Boris Johnson’s science advisers have released a scary new graph designed to terrify the British populace into accepting a second lockdown.
Apparently — at least according to Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Science Adviser Patrick Vallance — if we’re not careful Britain will be in danger of nearly 50,000 new Chinese coronavirus by mid-October.
But not everyone is persuaded by these prognostications of imminent doom.
'This is not a prediction' is not cover for publishing a graph like this without taking questions, and essentially laying out further restrictions on the public's liberties that are expected to be formally announced by politicians imminently. pic.twitter.com/JmPnOad7cQ
— Kate Andrews (@KateAndrs) September 21, 2020
I share this scepticism towards what some are describing as the latest update of Project Fear — and which others are calling Boris’s Hockey Stick. My suspicion is that — just like the discredited Hockey Stick chart invented by the dodgy professor Michael Mann — it is an artefact that has much more to do with propaganda than honest science.
Mann’s Hockey Stick, you’ll recall, was the graph widely cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Third Assessment Report to illustrate the dangerous, supposedly man-made, rise in global temperatures. Late 20th-century warming — as seen on Mann’s chart — rocketed upwards much as those projected Chinese coronavirus cases do on the Whitty/Vallance Propagandochart.
But hardly anyone — not even the most desperate green activists — cite the Hockey Stick these days because it has been roundly debunked, among others by Canadians Steve McIntyre and Ross McKittrick. The Hockey Stick was what is known in colloquial English as ‘bent as a nine bob note’ — or indeed ‘dodgy as fuck’. First, the data on which it was based was very limited: the uptick at the end was the result of the overemphasis of just one tree, a bristlecone pine, widely acknowledged to be an unreliable indicator of historic climate change. Second, the algorithms used by Mann were, to say the least, partial.
As Andrew Montford put it in his book The Hockey Stick Illusion:
This meant it didn’t matter what data you put into Mann’s algorithm, if there was one series within it that had a hockey-stick shape, there is a strong chance that, depending on the number of other series, a hockey-stick graph would emerge as the result. The algorithm was heavily weighted in favour of hockey sticks. It effectively disregarded any data that conflicted with, or contradicted, the hockey-stick finding.
It’s the reason why several of the most sceptical voices on Chinese coronavirus — for example, Peter Hitchens in the UK, Marc Morano and Tony Heller in the US, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones in Australia — also happen to be very outspoken climate sceptics.
They’ve seen how much bad policy, how much posturing and hysteria, has been caused by climate scientists’ dodgy — and fundamentally dishonest — computer models. And they see exactly the same thing happening with Covid-19.
The Neil Ferguson fiasco at the beginning of the scare should have been a dire warning. Here was a discredited computer model with a long track record of failed — and massively costly — predictions.
As I reported back in May:
Ferguson’s form, as LockdownSceptics notes, is not impressive:
- In 2005, Neil Ferguson told the Guardian that up to 200 million people could die from bird flu. “Around 40 million people died in 1918 Spanish flu outbreak,” he explained. “There are six times more people on the planet now so you could scale it up to around 200 million people probably.” The final death toll from avian flu strain A/H5N1 was 440. (That’s 440 people, not 440 million.)
- In 2002, the same Professor Ferguson predicted that mad cow disease could kill up to 50,000 people. Thankfully, it ended up killing less than 200.
He won’t even release the original code used for the Imperial College modelling that predicted 500,000 deaths from coronavirus – and which frightened Boris Johnson into his U-turn on lockdown.
Now the UK is being softened up for yet another economically destructive lockdown on the basis of similarly dubious modelling.
At a press conference, a grim-faced Whitty and Vallance warned that Britain’s Covid crisis was far from over, warned that ’92 percent of us are still highly vulnerable to Covid’ (presumably they think we haven’t heard of T-Cell immunity) and implied that anyone not playing their Emperor’s New Clothes game would be guilty of killing granny.
Collectivism. The battle cry of every dictator in history. https://t.co/XvaA9avH7w
— Simon Dolan #KBF (@simondolan) September 21, 2020
Perhaps the latest scaremongering will work and the British public will be persuaded this time, as they were before, that Coronavirus remains sufficiently great a threat to justify the destruction of people’s freedoms and livelihoods.
But the resistance is growing — including from some unlikely quarters.
Which Covid-sceptical Brexiteer, for example, would ever have imagined that their arch-nemesis Baroness Hale — the former Supreme Court head with the spider brooch who worked so hard to try to thwart Brexit — would now become something akin to their heroine?
Lady Hale – like her fellow distinguished lawyer Jonathan Sumption — is concerned about the undemocratic nature of the rash of laws imposed on Britain, without parliamentary scrutiny, under the Coronavirus Act 2020.
As the Guardian reports:
The former president of the supreme court says parliament “surrendered” its role over emergency laws restricting freedoms amid the coronavirus pandemic, in an intervention expected to embolden MPs threatening a Commons revolt.
Lady Hale, who retired in January after becoming the first woman to lead the supreme court in 2017, is critical of the way health regulations were imposed on the public with little or no parliamentary scrutiny.
The Coronavirus Act 2020, passed in March, gave government “sweeping” powers alongside other “draconian” regulations, and “it is not surprising the police were as confused as the public as to what was law and what was not”, she says in an opening essay for a collection published on Monday and seen by the Guardian.
There’s trouble brewing in Britain. The resistance to the disastrous Boris Johnson administration’s Coronavirus policies — at once, haphazard and draconian — is growing.
This is not going to end prettily, either for Boris Johnson or for those associated with his botched, eye-wateringly expensive, and socially crippling policy-making.