I’m not great at estimating the number of people in a place. But when you’re balancing on top of a bin at one end of Oxford street and the entire width of the street is filled with people for its entire length, I think it can be said that there are quite a lot of people there.
Which makes it all the more interesting that the BBC and most other news outlets in the UK totally failed to even mention in passing the anti lockdown protest that occurred in London earlier today.
I’ve seen all the comments already being made on social media: “They should all be fined.” “Use the water cannon on them!” “We’re all trying to follow The Rules and these covidiots are going to cause the next wave!” And my favourite trope of the day: “But lockdown is ending! What are these idiots protesting about!”
The articles in the media that did appear seemed happy to describe the entire crowd as “conspiracy theorists”, while pointing out that they were not “social distancing” or wearing masks. (It was extremely refreshing to see a whole crowd of people and actually see all of their faces, given that more and more people seem happy to go about all their daily lives while muzzled up.)
There were, unfortunately, banners with Bill Gates inspired vaccine conspiracies. There were also banners from obvious QAnon believers. But the vast majority of banners were from people opposing vaccine passports, and asking for an end to restrictions, and I can only guess that most people there were rational, decent people.
So here we come to my favourite complaint from the Happy New Normals. This idea that “lockdown is ending”. Lockdown is not ending. Johnson has somewhat bizarrely stated that lockdowns have more of an impact than vaccines, and I’m fairly sure that this autumn – when the seasonal and endemic virus known as COVID19 begins to rear its head again – we will be heading straight back into lockdown. Because death has been outlawed, in the new Covidian Death Cult. (Or at least, death within 28 days of a positive PCR test. All those deaths from cancer and heart disease are fine. Let’s ignore all those, shall we?)
None of the restrictions are going to go away. What government ever gives up power that it has acquired? Especially when to change tactic would be to admit the tactic (and all the collateral damage it has caused) was entirely wrong to begin with. No – you’re not going to get any politician going down that route, given the newfound enthusiasm for authoritarianism among the British public.
I find it utterly baffling and depressing that the cult of COVID19 has managed to become the dominant culture in one year. Those of us who put forward an alternative point of view are painted as a cult of conspiracy theorists. It isn’t true. I expect the majority of us are just people who can think for ourselves and aren’t afraid of being ridiculed by those who just want to parrot the line that they’ve been told to repeat. Or perhaps those people are just too lazy to think for themselves. Perhaps, eventually, the truth about the last year will be more widely known and accepted, and the world won’t tear itself apart over a mild illness again. Sadly, I am not hopeful.
I am not under any illusions that today’s protest will have made any difference in the slightest, not least because the government has already committed to vaccine passports by mid-May. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to stand up and be counted among those who oppose such things.