Better late then never!
Let me recap. Six months ago I reviewed the latest bit of terrorism to emerge from the government's Cobra bunker, courtesy of Alan Johnson, home secretary. Swine flu was allegedly ravaging the nation. The BBC was intoning nightly statistics on what "could" happen as "the deadly virus" took hold. The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, bandied about any figure that came into his head, settling on "65,000 could die", peaking at 350 corpses a day
(pulling numbers out of a hat?)
If anyone dared question this drivel, they were dismissed by Donaldson as "extremists". When people started reporting swine flu to be even milder than ordinary flu, he accused them of complacency and told them to "wait for next winter". He was already buying 32m masks and spending more than £1bn on Tamiflu and vaccines. Surgeries refused entry to those with flu symptoms, referring them to a government "hotline" where prescription drugs were ordered to be made available without examination or doctor's note. Who knows how many died of undiagnosed illness as a result? Lines were instantly jammed. It was pure, systematic government-induced panic – in which I accept that the media played its joyful part.
(reading through this I am wondering, is there a standard MO at work here,put out some outrageous fear mongering, pull numbers out of a hat, deride anyone who questions)
This week the authorities admitted that, far from a winter upturn in swine flu, there has been a slump. From 100,000 a week at the peak, there were just 12,000 last week. After the coldest winter for decades, when deaths might be expected to rise, the rate is below that of seasonal flu. In the UK, 360 people have died under its influence, most with prior "non-flu" conditions. Swine flu is not nice – I have had it – but bears no relation to the government hysteria.
Swine flu is not the first time we have suffered this nonsense. I have a stack of predictions by senior scientists on BSE/CJD in 1995.
(and it isn't going to be the last, so be on guard for this kind of fear mongering and profiteering)
This was followed by Sars 2003, a "panic gripping the world". The World Health Organisation declared that "One in four Britons could die". The medical doom-monger, Dr Patrick Dixon, said that Sars had "a 25% chance of killing tens of millions", whatever that meant. The madcap Tory health spokesman, Liam Fox, demanded the arrest and quarantining of all recent travellers from Asia, including 30,000 Asian students.
In the event, some 800 people died with Sars worldwide, against 21,000 who died in Britain in the seasonal flu epidemic of 1999/2000.
Undaunted, within a year the same alarmists were at work on avian flu. With now habitual hyperbole, Donaldson predicted 50,000 deaths, with "an upper limit", graciously conceded, of 750,000. When one dead swan slumped on a beach in Scotland, BBC reporters went crazy as inspectors stumbled through the seaweed, clad in anti-nuclear armour. Within a year the horror had passed. The global mortality was put at 262, with not one death in Britain. Another fiasco was brushed under the carpet.
Mad scientist syndrome is rampant. Had these scares been disseminated by a private firm, a local authority or a newspaper (as was anti-MMR), they would be damned from on high with demands that heads roll. As it is, the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies sails gaily on, still graced by the presence of Sir Roy Anderson, who happens also to draw a six-figure salary as a non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline, which made hundreds of millions from the government's panic. Anderson, and GSK, vigorously deny any conflict of
The Council of Europe's head of health, Wolfgang Wodarg, is one of the few who have dared blow the whistle on the links between "Big Pharma" and national and supranational agencies. He this week persuaded the council to stage a debate on the "enormous gains" made by GSK and others from the swine flu pandemic. He seeks details of relations between the companies and the WHO, given that stockpile contracts kick in the moment that organisation uses the word "pandemic". It did so for the first time last year, with reckless alacrity.
And finally we get to the end, that ties it all up, the collusion of scientists, governments and profit taking, massive profit taking, using fear as the common exploiter.
This is why people are ever more sceptical of scientists. Why should they believe what "experts" say when they can be so wrong and with such impunity? Weapons of mass destruction, lethal viruses, nuclear radiation, global warming … why should we believe a word of it?It is not just scientists, it is the whole ball of wax. Government, scientists, business, all colluding together to manipulate you out of your hard earned money