In the United Kingdom, we are reportedly living through one of the greatest mental health crises we have ever seen: “Behind closed bedroom doors, a teenage mental health crisis is brewing', wrote Gaby Hinsliff. (The Guardian 29.1.21): “In the dark depths of January, the fear is more for kids with all the stuffing knocked out of them; teenagers spending the whole day huddled miserably under duvets, refusing to complete online lessons, or mentally checking out.”
Against the backdrop of the continuing lockdown measures, Dr Adrian Jones, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has stated, “As many as 10 million people, including 1.5 million children, are thought to need new or additional mental health support as a direct result of the crisis.” This puts the scale of the crisis into some perspective. Prof Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said that there were now more children being admitted to hospital for mental health than medical reasons. He said, “This is a phenomenon that paediatricians have seen across the UK since the start of the pandemic.” (The Telegraph 19.1.21). At the same time, the NSPCC have reported increase rates of child abuse since the lockdown as high as 58%. In any humane society the welfare and the future of children should come first.
Instead, we are all having to endure a government and the BBC continuing to rack up the fear: “As it happened: Coronavirus: 37,475 in UK hospitals' with Covid-19” (16.1.21). Apparently, this was “the third-highest daily total since the pandemic began.” What we were not told was that these figures included all those in hospital who had tested positive for the virus but were there for other health reasons. An NHS registered nurse explains: “I have seen first-hand, patients admitted to hospital for completely unrelated conditions – nil covid symptoms, but have a positive PCR test on admission. These go down as 'covid admissions', but they are actually admitted for conditions completely unrelated to the respiratory system, such as heart failure or kidney disease.” (Lockdown Sceptics: An NHS Nurse writes: 29.1.21)
Further to this, we were presented with the sad figure of 100,000 deaths since the inception of the covid crisis, last March, 2020. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, described it as a 'grim statistic; indeed, it is. However, the vast majority of these deaths have been amongst older people. According to The Times, 90% of deaths were aged 65 or more and 75% were aged at least 75. The median age of covid deaths reported the Financial Times (20.11.20) is 82. The point being that COVID-19 affects a certain demographic and is more lethal where certain comorbidities or pre-existing conditions exist. This fact should have been the foremost consideration determining the government's strategy in terms of containment. But instead of a policy of focussed protection, the nation has been subject to lockdowns leading to massive economic, social and psychological damage.
And it's all too apparent that for the past twelve months, in an attempt to 'control the narrative' that the public has been made exposed to an unprecedented and unceasing barrage of government inspired propaganda. Under these unprecedented conditions, no other scientific opinion in regard to alternative coping strategies have been allowed to challenge the government's narrative. This was indeed the fate of the Great Barrington Declaration which was and remains an alternative to the devastating policy of lockdown. The Declaration signed by thousands of medical practitioners, researchers, and public health scientists essentially recommended that restrictions should be lifted on the low-risk groups whilst providing focussed protection for those most at risk.
As a way forward, in October 2020 the basis of the proposals of the Great Barrington Declaration were rejected by the British Government as 'an unproven assumption'. A quick trawl of the internet and one will discover how much time and effort has gone into rubbishing and side-lining The Great Barrington Declaration. A year or so ago, to most people, the idea of focussed protection for the vulnerable against a particularly nasty virus would have been deemed common sense, but under the carpet-bombing impact of the Government's mass propaganda campaign, common sense seems to have gone out of the window. We seem to have very short memories, but it was only just over ten months ago The Guardian was slavishly sowing the seeds of panic for the weeks to come: “UK coronavirus crisis to last until spring 2021 and could see 7.9m hospitalised”, this according to a 'secret briefing for NHS officials’ (15.3.20). A week earlier, the same newspaper reported: “Emergency planners have drawn up proposals to deal with “excess deaths” of between 210,000 and 315,000 over a 15-week period as part of long standing measures to ensure the UK can cope with a deadly pandemic.”
Later in the year, on Saturday 31st October, Halloween, appropriately enough, we were taken into the second lock down on the basis of more false information, as the Daily Mail revealed two days later: “Apocalyptic forecast of 4,000 coronavirus deaths a day could be FIVE TIMES too high and had already been proved wrong when government revealed it at weekend”. “Sir Patrick Vallance presented worst-case scenario in Saturday's briefing when lockdown was confirmed.” “But it has emerged it was based on forecasts made weeks ago and since updated to give lower estimates.” Sir Patrick Vallance is of course, the government's chief scientific advisor, the same man who reportedly had a £600,000 shareholding in the firm contracted to develop vaccines. The government denied that there was any potential conflict of interest, maintaining he was not involved in commercial decisions on coronavirus vaccines.
By such standards, in any court of justice real or imagined, could we accept such government men as reliable witnesses? Could we in all seriousness take any of them at their word when for example they can dismiss The Great Barrington Declaration as an 'unproven assumption' and yet themselves be the perpetrators of such self-evident falsehoods? But of course, the BBC continues to assist the government in the ongoing campaign of fear with headlines like, “Covid: 2020 saw most excess deaths since World War Two” (12.1.21) when in fact after some tortuous statistical gymnastics, the same article concluded that the age standardised mortality rate was only at its highest since 2008. This is not to deny that covid-19 exists, it clearly does and it is a particularly nasty virus, on this at least, we can all agree, but surely a line must be drawn between objective truth telling and such hyperbole as comparing the covid crisis with the scale of horror, death and destruction of the Second World War; this is very wrong on so many levels.
Nobody has the monopoly on truth, opinions expressed against the backdrop of events may be changed or modified in the fullness of time according to the availability of new information and the different conditions that may allow for a more objective assessment. What is not acceptable now, is the closing down of the covid strategy debate as has so clearly taken place, where reasoned argument is blatantly censored or basely rebutted under the abusive blanket terms of 'covidiots', 'anti-vaxxers', and 'conspiracy theorists.’ There are two sides to this debate. It’s a debate that has become polarised beyond reason as a result of fear. Indeed, there are many out there who would support the imprisonment (and worse) of others, for simply exercising their right not to be vaccinated!
In my January message, on this same theme, I received implied criticism for my use of the internet; I assume for using it to help inform my opinions. The fact is that the internet is the favoured go-to, these days, for anyone, whether it be to peruse the mainstream media or anything else for that matter. Whilst some may be content to simply watch the news on TV and allow the BBC to inform their world view, there are others who with a healthy cynicism may wish to check out some of the BBC stories for themselves. Again, there is always an alternative point of view. The main point and the value and principle of free speech in a free society, is that one is allowed to express an opinion and the reader or the hearer has the right to make his or her own mind up.
What I do find curious is that those who have become known as the 'globalist elites' really are signalling their intentions to change our world and by definition our very way of life as we have lived to know it and it is very clear that their agenda for doing this already exists. It is known as The Great Reset and is the project of the World Economic Forum. Yet even now, as the language of the language of The Great Reset, 'build back better', enters political mainstream discourse, when the click of a mouse will reveal this project to be undisputedly true, when its objectives are writ large in the press, when we can see this change in progress all around us, even then, there are still those who will say that The Great Reset is 'conspiracy theory'. I am reminded of Jesus' words:
Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky but you don't know how to interpret the present time.
Perhaps such denial simply arises from a sincere hope that we may return to the normality of life as was lived prior to March 2020 and that this may be achieved through the roll out of a mass vaccination programme. At this time of writing, I remain unconvinced that this is going to happen any time soon; witness the Daily Express headline (1.2.21): “Lockdown extended again: Now No10 indicates restrictions to remain until SUMMER.” In the end, it really matters not from which newspaper the proclamations come from, if we can preserve the capacity for independent, critical thought, we can certainly 'interpret the present time' even if we cannot know entirely what the future may hold. To those in denial, without acrimony, I would say, 'Let me know when you get your freedom back!'
The future prospects for the freedoms and the normality we once knew do not look good and if that were not bad enough the sheer spinelessness of the churches is obvious. Even in the present situation, where corporate, gathered worship is legally permissible, a large number of churches are keeping their doors closed on Sundays. Tim Dieppe wrote, 'As we look back at Christian responses to plagues in the past we should be inspired by their courage and conviction. The risks to us from coronavirus pale in comparison with what previous generations of Christians have faced. How will our generation of Christians go down in history? (Lessons from Church history and past plagues – ChristianConcern.Com),
In a passionate letter to The Spectator (21.1.21) Peter Laverick wrote: “Why are our priests so frightened? They are supposed to be our leaders and consolers in times of crisis. The very people who believe death holds no fear for them are afraid to open their own doors, let alone the doors of their empty churches. If this had been Jesus' attitude there would have been no Christian culture for the past two millennia. There may soon be no CofE after this exhibition. What a tragedy, what a disgrace!” Mr Laverick is clearly an Anglican, but the same criticism may be levelled at most denominations in England including the Unitarians where many of their congregations and ministers sadly gave up any allegiance to the Christian faith a long time ago. Behind their closed doors, clergy of every hue look on despondently as this impending ecclesiastical disaster unfolds. The Sunday Times (31.1.21) reported: “Church to cut paid clergy as fifth of flock wanders off.” The report stated that, “20 percent of its regular worshippers may never return and that paid clergy could be reduced by ten to twenty percent.
The truth is that covid-19 is not really the cause of this parlous state of affairs, but rather the government's policies. What is also true is that increasingly, Christians more than ever, find themselves living in tension with the norms and values of an ever more emerging atheistic society, a society that rejects the Judaeo-Christian values of a society we once knew. In this emerging society we will continue to find that the principles of free speech and individual rights are eschewed in favour of diktat and an ever more totalitarian agenda antithetical to religious belief and practice. To quote Tom Paine: “These are the times that try men's souls.” Such sentiment speaks to us today and as we look over the past few months at the liberties and the religious freedoms, we have so easily surrendered in the 'war on covid'. We should pay heed also to these other words of Paine who said, “Tyranny like hell, is not easily conquered.”