top of page

A Car In Need of a Driver

'As a general tactic in life, it is often useful to give the slight impression that you are deliberately pretending not to know what's going on - because the reality may be that you don't know what's going on, but people won't be able to tell the difference' - Boris Johnson

If we were told in 2018 that within two years we would – by law - be confined to our houses, banned from socializing with our friends, robbed of income, unable to see our families or hug those we love, forced into debt by Government loans in order to survive and that the same Government would be injecting us with a relatively untested drug without which our liberty would be compromised, you might think that sounded more like a Sci-fi movie. Only this is happening now.

When the COVID narrative first emerged, the focus was on Italy. Watching the news as the numbers of Italians felled by COVID-19 shot past 15,000 the most immediate response was sadness for the Italians. But I also thought it couldn’t possibly happen in the UK - we seemed to have it covered. There was patient zero in a college, a man who’d holidayed in France and given it to a family there before travelling back to England, track and trace had nailed the initial Covid carriers who were now – thankfully – in quarantine. Oddly though for such an apparently deadly virus, flights were still coming in to the UK – including from Wuhan. Unlike the government, BA had the foresight to ban flights from China. Still, I thought ‘we’ve got this’ - Turing invented the computer and we are a world leader in genome theory.

When the first lockdown happened I didn’t question it (everything seems okay when you don’t question it). For once, the world seemed united against a common enemy. Millions signed up to help neighbours, friends, the elderly, the Chinese sent over the profiling strands of the virus which - at that time - was being blamed on wet markets and/or Pandolins. I got a bounce back loan and I was lucky enough not to know anyone who had died from Covid – or indeed anyone who’d had it. If a vaccine was needed quickly, I felt confident the UK – home of the Web and The Bill of Rights would have it covered. So I got on with building my kitchen.

It was pretty much head in the sand time until I watched a report on ITV showing a funeral parlour owner running around in panic as he feared he might run out of coffins. It felt staged. As though a narrative was being managed – badly at that. Whether it was the parlour owner’s bad acting or Julie Etchingham’s Polish war heroine expression - something suddenly didn’t feel right. So I started digging to see if I could shed some light as to what this thing really was.

First to the Office Of National Statistics to see how many had actually died from COVID-19. Several footnotes on how the statistics are measured caught my eye:

1. Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.

2. All figures are provisional.

3. A death can be registered with both COVID-19 and Influenza and Pneumonia mentioned on the death certificate. Deaths where both were mentioned have been counted in both categories.

4. We use the term "due to COVID-19" or "due to Influenza and Pneumonia" when referring only to deaths where that illness was recorded as the underlying cause of death.

5. We use the term "involving COVID-19" or "involving Influenza and Pneumonia" when referring to deaths that had that illness mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, whether as an underlying cause or not.

6. COVID-19 data includes some cases where ‘the certifying doctor suspected the death involved COVID-19 but wasn’t certain because no test was done’.

So COVID-19 was being added to death certificates (and therefore being counted as a COVID-19 mortality statistic) whether or not COVID-19 had increased the likelihood of death, been the main contributor to a death and without any proof the deceased even had COVID-19.

Next to the websites of The World Health Organization, Public Health England and the CDC and then back to the ONS which measures deaths in England and Wales. Thirty-four minutes in, I’d found the following:

1. The death rate from Covid 19 is less than 0.1% for under 65s with no serious underlying health issues (i.e. the workforce) [WHO] (this figure has since changed to 0.2-0.5%)

2. Survival rates for different ages with no underlying health issues: 0-19 years old, 99.997 percent; 20-49 years old, 99.98 percent; 50-69 years, 99.5 percent; and 70 years old or older, 94.6 percent. WHO data.

3. According to the ONS, the number of Covid 19 deaths in UK under 65s was 7,662 of which only 521 had COVID-19 as the underlying cause. The majority (93.2%) were people with serious underlying health issues – many of whom would have died regardless of COVID-19. i.e. people with any one of the top ten annual mortalities such as dementia, cancer and ischaemic heart disease.

So less than 521 people under 65 with no serious underlying health issues had died of Covid-19 in the UK in 2020.

So why the panic?

The lockdown was supposed to take the strain off the NHS – but this is a nonsense strategy. The NHS is always close to overwhelm – if they only operated at 50% capacity all year round, their budget would be halved. If the NHS was now to turn away patients who didn’t have COVID, then of course all non-COVID interventions would pile up. The decision was political. Boris couldn’t be seen to be doing nothing while the mortality rate shot up. Far better to run around like a headless chicken so at least people could see he was apparently doing his best.

He had a majority to preserve after all and things were looking good. His new chancellor's budget had more positives than a PCR test, he’d become a dad again and the public was on side.

But then Boris got ill. And the herd immunity narrative was not only hastily denied, but mutated to a holding position of fear, panic and uncertainty. By the time Boris was out of hospital, the lockdown circus was in full swing with Ringmaster Ferguson, wrap-'em-all-in-cotton-wool-Whitty and Patrick-shares-in-GSK-Vallance all taking it in turns to crack the whip.

The lockdown move had support from the public. After all, they'd been told by the mainstream media via SAGE members Calum Semple and Neil Ferguson that Covid-19 was as deadly as Ebola (35-40% fatality rate) and that 510,000 people in the UK would die. Besides which, Rishi Sunak was handing out cash (it’s as though he had some kind of magic printer) and it was sunny. So people headed off to The Lake District and Snowdonia before reality dawned on them, just like it had on Bruce Springstein all those years back - there were to be no wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, no flowers, no wedding dress - and that not only were mountain climbing, kayaking and picnicking off the menu, so was sitting on a park bench, sharing coffee with a friend and throwing a snowball. Citizens were allocated a one-hour exercise window and they could buy food. Preferably, they should combine the two.

So what exactly happened to Boris Johnson in hospital that turned him into The Stepford PM? Why would Boris Johnson, a man fluent in six languages, who excelled at Ancient Greek and Latin at Eton, who presided over the Oxford Union and managed to remain an MP while pulling in £5,000 per article as a journalist, so readily accept responsibility for a death toll of £125,000 that both his Chancellor and Bel Mooney could tell him wouldn’t stand up to forensic inspection?

By now he knows PHE exaggerated the mortality figures to include those who deaths had nothing to do with Covid (such as traffic accidents), he knows his pandemic tsars went with reports that contained the highest mortality figures when more recent reports showed the numbers dwindling and he knows PHE used figures of deaths ‘reported’ rather than deaths on a single day which can falsely exaggerate the increase in deaths at any given time. So for example, if the number of reported deaths on Monday is 1,000 and the number of reported deaths the following day is 1,500, you can say the number of deaths has increased by 50% in 24 hours – which would be an alarming rise. But the numbers refer to reports of historic deaths, rather than actual events by date, so in regard to judging any increase in mortality rates by day, it is statistically meaningless.

Is Johnson being bullied? There is talk in Whitehall of a ‘hostage situation’ and having attended Ashdown House as a boy, the PM is no stranger to the sound of ‘small boys being terrorised and battered’ - an experience that outraged and distressed him. But while Boris can look every inch the discombobulated toddler, he still managed to face down the EU, prorogue Parliament and summarily dispatch such figures as Miller, Bercow, Starmer and Blair.

So who persuaded this Libertarian to stray so far from his comfort zone? Enter SAGE, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. SAGE and it’s sub-SAGE advisers meet twice weekly with Government officials to advise Government on its handling of the pandemic. The labeling of it as a pandemic was largely down to SAGE. A March 2020 report from an Imperial College Response Team led by Neil Ferguson, used mathematical modelling which led to an estimated final death toll from COVID-19 as 510,000. The calculation assumed no prior immunity in the population even though The World Health Organisation, having learned from the Swine Flu virus, acknowledged “the vulnerability of a population to a pandemic virus is related in part to the level of pre-existing immunity to the virus.” Yet this epidemiological model (as the report itself claimed modestly) informed policymaking in the UK and many other countries.

A quick note on mathematical models. Mathematical models are a ‘process of encoding and decoding reality, in which a natural phenomenon is reduced to a formal numerical expression by a casual structure’. In other words, they are based on assumptions when wet data is limited or absent. For example, if asked to provide a mathematical model on the potential outcomes of a meteor striking Earth, you might start with a death toll range of between zero and 7.38 billion. The model would then be expanded to include calculations such as speed and size of meteor, place of impact, time of day, axis position etc. What a mathematical model can’t accurately predict is how people will respond to certain events. It can’t predict anomalies such as Elon Musk destroying the meteor before impact and what it absolutely doesn’t do, is factor in the reliability of the modeller. So if previous models by Modeller A (let’s call him Neil) predicted 200M would die from Bird Flu (it was under 300), 65,000 from Swine Flu (under 500), 50,000 from BSE (under 200) and led to the needless culling of 6.5m cattle during the foot and mouth crisis in the mistaken belief animals were infectious for days before showing any symptoms (sound familiar?) you’d surely factor this into the model, if not mathematically then logically or instinctively.

It was SAGE who advised on lockdown. Not because they were following the science but – according to one sub-SAGE member - as a ‘panic measure’ because they ‘couldn’t think of anything better to do’.

So perhaps it isn’t the science they’re following, but the narrative. This would explain why, of those on the SAGE committee not directly employed by Government Departments (all young Professors with newly minted OBEs) there are so few epidemiologists, virologists and immunologists. There are, however, plenty of mathematicians and experimental psychologists who between them have published papers on subjects like how best the public can be persuaded, incentivized, coerced and engineered to become more compliant using a Behavioral Change Wheel (BCW) aimed at increased and sustained adherence. For the optimists who think severe COVID-19 won’t happen to them (understandably considering the estimated WHO survival rate of 99.5-99.998%) a quick spin of the Behavioral Change Wheel could make them think again. A King’s College study concluded that ‘Future research is needed on the implications of comparatively optimistic thinking for future compliance with government guidelines on managing COVID-19’.

And it’s not just Boris being SAGED. BBC, ITV and Channel Four News perhaps less in need of coercion (after all, bad news sells) are all on board, spoon-feeding the dystopian narrative to a nightly captive audience who feast their eyeballs on flickering images of overstretched morgues, coffin shortages and eye-watering fatalities as they work their way through yet another case of wine in their brand new dressing gowns. A 24/7 drip-fed tsunami of bad news on warp speed that never lets up. And for those who dare venture to The Outside, throw a snowball, enjoy coffee with a friend or – God forbid – sit on a park bench - The Narrative suddenly mutates. Thought you were enjoying some harmless risk-free fun? Wrong. You are a granny killer, a plague-infested jogger, an anti-vaxxer who not only disables 5G masts at weekends, but does so without even social distancing.

There are of course dissenters, doctors, lawyers, virologists and epidemiologists from Harvard to Stanford who – based on historical studies of Coronaviruses - maintain the 2020 Coronavirus has largely come and gone and that emerging data, incorrectly attributed to COVID-19, is as a direct result of the vaccine rollout. Many of these scientists have been ‘YouTube-discredited’ as though YouTube – a company whose core interest is financial – is now the new standard bearer for ethics and decency, trumping The Magna Carta and The Bill of Rights. Those who challenge The Narrative are cancelled, publically discredited and shamed. A recent Rolling Stone article outed Jessica Biel, Jim Carey and Rob Schneider as Anti-Vaxxers (or anti gene-therapy-ists if you want to be precise) even though they were not against vaccines in general, just the mandatory imposition of them. For those whose dissent reaches a wide audience, there is ‘pre-bunking’. Pre-bunkers use the same coercive techniques as mainstream media; impersonation, emotional exploitation, polarisation, conspiracy, discredit and trolling. By striking first, the debunker can poison – in advance - any well of information that challenges The Narrative. So anyone with a different take on the numbers (numbers readily available to all on the ONS, the WHO and CDC websites) suddenly becomes a Covid-hoaxer, a conspiracy theorist, an anti-lockdowner, a right-winger and a 5G arsonist. Pre-bunkers use fake news to combat fake news - or dissent - depending which side of the fence you’re on. But when does open debate become misinformation? Perhaps when there’s something to hide.

The irony is, none of this information is hidden if anyone bothered to look. All the information anyone needs to make their own mind up is readily available at the touch of a button, in black, white and colour on Government websites, the WHO, the CDC and the pharmaceutical companies themselves. The Pfizer release document informs you that ‘Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is an unapproved vaccine’ (it has been approved for emergency use) and that ‘in clinical trials, approximately 20,000 individuals 16 years of age and older have received at least 1 dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine’. It adds: '...the duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown’.

Matt Hancock wants to get a needle in the arm of every citizen over the age of 18. But it’s your arm. So why not check out what they’re putting into it - or if you even need it. An antibody test that Boris Johnson referred to as having the ‘potential to be a total game-changer’ will tell you if you already have neutralizing antibodies – or whether you were ever likely to even get the virus in the first place. While the Government has ordered millions of these antibody tests, there are currently only enough available for healthcare workers. If they are such a game-changer, why not make them available to all. Ditto T-cell testing. Prevention is better than cure. Even if you are unlucky enough to develop Covid, there are a multitude of readily available pharmaceutical alternatives to the vaccine, many of which are already in use and some of which can be taken orally with no need of an injection, reducing pressure on the NHS. Dexamethasone can reduce deaths from Covid by 35%, Tocilizumad reduces that figure further and REGN-Cov2 can reduce the viral load, ease symptoms. A recent WHO-sponsored review of Ivermectin trials at Liverpool University indicated an 83% reduction in Covid mortality while a naturally occurring drug Thapsigargin - a few doses of which can make cells highly resistant to infection - is currently being trialed at The University of Nottingham.

Yet still The Narrative favours the vaccine rollout. Which is illogical. If the vaccines do prevent serious Covid or even developing Covid, then the only people who need to take it are those vulnerable to serious Covid. If the vaccines work, then nobody healthy needs to get vaccinated as the vulnerable have already been protected. If the vaccines don't work - i.e. they fail to protect the vulnerable - then why take them? The Narrative promotes the idea that vaccines are the way out (while failing to show any encouraging data on prevention or easing of lockdown) because the more people who accept the experimental vaccine, the closer we get to vaccine passports. With nearly half of frontline health workers refusing to take the jab and a recent YouGov poll showing only 42% of the public ‘very likely’ to lend their arm to Matt Hancock, the vaccination program is clearly not the ticket to freedom.

Someone once commented that Dominic Cummings saw Boris Johnson as a vehicle in need of a driver. Well we still need someone at the wheel. Johnson was elected on the Brexit ticket. Now he needs to take back control, to throw The Science back at SAGE. He need look no further than reports provided by his own Government, The British Medical Journal, Mind and many others: Cancer screening cancelled for 3.2 million people, depression tripled for 18-39 year olds, suicides up, child homicide up, spousal abuse up 93.1% and if that doesn’t ring alarm bells, how about the fallout from unemployment or the huge surge in sales of sweat pants, dressing gowns and alcohol – 8.4 million are now drinking at ‘problem levels’.

The job of Prime Minister is the prize Johnson has always coveted. But the job description has changed. The grenades are very much in his lap and the pins are out. In no way is it easy. But this is his Churchillian moment. For everybody’s sake, he needs to take it.

Suzie Halewood


bottom of page