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Bring out your dead

On Saturday August 29, thousands of people gathered together in Trafalgar Square to protest government policy over Covid-19 and its implications for the future of mankind. Months of confusion, mixed messages and inept handling has resulted in an atmosphere of fear and alienation, and a threat to worldwide security the like of which has never before been seen.

How did we get to this stage?

Back in January, the first stirrings were heard about a virus suspected of being as deadly as the Bubonic Plague. Scientists lent their voices and academic credibility to the claims, and a general panic ensued. The origins of the virus was thought to be Wuhan, a city in China, where dubious practices in animal markets gave rise to mounting speculation that this was the primary cause.

Italy, France and Spain were the first to take the extreme and unprecedented measure of placing the entire population under mandatory quarantine – a policy now referred to globally as ‘lockdown’, a prison term used to describe the emergency confinement of inmates.

Video footage of city streets emptied of people and devoid of life were transmitted around the globe, as the full impact of the lockdown became known. To keep up their spirits, residents of tower blocks sang songs from their balconies and formed a unique community spirit as the virus took hold and kept the population under seige.

In England, the Prime Minister resisted the call to follow suit, and instead urged the electorate to take precautionary measures, such as self-isolating and maintaining the previously unheard of action of ‘social distancing’, a term which has since become a part of the international lexicon.

Then, on March 23, came the order to lockdown, a decision which many experts claim had come too late, as the virus had already taken hold, infecting a high percentage of the population. The streets of Britain resembled those of other countries, where in place of vibrant commerce and teeming life, there now existed a post-apocalyptic wasteland that could have been the set of a Hollywood disaster movie.

On June 24, the UK government announced that the wearing of face masks would be mandatory in shops and supermarkets. Certain exemptions would be made for those with preexisting health conditions, but the majority would be expected to comply, or face the possibility of fines of up to £3,200.

The mainstream media, behind the government from the outset, continued to broadcast news and information in keeping with the official line, either ignoring or ridiculing any alternative views wherever or whoever they may have come from. A few lone voices did speak out, challenging the accepted dogma, and were promptly and systematically attacked for being divisive and misinforming the public.

The term ‘conspiracy theorist’ has always been associated with cranks and extremists, those with paranoid tendencies who would seek to read trouble into every political scenario and use it to fuel their own agenda. In the case of Covid-19, however, the label has come to include anyone with an alternative view – including scientists, healthcare experts and journalists who have questioned the government’s policies.

Ex-Supreme Court judge, Lord Jonathan Sumption, spoke out against what he considered to be draconian policing methods during the lockdown. He also questioned the infringement of civil liberties resulting from the enforceable imprisonment of people in their own homes.

A significant body of opposition grew in the scientific and academic community, but their views were ignored by the mainstream media and ridiculed by the organisations that funded their research. Many were sacked and struck off for daring to speak out, and subsequently marginalised in their chosen professions.

The death rates for Covid-19 have been perhaps the most contentious subject of all. Predicted figures from the initial outbreak suggested a lethal and highly-resistant virus that would sweep through the towns and cities, culling its inhabitants and leaving whole families distraught.

In the 14th century, the Black Death swept through the Middle East and into Europe through trade routes, resulting in a 60-percent reduction in the European population; to put this into some perspective, the pandemic claimed the lives of half the population of London. A familiar cry of ‘Bring out your dead’ was heard on the streets, as the cart went round to collect the infected bodies.

According to a variety of sources, flu currently kills more people than Covid-19. To add to the confusion, some experts, among them retired pathologist Dr John Lee, have criticised the way death statistics have been reported. He says that current methods are unreliable and don’t reflect actual deaths from Covid-19 accurately.

No matter how the deaths are reported, one thing cannot be disputed. The pandemic that was predicted in January has failed to live up to expectations. Communities have been impacted more by government restrictions than by the virus itself. Restrictions on movement, loss of businesses and the mandatory wearing of face masks – in spite of a reduction in the number of Covid cases – have left many people confused and angry, compelled to ask questions.

Saturday’s protest at Trafalgar Square wasn’t just about the restrictions brought about by the virus, but was aimed to address the wider issues of civil rights abuses and mismanagement of power. David Icke – himself no stranger to ridicule because of his ‘conspiracy theories’ – attended the gathering as a speaker. He quoted Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ as examples of what could happen if things get out of control.

The protesters were also reminded that the real source of power remains in the hands of the masses, who make up 99-percent of the total population, compared to the 1-percent who make up the ruling elite. Should they choose to make their opinions known in a focused and determined way, ordinary people can insist that changes be made, and hold their leaders accountable for errors of judgement.

On June 25, an estimated half a million people descended on beaches along the South Coast, defying pleas for them to stay away. There were no masks and no social distancing, as huge crowds stripped off and enjoyed the sunshine. All the authorities could do was stand back and watch, reprimanding them later through the media.

This was an example of people power, a perverse kind of mob rule, with no agenda other than the pursuit of pleasure. Similar, too, the illegal raves organised by young people intent on hedonism. Roman emperors understood the power of the mob and did their best to placate it. Capricious and changeable like the weather, it could easily rise up and topple them from their lofty perches.

Pandemics are devastating. They sweep through entire nations and claim countless lives. But some good often comes as a result. The Black Death brought about an end to the feudal system, enabling peasants to gain more rights. Covid-19, while not being anywhere near as lethal as its 14th century predecessor, may still be the catalyst in major societal change – if enough people are willing to stand up and speak out against restrictive and unnecessary government policies.

The future is yours, if you choose to invest in it.

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