RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Welcome to I Can't Believe It's Not Lockdown

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Welcome to I Can't Believe It's Not Lockdown

Welcome to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Lockdown, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN, with Christmas in disarray, city centres once again deserted and shops, bars and restaurants bereft of customers

There are lies, damned lies and statistics. And then there’s ‘modelling’ and ‘Next slide please . . .’

On the basis of alarmist projections by ‘experts’ who have been spectacularly wrong time and again, Christmas has been thrown into disarray.

Welcome to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Lockdown. As this newspaper’s front page headline declared yesterday: ‘IT’S BORIS VERSUS THE SCIENTISTS’. Despite the PM’s protestations to the contrary, the scientists are winning on away goals.

City centres are once again deserted. Shops, bars and restaurants are bereft of customers. Public transport is virtually empty. Frustration, especially within the Tory party, is boiling over. 

After 100 backbenchers voted against vaccine passports this week, anger at the overmighty influence of unelected advisers has now spread to the lower reaches of Government.

On the basis of alarmist projections by ‘experts’ who have been spectacularly wrong time and again, Christmas has been thrown into disarray. London Bridge is seen above at 7.35am 

Tory MP Joy Morrissey, a junior bag carrier at the Foreign Office, tweeted on Wednesday: ‘Perhaps the unelected Covid public health spokesperson should defer to what our ELECTED Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister have decided. I know it’s difficult to remember but that’s how democracy works. This is not a public health socialist state.’

Morrissey was referring to Chris Whitty, one half of the Two Ronnies of Doom double act, who has done his best to put the mockers on the festive season. Last night he warned us to prepare for another 18 months of misery.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Whitty, a man with the funereal demeanour of a pox doctor’s clerk, used a Downing Street press conference to ramp up Project Fear 2.0. Painting an apocalyptic picture of the Omicron variant spreading like Triffids, he urged people not to mix unless it ‘really matters to them’.

What’s that supposed to mean? Don’t blame me if you die of Covid, kicking and screaming in agony? Is it any wonder people err on the side of caution?

His priapic graphs closely resemble climate Jeremiah Michael Mann’s notorious global warming hockey stick and are designed to maximise alarm and despondency. But you can prove anything with statistics, provided you pick and choose your starting point.

As the eminent statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter has admitted, the claim that millions of people will soon be infected with Omicron was ‘a bit naughty’.

That’s putting it mildy. Regular readers will be aware that 18 months ago I stopped believing a single word they say about Covid. That’s largely down to their cynical refusal to define what they mean by people dying with the virus, rather than from it.

Even Lockdown Lite isn’t severe enough for the fanatics of so-called Independent SAGE, who are demanding a ten-day circuit breaker — in other words, another complete shutdown backed by the full force of the law

As the distinguished oncologist Karol Sikora said this week: How do we know the first patient to die with Omicron wasn’t knocked down by a bus? We don’t, and the Government isn’t saying. But it wouldn’t be the first time.

Despite blood-curdling assurances that we face a tsunami (Wee Burney) or tidal wave (Boris) of Omicron cases, the Health Minister Gillian Keegan was forced to admit yesterday that there were just ten — or was it 11? — Omicron patients in hospital.

Yet based on suspect ‘modelling’, the Government has been prepared again to restrict civil liberties and send the economy into a tailspin. An allegedly Conservative Government, with an 80-seat majority, elected on a promise to ‘take back control’, continues to capitulate to ‘The Science’, a catch-all term for everyone from proper doctors to college lecturers and ‘public health professionals’ without a medical qualification to their name.

How some of us cheered in 2016, during the Brexit campaign, when Michael Gove said people were tired of ‘experts’ who claimed to know what was best, while consistently getting everything wrong.

City centres are once again deserted. Shops, bars and restaurants are bereft of customers. Public transport is virtually empty. Frustration, especially within the Tory party, is boiling over. Waterloo Station is pictured above

Now we’re told the Govester has morphed into the most gung-ho minister in favour of a Wuhan-style clampdown. If he had his way, we’d be barricaded into our homes and shot on sight if we dared to venture outside.

Who’d have thought it? Michael Gove, the Manchurian Candidate. Boris, too, despite his former libertarian instincts, has been captured by the forces of Zero Covid, even though he insists that unlike last year the latest Lockdown Lite restrictions are entirely voluntary. 

‘We don’t want to make your choices for you about your social life, we are not closing things,’ he said. 

But as long as his sidekicks like Whitty keep implying that ‘YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!’ is it any wonder most people choose to vote with their feet and head for the hills?

Even Lockdown Lite isn’t severe enough for the fanatics of so-called Independent SAGE, who are demanding a ten-day circuit breaker — in other words, another complete shutdown backed by the full force of the law.

The reason Boris presses the panic button over and over again is because he is terrified of being remembered as the Prime Minister who killed the NHS

With any luck, the revolt by 100 backbenchers will stop Boris caving in to that. But the PM is clearly spooked by the extent of opposition within his own party.

The truth hurts, which is why Joy Morrissey’s tweet was unceremoniously taken down in double-quick time and her promotion prospects disappeared down the gurgler. (Heaven knows, she’s miserable now.)

But Morrissey got one thing wrong when she wrote: ‘This is not a public health socialist state.’

Sorry, Joy, that’s exactly what Britain has become. A public health service socialist state.

The reason Boris presses the panic button over and over again is because he is terrified of being remembered as the Prime Minister who killed the NHS.

It’s his own stupid fault, for mythologising Our Amazing NHS as the envy of the world. It isn’t. But we must all pay the price to maintain the fantasy.

If that means wrecking Christmas, destroying the hospitality sector and cancelling tens of thousands of long-overdue life-saving operations, tough. All must be sacrificed on the altar of Covid to appease the Great God Science.

Next slide, please…

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has just blown £9 million to eradicate rodents on a South Atlantic island.

Helicopters were used to drop poison on Gough Island, part of the UK’s Tristan da Cunha overseas territory, which is one of the most important nesting sites for seabirds.

The alarm was raised after reports that mice were eating the eggs and chicks of the rare Tristan albatross.

An RSPB crack team scrambled to the island in the biggest operation in the South Atlantic since the Falklands War in 1982. Yet after the bombardment, monitors spotted just a single mouse. Yep, one. You’ve heard of the Six Million Dollar Man.

Now meet the Nine Million Quid Mouse.

It would have been cheaper to get in touch with ex-Navy pilot Air Miles Andy and ask him to re-live his Falklands heroics. It’s not as if he’s got much else on at the moment, and it might have helped him salvage some of his ragged reputation.

Gough Island’s answer to Danger Mouse would have been no match for a helicopter gunship.

On Tuesday’s BBC tea-time quiz Pointless, contestants were asked to name any PM or Chancellor since 1910 whose surname contained the letter ‘A’ as its first vowel.

There were brilliant answers from history, including Campbell-Bannerman and Ramsay MacDonald. From the current bunch, one contestant nominated Sajid Javid, ex-Chancellor and now the Health Secretary.

But how many of the 100 people questioned named The Saj? None.

He was a pointless answer. Chances of Javid winning any leadership contest when Boris implodes or is forced out?

Nul points.

What’s the worst job you ever had? Brussels sprout taster must be right up there. But Ben Harrison, from Leeds, would disagree. A graduate in food and nutrition, 26-year-old Ben is the official sprout-taster for Asda. 

He loves it. At this time of year he’s in his element, getting through 50 sprouts a day in a quest to discover which goes best with Christmas dinner.

Do the climate change zealots know about Ben? He sounds like the template for Viz magazine’s Johnny Fartpants.

A tribunal has ruled that asking someone over 60 when they plan to retire is tantamount to a hate crime. Dunno why. People have been telling me to call it a day since I was about 35. 

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