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Samizdata quote of the day

A REALLY large number of people have now staked their political and/or personal and professional reputations & credibility on this being A Really Bad Thing, one that requires Obedience & Sacrifice & wear that fuckin’ mask in a non clinical setting, mate! No overarching conspiracy is required to understand the collective insanity & wilful stupidity on display.

Bell Curve

22 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Albion's Blue Front Door

    Small tale of how the mask-madness exists in some.

    Thanks to the kindness (allegedly) of the UK government I was able–after 6 months–to get back to playing six-a-side football. You know, fresh air, sunshine, exercise. However the people who run these limited sessions are all left-leaning big government fans (odd that none of them vote anything but Labour yet agree with everything Johnson’s lot say) and insist everyone who plays does so in a mask. I have tried to point out it is less than healthy but apparently their oracle, aka the BBC, knows best and has told them masks are good. The organisers also demand that everyone plays the game six feet apart which frankly borders on the laughable.

    We are all over 60 and therefore, reckoned to be high risk.

    The day before I had been in the local park and saw at least eight of the people I play these games with engaged in a 7-a-side game, with others. All not wearing masks, and amazingly, all eight were there the next day at our game session without having perished in the meantime. I mentioned this to one of the organisers, thinking a light would dawn in him over this mask nonsense but instead from behind his big mask he growled “That’s why I refused to go there and play!” So, we all played wearing a mask.

    Of course, as soon as the session was over people were chatting without masks but the organisers fled without looking or commenting. Best to shut one’s eyes to the obvious, hey?

  • The Statue of Liberty has a poem associate with it. One of the lines is

    “Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

    When the Left wants to import huddled masses, they quote the poem as if it were gospel. When we yearn to breathe free, that is quite another matter.

  • Stonyground

    I’ve been driving around Beverley in East Yorkshire recently and seen people walking alone outdoors with their masks on. I think they use it like a magic talisman.

  • APL

    Albion’s Blue Front Door: “All not wearing masks, and amazingly, all eight were there the next day at our game session without having perished in the meantime”

    You know the incubation period from infection to death is about twenty one days, so you’ve a while before the Football team is decimated. [/sarc]

    Ellen: “When the Left wants to import huddled masses, they quote the poem as if it were gospel. When we yearn to breathe free, that is quite another matter.”

    The poem was inscribed in the oughties. I doubt the founders who described the new form of government as ‘A Republic, if you can keep it’, thought importing millions of opportunists from foreign parts would promote a strong unified demos.

  • Stonyground

    On Notalwaysright.com there was a story about a school head who wanted the school orchestra to rehearse wearing masks, yes, including the brass and woodwind sections.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    What bothers me more than anything about this is that the British people have been so utterly trusting of the government.

  • Paul Marks

    The country that, supposedly, “did everything right” was the Czech Republic – very early lockdown and a Mask Mandate.

    The Czech Republic has the highest (not lowest – highest) Covid 19 death rate on the planet.

    In the United States the States that “did everything right” including that absurd clown Dr Tony Fauci, were New York and New Jersey – which have the highest (again the HIGHEST) Covid death rates in the United States.

    Someone who supported lockdowns and mask mandates in early 2020 was supporting untested theories (fair enough) – but someone who STILL supports lockdowns and mask mandates now (in April 2021) is, at best, an idiot.

    “It does not matter how beautiful your theory is, if the data contradicts it – your theory is wrong”

    The theories of lockdowns and mask mandates have been put to the test – and they have been refuted.

  • Paul Marks

    Schrodinger’s Dog – it is not that we (the British people) are “trusting”, we just do what we have to do.

    We wear masks when we enter shops – because we are punished if we do not.

    And we go for the Covid vaccinations (even though the country has, basically, reached herd immunity – so they are really ……) because it has been made brutally clear to us that we WILL NOT GET A JOB if we do not have it done.

    Of course we may not get work anyway – but we have to try.

    It is nothing to do with “trust” – we just do not have any real choice.

    My grandfather’s generation did not have any “trust” in World War One battle tactics – I knew many First World Veterans, I spent every summer as a young child down in Lancing (Sussex) and went to the British Legion with my grandfather most days.

    None of them ever believed in the tactics that were followed – but they followed their orders.

    That is what we do – we do as we are told, because we are punished if we do not.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Paul Marks,

    I realise that people have got to wear masks, or face a fine. And the British police have shown a great zeal in enforcing the coronavirus regulations; much more so than they enforce the laws on burglary, for example.

    But how many people have written to their MPs to protest? Not many, I suspect, because about 80% of people supposedly support the governments policies. Why have the government’s decisions not been challenged in the courts? After all, how many legal challenges to the Brexit referendum result were there, despite the people having clearly voted to leave the EU.

  • APL

    mRNA vaccines. Wonder cure, or a perpetual revenue stream for ‘big pharma’?

  • MMG

    This one went completely under the radar.
    From the European Centre for Disease Prevebntion and Control:
    Using face masks in the community: first update Effectiveness in reducing transmission of COVID-19 issued 15 February 2021

    “Assessment of the evidence
    The evidence regarding the effectiveness of medical face masks for the prevention of COVID-19 in the community is compatible with a small to moderate protective effect,
    but there are still significantuncertainties about the size of this effect.
    Evidence for the effectiveness of non-medical face masks, face shields/visors and respirators in the community is scarce and of very low certainty.
    Additional high-quality studies are needed to assess the relevance of the use of medical face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic”

    Translated from Bureaucratese,
    Effectiveness of medical face masks in the community, little or none.
    Effectiveness of non-medical face masks in the community, zero to none.
    Conclusion: Give us more money so we can make a career out of studying this.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Whilst sorry about Prince Philip passing away, it leads me to speculate about where the soul will be reborn. When i typed in ‘Reincarnation of Princess Diana’, I had a lot of items about a boy in Adelaide, who claims to be Diana reborn. So how long before Philip returns, and where?

  • Bell Curve

    We wear masks when we enter shops – because we are punished if we do not.

    I don’t wear a mask at work, in the supermarket or anywhere else.

    Geezer at door: “You need to wear a mask.”

    Bell Curve: “Exempt.” (keeps walking)

    And that’s that. Seriously mate, just try it, what have you really got to lose?

    Only once in the last year did some jobsworth ask why. I said “I’m not at risk”. And once again, that was that.

    But if you run into a jobsworth arse who doesn’t realise they’ve already ticked the damn box & they need to shut the fuck up now, just say “Which bit of exempt did you not understand? I refer you to the 2010 Equality Act which outlines your company’s legal responsibilities to accommodate people’s medical & psychological needs.”

    My “psychological need” is a powerful desire not to feel like an utter cunt by wearing a pointless face nappy.

  • Nemesis

    @ APL. Mike Yeardon seems to believe there has only been a very minor change to these mutant strains appearing whereas Knut Wittkowski (another lockdown skeptic) believes we are looking at ever new strains appearing, where the vaccinations will never catch up. There are a few interviews to be found on YouTube which might disappear as his earlier interviews did. Either way I’ve long had doubts that these vaccines will be the panacea that people seem to believe.

    @ Bell curve. I too have never worn a mask and feel it would take some courage to do so now. Likewise those that have adopted them from day one would find it hard to ditch them now. I keep hoping I can start a trend but not worked so far. The downsides of mask wearing I think far outway the benefits, besides being hazard waste casually discarded all over I suspect the medics will see an increase in lung bacterial infections.

  • Paul Marks

    Bell Curve – I am exempt, I have COPD. I put on a mask on entering a shop and take it off again afterwards – so I do not have to talk to people, I do not want to have to explain myself.

    I go along with this stuff – masks, vaccines and all the rest of it, more out of depression than anything else (“the vaccine might kill you when the next virus comes along” – well in my case that would be no loss). Yes I tell myself it is to get a job – but I know I am not going to get one.

    S.D. – my own Member of Parliament is against the Emergency Powers, and not because I nag him (he was against them anyway).

    What is the point of sending letters – one might as well tell General Douglas Haig that frontal infantry attacks, in line, against prepared defences are a bad idea.

    The General already knowns – or he will never understand no matter how many letters he is sent. So line up and walk towards the machine guns. No 80% did not believe this was a good idea – although they might have said they did (the grim British sense of humour).

    At least people in this town do not wear masks on the street – there is no regulation demanding that, and there never has been. People who do it are posers.

    Why have the government decisions not been challenged in the courts?

    They were – the courts found that the Enabling Act of 2020 (and previous Acts of Parliament) meant that the government could do anything they liked.

  • APL

    Nemesis: “Mike Yeardon seems to believe there has only been a very minor change to these mutant strains appearing whereas Knut Wittkowski (another lockdown skeptic) believes we are looking at ever new strains appearing, where the vaccinations will never catch up.”

    MY: Minor change. But sufficiently significant to classify the organism as a ‘new’ or ‘mutant’ strain.

    KW: New strains appearing.

    I’m not sure I see a difference? Both seem to suggest this is a terror campaign calculated to generate huge guaranteed revenue for those producing the vaccines.

    Nemesis: “Either way I’ve long had doubts that these vaccines will be the panacea that people seem to believe.”

    Even the annual influenza vaccine – is a bit of a ‘stab in the dark’, given that the future is mostly an unknown and the vaccine is prepared and distributed some months in advance.

  • Jon Eds

    Glass half empty view:

    Let’s hope mRNA vaccines work effectively, or if not then at least that we reach herd immunity through natural immunity and non-mRNA vaccines. Given the rapidly expanding population of individuals the vaccines are being tested on, it would seem likely that any side effects would start showing up soon. Long term side effects cannot be ruled out of course, which is why I’m not prepared to take the mRNA vaccines under any circumstance.

    With that thought in mind, I wouldn’t be too fearful about taking a non-mRNA vaccine although I’m going to postpone it for as long as I can. I expect at some point I’ll be summoned into the office and will have to show some proof of not having it. Also, I suppose I need to go on holiday before we all lose our shit at home.

    Covid will eventually cease being novel, and will move from being not very dangerous to really really not very dangerous. People will get bored of it. At that point, Covid passes etc will become pointless (when is the last time you showed your yellow fever vaccination certificate).

    BTW, here in SE London I do usually see a few people walking around the stores without masks – I’ve yet to see anybody being given shit for it. Funnily enough, in a largeish high street general stuff shop half the staff weren’t bothering. Also, at the queue to pick up the kids at school the only person except me without a masks are, for want of a better word, a bunch of chav ladies. I suspect quite a lot of working class people find the mask nonsense bemusing.

  • Mr Ed

    In the course of an epidemic, any causative agent is likely to change, it’s simple natural selection, mutations are inevitable. A virus that replicates 0.5% more efficiently than its non-identical twins will, given the same spreading opportunity, gradually increase and tend to predominate. This might be due to e.g. it appearing more innocuous to the immune system, it might be that it binds to its receptors better, or it keeps its host fitter longer by being less damaging so giving it more chance to spread, or any number of reasons.

    What is a ‘new’ strain? It could be any virus that has a different genome to a ‘standard’ reference genome, i.e. any virus that has had a change in its RNA. Every time DNA or RNA are replicated, there is a chance of any particular base being replicated inaccurately, this is a consequence of chemistry, although replication is significantly more faithful than Mr Alexander Johnson. However, given the redundancy in codons, not all mutations at the level of the nucleic acid – RNA – will result in any change to the structure of the virus, as a codon change, which might be detected by RT-PCR amplification (which is not error-free either), might result in the same amino acid being built into the protein coat of the virus (which is what the vaccine is ultimately based on, the ‘face’ of the virus to the immune system). Some mutations might be in other parts of the genome, and whilst viral genomes are far more ‘economic’ than ours, there may be mutations that make no or little difference to the effects of the virus. Whilst new strains might have different ‘spike’ proteins due to RNA mutations, and so look ‘different’ to the immune system, there are limits to the significance of this, the first is that the protein has its own ‘job’ to do for the virus, and if it changes too much, it won’t be able to do its job for the virus in terms of aiding it through its life cycle, so a mutation would be deleterious to the virus, and the immune reaction is itself based on recognition not like a computer password which requires an exact match, but more like a facial recognition algorithm in that it can recognise faces.

    Immunology works in that it is ultimately a chemical detection of and reaction to a foreign agent, based on previous matches or similarities, hence Jenner’s use of cowpox to stop smallpox, two different viruses, (not that he knew anything about that), one of which confers immunity to the other. Remind people of that when they wail about variants. Dr Yeadon compared the ability of the human immune system to recognise variants to his family still recognising him if he wore a baseball cap and still being able to recognise him if he wore it back to front.

  • Mr Ecks

    Bogus Johnson plans to extend the mug panic long enough to combine vax passports and Digital Public Identity Wallets into a CCP-style social credit tyranny. Small at first but soon eternal and EVERYWHERE. Don’t be dumb enough to swallow the “just 12 months” bollocks.

    Anyone going along with this vax pass shite in any way is in the crowd making the Nazi salute.

  • Mr Ed

    Every organism mutates, and its nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) will change over time, that is part of life’s cycle. A virus during a pandemic is no exception, and variants are inevitable.

    What is a ‘variant’? Any virus that has a different genome to the ‘reference’ sequence used as a start point would be a variant. Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) will inevitably change over time when replicated, the replication is based on chemical attraction and has an inherent error rate, although replication is much more faithful than, say, Mr Alexander Johnson.

    Viral genomes are compact and ‘economic’ compared to human genomes, such as with coronaviruses, (approx. 10 genes) and not every mutation makes a difference, due to things such as codon redundancy. When sequencing a virus, a change in its (for this one) RNA might be detected by RT-PCR (which has its own inevitable error rate), but that change might not translate into a change in the virus as the change might be neutral in terms of codons, producing the same protein from different RNA, or a similar protein, with an amino acid change, or it might be in a functional gene or spacer RNA.

    When it comes to vaccines, which use the body’s reaction to part of the surface of the virus ‘spike’ proteins as the ‘prompt’, remember that the spike proteins need to be relatively conserved to do their role, so any significant change to the virus would most likely weaken its function which has been optimised in the current state of the virus, and a change might make the virus ultimately less dangerous and yet this could still be termed a ‘variant’. The virus needs to keep its structure within certain limits to continue to function, and straying too far from the form of its parent would be more likely to spell its doom as the receptors would ultimately fail to function, leaving it unable to attack cells so effectively. The virus that mutates too far from the current variant will simply fail to be the same virus and is unlikely to find a better way forward. Of course, there might be variants that eventually emerge that are more dangerous, but that is life.

    Should we worry that vaccines can’t keep up? Not really, and remember that immunity can arise in various ways, and treatments can be used. Fundamentally, the way that the immune system reacts to an antigen (the part of the virus that the body recognises and attacks) is not like a computer password, with an exact match, it is more like a fairly good facial recognition system, where glasses can be taken into account and still get a match. The immune reaction is chemical and is based upon molecular structure, so a fuzzy match is what it is looking for (it’s not perfect and it can produce auto-immune responses). Dr Mike Yeadon compares the ability of the body to detect variants to him being recognised by his family when wearing a baseball cap in various ways.

    And remember, for all this talk of ‘variants’, Edward Jenner used cowpox to stop smallpox, two different viruses of the same family, one of which conferred immunity to the other. Not sure if anyone’s tried it the other way, as it would be rather poor ethics, which doctors used to follow when treating patients.

    I wonder if anyone is working on a different kind of vaccine, based on a coronavirus that causes the common cold, that might make a ‘live’ vaccine that could be simply inhaled up the nose and for the risk of a few days snivelling for most people, confer immunity. Wouldn’t the politicians hate that!

    My previous comment on this thread vanished. I have re-written it.

  • DP

    Dear Illuminatus

    Neither masks nor vaccine appear to make much difference to excess and all-cause deaths:


    Apart from the higher death toll, excess and all-cause mortality for 2021 looks quite normal for a seasonal virus compared with 2015 and 2018 (previous 2 graphs).

    Following graph – excess mortality by age group: this will look interesting over the next few weeks.


  • DP

    Dear Samizdata Illuminatus

    @ DP April 11, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    The data for the 2021 excess mortality graph in the link in the above comment are incorrect.

    Corrected and updated graphs are at:


    Week 13 excess mortality by age group graphs are beginning to look interesting – next graph along.

    In 52 weeks of last year about 65,000 more people died than in 2018. These deaths were taken from the future, which means that those 65,000 deaths will reduce future years’ death totals, starting with this year, which intuitively, ought to be a significant percentage of that 65,000, possibly a majority.

    When weekly deaths start to fall, as they inevitably must, absence WuWHOflu2 or some other catastrophe, say fatal reactions to a vaccine or two, I suppose we must expect our beloved government™ to spin that as a success for the vaccines.