COVID-19: Conspiracy, Opportunism or Both?
January 3, 2022.
COVID-19…an affliction that raises the emotions somewhat, doesn’t it? And the hackles as well, whatever side of the divide you are on, or even if you straddle the fence and see which way the wind blows. What almost everybody can agree on however is that COVID-19 has become the biggest issue the world has faced since the 1930s and 1940s.
Above - Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets US President Joe Biden at COP 26
More correctly, government response to COVID-19 has become the big issue. Whether the disease is real or not, the reaction to it of those who lead us has been questioned, first by those who demand more and more restrictions, second by those who want the opposite. At the heart of this is the reality of the condition and how deadly it may be or may not be.
In any review or commentary, it is probably best to start at the beginning and look there before doing anything else. COVID-19 is real. I know, I know, that goes directly against those who say it is a hoax. Nevertheless, it is a real disease. What it is not is a virus. It is a disease caused by a virus.
I am repeating myself here but let’s go over it again (especially for those politicians who consistently – through factual ignorance or deliberate mis-speaking - keep banging on about ‘this virus’. For goodness sake politicos! Get it right!)
The virus is SARS-CoV-2 and it can have minimal or no effect or it can cause a disease – COVID-19.
For many people, contracting a virus of any kind can have no effect at all as the body’s own immune system handles it rather well. If it didn’t we as a species would be long gone. For others any virus can lead to more serious conditions. Some suffer mildly, others more drastically. For some unfortunate souls, the end game is contracting a disease. And some diseases can be fatal.
That’s the bare bones. Again let’s try to be as objective as possible and keep things as simple as possible (most definitely for politicians!). We are talking about one specific virus, SARS-CoV-2 and one specific result of that virus, the disease COVID-19.
From the start of all the hoo-hah, there has been one consistent message; that most people badly affected by COVID-19 are those of more mature years and those who are known to already have a variety of other medical conditions which are exacerbated by COVID-19. In both instances the body’s immune system is affected so natural resistance is low, hence the possibility of deterioration and death.
For the majority of people however, COVID-19 is not fatal and can be similar in effect to a cold (which it isn’t – just similar). Either a bad one or a mild one; it varies and does so because we as people are all different.
Why then, the hysteria? Why the global lock-and-shutdowns?
This is where it can get a little more complicated. There are two schools of thought; the first is that it’s all a hoax and a deliberate course of action on the part of the global super-elite to put in place the so-called ‘Great Reset’. The second is that what’s been happening around the world is nothing more than panic and the need by politicians to be seen to be doing something, to be seen as ‘strong and decisive’.
Or could it be something else? Or even a combination of the two? I can only offer my own opinion here and readers can, and will, form their own. You can agree or disagree as you please but for what it may be worth, here it comes:
Bill Gates, seen by some as a prime mover behind an elaborate hoax over COVID-19
First a factual reminder, the hoax part; COVID-19 is not a hoax. It is a real disease caused by a real virus. And as I have written before elsewhere (as well as in this article above), it won’t kill anybody. What COVID-19 will do is trigger something else, like those underlying conditions we know about.
It can also trigger conditions we don’t know about and it is both these that kill, rather than COVID-19 itself. However, COVID-19 is highly contagious – it spreads very rapidly and remarkably large numbers of people can get it. Then again, so does the common cold and so does Flu. But remember, the three are different, even though the symptoms – the runny noses, sneezes, coughs, sore throats, clogged chests and so on – are alike.
It is also worth reminding ourselves that there are a host of other conditions that can trigger further illnesses that can kill. Flu is, once again, an obvious one and if as a result, one contracts pneumonia, one can die - and untold numbers of people have. But none of the myriad of other illnesses, no matter how fatal, has resulted in what we have seen since early 2020, with freedoms routinely removed and orders from the state to cover our faces.
So if the disease itself is not a hoax and is not – by itself – fatal, what’s brought the seemingly never-ending rounds of restrictions? Restrictions never before seen outside of armed conflict and imposed without much in the way of democratic debate?
Let’s look at the global conspiracy part first. This, the current situation worldwide is not - at least not yet.
That said it is entirely understandable that many believe otherwise and it is a somewhat complex area. Those who subscribe to the conspiracy theory do so because of the global similarity in actions taken by governments. Many think what is being done now is the end result of decades or more of careful planning by the conspirators. The aim is to subjugate the globe, and it’s previously (and mostly) free peoples, into a new world order.
There are a number of flaws with this however. Two of the most obvious are firstly, who thought it all up to begin with? For such a conspiracy to succeed would indeed have meant very long-term planning, to the point where the originators would, by now, be long dead of old age. There are of course, plenty of examples of people passing down legacies of some kind, with each succeeding generation eager to carry the baton onwards.
On this scale however - a worldwide ‘new order’? At some point, somebody, somewhere, would have wanted to make a name for themselves and blown the whistle. Having done so and proved the existence of this conspiracy, along with the names of those behind it, such a person (or persons) would have become instant freedom heroes and human nature being what it is, the temptation to grab such acclaim would prove irresistible. And there is ample historical precedent to demonstrate that whistle blowers have always been on hand.
The second part to this is the question of who leads a new world order. Again human nature comes into play. People aspire to become Presidents and Prime Ministers for many different reasons, some good, some less so. To reach the top in anything requires a lot of supreme self-confidence, a little arrogance and most of all, a big ego. So if a new world order was put in place, who would be in charge? Who would be number one?
You could probably include many of the world’s current national leaders in a list and every single one would want the top job – and that includes some former leaders as well. Throw into the mix organisations like the EU, whose leadership is not elected in the truest sense, as well as those with huge amounts of personal (and company) wealth – the movers and shakers of world trade, people who run the biggest global corporations. None have ever been elected to run a country but do carry big influence. Add yet again another factor – the differences in political and cultural philosophy between left and right, between one political system and another.
And all would be squabbling over the rights to be in charge. Who gets to be leader – Xi of China or Gates of the USA, Blair of the UK or Von der Leyen of the EU? What about Putin of Russia or Ali Khamenei of Iran? Or for that matter Schwab of the World Economic Forum? It would be impossible to form a ‘world government’ from such a disparate group of people, all of whom share only their huge egocentricity – and in some cases a desire for power.
It’s a communist one party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought… and then Italy did it. And we realised we could.
- PROFESSOR NEIL FERGUSON, THE TIMES
So if one discounts a credible, workable, long-standing conspiracy, and I will come back to the concept later in this article, there is realistically only the idea of opportunism to think about. Take a look at what the UK’s Professor Neil Ferguson said when he gave an extraordinary interview to Tom Whipple at The Times newspaper, in which he confirmed the degree to which he believed that imitating China’s lockdown policies at the start of 2020 changed the parameters of what Western societies considered acceptable:
“I think people’s sense of what is possible in terms of control changed quite dramatically between January and March,” Professor Ferguson said. “When SAGE observed the ‘innovative intervention’ out of China, of locking entire communities down and not permitting them to leave their homes, they initially presumed it would not be an available option in a liberal Western democracy:
“It’s a communist one party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought… and then Italy did it. And we realised we could.”
Ferguson seemed almost at pains to emphasise the Chinese derivation of the lockdown concept, returning to it later in the interview:
“These days, lockdown feels inevitable.” It was, he continued, anything but. “If China had not done it,” he said, “the year would have been very different.”
One should also add Italy’s imposition of the idea – had Italy not done so, nobody else in the west would have.
Neville Chamberlain returns to the UK in 1938 with his piece of paper
What comes into play now is yet again, human nature. All Presidents and Prime Ministers want to be seen as strong. None like the label of being seen as weak, and with good reason. A lesson from history; when then UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to London after meeting Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler on September 30, 1938, he was photographed by the aircraft after landing and said, “I have in my hand a piece of paper…” holding it aloft. It was an agreement Chamberlain had made with Hitler over non-aggression and meant, as the PM put it, “Peace in our time.”
Many in the UK disagreed and Chamberlain was indeed seen as weak, not only in this country but also by Germany. A year later, the two countries were at war and Chamberlain’s time as Prime Minster ended.
So leaders do not like the tag – leaders want to lead. They may also like to be loved (as Boris Johnson undoubtedly does) but they can live without that, as long as they are considered strong and decisive. Leaders of all kinds – not just politicians – also like control. Human nature once more but the greater degree of control and thus power a leader has, the more they feel able to lead effectively. There have usually been checks and balances, mostly fairly robust, against somebody having too much power however, usually in the form of elections but this of course has been thrown into doubt recently.
One of the things overlooked in early 2020 was Italy’s links to China. The two had been working closely, with the European country a big beneficiary of Chinese money. That’s why COVID-19 arrived there so rapidly and spectacularly. It is also why Italy was able to copy the Chinese lockdown method so easily – they had instant access to how it should be done.
Despite its contribution to the world, a great people and a wonderful culture and history, from the economic perspective alone, Italy has been a monetary basket-case for as long as I can remember. That’s why the Italian government was so keen on financial help from China. Italy’s early lockdown was an opportunity; a chance for the country’s leaders to demonstrate their strength and decisiveness; to grasp a nettle and lead from the front, at least within its borders. And a ‘deadly virus’ provided that opportunity perfectly.
For a number of years recently (and in the UK, especially since 1997) three things have been used more than any other to exercise greater control over the general population. The first is terrorism, with the second being child protection. The third is health.
The Perfect Storm, the Perfect Opportunity
One of the world's darkest days - September 11, 2001.
Terrorism is an obvious vehicle upon which to introduce restrictions on people. The same applies to open warfare; if your country is under visible attack from an equally visible enemy, most people accept that daily life isn’t going to be as it was before the conflict arose. Yet we in Britain had greater freedom during World War II than we have had since March 2020. Terrorism however, is not a visible enemy. And it strikes unexpectedly, with ordinary civilian life as the target. Yet again however, the restrictions that have been put in place, especially since September 2001, are generally seen as relatively sensible; we don’t moan at being examined before boarding flights for example.
Child Protection is more insidious. Anybody of right mind will condemn those who abuse children and protecting our young is one of the strongest instincts we have. Prior to the arrival of Tony Blair’s Labour government in 1997, child protection was carried out mostly effectively, quietly and without fanfare. It didn’t always work perfectly but then not much ever does. Even so, our kids could play in the park and kick a ball in the streets where they lived without fear.
Blair’s New Labour changed all that and turned child protection into a massive industry of itself. Fear of Abuse became the key, with some sections of society automatically suspect. One result was a huge upsurge of innocent men unjustly convicted of some form of child abuse. What the precise figures are over genuinely guilty v unjustly convicted has never been made clear; either nobody really knows or they won’t say. I suspect the former but even though some subsequently cleared their names, the label stuck. The net result is that today we have parents and others who, having been teenagers themselves when Blair came to power, having had fear drilled into them (and very subtly so), pass that on to their own children, now of, or close to, secondary school age.
New Labour also had its effect on health. I speak now from a UK perspective obviously but elements of my point apply elsewhere around the world – like smoking for example. And we also return to the question of conspiracies.
Smoking cigarettes is dirty, smelly, and will probably harm our lungs. Another history lesson, this time a personal one; I went to a very enlightened school, which accepted that since most people smoked (at the time) kids would too. It still enforced an extraordinarily robust no-smoking policy on students however, but compromised a little. Sixth-formers could smoke provided it was only in the sixth-form common room and one had a school-issued licence. One beautiful summer-term day, I followed a friend into the common room and he sat by a window and lit up. With the sun streaming through the window it illuminated the thick fug of fag smoke as he exhaled and I thought, ‘That cloud must be incredibly annoying to a non-smoker…’
I’ve never forgotten that sight and I can still see it now, as clear as a bell in my mind and memory’s eye. But I wouldn’t dream of forbidding people to do it by law. Yet that is, to all intents and purposes, what Blair’s Labour did. David Cameron’s Tories made it even more difficult by banning logos and branding on cigarette packets – all in the name of health and ‘protecting’ the public. And right around the world, other governments did the same.
But who can argue against? Who can say child protection policies aren’t quite what they should be? Certainly no UK politician has the courage to do so – they are too afraid, too ridden with the fear of being perceived to be on the side of child abusers, or being seen as terrorist sympathisers.
Is all this, and the global following of these ideas a case of governments conspiring together or simple opportunism to grasp a little (or a lot) more leverage over what people choose to do? And it hasn’t stopped at smoking; alcohol, food, driving one’s own car to name just three are in the firing line of ever-increasing government intervention in our personal lives and that interference has been there for years now and well before COVID-19 came along. ‘My body, my choice’ has become a slogan for the anti-vaccination campaign, with justification but doesn’t that also apply to pretty much everything? At what point do governments stop? At what point does the nanny state back off? Or does it back off at all?
All any government needs is the right opportunity to seize more control, more power and, yet again, human nature means all governments will. The old adage still applies; give somebody power and they will always, always abuse it. And COVID-19 has provided the perfect storm, the perfect opportunity.
It’s a Growth Movement
Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum
Until now, it has mostly been the preserve of left-wing governments to adopt greater state control policies, as the UK Labour party’s demonstrable history shows. But until Tony Blair arrived, Labour had never come anywhere remotely close to the thirteen years they had under Blair and subsequently Gordon Brown. It could also be said that the only reason Labour got those years was the disarray of the Conservatives, firstly under John Major, then William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and finally Michael Howard. It was only when David Cameron became Tory leader that the party regained lost ground, and significantly, Cameron once allegedly described himself as ‘the heir to Blair’.
What no Tory leader has ever done is spearhead moves to reduce the influence of the left across a number of institutions within the UK, including the Civil Service, which Blair had infamously politicised with numerous appointments to ensure a left-wing bias. Going back even further, education (both schools and Universities), the NHS and other national organisations have long been subject to left-wing influence. The BBC is – now – well-known for its left wing stance.
The reason is a simple one; the left in the UK know fine well that, in the ordinary course of events, they will never win sustained power through elections. The electoral history of Labour proves this with the notable exception of the Blair years – would they have done so with real opposition from the Conservatives? It is unlikely. But thirteen years of Labour rule, for the first time ever, gave the left time to really get to work, and work they did.
Conspiring for change - the Weaver's Revolt 1893-1897
The British Museum
Whilst there has probably not been groups of left-wingers sitting in smoky rooms above pubs ‘conspiring’ to infiltrate this or that area of British society and governance (although it is possible), there has been, and as I suggested earlier, a passing of the legacy down through the generations and that is the closest one gets to a conspiracy.
Under first Tony Blair and then Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party, the left saw an opportunity. That opportunity remains, despite the departure of Corbyn, thanks to COVID-19. Current politicians, regardless of party or political persuasion and right around the world, see a similar opportunity and none are truly aware of history and the lessons it can provide.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) founded by Klaus Schwab, is often cited as the primary mover of a new world order and while it is true it has a number of significant people involved with it, the WEF is just what it says – a forum and Schwab founded it in 1971. Yes, really – 1971, 51 years ago. The WEF is mostly known for its annual get-together at Davos in Switzerland (not a surprise since the HQ is also in Switzerland) and describes itself as a lobbying organisation. It is also a capitalist organisation, the polar opposite of what the left stands for. It is a talking shop of theory, sometimes a little light on detail and a place where, as it has grown over the years, national and industry leaders chat about what they would like to do, rather than what they actually can do to change certain things. At least up to now - COVID-19 has provided once again an opportunity.
Although it could be true to say that various organisations have talked about theoretical change to the ways in which the world works, there has not been a global conspiracy to enable a ‘great reset’ or a new ‘world order’ (despite use of those words). Really – there hasn’t.
That however could change, or perhaps already has. It is a few short steps from thinking about something to being able to actually do anything and it has become a growth movement – from theory to practicality. What the free people of the world face is opportunism, a quirk of fate; a contagious disease that provides those of a mind to do so a chance to put some or even all, of their theories into practice.
And softened up by years of easy living, a once free people may have lost the collective will to resist them.
© Kevan James 2022
What’s Your View?
Have your say by emailing our Letters Page: