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News

The lockdown fanatics are moving on to climate change – Spiked

In truth, it’s very difficult to ‘hold governments, companies and international bodies’ to account on climate change. The public have been given no vote on climate-change policies, and no political party has offered criticism of climate-change alarmism. Certainly don’t expect any real criticism to come from CCAG.

But then perhaps that is the point of Indie SAGE or CCAG – not to hold power to account, but to prevent the technocratic apparatus from being properly held to account. For there is nothing fear-mongering technocrats like King fear more than democracy – because it threatens to take away the power granted to them by endless emergencies, be they Covid or climate change.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/06/29/the-lockdown-fanatics-are-moving-on-to-climate-change/

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Opinion

Continued mask wearing won’t help us return to normal – The Critic

Masks act as a crude reminder that danger is all around, that we are all potential biohazards. So, on a common-sense level, continued wearing of them will exacerbate anxieties rather than reduce them. But there is another, less obvious reason why the continued use of face coverings is counterproductive as a means of promoting confidence and encouraging people to return to normality: masks will act as a “safety behaviour” that will prevent disconfirmation of anxious beliefs.

https://thecritic.co.uk/continued-mask-wearing-wont-help-us-return-to-normal/

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Opinion

Social distancing and face masks should stay FOREVER says Communist SAGE committee member Professor Susan Michie – Daily Mail

Social distancing and wearing face masks should stay forever, a Communist-supporting SAGE scientist has claimed.

Professor Susan Michie, of University College London, said she thinks the draconian restrictions should become part of people’s every day routine.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9672347/Social-distancing-stay-FOREVER-says-Communist-supporting-SAGE-Covid-scientist-Susan-Michie.html?ito=social-twitter_dailymailUK

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Opinion

Why masks must be binned on June 21 – and never come back – Dr Gary Sidley, The Conservative Woman

  1. No evidence that masks reduce viral transmission in real-world settings
  2. Wearing masks is likely to do harm
  3. Masks increase compliance with the ongoing public health tyranny
  4. Masks are dehumanising
  5. Masks perpetuate the elevated levels of fear

The recently-launched Smile Free campaign – of which I’m a part – is campaigning for the removal of mask mandates in the UK, and believes that, in a democratic society, the evidential bar to justify mandating a behaviour should be set very high. The research in support of masks offering protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection falls a long way short of this threshold, and the negative consequences of wearing them are considerable. The decision whether to wear a face covering should be a personal one, not one imposed by Government diktat. All mask mandates must be lifted on June 21 and this most insidious of all the Covid-19 restrictions must never return. 

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Opinion

Child vaccination implications for fully informed consent – HART

HART continues to be deeply concerned to hear various MPs and SAGE representatives calling for children to be vaccinated against COVID-19 despite the lack of long-term safety data. Disturbing language has been used by teaching unions implying that the use of ‘peer pressure’ could be harnessed to boost take up among school children, even though such coercion would be unethical, not to mention contrary to UK and International Laws and Declarations.

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Opinion

The smearing of anti-lockdown protests – Spiked

The ‘Unite for Freedom’ anti-lockdown protest in London yesterday was as good-natured and peaceful as the previous anti-lockdown protests I have reported on for spiked. Seeing the sculpture and words was a gladdening moment on a day blessed by sunshine.

…The coverage from major news agencies and outlets told the story of ‘hundreds’ of ‘anti-vaxxers’. ‘Hundreds’ is the downplaying part. It worries me. I was there, and I know it is not true. Do I need to see the news unfold with my own eyes every time in order to fact-check the front pages?

I can’t estimate the numbers because the scale of the crowd was too vast, and moved steadily for many hours through the streets of London. Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Presumably the Met Police could estimate if they wanted to. The Guardian at least reported ‘vast numbers of people’. The Press Association declared, ‘Hundreds join anti-vaccination protest in central London’. The comments put that misconception straight.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/05/30/the-smearing-of-anti-lockdown-protests/

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Videos

Britain’s State of Fear – Laura Dodsworth on the James Delingpole Channel

Laura Dodsworth talks about her must-read book State of Fear – about the psychological campaign behind Britain’s Covid tyranny

Please support the Delingpod:

Details on how to purchase the book can be found at Laura Dodsworth’s website.

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Opinion

COVID-19 educational materials in schools use inappropriate emotional pressure – HART

Resources use inappropriate emotional pressure

The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (the ‘Regulations’) apply to anything ‘designed to promote the … supply … or use of that [medicinal] product’, which according to the regulations amounts to an advertisement. As the materials do not properly encourage critical thinking and present information as fact without substantiation, it is entirely possible that the teaching materials and lessons delivering those materials amount to an advertisement and may constitute an offence.

However well meaning these materials might be, it appears that they have at least the potential to put emotional pressure on children and — potentially — coercively control children’s decisions in relation to the vaccine.  The materials are therefore incompatible with the NC and the government’s advice on Teachers’ Prevent Duty, which are there to help protect children.

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Opinion

Life inside the fear factory: how the Government keeps us on high alert – The Telegraph

“When you create a state of confusion, people become ever more reliant on the messaging,” she says. “Instead of feeling confident about making decisions, they end up waiting for instructions from the Government.”

…This week’s chaotic and contradictory advice on travel is all part of the growing use of fear to control the public, she believes – a tactic which has been supercharged by the Covid pandemic.

…Less well known is the Home Office’s Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU), which, according to Dodsworth, “attempts to covertly engineer the thoughts of people” by providing support to bodies seen by the public as “grassroots” organisations.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/20/life-inside-fear-factory-government-keeps-us-high-alert/

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Opinion

A State of Fear : How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic – Laura Dodsworth

In one of the most extraordinary documents ever revealed to the British public, the behavioural scientists advising the government said that a substantial number of people did not feel threatened enough by Covid-19 to follow the rules. They advised the government to increase our sense of ‘personal threat’, to scare us into submission.

But why did the government deliberately frighten us, and how has this affected us as individuals and as a country? Who is involved in the decision-making that affects our lives? How are behavioural science and nudge theory being used to subliminally manipulate us? How does the media leverage fear? What are the real risks to our wellbeing?

https://www.lauradodsworth.com/a-state-of-fear

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News

Boris told to stop terrifying Brits with ‘totalitarian’ Covid warnings – The Express

PSYCHOLOGICAL weapons deployed by the government to ensure lockdown compliance must now be used to coax the public back to normality, experts say.

The covid messages – dubbed Project Fear by critics – included hard hitting ad campaigns and warnings that youngsters could ‘kill Granny’ if they didn’t stick to the rules. Daily death figures and media depictions of overflowing hospitals added to the state of panic, as did advice for people to stay safe by assuming they had the virus. The Indian variant news has also been presented in the most pessimistic manner, it was claimed.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1436621/covid-19-coronavirus-latest-news-uk-Spi-B-boris-johnson


See also: How SAGE and the UK media created fear in the British public

Categories
News

Schools back mass vaccinations for children as headteachers say ‘peer pressure’ will boost take up – The Telegraph

Schools back mass vaccinations for children, with headteachers saying that “peer pressure” will boost take up.

Education leaders would be willing to help facilitate a vaccine roll-out at schools around the country, according to Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the largest union for secondary school heads.

…“I think there will be a sense of schools wanting to step up and play their part and explain to children why having the vaccine is important during assemblies and in tutor time.”

…He explained that vaccinating children at school could result in higher take-up because pupils would not want to feel socially isolated by refusing to have the jab.

…“The peer pressure of seeing that your friends are lining up to do it is likely to make the overall numbers taking up the vaccine higher,” he said. Some scientists have argued that if Covid rates rose significantly it would be a priority to vaccinate children to prevent any more disruption or closures of schools during the next academic year. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/02/schools-back-mass-vaccinations-children-headteachers-say-peer/

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Publications

A First Literature Review: Lockdowns Only Had a Small Effect on COVID-19 – SSRN

How important were the economic lockdowns in the spring of 2020 in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic and how important was lockdown as compared to voluntary changes in behavior? In the spring, the overall social response to the COVID-19 pandemic consisted of a mix of voluntary and government mandated behavioral changes. Voluntary behavioral changes occurred on the basis of information, such as the number of people infected and the number of COVID-19-deaths, and on the basis of the signal value associated with the official lockdown combined with appeals to the population to change its behavior. Mandated behavioral changes took place as a result of the banning of certain activities deemed non-essential. Studies which differentiate between the two types of behavioral change find that, on average, mandated behavioral changes accounts for only 9% (median: 0%) of the total effect on the growth of the pandemic stemming from behavioral changes. The remaining 91% (median: 100%) of the effect was due to voluntary behavioral changes. This is excluding the effect of curfew and facemasks, which were not employed in all countries.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3764553

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News

New Study Finds Masks Hurt Schoolchildren Physically, Psychologically, and Behaviorally – Montana Daily Gazette

A new study, involving over 25,000 school-aged children, shows that masks are harming schoolchildren physically, psychologically, and behaviorally, revealing 24 distinct health issues associated with wearing masks.

The health issues and impairments observed in this study were found to affect 68% of masked children who are forced to wear a face covering for an average of 4.5 hours per day. The study also includes 17,854 health complaints submitted by parents.

Some of the health issues found in the study include: increased headaches (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), drowsiness or fatigue (37%), malaise (42%), and nearly a third of children experience more sleep issues than they had previously and a quarter of children developed new fears.

Though these results are concerning, the study also found that 29.7% of children experienced shortness of breath, 26.4% experienced dizziness, and hundreds of the participants experiencing accelerated respiration, tightness in chest, weakness, and short-term impairment of consciousness.

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Opinion

Mass Manipulation – How it Works – The Saker

Hypnotherapists have been noticing blatant hypnosis and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques being used by the government and state-controlled media. NPL is a psychological approach that involves analyzing strategies used by successful individuals and applying them to reach a personal goal. It relates thoughts, language, and patterns of behavior learned through experience to specific outcomes.

http://thesaker.is/mass-manipulation-how-it-works/

Categories
Videos

Live NHS Special – Unlocked

We get to grips with the unintended consequences of lockdown on the NHS & the health of the nation.

Martin Daubney interviews Ex-director of the WHO Cancer Programme Professor Karol Sikora.
Consultant Neurologist and MS specialist Dr Waqar Rashid
Dr Ellie Cannon NHS GP and Mail on Sunday Columnist
Dr Tom Jefferson Clinical Epidomilogist- University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine
Dr John Lee Former Clinical Professor of Pathology at Hull York Medical School and Consultant Histopathologist at Rotherham General Hospital & Director of Cancer Services at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

Categories
Opinion

How SAGE and the UK media created fear in the British public

COVID-19 started registering with most of the British public around late February and early March. Many were concerned but not particularly afraid. Only weeks later people were terrified to leave their homes or go near other human beings. How did such a dramatic shift in public perception happen so quickly?

In early March 2020, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) produced a document for the UK Government highlighting methods for rolling out new social distancing rules. There seemed to be some doubt as to whether the public would comply with the upcoming measures so SAGE outlined a methodology based on known psychological behavioural modification techniques.

Research and analysis: Options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures, 22 March 2020

SAGE, SPI-B and applied psychology

SAGE is an advisory group to the UK government responsible for making sure decision makers have access to scientific advice. We are told that the advice provided by SAGE does not represent official government policy.

SAGE also relies on expert sub-groups for COVID-19 specific advice. These sub-groups include:

  • NERVTAG: New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group
  • SPI-M: Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling
  • SPI-B: Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours

The identity of individual committee members themselves were initially kept secret, purportedly due to national security. Some names were eventually released, largely due to efforts by UK businessman Simon Dolan and his legal challenge campaign. Nevertheless, two members remain anonymous.

Psychological techniques for behavioural change

The document itself, titled Options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures, was drafted by SPI-B, the behavioural science sub-group for SAGE.

SPI-B highlighted nine broad ways of achieving behavioural change in the public:

  1. Education
  2. Persuasion
  3. Incentivisation
  4. Coercion
  5. Enablement
  6. Training
  7. Restriction
  8. Environmental restructuring
  9. Modelling

In the document, SPI-B focused on the methods most relevant to their stated goals and set out ten options that were evaluated on six criteria.

The six criteria, under the acronym APEASE, were:

  • Acceptability
  • Practicability
  • Effectiveness
  • Affordability
  • Spill-over effects
  • Equity
Source: Options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures, 22 March 2020

Government persuasion through fear

A key part of SPI-B’s behavioural change strategy that seems to have been adopted was to ‘persuade through fear.’ The Persuasion section of the document states:

A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened.

Clearly, the psychologists felt that, as of late March, the public was still not afraid of COVID-19. It therefore suggested that the government increase the level of fear:

The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging.

Appendix B of the document lists ten options that can be used to increase social distancing in the public. Option 2 advises:

Use media to increase sense of personal threat.

Source: Options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures, 22 March 2020

In hindsight, this explains the tone of government sponsored social media and physical billboard advertising campaigns that started appearing around April.

SPI-B recommendations to increase personal threat and use hard-hitting emotional messaging are on display with eerie imagery coupled with taglines such as:

  • Anyone can get it. Anyone can spread it.
  • Don’t put your friends and family in danger.
  • Stay home for your family. Don’t put their lives in danger.
  • If you go out, you can spread it. People will die.
Source: Reuters, 8 April 2020
Source: Sky News, 18 April 2020

Hysterical news headlines

During the first week of April 2020, the InProportion2 project noticed a change in the BBC headlines and posted the article, BBC: Informing or scaring?

Source: BBC headlines in April 2020 compiled by InProportion2

The article compared hysterical BBC news headline from the first week of April 2020 with those from 2018, when mortality rates were peaking due to a bad flu season. It found no references to flu or excess mortality on the BBC home page during the 2018 peak. InProportion2 asked, “Do the headlines reflect the gravity of the situations in an equivalent way – or is additional fear being stirred up in 2020?

Persuasion through shame and approval: Covidiots and heroes

SPI-B psychologists knew that fear on its own would not persuade everyone. Messaging needed to be tailored to take into account different ‘motivational levers.’

Some people will be more persuaded by appeals to play by the rules, some by duty to the community, and some to personal risk.

It therefore suggested using both social approval and disapproval, with compulsion (legislation) as a backup:

  • Option 6: Use and promote social approval for desired behaviours
  • Option 7: Consider enacting legislation to compel required behaviours
  • Option 8: Consider use of social disapproval for failure to comply

We can see the obvious approval-disapproval dialectic with the ‘Heroes and Covidiots’ narrative that soon began to surface in the news. The term ‘Covidiot’ appeared around March with The Economist’s 1843 Magazine describing covidiots in this way:

Even in a pandemic, many of us are prone to judge others and find them wanting: the term “covidiot” describes any and every person behaving stupidly or irresponsibly as the epidemic spreads. Sometime in early March the word was born, and, almost as fast as the virus spread, so did instances of covidiotic behaviour.

Although it’s not clear how the term came about, it was quickly adopted in UK mainstream and social media. At the same time, we began seeing praise for heroes who ‘did the right thing’ by complying with the government measures.

The METRO article below shows all three options in play:

  • Social approval:These local heroes have been doing amazing things…”
  • Social disapproval: “Lake District closed…because covidiots won’t stay away…”
  • Compulsion:Matt Hancock threatens to close beaches…”
Source: METRO, 27 Mar 2020

An incentivised media

These psychological techniques would have been impossible to deploy on the public without a compliant media. How did the government convince the media to go along with the plan?

Increased UK government media spending

Digiday, a media and marketing industry publication, reported in April that the government is becoming UK news publishers’ most important client. In the 20 April 2020 article for Digiday, Lara O’Reilly wrote:

…the government is spending more than usual, judging by their bookings. The publishers also pointed out that the lack of activity from other advertisers in the current market means the government campaigns will have an outweighed share of voice compared with normal times.

Digiday Stay At Home campaign
Source: Digiday, 20 April 2020

During that period, the British public started seeing coverage across media outlets with the unified “In this together” messaging. O’Reilly pointed out that the campaign was worth £35 million over a three month period.

Last week, the government and newspaper industry launched a three-month advertising partnership dubbed “All in, all together.” The campaign — worth approximately £35 million ($44 million) for the full course, according to sources — kicked off on Apr. 17, with all the U.K.’s national and regional daily news brands running near-identical cover wraps and homepage takeovers, which carried the copy, “Stay at home for the NHS, your family, your neighbours, your nation the world and life itself.” 

So, we ask again: how did the government convince the media to go along with the plan? The answer is simple and obvious: with lots of money.

Psychological techniques to change behaviour

We can see that the UK Government has a public document outlining psychological techniques to change the behaviour of the population. We see a unified mass-media campaign that falls in line with these techniques. We then see a dramatic shift in public perception and behaviour.

What else can we call this but ‘brainwashing’?

Despite the open nature of what has transpired, it seems to have gained little coverage in the media. This is of no surprise since it was clearly complicit in spreading fear in the public.

Download the document

The document is freely downloadable on the gov.uk website in a page titled, “Research and analysis – Options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures, 22 March 2020“.

We encourage you to read the document, compare it with your observations about how the government and media has acted, then make up your own mind.


Updates

January 2021:

After seven months the mainstream media finally catches up. On 24th January 2021, The Express published the following article: Government accused of using Covid fear tactics to inflate anxiety levels of British public.

March 2021:

  • Campaign, the world’s leading business media brand for the marketing and advertising, reported that the UK government spent more than £184m on Covid communications in 2020.
  • It has emerged that German politicians, scientists and public health bureaucrats have also collaborated to induce panic to justify the first German lockdown. The source material is in German but a Twitter thread explaining the leaks in English has been archived. We will update here if an English source becomes available.
  • On 18 March, the UK Government put out a tender for a £2m COVID Public Information Campaign for Northern Ireland. It is to last to years starting 1 April 2021.
  • In an article for the Critic, A year of fear, Dr. Gary Sidley wrote about the role of SPI-B and The Behavioural Insights Team in bombarding the British public with fear-inducing information. Dr. Sidley is a member of the Health Advisory and Recovery Team.

April 2021:

May 2021:

A State of Fear:

Laura Dodsworth talks about her book State of Fear on The James Delingpole Channel.

Categories
Publications

Applying principles of behaviour change to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission – Nature

Human behaviour is central to transmission of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and changing behaviour is crucial to preventing transmission in the absence of pharmaceutical interventions. Isolation and social distancing measures, including edicts to stay at home, have been brought into place across the globe to reduce transmission of the virus, but at a huge cost to individuals and society. In addition to these measures, we urgently need effective interventions to increase adherence to behaviours that individuals in communities can enact to protect themselves and others: use of tissues to catch expelled droplets from coughs or sneezes, use of face masks as appropriate, hand-washing on all occasions when required, disinfecting objects and surfaces, physical distancing, and not touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth. There is an urgent need for direct evidence to inform development of such interventions, but it is possible to make a start by applying behavioural science methods and models.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-020-0887-9