“….Under cover of a deliberately contrived illusion of caring support, what was really happening was manipulation and the removal of free thought…..”
I’m looking around me through eyes that can’t quite comprehend the world I’m living in, a world that I love with all my heart but which has changed beyond recognition, due to a pandemic, or rather the handling of a pandemic.
Countries across the world, especially the western world, are in disarray as one by one their governments appear to have forgotten that they exist for the benefit of the people - and not the other way around.
We find ourselves suffering the effects of governmental crisis management that has caused division and despair.
As cases of the virus rise and fall, along with regular scare stories of ‘worrying variants’, some of society is waking up to an unsettling new era, and sensing that something is not right.
And, as the mist clears, we begin to wonder whether it is the virus itself that has been the trigger for this disquiet, or whether it is something more engineered and possibly even sinister.
A fear driven narrative from those in power all over the world has caused distress and panic. The apparent sudden onset of the pandemic took the public by surprise, so instinctively we erred on the side of caution and followed official advice, observing lockdowns, restrictions and regulations. But some people realised that things were skewed.
Social Isolation and Suffering
When covid hit, what we really needed was care, compassion and understanding towards an anxious population. What we got was judgement from officials and rules that quickly brought division and separation. Harsh measures that stopped loved ones from meeting and banned kindness and comfort between family members and friends.
This, I believe, was deliberate and cruel, causing social isolation and suffering.
In fact it is clear that compassion and understanding have never been a part of most countries’ pandemic management plan, which seems to have focused on causing fear and removing personal liberty, followed by inducements, incentives and bribes in order to regain our freedoms.
They took away our rights to choose what is best for ourselves as independent, thinking human beings.
The government does not know me better than I know myself.
I make my own choices, a government will not decide for me.
Many years ago I had the rare opportunity to study a cult, from within its carefully constructed, self contained bubble. It was one of those ‘classic’ cults that you read about, a group of people who seem friendly and supportive but in fact are either the perpetrators of control, or their victims. It was frightening to witness the cruel coerced management of vulnerable people.
I have since seen the same dark forces at play on a grand scale, during the pandemic. By government.
The cult was in fact a terrifying regime that masqueraded as benevolent. Under cover of a deliberately contrived illusion of caring support, what was really happening was manipulation and the removal of free thought.
There are parallels to what we see today with governments’ handling of the pandemic across many countries.
In the cult we were told that in order to find a ‘better way’ we had to comply. We could ask questions but only those deemed acceptable. In order to achieve ‘salvation’ (insert here ‘freedom’) we were told to follow the teaching (insert ‘science’ and ‘rules’). No other way would be tolerated.
And I watched. And the scariest part of all was that most people complied without question.
Independent thought was frowned upon and quickly dismissed, it was seen as a threat. There was a sense among the members that by following the rules they were safe from some unseen peril in the outside world.
But it was all false. The only beneficiaries of the cult were those running the show, they became ever more controlling and powerful.
I could see it, the others could not; too afraid, or too heavily invested, to challenge the narrative.
This definition of cult behaviour from Wikipedia sums it up concisely:-
“Specific factors in cult behaviour are said to include manipulative and authoritarian mind control over members, communal and totalistic organization, aggressive proselytizing, systematic programs of indoctrination, and perpetuation in middle-class communities.”
In any emergency a good government would build trust. However, the faux positive messaging throughout this pandemic has been ‘we are all in this together’, but this is not the case, nor was it ever intended to be. They wanted us to believe that they cared. Initially, it may not even have been a deliberate deception, but once those with power saw that people could be managed, through fear, to behave collectively in a certain way, they took liberties, quite literally. They used techniques of manipulation, the same ones I saw in the cult, and they used them to cause doubt, fear and uncertainty on a huge scale. In fact they caused dis-ease. Then people complied. It was something like mass hysteria or hypnosis.
Segregation and Vaccine Passes
As I write, nearly two years into the pandemic, ever more limitations are being imposed on citizens in countries across the world, including the abhorrent segregation of people based on their medical status. To even discuss whether those around us are vaccinated or unvaccinated is both unscientific and discriminatory. Moreover, to consciously and willingly segregate society in this way, through ‘vaccine passes’ is revolting and entirely unethical. We know this well, and yet many are under the influence of official messaging, and are wilfully supporting this discrimination, thinking that they are somehow doing the right thing ‘for the greater good’ (I hate that phrase, the mantra of the gullible). Without seeming to realise it, they are denying their fellow citizens freedom of choice and demanding that others ‘fit in’. They are doing what governments are afraid of doing themselves, and it’s a prejudice that has no logic.
Think about it. Your society is not your biggest threat now, any more than it was before the pandemic. The only thing that has changed is perception, and this shift has been driven by fear, a fear that has been deliberately manufactured by those in positions of power to breed uncertainty and divide society.
Meanwhile those that speak against the official line and question vaccine effectiveness, and/or their long term side effects, are being censored or even removed from their positions. Their opinions are silenced. They are labelled in the media and by officials (and therefore also by the mesmerised public) as ‘anti-vaxxers’ or ‘conspiracy theorists’. These include eminent doctors, scientists, medical specialists and educators. Highly respected prior to the pandemic, they are now branded fools. And this is very disturbing.
Health workers, the very same ones we were all told to applaud last year as stalwarts of our communities, are losing their jobs simply because they don’t want to be forced into accepting a vaccine. They cite safety concerns, and not entirely without reason. We know that there is a risk associated with the vaccines. It may be a minimal risk but it is nevertheless a legitimate concern. Yet health workers, and others, in countries around the world are being sacked in their tens of thousands if they choose not to have the jab. Let me ask you, could you live comfortably with yourself if you coerced an unwilling human being into taking a medicine that subsequently caused them harm, distress, or worse? To remove choice over bodily autonomy in this way is to deny a fundamental human right. Yet this policy is being actively pursued by many governments. Why?
We need to remind ourselves that governments do not necessarily have our best interests at heart.
Covid is a vile disease that has caused misery and death for so many, and I am in no way diminishing or questioning its impact. However, if governments have used the cover of a worldwide pandemic to cause fear and to enable and facilitate control over their citizens then that is truly abhorrent.
We need to stop living in fear, it is destructive and unhelpful. People really have to think; ask themselves questions and do some research. The truth will out. And there can be only one truth, the rest is interpretation.
We find ourselves a divided society at a time when we need to be together. Now is the time to be repairing relationships and putting our lives, and the lives of others, back together again.
Many are struggling, so it is time to be kind - with no strings attached. No conditions.
The illusion that we are being looked after by our governments might now be unravelling.
We have complied and followed the rules for so long and yet we continue to lose our freedoms and choices, which are now dependent on ‘booster’ jabs, a third, a fourth…. We are told we must comply or face even more restrictions.
Trust in our ‘leaders’ is diminishing as people begin to question (finally) where this will end. We find that our politicians are not the champions we needed them to be, as memories of the free society we enjoyed prior to the pandemic fade into the past. We now have the power to initiate change for good. We may only have a small window of opportunity. And many people are still vulnerable.
Look around, our world is fragile and people are scared. It’s time to be kind, respectful and compassionate.
And most of all, to stand together. No discrimination, no judgement, no segregation. We cannot rely on our governments to uphold what is moral and ethical, we cannot rely on them to defend our individual rights.
When we are standing upright once again, it will be time to hold the perpetrators of fear and division to account.
Then those charlatans who thought themselves invincible and all powerful will fall.
Just for the record….. these are my personal observations and opinions, I may be wrong, often, but hey isn’t that what freedom of speech is all about?
I strive to be a critically-thinking human being, and so these views are always subject to change at any time.
I am not aligned, or beholden to, any political party or movement.
I’m not an ‘anti-vaxxer’, nor a ‘covidenier’, nor a ‘conspiracy theorist’, so please don’t call me one.
And I try to be kind, because that is all that really matters in life.
"I share your ambition to reduce these red listed licence numbers further"
David Slater, Director for Wildlife Licensing and Enforcement Cases, Natural England, November 2021
You may remember last month I called on Natural England to stop issuing all lethal control licences for red listed species, including Lapwing, Curlew and Herring Gull.
Due to public pressure largely driven by our campaign, there had already been a significant reduction in the number of licences issued in the past year or two. But still red listed species of serious conservation concern were appearing on Natural England's annual declaration of data.
(this declaration itself is also a major success of our campaign - previously the data had been hidden).
A Shared Ambition...
After sharing my concerns with them, Natural England have been keen to explain the remaining red list licences. This week they supplied me with concise data of the licences, which I am reproducing below with their permission.
Natural England's Director for Wildlife Licensing & Enforcement Cases, David Slater, told me that "with the exception of herring gull, all the licences were issued for air safety".
(Note: just to clarify this, you can see in the data that there are in fact a small number of licences for Starling and House Sparrow that were not issued for air safety).
As I've said before, the matter of air safety remains a highly contentious and difficult issue. The actual number of licences issued is relatively low, though still significant. My response is to ask why most airports seem to be able to manage birds within their parameters without resorting to lethal control methods, while a small handful are still killing endangered birds and destroying their eggs.
Nevertheless, in the light of recent reductions in the number of licences issued, I suggested to Natural England that it shouldn't be too difficult, with some 'out of the box' thinking and determination, to achieve zero lethal control for these species.
And they seem to agree.
Mr Slater told me today that "I share your ambition to reduce these red listed licence numbers further."
So that's good.
The Curlew Egg Project - Real Progress or Symbolic Gesture?
Speaking of air safety, Natural England have been super keen to show me their video illustrating a project they initiated to relocate some Curlew eggs. The eggs were collected and hatched away from the airfield and the chicks successfully raised and released into a safer environment.
It is an impressive film production, complete with lilting soundtrack and starring Natural England's very own Tony Juniper and even Prince Charles.
But, much as this project seems to have been a success, my immediate response was to ask whether this was just a small symbolic gesture or whether the scheme would be rolled out to more areas, saving Curlew that are otherwise still being killed, and whether other birds could also be treated to similar conservation efforts, the Lapwing for example.
Natural England told me "Yes we want to expand....that is a very live conversation at the moment."
Any expansion of the programme might depend on finding suitable places to release where the birds will flourish. Safe Curlew habitat is scarce, another legacy of our over industrialised countryside.
Disappointingly, Natural England added that there is 'less certainty' about establishing any similar project to save Lapwing, also a red listed species in decline, and one for which Natural England is still issuing lethal control permissions.
Progress is slow. Whether there is time to have all necessary 'live conversations' while populations are in freefall, is the real question. A race against time.
But it's a positive start and I remain hopeful that further progress will be made - and that the number of lethal control licences issued will continue to fall.
With regard to Herring Gulls, the picture is less clear. Though there has been a recent reduction in licences issued to control them, still the numbers are in my opinion far too high.
Natural England told me "As you can imagine we get a lot of interest from local authorities to control large gull species in towns where they are perceived as a pest or a nuisance. We issue very few licences for lethal control".
But it still meant that since 2020, Natural England approved the killing of 309 Herring Gulls and the destruction of more than 5,000 Herring Gull eggs.
Natural England told me today that "We are currently reviewing the evidence to set those thresholds for next year."
Let's hope that the review will see a sharp reduction in the number of licences issued, bearing in mind that the Herring Gull population in the UK has been in rapid decline for many years.
Egg Collection For The Restaurant Trade
Interesting to note that I also asked about the licences that Natural England issues each year to collect the eggs of (amber listed) Black-headed gulls for the 'fine dining' industry - it's clearly an unethical and outdated practice in the 21st century. The collection of these eggs, in large numbers, is based on 'bequeathed rights' which no doubt makes it slightly more complex.
But there may be some interesting changes on the horizon.
Mr Slater told me on this matter that he recently met with stakeholders to look at licences for next year and added "There will be something public on this in the new year."
So watch this space....
In spite of small steps, we are making progress and I feel confident that our voices are being heard and that Natural England is now sharing at least some of our goals.
Let's keep up the pressure.
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