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How a lingerie model showed Britain’s deference to the Covid ‘experts’ is unwise and totally misplaced

Chris Sweeney
Chris Sweeney

Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has written for newspapers such as The Times, Daily Express, The Sun and Daily Record, along with several international-selling magazines. Follow him on Twitter @Writes_Sweeney

Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has written for newspapers such as The Times, Daily Express, The Sun and Daily Record, along with several international-selling magazines. Follow him on Twitter @Writes_Sweeney

How a lingerie model showed Britain’s deference to the Covid ‘experts’ is unwise and totally misplaced
A clip of Caprice arguing for the use of masks and being dismissed by an arrogant doctor on TV in March has been a hit on social media. It perfectly captures the complacency that has caused thousands of Covid deaths in the UK.

What did the glamour model say to the doctor about the deadly virus? It sounds like the set-up for a bad joke. But sadly, no one is laughing now.

The bizarre exchange is an ideal microcosm for the shambolic British response to Covid-19, which has cost over 44,000 lives.

It happened on March 16 during Jeremy Vine’s weekday current affairs TV show, between American pin-up Caprice Bourret and Dr Sarah Jarvis.

The discussion was about Covid-19 and its likely impact, including the potential wearing of masks. The UK was pre-lockdown, and still going about life as normal.

Looking back, it’s a masterclass in how the old colonial views of superiority linger. Dr Jarvis began with the immortal words that always act as a warning the person saying them regards you as pond life: “With the greatest respect...”

She snapped, “Unless you have read every scientific paper and statistical modelling paper that’s come out, you cannot argue with me on that. You can have an opinion but it’s not a fact.”

Caprice retorted: “But I can, I have an opinion. This is what I read, in Taiwan and Singapore early on, in week one in February, everyone was wearing surgical masks, they were restricting entry.”

Dr Jarvis interrupted: “Which makes no difference at all.”

To stand back and read those words now is jarring.

Even the Covid-Denier-in-Chief Donald Trump is wearing a mask. In England, Boris Johnson has made it mandatory to wear one in shops from July 24.

Scotland, which has virtually eradicated the virus, introduced that measure last week. There’s a clear consensus that increased mask-wearing is one way of stopping the spread.

Caprice then went on to highlight how Taiwan and Singapore were tackling the virus, saying she felt the UK should follow suit.

Adding to the bizarreness was her explaining: “This is from a newspaper, this is coming from a spokesperson from WOO,” a rather unusual interpretation of the abbreviation WHO, for the World Health Organization.

On hearing the mention of a newspaper, the daft doctor began to chortle – patronising Caprice even more.

And Vine came out with a zinger: “I don't want to get into things where we have the newspaper on one hand and the expert on the other – and we give them equal weight.”

He was happy to dismiss a journalist’s work but glorify the opinion of a GP, more used to diagnosing sprained ankles and examining rashes.

Four months down the line, the UK’s death toll is horrendous. Even with three times the population of Taiwan, its death rate is 6,400 times higher. And it’s 1,660 times higher than in Singapore (with the UK having 12 times the population).

Combined, both countries have lost 34 people.

Also on rt.com Second coming of coronavirus to kill 120,000 people in UK, twice as many as current one, British scientists warn

If we had followed their lead, who knows how many lives may have been saved?

That’s an unanswerable question, but the point here is the arrogance of the buffoons who position themselves as being knowledgeable.

Britain has a problem when it comes to class. There’s an elite who look down their noses at others. Dr Jarvis clearly dismissed Caprice as a brainless bimbo who poses in lingerie for a living.

Vine did the same, and yet is a man who earns £290,000 for his BBC Radio 2 show.

Both of these so-called respected figures could have saved themselves a lot of embarrassment by picking up a newspaper and reading what the WHO had to say.

Why did they think they knew better? What groundbreaking research on Covid-19 have they been involved in?

Sure, it’s not their fault that Britain has seen the virus swarm all over and leave many families heartbroken.

But they should stand up and admit their foolishness.

Since the infamous clip has been circulated on social media, Vine has doubled down, saying Dr Jarvis’ 30-year career as a GP qualified as expertise on the pandemic.

This phenomenon of “we know better” has become an unstoppable whirlwind in the UK.

Boris Johnson and his Brady Bunch government have blundered their way through the entire crisis. The lack of PPE; the on/off advice on masks; the decision to quarantine foreigners without any mechanism to do so; the promise of a world-class track-and-trace app which never materialised.

And of course, the PM’s vow that it was fine to keep shaking hands, until he contracted Covid-19 and ended up nearly dying in intensive care. It’s been a masterclass in failure.

As a society, we have to take a long, hard look at ourselves. What we respect and what we advocate are all wrong.

It’s laughable that, in a country with the history and achievements of Britain, the issue is distilled perfectly in a five-minute segment of a show on Channel 5, a TV station formerly owned by a porn baron. But the way Caprice was treated like a total idiot sums up where this country is.

For many, it will seem beyond comprehension to ask how a woman who has made a career out of posing in underwear could talk more sense than one of our glorious doctors and one of the BBC’s biggest names. Well, she did.

We need to lose the arrogance and realise having a certain accent and background is no measure of someone’s intellect. When we do, maybe we’ll not be so insular and unwilling to accept that others may know better.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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