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As BoJo prepares Britain for another winter of Covid restrictions, it’s still not enough for the hardliners

Neil Clark
Neil Clark

is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

As BoJo prepares Britain for another winter of Covid restrictions, it’s still not enough for the hardliners
The UK government’s ‘Winter Plan’ for Covid is likely to mean the attempted introduction of vaccine passports and more lockdowns. It’s all a far cry from the freedom we were promised would come with mass vaccination.

Suppose someone had told you back in March 2020, that, 18 months later, despite two-thirds of the population being double-vaccinated, Britain would be facing the prospect of another depressing autumn and winter of Covid restrictions and lockdowns? 

Well, there were people back then who warned such things would happen, that life would never be allowed to get back to the ‘old’ normal and that the governing, globalist elite was working to a different plan that had little to do with countering a virus. These people were denounced as ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘crackpots’. Yet, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s unveiling of yesterday’s ‘Winter Plan’ for England, it seems the ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘crackpots’ have got it right once again.

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Plan A is learning to live with Covid. But this doesn’t mean living totally normally. There will still be border restrictions. We’ll still be urged – some would say coerced – to get the booster jab and to have our kids vaccinated too (even though, less than a fortnight ago, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation didn’t recommend it). We’ll still be encouraged to wear masks in certain settings. 

Yet for all its downsides, life under Plan A is still better than the alternative, Plan B. This “toolkit” includes the return of mandatory masks, and the introduction of jab-only vaccine passports for large events, which could be extended to other gatherings too. And, most revealingly of all, further lockdowns are not ruled out, despite the disastrous impact they have had on both the economy and on society.

Let’s be clear what we are dealing with here: it’s psychological warfare on an industrial scale. The semblance of normality that Plan A gives us can be withdrawn at very short notice and Plan B – or parts of it – will be put into operation if ‘cases’ surge and the NHS comes under unsustainable pressure.” But the NHS comes under pressure every winter, meaning Plan B is actually Plan A. Plan B is clearly what the government really wants to implement, but Johnson knows that, to keep disgruntled Tory backbenchers on side, he can’t do so straightaway.

Hospitals are nearly always close to capacity in December and January. Inevitably, once the flu/cold season starts up again in October, and with mass testing still in place, we’ll see a rise in ‘cases’, which will then see Johnson reach for his “toolkit.” That will be preceded by the usual doomladen and ludicrously over-the-top predictions from ‘modellers’ and ‘advisers’ of what will happen if the Prime Minister fails to ‘act’.

‘Something must be done!’ will be the cry from those who will lose nothing financially from another lockdown.

In fact, the calls for an immediate return of restrictions have already begun. A headline on the BBC News website reads, “Hospital Covid cases may see big jump, say experts.” The piece refers to how the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) committee modelling “suggested” hospitalisation could reach 2,000 to 7,000 per day next month.

We’ve been here before. Lots of times. Only a few months ago, there were dire predictions from ‘modellers’ and ‘experts’ of what would happen if restrictions were lifted in England in July. A member of Independent SAGE – which is even more hardline than SAGE – said the UK could face cases of more than 100,000 a day if lockdown easing went ahead. Well, lockdown easing did go ahead, and guess what? Cases fell. From 43,910 cases (on a seven-day average) on July 16 to 23,002 by the end of the month.

We’re meant, though, to have the memory of a gnat and to have forgotten how wrong the ‘modellers’ have consistently been, and to be terrified once again by their latest ‘predictions’, which make Private Frazer of 1970s sitcom ‘Dad’s Army’ fame – whose catchphrase was “We’re doomed!” – sound like the world’s greatest optimist.

With all the sensationalist ‘cases set to surge this autumn unless restrictions are re-imposed’ headlines, I expect that, straight after next month’s Tory Party conference – and after the Coronavirus Act has been renewed for another six months – Johnson will reach for his “toolkit” and bring back mandatory masks. Then, a few weeks after that, it’ll be ‘accept jab-only vaccine passports or we’ll have to do another lockdown’.

But hang on a minute… weren’t the vaccines meant to put an end to all of this? “15 million jabs to freedom” was the famous headline in the Daily Mail last 27 December. Yet with 66% of the population double-vaxxed – and around 90% of those deemed the most ‘vulnerable’ having had their jabs – we have more ‘cases’ and deaths with Covid than we did this time last year, when no one was vaccinated. How come?

On ‘Good Morning Britain’, Richard Madeley, a proper ‘old-school’ journalist asked this emperor’s new clothes question to Dr Hilary Jones. Jones struggled to answer and kept muttering about cases being higher this year. But if the vaccines work so well, and so many people have been vaccinated, why are we even talking of having more restrictions this autumn and winter? Either the vaccines work or they don’t. If they work, then there’s no need to discuss restrictions. If they don’t, then why push them?

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The government line is we need more jabs and a “toolkit” of restrictions too. More lockdowns as a “last resort,” if cases surge, “to protect the NHS.” And vaccine passports too – without a negative-test or prior-infection option – even though we know the vaccines don’t prevent transmission.

Like the autumn and winter of 2020-21, this coming ‘winter of discontent’, of fear and dread, and restrictions being imposed or re-imposed at a moment’s notice, is meant to be our ‘new normal’. Which means his will only end when people realise it’s never meant to end. 

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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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