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Covid inquiry taken over by Covidians


Mikhail Liebestein

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/06/17/the-covid-inquirys-verdict-already-seems-to-be-in-we-should/

The Covid inquiry’s verdict already seems to be in: we should’ve locked down even harder

Judging by its first week of hearings, it is going to fail in its duty to weigh up whether shutting down Britain did more harm than good

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There is only one thing the nation wants to know about the pandemic, only one question the UK Covid Inquiry should be asking. Did the lockdowns work? Were the enormities we suffered – the ruined educations, the bankruptcies, the missed cancer screenings, the mental illnesses – justified by a significantly reduced death rate? Did the policy of confining people to their homes save more people than it killed? And if so, how many more?

Before the first evidence session last week, the lawyers and officials running the inquiry had already worked their leisurely way through around £100 million. By way of contrast, during the 18 months since Baroness Hallett was first appointed as chair, Sweden opened and concluded its official investigations, digested the results and moved on.

The inefficiency of the British process vis-à-vis the Swedish one is telling. The pandemic made two things pitilessly clear about this country. First, our standing bureaucracies are useless; second, however badly officials perform, politicians always get the blame. Recall, for example, how the repeated failures of NHS procurement and Public Health England were attributed, with a neat semantic sidestep, to “the government”.

It already seems clear that the inquiry, which finally creaked and rattled into life on Tuesday, is taking a similar approach. That, though, is not the worst of it. The worst of it is that, by framing the investigation as, in effect, “did these useless politicians prepare properly?” Lady Hallett and her team are missing the far bigger issue of whether non-pharmaceutical interventions were the right policy tool.

This matters because, sooner or later, there will be another pandemic, and the conclusions of this inquiry will shape our response to it. Just as, after the Iraq war, the Civil Service became obsessed with being Chilcott-compliant, now it will fret about being Hallett-compliant.

There is an urgent need to cross-examine the idea of lockdown and its associated restrictions. How did the models on which the closures were based compare to real-world data? Did skewed incentives push officials into excessive authoritarianism? Did scientists’ predictions match the actual development of the disease? Did facemasks work? Did closing schools make a difference? Were we right to insist on vaccinating young people who had already acquired natural immunity?

All these questions need to be properly tested. I have my hunches, as I’m sure you do. But one thing I learned writing columns about Covid is that, on many of the above questions, it is possible to find respectable, good-faith academic studies coming to diametrically opposed conclusions.

That is why we need proper hearings, where the SAGE advisors and leading epidemiologists are closely questioned. Otherwise, we risk going into the next panic with a policy whose efficacy has been assumed rather than demonstrated.
Sadly, the opportunity looks like it will be lost. That much became apparent when the first batch of questions – several of them polemical rather than interrogative – was sent to ministers.

Why were facemasks not mandated from the start? Were social distancing rules strict enough? Why did Boris Johnson meet Evgeny Lebedev? (I’m going to take a wild guess here and go with “because there was an pandemic on, and he was a newspaper proprietor.”) Did the PM really use the phrase “let the bodies pile high”?

These are questions one expects from Piers Morgan or Beth Rigby, not from a former Court of Appeal judge. It appears that the inquiry is going to turn into a prolonged version of one of those imbecilic Downing Street briefings when, instead of asking about the nature of the disease or the efficacy of the responses, broadcasters lined up with babyish gotchas along the lines of “Aha! But haven’t you just contradicted your Minister for Widgets?”

We learned last week that witnesses to the inquiry, as well as staff, will be required to take lateral flow tests. At first, I thought the report was a spoof. Covid-19 is an endemic disease, for heaven’s sake. Testing for it makes no more sense than testing for measles. Yet the inquiry solemnly tells us: “Though the UK government no longer requires people to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19, we are asking those who test positive to stay away from the hearings.”

There is a reason the UK Government, along with every other government in the world, dropped the self-isolation rule. The coronavirus has spread through the population, becoming milder in the process. It will come back every winter, along with the Spanish Flu virus, the Asian Flu virus, and hundreds of other rhinoviruses, adenoviruses and, indeed, coronaviruses that we now call “colds”.

Yet the people running the inquiry believe – or at least affect to believe – that it must be treated differently from other diseases. Such people, I put it to you, are unlikely to spend much time exploring the possibility that the restrictions were excessive.

Sure enough, proceedings on the first day were farcical. The counsel representing the bereaved families wondered whether NHS underfunding had contributed to the crisis (never mind that spending on the NHS had been rising). The inquiry’s chief lawyer, Hugo Keith KC, seemed to suggest that ministers’ focus on Brexit had distracted them from working out a pandemic strategy.

Never mind the evidence that things would have been worse without no-deal contingency planning. The fact is that we had a pandemic strategy. That strategy had been worked out in detail in cooler-headed times, and was based on a controlled spread of such a virus until enough of us had acquired natural immunity. The real question is why we were panicked out of following it.

Sweden, which borrowed Britain’s pandemic plan and then stuck to it, ended up with one of the lowest excess-mortality rates – according to an extrapolation from OECD data, the lowest rate – in the developed world in 2020 and 2021.

Naturally, the inquiry has thus far displayed not the slightest interest in Sweden. Instead, it asks Johnson whether he had considered “taking more stringent measures in response to Covid-19 such as those seen in, for example, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand etc?” I think we can all see where this is headed.

Regular readers will know that I always thought the closures unjustified. I loathed the way the burden of proof was reversed, so that those of us who opposed the unprecedented policy of house arrest were expected to show that our approach wasn’t dangerous. Nothing I have learned since has changed my mind.

Then again, maybe I am missing something. Maybe the alternatives would have been worse. Maybe letting exams go ahead, or letting people sit on park benches, or taking the padlocks off playgrounds, would have had some monstrous impact. If so, then let’s hear why – because we sure as hell never heard any serious argument for these policies at the time.

The experts need to prove their case. Brandishing their credentials doesn’t work any more. We heard them contradict themselves over herd immunity, then over facemasks. We watched Neil Ferguson, whose work was so influential in encouraging ministers to impose lockdown on the rest of us, break the rules to pursue an affair. We read the letter by 1,288 epidemiologists and public health officials saying that, although everyone must stay home, it was different if they felt like going out to join a Black Lives Matter protest.

Boris Johnson called the Privileges Committee a kangaroo court. I won’t say the same of the UK Covid Inquiry, not least because it lacks the two very real advantages of that type of tribunal, namely speed and economy. But it does look horribly as if it has reached its verdict before the cross-examinations begin.

 

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Yeah looks like as usual really need

an inquiry into the inquiry !

 

It begins with assumptions like the virus exists etc etc 

So conclusions will be do better next time.  ie worse!

or perhaps following eg Tony's idea WEF Davos etc of

digital health id system which was the plan all along!

But don't question anything fundamental about contagion theory etc

 

Will it mention the actual harm the experimental mRNA "vaccines" are doing as there is lots of empirical evidence 

 

Edited by Talorgan
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3 minutes ago, Talorgan said:

Yeah looks like as usual really need an inquiry into the inquiry

It begins with assumptions like the virus exists etc etc 

So conclusions will be do better next time.  ie worse!

or perhaps following eg Tony's idea WEF Davos etc of

digital health id system ,

But don't question anything fundamental about contagion theory etc

 

They are even making participants attending  take Lateral Flow Tests before giving evidence.

 

Sounds rather self selecting!!!!

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In fairness the inquiry is being perfectly run. The points they are debating are the correct points to debate. The things they ignore are pointless discussion that will derail the inquiry.

That is, if you want all WEF plans to come to fruition. Next “pandemic” will be straight from the China playbook.

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Let's hope more of the  population wakes up before then , surely must 

start questioning this inquiry itself in their own minds so they aren't caught out again with the next Scamdemic when/if  it arrives 

 

 

 

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On 6/18/2023 at 6:50 AM, Mikhail Liebestein said:

Regular readers will know that I always thought the closures unjustified. I loathed the way the burden of proof was reversed, so that those of us who opposed the unprecedented policy of house arrest were expected to show that our approach wasn’t dangerous. Nothing I have learned since has changed my mind.

 

Then again, maybe I am missing something. Maybe the alternatives would have been worse. Maybe letting exams go ahead, or letting people sit on park benches, or taking the padlocks off playgrounds, would have had some monstrous impact. If so, then let’s hear why – because we sure as hell never heard any serious argument for these policies at the time.

 

The experts need to prove their case.  Brandishing their credentials doesn’t work any more. We heard them contradict themselves over herd immunity, then over facemasks. We watched Neil Ferguson, whose work was so influential in encouraging ministers to impose lockdown on the rest of us, break the rules to pursue an affair. We read the letter by 1,288 epidemiologists and public health officials saying that, although everyone must stay home, it was different if they felt like going out to join a Black Lives Matter protest.

 

 

Thanks I enjoyed this by Daniel Hannan, I haven't read him before. 'Back then' I was trying to find journalists who felt the way he did, and there were very few, but I hope they are remembered, they need to be.

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As suspected, Convid Inquiry manages to make the measures taken be seen as not enough. Not enough lockdowns and not locked down quickly enough.

 

Longer and wider lockdowns needed.

 

And Handcock is really, really sorry about the all the people who were killed under the guise of Covid. Sorry, who died of covid. Sorry I forget it existed.

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  • 1 month later...

The Covid Inquiry has now been accused of silencing the concern of children:

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/08/14/covid-inquiry-silencing-children-claim-charities/

 

Covid Inquiry ‘silencing’ children, charities claim

Young people must not be ignored, warn leading experts in letter to Baroness Hallett

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Children are being silenced by the Covid Inquiry and must not be ignored, more than 40 leading charities and experts have warned.

Save the Children UK and the NSPCC are among the groups that have come together to write to Baroness Hallet, the chairman of the inquiry, to demand an explanation for “unacceptable delays” in examining the impact of the pandemic on young people.

They also raise concerns that children are unable to submit statements about their experience of the pandemic to the inquiry, unlike over-18s who have been invited to do so.

It comes despite mounting evidence of the negative effects of lockdown on children, with a recent study revealing that restrictions damaged the emotional development of almost half of children.

‘Children are not an afterthought’

Dan Paskins, director of UK impact at Save the Children, said Baroness Hallett must urgently hear evidence on the impact of government decisions on pupils.

“Children are being silenced by this inquiry,” he said. 

“They must not be ignored. Despite repeated promises from chair, the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett, that she would urgently ensure children’s memories are captured and that the issue matters to her, no measures are in place to make this happen.

“Children are not an afterthought or an inconvenience in this inquiry process. Their lives were turned upside down by government decisions and any barriers in the way of them having their say need to be removed immediately.”

The impact of the pandemic on children was initially omitted from the scope of the inquiry, but Baroness Hallett committed to examining it after the issue was brought to light by The Telegraph.

However, the six modules that have been announced so far do not cover this, and no timetable has been given for any investigation into the impact of the pandemic on children. Baroness Hallett is therefore not expected to hear evidence on this until 2025 or 2026.

The inquiry has so far spent £40 million after hearing just 23 days of evidence.

It has taken a two-month break before it will hear evidence in the autumn on its second module, on political and government decision-making.

Sir Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said the inquiry must act now to avoid millions of children being “defined by the pandemic”.

“Children’s needs often went under the radar during the pandemic but we heard first-hand through Childline and the NSPCC Helpline about its devastating impact on many young people, particularly those subjected to abuse and neglect,” he said.

“Many of the children who suffered the most did so because they were hidden from those who could help them. 

“It’s crucial the Covid Inquiry finally gives young people a voice so we can fully understand the support and services required to avoid a generation of children being defined by the pandemic.”

Lockdown ‘damaged a generation’

In the letter, the signatories – who also include the Children’s Rights Alliance for England and the National Children’s Bureau – accuse Baroness Hallett of having no strategy for hearing the evidence of children.

“We are writing to express our increasing and ongoing concern about the absence of a clear and public strategy and approach for listening to children and young people, especially those who experience inequalities or discrimination,” says the letter.

The signatories demand that Baroness Hallett makes a commitment to hear from children, bring in experts to take their evidence, and make clear when it will listen to children.

The Inquiry has spent £1.6 million on an advertising campaign including billboards and radio bulletins for its “listening exercise”, Every Story Matters.

However, the signatories point out that it emphasises that “all stories should be told by those who wish to tell them. But not children’s stories”.

The website for Every Story Matters, where the public can submit evidence, has no provision for under-18s.

The charities say they have been raising their concerns for nine months, but that the Inquiry still has no plan on how to include children.

“Every Story Matters has been launched without a plan for how to involve children,” says the letter. 

“Neither the website nor the advertising campaign makes any mention that this is an adult-only activity.

“Children are nearly a quarter of the population. This is not a nationwide listening exercise without them.”

Baroness Hallett was appointed as chairman in December 2021 by Boris Johnson, the then prime minister, but the inquiry only started hearing evidence this summer.

During its first module, which ended in July and examined pandemic preparedness, the Inquiry heard evidence from Dame Sally Davies, the former chief medical officer, who warned that lockdown has “damaged a generation” of children and said there must be plans to help them recover.

However, the children’s groups argue the inquiry could not make appropriate future recommendations without hearing evidence from children.

The charities warn: “In this inquiry you will be considering those plans that Dame Sally referred to, and how we protect future generations of children from suffering a repeat of the damage that was inflicted on our children when the next pandemic happens.

“You will need to hear stories from children to fully understand that damage, socially, mentally and academically and to hear what they have lost.”

A major study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the University College London Institute of Education, surveying more than 6,000 parents in England, found that lockdown damaged the emotional development of almost half of children.

Published earlier this month, it revealed that parents said their children appeared more worried, lost confidence more easily, and were more prone to tantrums and low moods after the Covid lockdowns.

Government figures have also revealed how secondary school pupils are increasingly missing from the classroom as the legacy of restrictions continues to impact children.

The unprecedented decision to close schools was one of the most controversial decisions of the pandemic  

 

Louise King, director of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, part of Just for Kids Law, said Baroness Hallett could not ignore children as more studies uncovered the damage of lockdown.

“Hearing from children is now a critical issue for the proper functioning of the Covid Inquiry and these delays have gone on long enough,” she said.

“We can’t sit by while more stories emerge of the pandemic’s impact on children without hearing from them directly and getting their views and personal experiences on record.”

A spokesman for the inquiry said: “The inquiry is being delivered through modules. The first modules will build a picture of the pandemic – looking at how prepared the UK was for a pandemic and why certain decisions were made. 

“The inquiry is structured in this way to ensure each issue is investigated with sufficient depth whilst allowing the inquiry to make progress.

“Inquiry chairman Baroness Hallett is committed to investigating the impacts on children and young people – including health, well-being and social care – and will do so as soon as possible. 

“It is one of a number of topics which the inquiry must investigate that are set out in our terms of reference.”

.

 

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Blah blah blah.

 

Pen pushers will pen push. We foot the bill.

 

People were relentlessly scared into compliance under duress, duped into having stuff injected into their systems that is already killing them off, kids were traumatised for life and forced to stay home and have disgusting facemasks over their mouths, and to have everyone else wearing them too. They've sown the seeds of god knows how much trauma-based mental disorders and dysfunction.

 

And all for......

 

A great big, stinking lie.

 

But nevermind, let's stock up on that whitewash.

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On 8/15/2023 at 11:44 PM, Anti Facts Sir said:

Blah blah blah.

 

Pen pushers will pen push. We foot the bill.

 

People were relentlessly scared into compliance under duress, duped into having stuff injected into their systems that is already killing them off, kids were traumatised for life and forced to stay home and have disgusting facemasks over their mouths, and to have everyone else wearing them too. They've sown the seeds of god knows how much trauma-based mental disorders and dysfunction.

 

And all for......

 

A great big, stinking lie.

 

But nevermind, let's stock up on that whitewash.

 

 

May be we should take advantage of the Hollywood writers strike, and create a Netflix sitcom based on the inquiry?

 

A host of amplified charactures?

 

Certainly, the US has recognised it is a farce:

 

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/06/17/uk/uk-covid-inquiry-is-a-political-circus-intl-cmd-gbr/index.html

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22 minutes ago, Mikhail Liebestein said:

 

 

May be we should take advantage of the Hollywood writers strike, and create a Netflix sitcom based on the inquiry?

 

A host of amplified charactures?

 

Certainly, the US has recognised it is a farce:

 

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/06/17/uk/uk-covid-inquiry-is-a-political-circus-intl-cmd-gbr/index.html

 

 

Prof Kristov Shitty

Matt Handcock

 

....

except would they be charactures?

 

 

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