The British Politicians Who Loved China’s Zero Covid Strategy

The scenes coming out of China are shocking. Last night’s arrest and beating of a BBC journalist covering the protests against the Beijing Communist regime’s Zero Covid strategy have finally brought the plight of the Chinese into Britain’s political discourse. In light of this, Guido thought it worth going back a couple of years and remembering all the hardline Covid loons who spent much of the pandemic calling for the same Zero Covid strategy here in Britain.

In February 2021, 47 MPs signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling on the UK Government to “urgently to adopt a Zero Covid plan that seeks the maximum suppression of the virus”. The EDM cited New Zealand and Vietnam as specific examples. Vietnam eventually reported the world’s 13th-highest death toll…

Supporters of the EDM included the usual hard Left figures, such as Richard Burgon, Diane Abbott, Zarah Sultana, Claudia Webbe, John McDonnell, Apsana Begum and Rebecca Long-Bailey. It also saw a whopping number of SNP MPs back it, unsurprising given Nicola Sturgeon spent much of the first half of the pandemic giving lip service to a Zero Covid strategy, egged on by her top advisor Devi Sridhar.

It wasn’t just left-wing figures, of course. Jeremy Hunt lauded the strategy and recounted with barely suppressed admiration his sister’s experience of flying into Beijing during the pandemic. She was, he said, escorted from the airport by government officials and physically sealed in her home to remain under surveillance from Communist police.

Attacking Zero Covid strategies is not a luxury of those of us now blessed with hindsight. They were roundly attacked at the time – even discredited – and yet authoritarians still proselytised for them. This week’s scenes in China perhaps show why the hard Left loved the idea – it was less to do with virus control, more about controlling the citizenry…

Read the full list of EDM signatories here

mdi-timer 28 November 2022 @ 12:54 28 Nov 2022 @ 12:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rishi on Lockdown: “I Wasn’t Allowed to Talk About the Trade-Off”

Rishi Sunak has finally managed to grab the agenda during the leadership race, and finally not for a u-turn or a strategic cock up.  Interviewed in The Spectator Sunak argues SAGE made bad predictions based on botched modelling and No. 10 never allowed a debate to be had on the cost-benefit of lockdown measures – particularly on closing schools. A culture of fear was decided on by the top of government and their scientific advisors, which was then set in stone. “Dissenting voices were filtered out and a see-no-evil policy was applied.”

While lockdown was known to be “by necessity, a gamble”, Rishi, echoing Steve Baker, says cost-benefit analyses were never made:

“I wasn’t allowed to talk about the trade-off,’ says Sunak. ‘The script was not to ever acknowledge them. The script was: oh, there’s no trade-off, because doing this for our health is good for the economy.”

The main problem, he appears to diagnose, was in elevating SAGE to “a committee that had the power to decide whether the country would lock down or not.” The problem was even more concentrated than the entire SAGE committee, however. Rishi observes that, whoever wrote their meetings’ minutes – deciding what discussions and facts to include – was essentially setting the nation’s entire public health policy.

“For a year, UK government policy – and the fate of millions –was being decided by half-explained graphs cooked up by outside academics.”

Rishi concludes “This is the problem… If you empower all these independent people, you’re screwed… We shouldn’t have empowered the scientists in the way we did.” He concludes had we not done so, and had we acknowledged trade-offs from the beginning “we could be in a very different place… it could have been shorter. Different.  Quicker.”

He doesn’t name names when accusing fellow cabinet colleagues of not speaking out, which is probably why those in the know aren’t calling him out for rose-tinted hindsight. Guido asked a source close to discussions happening around the first lockdown, who said the above is indeed what Sunak was saying internally at the time.  The source also agreed with the problem of giving unelected officials so much power in deciding what ministers saw and what options they were given:

“There were often times the officials would do a “pre-meeting”, decide what they wanted to push through, then ram it through in the main meeting with the PM/ministers”

This process wasn’t helped when, on occasion, ministers would go into the key Covid meeting and be handed a set of 100 papers by officials, with no chance of being able to ingest them before a decision was taken. Guido can barely wait for tonight’s Julia Hartley-Brewer-hosted husting in East Anglia…

Read the full account on the Spectator here.

mdi-timer 25 August 2022 @ 09:08 25 Aug 2022 @ 09:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Van Tam: I No Longer Wear a Face Mask

In a sign, if we ever really needed one, that Covid is well and truly over, Jonathan Van Tam has declared he no longer wears a face mask.

“I don’t wear a face covering, no I don’t wear a face covering, but if there were circumstances where I felt it was a really closed environment with very high crowding and very intense social interaction then those are the situations where I might think ‘should I or shouldn’t I’.”

This’ll properly wind up the performative Covid virtue signallers on Twitter…

mdi-timer 24 June 2022 @ 10:34 24 Jun 2022 @ 10:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
UK Has Lower Covid Excess Death Rate than US, Spain and Germany

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released grim new data on the overall Covid death toll, with an estimated 15 million people thought to have died from the disease since the start of the pandemic. Three times more than the last official count… 

The WHO also broke down the excess death rate – i.e. how many more people died beyond the pre-pandemic mortality rate – on a country-by-country basis. The UK is ranked 56th, with 109 excess deaths per 100,000 people. That’s below Spain, Italy, Germany, and the US… 

While Spain, Germany, and Italy all retained certain Covid restrictions for far longer than the UK, their excess death rates per 100,000 people sat higher at 111, 116, and 133 respectively. The global average is 96, although it’s worth bearing in mind the extreme – and deplorable – lockdown measures still used in countries like China to depress that figure. Sweden, which rejected most over-the-top legally-binding Covid measures throughout the pandemic, had an excess death rate of 56 – almost half the UK’s. Fancy that.

mdi-timer 5 May 2022 @ 16:39 5 May 2022 @ 16:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Parliament Announces Unlimited Numbers Once Again Allowed in Sports and Strangers

The Parliamentary estate has finally caught up with reality this afternoon, with the COVID-19 planning group confirming the last of the Covid restrictions on-site will be removed as of today. Yes, there were still a few left hanging around over two years later…

The two of note are the removal of the (useless) plastic screens in hospitality areas like the bars and canteens, and the lifting of capacity limits in rooms across the estate, which will be a welcome change at Sports and Social. Although limits will remain in “a small number of areas where specific concerns with ventilation occur”… for some reason.

Staff are also no longer required to report positive cases to the internal test and trace team, with the phone line and email being closed down. Party time in Strangers later…

Read the updated guidance below:

Read More

mdi-timer 25 April 2022 @ 16:42 25 Apr 2022 @ 16:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
PM Won’t Rule Out Another Lockdown

Tory  power couple MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies managed to secure a sit-down interview with the PM, set to be broadcast in full during their show tomorrow, in which the PM says he cannot rule out another lockdown. Guido reckons the PM can announce whatever he likes, the public has declared the pandemic over and after Partygate may no longer listen to new rules…

“I want to avoid any such thing happening again, and I can’t rule out some, Esther, I can’t say we wouldn’t be forced to do non-pharmaceutical interventions again of the kind we did. 

I think it would be irresponsible of any leader in any democracy to say they’re going to rule out something that would save lives… there could be a new variant – more deadly – there could be a variant that affects children badly that we really need to contain, I’m not going to take any options off the table.”

The interview is a real coup for McVey, who both managed to secure an interview with the PM and avoided doxxing his mobile phone number

mdi-timer 8 April 2022 @ 08:50 8 Apr 2022 @ 08:50 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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