff made, other régimes used violence to create a culture of fear and exercise power. Only in Estonia, I believe, did a Fascist regime get an electoral majority. Now, governments all around the world have managed to inculcate fear and achieve total control without using much or any violence. In USSR, they had to forcibly close churches. Now the vicars just close them voluntarily. Cromwell closed down theatres. Now the managers acquiesce in closure.

    It might have become a blueprint for the net zero bullshit – the way to get there is to dial up fear in some way. We have seen it filtering through school syllabi – hence Rupert Read and Extinction Rebellion. But that process is too slow. Total fear will get us to a point where we scrap our gas boilers and ICE automobiles

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Man In A Barrel

    Yes, I was hoping for a better stand from traditional opponents of despotism, like the priests. A touch of Thomas aBecket’s “Here stand I, I can do no other” would have been welcome. No hope of anything from the “Lock-me-up-I-love-it” left, I’m afraid.

    From the (presumably anti-islamist) site ‘”gatesofvienna”:

    Andreas Noack …has attracted attention in the past with crude theories on topics such as artificial intelligence, health, minerals and nutrients… Andreas Noack is said to … have been critical of the Coronavirus measures in the past. Because of the amendment to the Infection Protection Act being passed in the Bundestag and thousands protesting against it near the Reichstag building, speculation quickly arose in social media on Thursday that the police deployment might also have something to do with Noack’s criticism of Corona policy. However, the authorities denied this. It was pointed out that the operation had “no connection to Corona”.

    Insiderpaper and Reclaimthenet put it down to Dr Noazck having treated injured anti-lockdown demonstrators. And that’s about it from the English language media. Oh well. Europe is a small, faraway continent after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. A GooTrans of a German profile:

    Dr. Andreas Noack – chemist, engineer, inventor, food for thought, non-conformist. Dr. Noack is currently advancing to perhaps the most popular nutrient explainer on the Internet; With a good 10 million YouTube minutes, he receives an approval rating of over 95%; which no other German-speaking “nutrition guru” achieves.

    I’m with the German police on this. Bang his door down and bang him up. I’ve had enough of these Quacksalber. If he’d had ‘Führungsguru’ in his profile, I’d have said shoot him, tout court.

    Can we start a crowdfunder to hire German police to bang down every door and bang up everyone in Totnes, Machynlleth, Hebden Bridge and Frome? Sure, some innocents will suffer but there is such a thing as a greater good.

    And after we’ve tackled the country towns, can we have a further fundraiser to move the German police into London? I’m decades out of touch with what is happening there but from what I’ve read the whole London metropolitan area needs to have every door banged down and almost every inhabitant banged up. Most of them are quivering vegamaniacs.

    (Incidentally, the arrested quack’s name is an anagram of ‘done a ransack’. Thought you’d like to know.)

    Liked by 1 person

  44. This is (almost) unbelievable. The Daily Mail, bless them, ran an article today which was highly critical of government lockdowns and the data they use to try and justify them, It was plain, no nonsense factual reporting. The Department of Health and Social Care have just criticised them on Twitter for having the temerity it seems to question government propaganda by publishing facts. They must be getting very desperate, sensing that they are losing control of the fear narrative.


  45. VINNIE
    It’s years since George Monbiot moved out of Machynlleth. Does his former presence still cast a spell, as with homeopathic medicines?

    PG Wodehouse wrote a humorous article about living in Nice under German occupation. I haven’t read it, but no doubt it would raise a smile, as your comment did. But that was 80 years ago, not today. For those who haven’t seen the video, the elderly doctor is ordered to lie on the floor by a screaming policeman with an automatic weapon.

    It could be that the whole thing is faked of course. In which case I and thousands of others will look silly for having posted it. It could also be that making us look silly was the point of it…

    But if we wait until we’re sure what the point of things is, we’ll never post anything. Which might also be the point of it…

    One thing we do know is that Boris just gave the military an extra 16 billion. No mention of new wars, or more pay for those fighting the present ones. Just more for cyberwarfare and everything digital.


  46. Jaime; when the public changes from fear of covid to fear of the cure (which polls suggest is a long way to go yet), so will the government. Articles like the DM one, are highly useful in that respect.

    Geoff; you can usually look up the military initiatives and even specific contracts / plans, after most MoD announcements or reviews. The announcements usually confirm what’s been planned for a while. I used to do that occasionally. Can’t be bothered these days, but I saw even in mainstream news contracts for the new frigates significantly above and beyond what had been before. And indeed Boris’s intent to make our Navy the ‘best in Europe’ or some-such.


  47. Geoff, you did a good job mocking the ridiculous future imagined by these fanatics. But there is much damage slated to be done, even to spartan life styles. The attack on cheap reliable energy is no laughing matter. I posted recently some words from Joel Kotkin:

    The tragic, and relentlessly disruptive, coronavirus lockdowns can be justified as a real response to a clear, present, and sometimes-lethal danger. But some greens also see the lockdowns as a “test run” for the kinds of regulations we may face under future green regimes. The “visionary” Davos mogul Schwab, for example, sees the pandemic as an opportunity for a major “reset,” one preliminary to a post-growth regime based on the more enlightened values of the economic elect.

    This new order would follow the Davos script, locking down whole parts of the economy and restricting consumer choice, notably for housing and transportation. To sell this somewhat unpalatable agenda, greens and their elite allies have imposed an orthodoxy that excludes dissent. Today, open rational discussion about how to best protect the planet is about as rare as open debate over God’s existence would have been in the Catholic Church of the eleventh century. There’s even a movement, already adopted in France and Belgium, to make what’s called “ecocide” a crime.

    Today even veteran climate scientists – such as Roger Pielke, Judith Curry, or Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, are treated as heretics for questioning global-warming orthodoxy. Longtime activists such as Michael Shellenberger and even radical propagandist Michael Moore, whose recent documentary “Planet of Humans” exposed the ecological impact and corporate profiteering of “green” power, have suffered de-platforming for offending the sensibilities of green activists and their billionaire patrons.

    This is a poor way to tackle a complex scientific issue, where open inquiry and debate are needed, observes Steve Koonin, President Obama’s undersecretary of energy for science.

    Kotkin’s article:

    My synopsis:

    Liked by 1 person

  48. I mentioned the ‘f’ word in July and was struck down in flames for daring to compare our current plight at the hands of power mad psychos to such an historical political anomaly that could surely never return to haunt our enlightened democracies today. Similarly, I was (and still am) roundly criticised for daring to compare the mask mandate with the even more egregious and unmentionable activities of those who terrorised the Jews under the banner of the ‘N’ word. But such comparisons are all over the shop now. Anti-mask studies are being censored, left, right and centre and we have the curly-tailed representatives of law and order driving around in ‘Covid cars’ to enforce regulations to control a disease less dangerous than ‘flu to the vast majority. Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose (or own) and ‘Testing sets you free’ is the new buzz phrase. Ho hum. As you were.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Anyone still want to argue against the use of the ‘f’ word? If you consent to this, if you contract with the government in its implementation then you are enabling a fascist dictatorship every bit as sinister and manipulative as 1920s Italy, 1930s Germany or modern day Communist controlled China. You will personally be guilty of contributing to the consignment of the freedoms of all of the British people to the wastebin.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. JAIME
    Unfortunate that the two climate whores soliciting Kerry are both women. You’re going to get misogyny added to your scorecard. 😉

    In reference to your earlier comment: I don’t think you got shot down in flames. Some people think you shouldn’t use certain words in certain circumstances. I don’t see it as a big deal. As you rightly point out, everyone’s doing it, and it gets truer by the day. We’ve long been banned from decent company and forced to wear a badge reading “Denier,” after all.


  51. “Some people think you shouldn’t use certain words in certain circumstances.”

    Well speaking for myself, this is essentially a wrong explanation. Short of things like incitement to murder or whatever, people should have the freedom to say what they think, with whatever words. However, if I think any words, on the whole and in my own opinion, are inaccurate descriptions of the issue they purport to represent, then via similar freedoms I for sure have the right to challenge that description. And to challenge it unhindered by any implication that I am attempting to censor, which I am no way no how doing. Or indeed any implication that I *must* be wrong because of x,y,z. I may be wrong and I may not be, but as in any normal debate, folks can put up evidence / concepts on both sides, and they do not necessarily have to come to an agreement. But in such a case I am not challenging the words as such, I am challenging the applicability of the proposition they invoke. At the same time, I defend anyone’s right to put up such a proposition.


  52. Nice to see that Kate Marvel uses climate models, basic physics and observational datasets to inform herself about climate. Of course, it suggests that this is very much at the toddler end of the knowledge spectrum. Once you have rotating planets with interacting masses of air and water and a fluctuating stream of energy arriving at the surface of that planet, basic physics doesn’t get you very far. You don’t have to poke very hard before the edifice of “the science” starts to crumble


  53. Unprecedented academic fraud:

    Having now witnessed the level of corruption and fraud in the medical community, to the point of actually endangering lives rather than preserving them for reasons one can only guess at, I am no longer willing to believe that there has not been similar widespread academic fraud and corruption within the climate change scientific community, which Climategate hinted at strongly, but which was swept under the carpet eventually.


  54. Wow. Dr McCullough on the campaign against hydroxychloroquine:

    This is people in my field, in academic medicine, who are committing academic fraud … Academic medicine is committing fraud, committing I think a crime against humanity. There must be a motivation behind this that is much bigger than just Democrat versus Republican…

    Liked by 1 person

  55. “There must be a motivation behind this that is much bigger than just Democrat versus Republican.”

    Why? The greatest atrocities imaginable have been committed in the name of the greater good. An all out war was fought to remove one Hitler, this is surely viewed as a great deal by comparison.


  56. But it’s not ‘for the greater good’ is it DaveJR? How can suppressing an effective treatment for Covid-19 in the absence of a vaccine or other more effective treatments be for the greater good? This was a calculated deception, made with the full knowledge that the result of the deception would mean that innocent people would suffer and die.


  57. The NHS are also committing fraud. They are including in ‘Covid admissions’ all those patients admitted to hospital for unrelated conditions who subsequently test positive. The government is using this data to abuse the human rights of 67 million people and no doubt as a result of this abuse, many thousands will suffer and die. The government is abusing this corrupt data to push a highly experimental, rushed vaccine upon the population and the ‘vaccine minister’ is hinting strongly that those who refuse to take part in this mass medical experiment will have their freedoms curtailed. Mandatory vaccination was abandoned in the UK in 1948. It is about to rear its ugly head again. If millions are forced or coerced to take these Covid vaccines, I can almost guarantee that there will be thousands of adverse drug reactions. Academic fraud is all around us and it is not carried out for the greater good. Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Nuremberg 2, here we come.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. This demonstrates where the pharmaceutical industry is at the moment with the unseemly rush to approve a Covid vaccine:

    In response to which, Steve McIntyre chips in:



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