My recent appeals to readers to join the 29 kind souls who have pressed the Follow button on this blogspot have not been successful - but I hope you don't mind if I continue to make my appeal. This is not a vanity project. It is about getting the stats that may help persuade a literary agent or publisher to take on my submission of 'Dying to Know'.
Meanwhile, this blogpost was stimulated by today's SKWAWKBOX mailing about the refusal of the Guardian newspaper to publish a letter from the author and poet, Michael Rosen, who nearly died from COVID-19 last year. Michael was an undergraduate at Oxford at the same time as me. I am sure we shared the demonstration space on more than one occasion but I never knew him to speak to. Everything I've read about him since confirms the impression made by his own writings: he is a talented, lovely man.
Here is his letter, courtesy of SKWAKBOX:
Author Michael Rosen, who came close to death last year when he suffered COVID-19 complications, wrote to the Guardian about the Tories' original (and frankly murderous) plan to create 'herd immunity' to the coronavirus without a vaccine, which would have caused up to a million UK deaths and perhaps more.
The paper did not publish his letter. It is reproduced below with permission:
Jonathan Freedland’s comment ‘Lies about Covid, insisting that it was a hoax cooked up by the deep state, led millions of people to drop their guard and get infected' (‘Trump may be gone but his big lie will linger’ Guardian, Jan 15) misses the point. If we look closely at what was being said in official circles in March 2020, we can see quite clearly there was a plan to create ‘herd immunity’ without vaccination.
Robert Peston had his usual inside story on March 12 in ‘The Spectator’ with a headline “Herd immunity’ willbe vital to stopping Coronavirus’ and wrote of this desirable outcome without mentioning the inevitable huge loss of life involved nor the high chance of it being unachievable.
A day later, 3 government scientists sang the same tune: Graham Medley told BBC Newsnight, ‘We’re going to have to generate herd immunity…the only way of developing that in the absence of a vaccine is for the majority of the population to become infected…’
Sir Patrick Vallance said that morning on the Today programme,
‘Our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it
completely; also because the vast majority of people get a mild illness, to
build up some kind of herd immunity.’ Same day, John Edmunds said, ‘The only
way to stop this epidemic is indeed to achieve herd immunity’.
These people were talking of engineering mass death. It's not as if science is unaware of the Black Death, Myxomatosis, or Dutch Elm Disease. At the time, Boris Johnson was appearing on TV telling us that he was shaking hands with Covid patients.
The extraordinary fact is that this idea of ‘herd immunity’ without vaccination is lousy biology. No one knew then how long or short nor how strong or weak the body’s immune response would be to this virus. No one knew how often it would mutate nor how different the mutations would be from the original virus. These scientists were gambling with ‘known unknowns’ some of which would result in no 'herd immunity'.
What’s more, the limited ‘herd immunity’ without vaccination that occurs naturally usually involves the evolutionary process of ‘breeding out’ (through death, before they reproduce) of those individuals who are susceptible to the virus and the ‘breeding in’ of those who are resistant, assuming the resistance is inheritable. This takes generations to effect - if ever. The problem for this scenario is that the section of the population most affected by the virus is above ‘breeding’ age! This negates the process by which evolution favours resistant individuals.
It seems to me horrific that top scientists were able to put forward their proposals to enact mass killing without being challenged, either on ethical or biological grounds. If you want to find out why or how this government has been lax, chaotic, incompetent and cruel in its approach to Covid-19, it starts here. The consequence is that there have been tens of thousands of deaths, and there are tens of thousands of us with long term or lifetime debilitating consequences.
They must never be let off the hook.
Michael Rosen and I share the same perspective. Thanks to my guardian angels, I have been spared infection so far and in that we do differ. But we both know that something very mad and bad was going on in the first three months of last year - and continues to this day. Michael shines the spotlight on scientists such as Vallance. I would add that some medical authorities such as Whitty are as much to blame. My book, Dying to Know, points the finger at these people too. But I go further and expose the story of a Johnson and Cummings exercise, shaped by economic and social ideologies, which has made our land a killing machine. Flushed with the excitement of an overwhelming victory in the General Election in December 2019, these two leaders responded to news of the new virus in a way that smacks of madness and badness - and they had the power to persuade leading scientists and medical authorities to support them in their pursuit of herd immunity.