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Makes sense January 26, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thought this was a good overview of the ‘Covid sceptic’ tendency in the UK which details how, time and again, they have been proven wrong about a range of issues, from their predictions that the virus pandemic would fade out, that it was a ‘casedemic’, that ‘herd immunity’ would kick in. Well argued piece. It concludes:

It’s great that we are leading Europe in vaccinations and lockdown has meant cases are starting to fall back. But if we drop our guard, we could still risk many lives agonisingly close to the finish line.

Because they are still dangerous, I have pointed out the mistakes of some Covid-sceptics on Twitter. They regard this as outrageous. An MP shouldn’t be getting involved in this. I “must not have any constituents who’re struggling”, says Hartley-Brewer. …

The truth is, the Covid-sceptics aren’t really sceptics at all. They engage in motivated reasoning; they make stuff up and double down on disproved claims. They are powerful figures, not used to being questioned. But the truth is that they have a hell of lot to answer for.

An MP no less, one Neil O’Brien, who is described as ‘Conservative MP for Harborough, a former director of Policy Exchange and a vice-chair of the Conservative party’. Now there’s a surprise.

But then I read this and it becomes a little more clear. A group of anti-Covid denialists who have set up a website – Anti-Virus – that debunks various myths and falsehoods promulgated by denialists in the media and elsewhere and…

With most of the group on the right – two thirds, Bowman estimates – there is a sense of reputation management, too. “We were both, independently, really aggravated,” said Bowman. “Maybe it’s the narcissism of small differences – seeing people who are also theoretically on the right making such dangerous claims, it’s exasperating.”

This has led to some interesting outcomes:

Bowman and O’Brien had found large audiences on Twitter by posting threads of messages highlighting some of the more outlandish claims made by the likes of Young, who has deleted his old tweets, the TalkRadio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer, and the Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson, including confident assertions last year that the virus had vanished. Bowman’s examined Pearson’s record, finding declarations such as that she would not wear a mask because she found them demeaning, and got 126,000 likes. (“It’s sort of sad that the most successful thing I’ll ever do in my life is owning a Telegraph columnist,” he said.)

Still for all that nonetheless impressive that they have established this website. Perhaps they hope to avoid the disastrous manner in which in the US the right has tilted ever more into science denialism too. Though almost entertainingly:

…some saying it stifles free speech. On Thursday, the Times columnist Iain Martin accused O’Brien and Bowman of attempting a “Munich-style” reckoning with the “guilty men”. When O’Brien’s threads taking them on went viral, Young suggested he was being smeared, while Hartley-Brewer called him a “Witch-Finder” and “Hancock’s house-elf” who should stick to his day job.

This exemplifies another tendency found on parts of the denialist right – to bemoan a supposed lack of freedom of expression while simultaneously dismissing the rights of those who do base their arguments in fact and science to express themselves. Or to put it another way, they want to retain their right to argue any old rubbish pulled out of thin air without contradiction.

And in fairness to O’Brien – words you will rarely if ever see me right about a Tory:

“This idea it’s none of an MP’s business – trying to get to the facts of a deadly pandemic is absolutely an MP’s business,” O’Brien said. “You’ve got to look at people’s testable propositions and see how they’ve panned out. That’s how science works.”

There’s some optimism amongst them too, as the Guardian notes:

With claims of massive failings in the scientific consensus looking increasingly outlandish in the face of a grimly rising death count, there are signs that the sceptics are recalculating.

Early days yet. Notable on this side of the Irish Sea is how ‘reopening’ arguments have (in fairness to some extent understandably if arguably unwisely) transferred away from economic constraints to schools and other educational institutions. But good to see some people making a real, sustained, effort to push back against the denialists.


1. Colm B - January 26, 2021

Had a look at the website and, despite the politics of the founders, it’s a useful resource for refuting the anti-lockdown, anti-vax nonsense.


2. tomasoflatharta - January 26, 2021

Brexit Delivery in Kent, England.

This, dialectically, illustrates the wisdom of the pro-Brexit British Left. Kermit rules.

“BREXIT secretary Michael Gove’s uncanny ability to make the worst of a bad job is in full post-transition-period evidence in Kent.
A perfect shitstorm of undelivered infrastructure, flawed IT systems and mushrooming bureaucracy has led to drivers queuing for hours to get out of the country. Last Friday evening, the “inland border facility” at Ashford was reported to be in “total gridlock” – and this was with levels of freight said to be around half typical pre-Brexit levels. Slashing economic activity while drastically increasing the mayhem is quite a double achievement.

Around 80 percent of trucks heading to Calais are “in transit” to countries beyond France, but usually still within the EU. Post-Brexit, this brings a raft of new paperwork and dependency on yet another IT system, the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS). This is actually quite an old system, designed for less voluminous transit beyond the EU’s borders, and regularly crashes under the new demands. Trucks turning up for checks then have to wait for it to be fixed – and often still don’t meet its complex requirements. Other IT systems that were supposed to have made exporting easier are yet to be seen.” https://www.private-eye.co.uk/issue-1539/in-the-back?fbclid=IwAR24WjwAos6xeh9NCvkUlG6TXnWToSiIHhbb4-aHTZMDEsYAGJoCRfIbVy0


3. tomasoflatharta - January 26, 2021

Many of us have become used to the word “Brexit”. Here is a newer tiny relative “rUK” – the strange combination of small r and two
quare capital letters is deliberate. Here is the definition :

New Word Suggestion
the rest of the United Kingdom; the UK if Scotland becomes independent
Additional Information
Take the single currency, for example. The white paper will restate the SNP’s intention to enter a currency union with rUK after independence. The Scottish secretary, Alistair Carmichael, says that won’t work and former chancellor Alistair Darling says the SNP must produce a plan B and suggests a breakaway Scotland would have to join the euro. [The Guardian, November 2013]”



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