‘History will be kind to Prof Ferguson, his ‘suppression’ strategy came too late for the UK economy but saved thousands of lives.’
Who wrote this bilge? His mother? His married, climate change activist lover in the boudoir of a £1.9 million South London residence?
Why no, astonishingly these are the words of Paul Nuki, Global Health Security Editor, writing in the former conservative newspaper the Telegraph.
Now, my purpose on this occasion isn’t to have a go at the Telegraph in particular: all the other Fleet Street newspapers are just as bad.
Rather it’s to ask a question about a more generalised problem: how is the disastrous policymaking being pursued by the Boris Johnson administration (and many other governments beside) ever going to be averted or held to account by a mainstream media which continues to ask all the wrong questions and which operates according to the falsest of assumptions?
Specifically in this case I’m querying this Global Health Security Editor’s quite ludicrous false assumption that Neil Ferguson — aka ‘Professor Pantsdown’, aka ‘the Bonking Boffin’ — has nothing to be ashamed of apart from his hypocrisy and his sexual incontinence.
Apparently Nuki has either not read — or deliberately overlooked — the latest shocking chapter in the Neil Ferguson saga: a brutal analysis, by a computer programmer, of the Imperial College pandemic model that earned Ferguson his other nickname, ‘Professor Lockdown’.
Here’s its conclusion:
All papers based on this code should be retracted immediately. Imperial’s modelling efforts should be reset with a new team that isn’t under Professor Ferguson, and which has a commitment to replicable results with published code from day one.
On a personal level, I’d go further and suggest that all academic epidemiology be defunded.
Could hardly be more damning, could it? And let’s be clear: this isn’t just some one-off critic with an axe to grind. Rather, it’s the latest example of what amounts cumulatively to a total shredding of Ferguson’s work and reputation.
Let’s be even clearer: it is now surely well past the point of reasonable doubt that Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College study is a busted flush — entirely unfit for purpose.
Yet it is on the basis of this study that Britain instituted its lockdown.
If the study is worthless then so — potentially — is the lockdown policy. In this light, it is simply not good enough for Boris’s government to carry on as if nothing has changed, as if it’s business as usual and everything is going to plan.
Something very dramatic has changed: that something is the entire ‘scientific’ basis of the government’s strategy.
At the moment, the Boris administration’s response to this embarrassment has been to cover up, double down, and come up with some vaguely plausible fudge about how the lockdown has to continue (or only be relaxed in increments) because of something called the ‘second wave.’
But the ‘second wave’ is a theory, derived in part on what happened during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. It’s almost as close to guesswork as that Imperial College study. Yet here is the government treating it as so certain and so potentially dangerous that it prefers the option of wrecking the economy even more than it has, just in case.
Among those who share my concern is Sherelle Jacobs:
Having petrified the public to the point where it is overwhelmingly against lifting lockdown, keen to avoid ethical arguments over lives versus livelihoods, and mindful of its failure to rapidly create the infrastructure that would allow the immune or the low-risk to return to normal life, No 10 is determined to lift lockdown as little and as slowly as possible. But by failing to open up schools quickly enough and by enforcing an arbitrary two metre rule (stricter than Germany, France and Spain) we risk pursuing the most commercially ruinous social distancing strategy in Europe.
This is presented to us as necessary to prevent the “second wave”, which most people now believe is inevitable. But is there evidence for that? The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford has found that beyond cyclical theories around influenza we know little about whether pandemics follow distinctive patterns at all, and “making absolute statements of certainty about ‘second waves’ is unwise”.
Since she’s writing this in the Telegraph, you might argue that this undermines my case about how poor the mainstream media is at challenging the official narrative.
But I don’t think it does: all the voices you currently see or hear in the mainstream media questioning the lockdown, wondering whether this pandemic is anywhere near as deadly as we’re told, querying the influence of Bill Gates with his vaccine agenda, questioning the trustworthiness of official experts like Dr Fauci and the SAGE committee are licensed mavericks. Or, if you prefer, controlled opposition.
Their opinions are not representative of where the newspapers’ news reporting is. The MSM continues to ramp up the hysteria about the deadliness of the virus, to endorse the lockdown and to parrot the official line that it cannot be business as usual until Bill Gates’s Big Pharma chums get their profitable vaccine ready.
We are, I believe, in the middle of what my friend Toby Young describes as a ‘world-historical blunder’.
The evidence mounts on a daily basis that locking down whole populations in the hope of “flattening the curve” was a catastrophic error, perhaps the worst policy mistake ever committed by Western governments during peacetime.
Yes, indeed. Far too much attention at the moment is being paid by the media to the relatively trivial issue of whether governments around the world could and should have acted earlier.
But that’s water under the bridge (or, at least, is best left to future enquiries). What matters much, much more now is for governments to fess up to the terrible mistakes they’ve made based on the dodgy ‘science’ of serial losers like Neil Ferguson and to start treating us like grown ups who can be trusted with the truth.