Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings from lockdown Sydney! After 128 cases (so far) contracted from a US airline crew, who passed it on to a driver, who passed it on to others, we have all been ‘locked down’. In Sydney terms that does not mean a great deal – other than billions being wiped off the economy. We can still go out whenever we want for the four reasons – shopping, exercise, healthcare and work (if you can’t do it from home) – wherever we want (as long as its in the city – which with loads of parks and 150 plus beaches is not exactly confinement), for as long as we want. Someone suggested that there is a fifth reason – to go out and take photos of people who shouldn’t be out and ‘dob’ on them! Actually, for me there is another one – I am allowed to visit people for ‘pastoral’ reasons! (If anyone wants a pastoral visit, give me a shout).
It’s not so much the lockdown that bothers – it’s the atmosphere of fear and dread that pervades the media and thus the populace. We have had no Covid deaths in Australia this year – we only have one person in ICU and 53 in hospital in the whole country (and nearly all of them are from overseas). We are incredibly blessed and yet still we moan, and still we panic. Given that the vaccine is ‘only’ 95% effective, given that the virus accidentally released from a Chinese biological lab was designed to gain added function and spread (hence the even more infectious Delta variant which is spreading even in vaccinated Israel and the Seychelles), we are at some point going to have to learn to live with this. On the day Sydney recorded 30 cases, Scotland recorded 3,000 and yet very few of these are in hospital. Sadly such has been the level of hype in Australia (as in the rest of the world) that our ‘covid zero’ policy – which is what in effect it is – will continue and will mean that we will be closed to the world for months if not years. Politicians and media combine to make such a policy ‘popular’ because it gives the illusion (and it is an illusion) that they are keeping us ‘safe’ Scott Morrison once used the phase ‘we can’t hide under the dooner’ (the duvet). But that is now precisely what we are now doing. Australia is wealthy enough to be able to afford to do that – but whether it only delays the inevitable, or is worth the cost in terms of personal relationships, lives and all the other reasons people die – is questionable.
Much to my surprise, after I wrote this I read this excellent article from Professor Gigi Foster (University of NSW) in the Sydney Morning Herald – Stop this Human Sacrifice – the Case Against Lockdowns.
For those unable to access it here are a few quotes:
“I deduce that total welfare is not the NSW government’s maximand. Consider that we are hearing disproportionately about counts of cases, rather than counts of people suffering symptoms or hospitalised. If we counted cases of all viruses that infect us, and treated them like the fearsome pestilence of the sort that COVID has been elevated to in the media, we would do nothing all day but hide under the bed. What matters is human suffering and death – not whether someone tests positive to a particular virus. “
“What is going on now is a political game. We the people are the human sacrifice being offered by NSW leadership on the altar of “saving lives” – when in fact there is no connection in a COVID world between shelter-in-place orders and lives saved. This has been confirmed in research released just this month by Virat Agarwal and co-authors from the National Bureau of Economic Research in the US. These authors examine data from all US states plus 43 countries around the world, looking for a positive link between shelter-in-place orders and excess deaths. They find no evidence of the foretold impact of lockdowns on reducing excess deaths, and some evidence of excess overall deaths rising in the weeks following the inception of lockdowns”
“What is going on here is not the fight of our lives against a fearsome pestilence. It is politicians willingly sacrificing their people’s welfare, hoping the people see their actions as a sufficient offering. It’s the modern analogue of killing virgins in the hope of getting a good harvest.We need to stop this madness. Right now, we need to focus our attention and protection on the people in our population who are actually vulnerable to serious effects of this virus. We need to buy medicines and establish treatment protocols that work to reduce the severity of COVID symptoms, while offering vaccinations to anyone in vulnerable groups who wants them – with no compulsion, and no tethering of population vaccination rates to border openings. The good news is that much of the world seems to be waking up to the fact that shelter-in-place directives are tantamount to a ritualistic human sacrifice. They’re losing their religion, slowly but surely. We can’t lose ours soon enough.”
These are my sentiments exactly. People are being sacrificed at the altar of politicians and technocrats egos and hubris. Whether it is those who want to show how macho they are by ignoring Covid, or those who want to show how macho they are by portraying themselves as the Covid dragon slayers. It all comes at a cost.
At a personal level I feel it. We were unable to get to our daughters wedding, our fifth grandchild is due and we won’t be able to visit; and worst of all, my father is seriously ill and it seems impossible to get home. I don’t blame the politicians for all of this – but they do bear a great responsibility – as do the media – whose shallow reporting adds to the hysteria. Meanwhile, there is a real human cost. I feel it. As do millions of others. Take for example the case of Mark Killan, a man who travelled from the US to Queensland to say goodbye to his dying father. Although Mark is fully vaccinated, Queensland health authorities have refused him permission to visit his dying father – four times. I can think of no other term for this than health fascism – someone in authority forgetting humanity and thinking only of their own ‘figures’.
Even as I type I am listening to a Queensland health spokesperson demanding that even tighter restrictions be placed on ‘foreigners’ coming into Australia. Build the wall! Isn’t it incredible how those who mocked and maligned Trump for his ‘build the wall’ comments are now the biggest and most enthusiastic wall builders in the world! I guess self-interest trumps ‘freedom’ or ‘concern for the poor. Refugees don’t matter if they could have covid. The Queensland press conference is so revealing and disturbing – more fear…more checks….everyone has to wear a mask – (even outdoors – although there is no evidence at all that wearing a mask outdoors does anything except depress people).
Another disturbing aspect of this is the sheer hypocrisy of so many of our politicians. None more so that ‘Lockdown’ Hancock, the UK health secretary, who thought it was ok for him to order people how to behave in their private lives – but not confirm his own to that standard. To me, it is a sad inditement of the state of British society that the media demand he go because of breaking his own rules, rather than for breaking his solemn vows – but that is where we are at. The hypocrisy of hiring a millionairess and having an affair with her is nauseating. But he’s not the only one. His boss is of the same mould. It seems as though breaking most, if not all, of the ten commandments, is almost a requirement of being in government! At least it is certainly no block. Hancock’s only mistake apparently was getting caught.
The wider hypocrisy is seen in these two photos. Firstly the official G7 one – the leaders all suitably distanced…posing for the cameras like a set for some dystopian movie! ‘Look how good we are…look how we observe social distancing..”
The second – unofficial – at the beach party where they drank and partied together – at the taxpayers expenses – with no masks, no social distancing…..Meanwhile in the rest of the UK all restrictions still applied for weddings and other events.
My feeling is that covid, like climate change is going to reveal, and increase, the gap between the rich and the poor; the elites will get wealthier and they will claim that they are doing it all for the sake of the plebes (and the planet). The politicians, technocrats and corporate elites will increase their power and wealth.
The ‘V’ word
I have to say ‘V’ because if I put Vaccine in the title – Facebook ‘flag me’ and start sending out warnings and ‘information’. That again is part of the hypocrisy – the Californian cyber elites think they have the right to police the world, and our speech – whilst fleecing us for as much money they can get. But on the vaccine front, Annabel is fully vaccinated (because she is a valuable social worker). I am not – because I am just a preacher of the Good News! I don’t think the vaccine is some kind of QAnon plot to take over the world, but neither do I think it is the panacea for the world’s ills, nor that there is not risks and costs. I will get my vaccine when it becomes available – but I note that over 4,000 fully vaccinated people in the US have died with covid (it’s not that massive a figure) and that the vaccine does not guarantee that you will not get covid or that you will not spread it – although it is far more effective than the current weapon of choice, facemasks – which are seen as the answer to everything and yet even SAGE say they are only at best 17% effective! The Psychology of Masks
Some of the opposition politicians here (and media) are moaning about the ‘slow’ vaccination rate. I can understand that – although 28.5% of the population have been vaccinated. But there seems to me to be a selfishness in much of these complaints. Every country in the world is wanting vaccines just now – and yet our politicians and media are screaming that we should have bought up even more. It’s strange how ‘look after your own first’ becomes a mantra of both Left and Right. I live in a country where no one has died from covid this year. I cannot imagine the horror that is Brazil, India or Indonesia – and I’m not sure that demanding that vaccines that could go to these countries should come to us NOW – is the right or just thing to do. Australia has a population of 25 million – it has ordered over 200 million vaccines. Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea, our nearest neighbours, who are much poorer and whose healthcare system is barely adequate, have 0.4% of their population with one dose. I look forward to Albanese and others demanding that we love our neighbours!
Living with Covid
So what can be done? In between shutting down our lives and letting the virus run riot, there are other possibilities. Take this from Singapore – which seems eminently sensible.
“A country that has been one of the world’s most successful at combating Covid-19 has announced it will soon fundamentally change how it manages the pandemic.The city state of Singapore has stated covid will be treated like other endemic diseases such as flu. There will be no goals of zero transmission. Quarantine will be dumped for travellers and close contact of cases will not have to isolate. It also plans to no longer announce daily case numbers.
But you may need to take tests to head to the shops or go to work.
Senior Singaporean ministers have said it is the “new normal” of “living with covid”.“The bad news is that Covid-19 may never go away. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst,” wrote Singapore’s trade Minister Gan Kim Yong, finance minister Lawrence Wong and health minister Ong Ye Kung said in an editorial in the Straits Times this week.“It means that the virus will continue to mutate, and thereby survive in our community.”
Our politicians should learn from Singapore. They need to understand that they can’t stop us dying – they cannot give us eternal life – only God can do that! But they can help us live better lives. We are not statistics. We are human beings made in the image of God, and we would like to live as such – not as statistics in a technocrats bar chart! They are God’s servants. It’s time they, and us remembered those truths.
Meanwhile I rejoice in following the King of Kings, I love living the life he has given me, and I look forward to being with my father in heaven. See you next week….
PS. Until the Sydney lockdown is lifted I won’t be shaving! Lets hope it’s a short beard!