Coronavirus and the herd immunity ploy

Robert Henderson

The herd immunity ploy was obviously the most efficient  and, arguably in the long run,    the most humane course of action  because the  number of deaths and misery, both physical and psychological, may well exceed those from the present course of action.  For example, what happens with the present ploy  if  the situation has not changed after  16 weeks locked down ? Does the government keep on with lockdown interminably? Clearly that could not happen because there is a limit to what even a country with a great borrowing record  like the UK  can actually borrow. Moreover,  can anyone honestly believe that  to to keep people locked away for 4 months, 6 months and so on is practically possible? As it is we are are asking people at present to undergo a form of psychological torture. Imagine how extreme circumstances can be, for example, a family of 3 or four living in one room in a B and B.  It is inhuman.

With herd immunity the actuality might be very painful  in the short term but the experience of the likes of Sweden suggests is no worse in terms of death and much better in terms of not subjecting the population to great privation and  keeping the economy going.

There is also  a serious question over the number of which deaths can be wholly or solely attributed to the coronavisrus, for  example, there are suggestions that many of the deaths which are going into the daily count are not  due to coronavirus being the primary cause but rather acting as the last straw which broke the camel’s back.

To get a clear picture of what is happening we need answers to these questions for every claimed coronavisrus death:

1. How old was the patient?

2. What was the cause of death given on the death certificate?

3. What other illnesses and disabilities did the patient have?

4. What treatment did the patient receive in the 24 hours prior to their death?

5. Where did they die, for example, in hospital  or outside of hospital?

6. Had the patient stated that they did not wish to be resuscitated?

Coronavirus – Deaths rates: UK compared with Sweden

 It is true that Sweden’s death rate is below that of other Scandinavian countries but it is still lower than  that of many other first world countries . Take the UK for example.  Sweden has a population of 10 million; that of the UK is 66 million which is 6.6 times that of Sweden
Sweden’s  death toll is  2274 
 Sweden  death toll   multiplied  by 6.6   to give pro rata figure  for Sweden equivalent  to UK size population  is  2274 x 6.6  =  15,008
The UK’s death toll as of 28 April was   21,678 – see
Difference 6, 700
Things such as  the age shape of the Swedish population
 and the density of the country  is different but  that is not all it seem, for 
example, Sweden is less densely population when the entire area of the
 country is used but this ignores the fact that Sweden  is a very urban
 country. 
Death rate is very important but it does have to be balanced against such 
things as the long term damage to the economy, the opportunity cost of 
 of saving a person with corolavirus  against  treatment for non-virus patients, 
family life and just good old normality.  
There are differences in data definition  between countries but  
even if  Sweden’s death toll pro rata was  the same as that 
of the UK,  the UK  population would have suffered much less
than they  have done.

Judicial Review of the corolavirus lockdown in England

Robin Tillbrook is a solicitor and chairman of the English Democrats.  He has launched an application for Judicial Review of the  regime the Government is inflicting on the UK.   Below are the documents of the Judicial Review application’. 

——————————————————————————————————————-

The Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

And the

Secretary of State Health & Social Care

39 Victoria Street

London

SW1H 0EL

Sat, 25 Apr at 20:04

Dear Sirs

English Democrats (1) Robin Tilbrook (2) – v – The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State Health and Social Care

Letter Before Claim
This letter is drafted under the judicial review protocol in section C of the White Book, which normally provides for a response within 14 days, but in view of the importance and urgency of the issues raised a response within 7 days is sought.

1.     Respondents:  The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State Health and Social Care

2.     Applicants: The English Democrats (Reg. No. 6132268) & Robin Tilbrook both of Quires Green, Willingale, Ongar, Essex, CM5 0QP

3.     The details of the Applicant’s legal advisers, if any, dealing with this claim:-

Tilbrook’s Solicitors, of Quires Green, Willingale, Ongar, Essex, CM5 0QP

4.     The details of the matters being challenged:-

The disproportionate inference with English rights and freedoms and the legality of:-

I        Statutory Instrument: 2020 No. 350

Public Health, England

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England)

Regulations 2020

          Made                   at 1.00 p.m. on 26th March 2020 

Laid before Parliament    at 2.30 p.m. on 26th March 2020 

Coming into force            at 1.00 pm. on 26th March 2020 

The Secretary of State purported to make Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 45C(1), (3)(c), (4)(d), 45F(2) and 45P of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984(1).

These Regulations are:-

1.     Contrary to the fundamental constitution of England as set out in Magna Carta and the English Parliamentary Constitutional Convention Declaration of Right of 1689 and its subsequent enactment in the English Bill of Rights 1689.

2.     Contrary to the Common Law of England in that (non-exhaustively) they are:- Ultra Vires; disproportionate and irrational.

3.     Contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights (pursuant to the Human Rights Act).

II       The “Guidance Covid-19: Guidance on Social Distances which inter alia states:-

          “Stay at home

·         Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)

·         If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times

·         Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.”

This is neither proper nor an accurate reflection of the said   Regulations.

III     The Coronavirus Act 2020 is:-

1.     Contrary to the fundamental constitution of England as set out in Magna Carta and the English Parliamentary Constitutional Convention Declaration of Right of 1689 and its subsequent enactment in the English Bill of Rights 1689.

2.     Contrary to the Common Law of England in that (non-exhaustively) they are:- Ultra Vires; disproportionate and irrational.

3.     Contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights (pursuant to the Human Rights Act).

5.     The details of any Interested Parties:-

None have notified as yet, but every person in England has an interest in the issues raised herein.

6.     The Issues:-

The above are a disproportionate and unwarranted interference with English rights and freedoms and human rights.

The Coronavirus Regulations and the European Convention on Human Rights

The lockdown measures imposed by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations are the some of the most extreme restrictions on fundamental freedoms imposed in the modern era; and are a disproportionate interference with the rights and freedoms protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (‘the Convention’) and therefore unlawful.

In considering their proportionality, the failure to derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights (under Article 15) is a relevant factor, as it might suggest that the public health crisis is not one that threatened the ‘life of the nation’.  Likewise, the failure to use the Civil Contingencies Act is both relevant to question of whether the Regulations could lawfully have been passed under the delegated powers of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and to proportionality, given that the CCA requires much more regular Parliamentary scrutiny and has specific limitations on the extent of any regulations passed under its delegated powers;]

The Regulations have grave impact upon a number of rights and freedoms, including at least to family and private life (Article 8), religious practice (Article 9), association and assembly (Article 11), property (Article 1 of Protocol 1) and education (Article 2 of Protocol 1) and probably to liberty (Article 5).  They represent an unprecedented intrusion into the freedoms and livelihood of the public at large and the gravity of this impact is a key consideration in determining whether they are the least restrictive means of tackling, proportionately, the spread of the virus.

Article 2 of the Convention (the right to life) does not impose a positive obligation to impose Draconian restrictions as a public health measure and is limited (in so far is relevant) to imposing positive obligations on states to ensure a functioning criminal justice system and to react proportionately to immediate and individual threats to life.

The means by which proportionality should be judged are the Siracusa Principles, developed and recognised by international law to determine the proportionality of quarantines and measures responding to public health crises.  These require such measures to be:

•             provided for and carried out in accordance with the law;

•             directed toward a legitimate objective of general interest;

•             strictly necessary in a democratic society to achieve the

              objective;

•             the least intrusive and restrictive available to reach the

              objective;

•             based on scientific evidence and neither arbitrary nor

              discriminatory in application; and

•             of limited duration, respectful of human dignity, and

              subject to review.

The five tests for the continuance of the Regulations declared by the First Secretary of State on 16th April, were as follows:

·        That the NHS is able to cope;

·        a “sustained and consistent” fall in the daily death rate;

·        reliable data showing the rate of infection was decreasing to ‘manageable levels’;

·        that the supply of tests and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) could meet future demand; and

·        that the government can be confident that any adjustments would not risk a second peak.

It is submitted that these tests: (a) impose an over-rigorous and unreasonable fetter on the government’s discretion to remove or reduce the restrictions and are wholly incompatible with an application of the Siracusa Principles; (b) would (if applied) retain the restrictions (if, for example, there was not a ‘sustained and consistent’ fall in the death rate) even if an objective evaluation showed that less restrictive measures might have the same object; and (c) fail to require the Secretary of State to have any regard to the impact of the Regulations on the important rights and freedoms they restrict.

An evaluation of the scientific evidence would be unavoidable for any court reviewing the lawfulness and proportionality of the Regulations, as it would otherwise be unable to consider whether the measures were the least restrictive necessary in a democratic society.  This scientific evidence is far more uncertain than is generally accepted and there is, in particular, a great deal of uncertainty about the effectiveness of lockdowns in containing spread, the true mortality and infection rates and the accuracy of the modelling from Imperial College that has been key to government policy.

In conclusion, the application of the Siracusa Principles in a judicial review, taking account of the gravity of the removal of so many and such important rights and freedoms with so little democratic scrutiny, is likely to conclude that the measures are disproportionate to their object, were imposed following an unreasonable fetter on the government’s discretion and are thus unlawful.

7.     The details of the action that the Respondents are required to take:-

a)     To admit that the said Regulations, Guidance and Act should be rescinded and replaced within an agreed timetable.

b)    In accordance with the agreed timetable, to rescind the same and to replace them with agreed Regulations, Guidance and Act which does not improperly interfere with English Rights and Freedoms.

8.     ADR proposals:-

None.

9.     The details of any information sought:-

Not applicable.

10.The details of any documents that are considered relevant and   necessary:-

          Not applicable.

11.The address for reply and service of all documents:-

Tilbrook’s Solicitors of Quires Green, Willingale, Ongar, Essex, CM5 0QP

12. Proposed reply date:-

In view of the urgency and importance of the issues 7 days from the date hereof.

Yours faithfully

 

R C W Tilbrook

————————————————————————————————————

Monday, 4 May 2020

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO OUR “LOCKDOWN” CHALLENGE

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO OUR “LOCKDOWN” CHALLENGE

In a previous Blog article I set out our Pre-action Protocol Letter before Claim.  I have now received the Governments letter in reply and I have copied the Government’s response below.
“Dear Sirs

English Democrats and Robin Tilbrook – v – The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State Health and Social Care

We are in receipt of your letter before claim, which we understand to have been sent on 23 April 2020, seeking an urgent response within seven days. This response is provided in accordance with the requirements of a judicial review pre-action protocol.
Proposed Claimants
(1)   The English Democrats
(2)   Robin Tilbrook
Proposed Defendant
(1)   The Prime Minister
(2)   The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Were proceedings to be issued, the proper defendant would be the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. References to the Defendant in this letter are to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
The Defendant may be contacted via the Government Legal Department.  Due to COVID-19, service should, if possible, be effected by email rather than post to limit the handling of materials.  All future correspondence should be addressed to Tessa Hocking on behalf of the Treasury Solicitor, at Tessa.Hocking@governmentlegal.gov.uk, quoting reference number Z2005059/TIH/HOI7 and copying Robert Norgrove at Robert.Norgrove@governmentlegal.gov.uk.
Details of the Decision being Challenged
  1. Your letter seeks to challenge the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (“the Regulations”), which were made by the Defendant and came into force on 26 March 2020. It appears from your letter that the challenge is to the entirety of the Regulations. 
  1. The proposed challenge is misconceived. If a claim is commenced, we will invite the Court to refuse permission and certify the claim as totally without merit. We note that you will be familiar with this process, given that your claim in English Democrats v The Prime Minister & Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (CO/1322/2019) was similarly refused permission and certified as totally without merit.
The Legal and Factual Context
  1. The entirety of the United Kingdom is presently affected by the global COVID-19 public health pandemic. The extremely serious risk to life and health posed by COVID-19 has obliged the Government to take unprecedented, vital steps to limit the spread of the virus, save lives, and reduce the burden on the National Health Service.
  1. These measures include those set out in the Regulations, which came into force on 26 March 2020. The Regulations are applicable in England, although equivalent restrictions are in place across the rest of the United Kingdom.
  1. The Regulations were made under the Part IIA of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, for the purposes of “preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection or contamination”: section 45C(1). The measures achieve precisely these purposes. They are similar to those instituted in countries across the world, faced with the same global public health emergency.
  1. Your letter makes no reference to any particular provision of the Regulations, and it is accordingly unnecessary to set out their full terms and effect here. There is no dispute that the Regulations impose a comprehensive set of restrictions and requirements on all aspects of daily life, affecting every person in England, because of the unparalleled threat to life and to the effective functioning of the National Health Service posed by the pandemic. The Regulations seek to strike a careful balance between preventing the spread of COVID-19 and permitting essential services to continue during the emergency period.
  1. The restrictions and requirements imposed by the Regulations remain in place from 26 March 2020 until the Secretary of State takes steps to terminate or amend them. The continuing need for those restrictions and requirements is required to be reviewed at three weekly intervals under the Regulations. In line with that requirement, a review of all aspects of the Regulations was carried out before the Government concluded on 16 April 2020 that the need for those restrictions and requirements had not materially altered. That need remains under constant review. 
  1. Accordingly, the public health position in England has very recently been considered with the outcome that the Government continues to be of the view that the restrictions are necessary to address the incidence or spread of infection of COVID-19. Additionally, the Regulations are due to expire six months after coming into effect, being 25 September 2020.
  1. Further, the Regulations were made by the Defendant under the emergency procedure set out in section 45R of the 1984 Act, by reason of their urgency, following which they must be approved by a resolution of each House within 28 days (leaving aside days on which Parliament is adjourned, prorogued or dissolved: section 45R(6)) or else they expire after that period: section 45R(4). The Regulations are tabled for debate in the Commons on 4th May 2020. It is therefore inaccurate for your letter to suggest that there is no Parliamentary scrutiny of these emergency Regulations.
Response
  1. Although it is unclear precisely what grounds of challenge your letter advances in respect of the Regulations, any claim for judicial review would be misconceived.
  1. First, the First Claimant is the subject of an outstanding Order for costs arising from CO/1322/2019, referred to above, in the sum of £2,755.99, which it has thus far failed to pay. The First Claimant was represented throughout those proceedings by the Second Claimant, who is also the National Chairman of the First Claimant. It is an abuse of process for a party to commence further proceedings when it has refused to comply with a Court Order in previous, unmeritorious, proceedings: see, e.g., Harbour Castle Limited v David Wilson Homes Limited [2019] EWCA Civ 505.
  1. Secondly, no explanation is advanced in your letter as to how or why either of the proposed Claimants have standing to challenge the entirety of the Regulations, or in what way either or both of the proposed Claimants are relevantly victims of the asserted breaches of Articles 5, 8, 9, 11 and 1 and 2 of the First Protocol ECHR, as required by section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
  1. Thirdly, any claim for judicial review must be brought promptly: CPR r.54.5(1)(a). That freestanding requirement of promptitude is especially critical in a context of a general challenge to Regulations of the greatest national importance seeking to protect life on a mass scale, where reliance has been placed on them – and the population complying with them – for some five weeks. No explanation is given as to why your letter is only written now, when the arguments set out in it appear to be ones that could have been made from the very outset. Any claim would be refused permission for a failure to act promptly.
  1. Fourthly, and in any event, the relevant restrictions in the Regulations do not give rise to any unlawful interference with any of the ECHR rights referred to in your letter.
  1. As the Divisional Court held in R (Detention Action) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 732 (Admin) at §27: “we must emphasise that it is the role of the court to assess the legality of the Secretary of State’s actions, not to second-guess legitimate operational choices. The circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented and are unfolding hour by hour and day by day. Within sensible bounds the Secretary of State must be permitted to anticipate such events as she considers appropriate and respond to events as they unfold. As matters stand, it does seem to us that she has taken and will no doubt continue to take prudent measures, both precautionary and reactive. The margin to be afforded to the Defendant is particularly extensive when faced with what Chamberlain J correctly described in University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust v MB [2020] EWHC 882 (QB) as “the most serious public health emergency for a century”: at §56.
  1. All of the restrictions and requirements imposed by the Regulations pursue a legitimate aim: namely, the protection of public health. The Regulations are rationally connected to that aim: they seek to reduce to a minimum all contact between people so as to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent so far as possible National Health Service resources being placed under an unmanageable strain. They are prescribed by law and strike a proportionate balance. In particular, the unprecedented measures taken in the Regulations, affecting every person and their way of life, are necessary to protect the lives of people in England during this public health emergency. This is the Government’s overriding concern. It is principally achieved by enforcing an extensive but proportionate reduction in all forms of social contact during the emergency period, in common with other countries across the world. The terms of the Regulations are kept under constant review, by reference to the constantly changing situation.
  1. Accordingly, your letter is wrong to imply any inconsistency with the Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, whether in relation to the Regulations or any approach to the review of those Regulations (so far as this is alleged), even if those Principles were of relevance to the ECHR.
  1. Fifthly, the passing assertion that the Defendant has acted ultra vires is unexplained and is not understood. Nor is it understood, or explained, how the Regulations are “Contrary to the fundamental constitution of England as set out in Magna Carta and the English Parliamentary Constitutional Convention Declaration of Right of 1689 and its subsequent enactment in the English Bill of Rights 1689.” This is incoherent.
Action Requested and Urgency
  1. For the above reasons, the Defendant does not agree that the Regulations are unlawful and must be rescinded.
  1. Nor, in any event, are the Claimants entitled to demand the right to agree any replacement Regulations or guidance.
  1. For the avoidance of doubt, any claim for judicial review issued will be defended and permission opposed. The Defendant’s full legal costs will be sought in the event that permission is refused.
Details of Other Interested Parties
  1. There are no other interested parties.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
  1. Alternative dispute resolution is not practical.
Requests for Information and Documents
  1. No information or documents are sought.
Address for Further Correspondence and Service of Court Documents
  1. As noted above, all future pre-action correspondence should be sent to, and in the event that proceedings are later issued, documents should be served by email to Tessa.Hocking@governmentlegal.gov.uk, copying Robert.Norgrove@governmentlegal.gov.uk.
  1. Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.
Yours faithfully
T H
For the Treasury Solicitor
I am now working on the reply to this and I shall publish that too shortly.

Robert Henderson’s response to Robin’s application for Judicial Review

Robert Henderson observations on the JR application:

Dear Robin,

This is certainly worth a go, for even if  the action  fails it will  probably shake up the Government sufficiently to get them to slacken the restrictions. The fact that there are reportedly a growing number of Tory MPs unhappy with the way things are going will also help this to happen.

 As to the merits of  the judicial review, the problems you would encounter seem to me to be these:

The powers you are saying are disproportionate are based on a recent Act of Parliament so there  is no question that  outdated  law is being used to obtain  a Government’s ends.

 The question of what Parliament can and cannot  do  is a   vexed one. The obvious argument from the Government side is that Parliament is sovereign and can do anything it chooses. The argument against this  is  that there are obligations  derived from Common Law or treaties a British Government has signed up to.

To the question of Common Law I would say this, Statute Law routinely  overturns directly or indirectly  Common Law judgements and precedents.

As for law deriving from international tries there are two points to make.  First,  treaties, for example the European  Convention or Human Rights, (ECHR)   frequently have very strong qualifications  which mean that the rights and freedoms supposedly protected are given only a  very limited protection in practise. For example here is the ECHR article supposedly protecting free expression 

Article 10 – Freedom of expression

 1Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises. 

The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

More generally if the supremacy of Parliament is accepted and the principle that no  Parliament can bind its successor  remains in play,  then logically no Parliament  can be prevented  from removing freedoms per se.

Proportionality

If you do go ahead with the Judicial Review then the strongest issues seem to me to be these;

1. Other countries such as Sweden have obtained a better or similar result in terms of deaths than the  despite operating a more relaxed regime than the UK.

If you can persuade  Professor Johan Giesecke to be a witness   that would be a plus because he is  both calm and authoritative. He also believes that no matter what regime is adopted by governments to deal with the virus  the outcome will be broadly similar. See

https://unherd.com/thepost/coming-up-epidemiologist-prof-johan-giesecke-shares-lessons-from-sweden/

  2. The UK Gover`nment is inconsistent in its rules, for example, it  has continued to   allow entry into the UK  with no routine  testing or enforced isolation of  thousands of people each day.  The Government claim this failure to act  is in response to their expert scientific advice  that it was not necessary.  Frankly, I think  most people, myself included,  will see that advice as self-evident  nonsense  The most   likely explanation for the failure to test and isolate is that it would be s politically sensitive.

If  people are allowed to continue  entering the country with no checks or isolation there is a serious danger of the virus being re-imported into the UK over and over again

3. The Government’s constant refrain that they act of the best scientific and medical advice is simply untrue.

Scientists often disagree  and like academics generally are more than happy to fight battles which have little to do with science and everything to do with ego and professional jealousies. This makes a nonsense of the increasingly pathetic bleat of Johnson and co that “We are acting on the best scientific and medical advice “.

 The upshot of this ploy is politicians not  choosing the “best and medical  and scientific advice ”  but the advice which best suits their political narrative and covers their political backs.

Moreover, as a matter of logic  politicians cannot be said to be following the best scientific  and medical advice  through choice  because  by definition they are not qualified to choose between competing professional  medical and scientific advice .

 5. It is becoming increasingly clear that the present regime is a cure worse than the disease.  The concentration on corolavirus is undoubtedly resulting in substantial numbers of deaths from non-corolavirus causes and will result in many more,  plus a great deal  of mental agony for sufferers and their  families.

 Cancer patients are having their treatments stopped, millions of elective operations have been scrapped or delayed and  there have been dramatic falls in Accident and Emergency patients generally with especially worrying falls in patients  possibly suffering from suspected heart attacks and strokes, presumably because people are either frightened to go into hospital with corolavirus about or simply out of a  misplaced sense that they did not want  to be a burden of the NHS  under present circumstances.  This stores up trouble for the future both for the patients and the NHS.

6. The public need to be trusted with harsh facts.  The  regret  generated by the  coronavirus deaths  is understandable but ignores one very important thing.  Put baldly the idea that some patients might be treated  more favourably than others, for example,  the young rather than the old, seems cruel. Yet this   is no more than what happens generally in emergency medical situations, namely,  the practice of triarging patients. (That is the dividing of patients into those who will most probably survive without treatment, those who would survive with treatment and those who would not  survive regardless of treatment.  )

In the context  of who is likely to survive, there is the question of  whether some  treatments   are too robust, especially for the old.  For example, it  is reported that “nearly all Covid-19 patients put on ventilators in New York’s largest health system died,”.  It is such a physically brutal intervention that, as has been hinted at in previous reports about ventilators, it may be killing people, especially the old,.   The procedure also requires very heavy sedation which may have seen  some on their way out of the World.

Hospital capacity is what matters at the moment

Robert Henderson

Over the Easter weekend the Nightingale Hospital in the  converted Excel conference and events centre  only had 19 patients when it has  available 500 beds now with the potential to scale up to 4000 to accommodate corolavirus patients.  The small number of patients  caused surprise and comment.

The fact that the Nightingale Hospital is  not used more extensively is irrelevant at the moment. The important thing is the Government has done the  right thing by making sure the  capacity is there if the virus  (or indeed any other virus)  becomes more demanding of patients in hospital beds.  There is also the possibility that a second wave of the virus will hit us.

Over capacity is what we need not under capacity. This is where British governments*from Cameron and May’s  governments  (and arguably Johnson’s) were at fault because they   ran down the in patient capacity so there was very little give in the system when demand rose.  Not only that but very little effort appears to have been made generally to plan for a novel virus attack – no adequate  supplies of protective equipment, no  equipment to test for the virus  and a lack of  equipment to aid sufferers , in particular ventilators and oxygen.  There are also reports coming through of drugs needed to treat and palliate patients are running short.

For the future all of these shortages must not be allowed to exist.

The other  general scandal is the  fact that UK is so dependent on  imports for staff, equipment and medicine.   Government must train sufficient medical staff  drawn from our own population and ensure that the UK can be self-sufficient in not only the goods required to tackle viruses but in drugs and  medical equipment. No more must the madness of the laissez faire  fantasy of  globalism be allowed to to drive public policy in the UK.

*The Blair and Brown can also be said to have indirectly contributed to the decline of the NHS over the past ten years because of the many PFI’s schemes they left behind which were ruinously expensive and constrained   government ‘s routine spending on the NHS  for years after the  crash of 2008. Instead the money went on PFI contracts.

Blair and Brown could also be blamed indirectly because  in the years leading up to  the 2008 crash they ramped up the UKL national debt massively – see https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/labour-re-writes-the-past-their-economic-management/

Taking the best scientific and medical advice is a nonsense

Scientists often disagree  and like academics generally are more than happy to fight battles which have little to do with science and everything to do with ego and professional jealousies. This makes a nonsense of the increasingly pathetic bleat of Johnson and co that “We are acting on the best scientific and medical advice

The upshot is politicians  not  choosing the “best and medical  and scientific advice ”  but the advice which best suits their political narrative and covers their political backs.  Moreover,  logically ,  politicians cannot be said to be following the best scientific  and medical advice  through choice  because they are not qualified to choose between competing professional  medical and scientific advice .

In short,  “the best scientific and medical advice ” is a ploy to evade political responsibility

Ethic minorities mote likely to be Corolavirus victims

Robert Henderson

Ethnic minorities are reported to be more susceptible to the  coronavirus.

This is intriguing  because  different ethnic minorities are involved. That suggests  it is down to behaviour rather than genetic  differences.

It could be a greater reluctance amongst ethnic minorities  to follow the stay indoors  regime laid down by the government.

Another factor might be health conditions such as obesity and diabetes  being more prevalent amongst ethnic minorities.

It might  be that ethnic minorities tend to live in urban areas more than the native majority.

It might be  because   ethic minorities  have a strong tendency to live together in certain urban  areas.

It might be because ethnic minorities are more likely leave the UK to visit areas outside of the UK  which have no strong healthcare system or a government capable of enforcing rules such as lockdown.

I doubt whether it can be down to poor socio-economic circumstances because there are far more white British families  in such circumstances

Sweden chooses freedom over draconian laws

Robert Henderson

Sweden is the odd man out amongst first world nations when it comes to dealing with the corolavirus.  The country has adopted a more relaxed regime than any other country, a regimes  which allows for far more social mixing  and much less interference with the economy.

Deaths from the  deaths from corlavirus  in Sweden are higher than their near neighbours in Scandinavia  but importantly  lower than for many  first world countries., including the UK, viz:

Sweden has a population of 10.2 million; Denmark 5.8  million, Norway 5.3  Finland 5.5 million .

Let us assume for the sake of arithmetical simplicity  that Denmark, Norway and Finland would have double the deaths   if their  populations were double what they are.  That would mean

Norway   300 deaths
Denmark  642 deaths
Finland     144 deaths

At first glance that looks a persuasive argument for Sweden having made a mistake.  However, now compare  the UK with Sweden

Sweden’s death toll is  1,333

The UK death toll is 13,729 patients who have died in hospital    https://www.itv.com/news/2020-04-16/coronavirus-death-toll-in-uk-increases-by-861-bringing-total-to-13-729/

The UK population is around 66 million

Sweden’s population is around a sixth of the UK

A sixth of 13,729 UK patients is 2,288

That compares the actual  Swedish death toll of 1,333

Hence Sweden has an extrapolated death toll  955 lower than the UK despite adopting a much more liberal policy in dealing with the coronavirus. That cannot be called a failure. The Swedes chose freedom over fewer deaths bought at the cost of draconian laws attacking the individual.

The questions  to consider are these:

1.Is the greater good served by the Swedes retaining their freedom to live a an much more normal life ?
or
adopting a more rigorous set of rules which may have resulted in fewer lives  being lost?

2. Have the Swedes preserved much more of their economy by adopting for a greater degree of freedom

NB
I am assuming the death toll of both the UK and Sweden are just for hospital deaths. The UK figure  most certainly is.

Sweden is a  less densely populated country than the UK , although it is still pretty  urbanised,   the 4 largest urban areas being:
1 Stockholm 1,515,017
2 Gothenburg 572,799
3 Malmö 301,706
4 Uppsala 149,245
450,295 km²  Land area of Sweden
242,495 km²   Land area of UK

The 39 Grays  dead are not victims

Robert Henderson

The  recent discovery of 39 would be migrant bodies in a shipping container in Grays  Essex has produced behaviour from mainstream politicians, mediafolk and those representing immigrants such as charities and lawyers,  which should be seen as astonishing . Sadly, that is not the case for  political correctness now  how such a grip on the  subject of immigration that reason goes out of the window.

The  dead , all from  Vietnam, have been routinely  and wrongly  described as victims.   That word   implies that they were people who were simply unfortunate.  This will not do.  They  must have been aware of the risks they were taking  simply because of the nature of the escapade they were joining . Moreover, because of the widespread publicity,   particularly on  the  Internet,  given to the dangers of being smuggled illegally into a foreign country it is unlikely in this digital age that they would have been unaware of dangers such as dying in inappropriate vehicles.  Hence, rather than being victims these people were willing risk takers  who in this instance lost out to the risk.

The other striking aspect of the story was the fact that the dead had paid substantial sums of money up front to the traffickers. In the  reports on the story one family said they had  paid  £30,000 upfront -there is no suggestion in the media coverage that this was a deal where the person to be smuggled repaid the debt  gradually once in the UK.   This was not someone coming from wretched economic circumstances.  Presumably the other migrants would have also paid substantial sums.

But even if any of the 39 dead had come from circumstances of dire poverty  their  illegal attempt  to come to the UK that would be no excuse  for  breaking the law because no country can  or should  willingly accept people simply  because they are poor for  if they do there is no end to the numbers who will come.

The other glaring point about the  attempt to enter illegally is the distance from which the dead have come. It is not simply that they had come hallway across the word live in the UK.  What  is striking is the  fact that once they reached Europe  there were several dozen first world  countries in which  they could have applied for asylum before reaching the  UK . The fact that the UK was their chosen destination  makes it unlikely these were people fleeing persecution.

The false sense of entitlement

There has grown up amongst  Western politicians a habit of saying that  immigrants, whether legal or illegal, are understandably coming to the West for a better  life. That now often shifts to the politician saying or implying that the  immigrant is doing something admirable  in trying to get to the west, a sentiment frequently accompanied by a claim that immigrants have added so much to  the countries they have settled in .

Unsurprisingly, the multiculturalists  in the West mimic the mainstream politicians and many go further and say  or imply that immigration from  the Third and Second Worlds to the West is a human right. All of this places additional pressure on the mainstream politicians until they start to soften greatly on immigration.  From that arises the populist backlash we are now seeing throughout the developed world.

The reality is that  social heterogeneity in a society  always produces friction where there are different groups in the  society  which are differentiated by race and/or ethnicity. Conversely, homogeneity  is  much less likely to produce social friction.

The long march through the institutions

Why do mainstream politicians almost all sing from the same song sheet when it comes to immigration and its consequences?  The West has fallen prey to the  long march through the institutions. This brilliant  political idea was given shape  and prominence in the 1960s t by  a German student activist   Rudi Dutschke.  Dutschke  was a Marxist but one who was unorthodox. He was influenced by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramschi who  developed the idea of cultural hegemony

Dutschke ‘s idea was simple but brilliant.  He advocated that the Left  should capture positions of power and  perhaps even more impotent influence, for  example  our schools, universities, media  and government departments.

So successful has this  strategy been   that  Western societies have been not only seriously altered through mass immigration but  the suppression  of free expression. Not just about  immigration and its effects but  what is now called political correctness which revolves around any attempt at discriminating based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation  all of which requires an internationalist cast of mind because the non-discrimination rule operates on the basis that all human are to be treated equally.

The idea that humans may not be allowed to discriminate is a literal nonsense because humans like all organisms have to continually discriminate . It is called making choices.

The rational British response  to the  39 dead

The rational British  response  towards the   39 dead  should be alarm that so many were trying enter the UK illegally  in a single container and what that suggests for illegal immigration by such a route.

The numbers could be very substantial.  Suppose  500  immigrants a day arrive by that route, That would be 162,000 a year.  Of course the figure could much higher because the amount of freight entering the UK is colossal.

The democratic deficit

Since 1945 internationalist minded Western political elites have permitted indeed encouraged overtly or tacitly huge numbers of immigrants from the Second and Third Worlds to come to the West.  This has been done without any meaningful  consultation  about mass immigration with the native populations of  those countries.

Rather,  resentment of such immigration has been ever more  ruthlessly repressed by  Western political elites who have made any serious challenge to the  internationalist fantasy a crime which may be punished on a spectrum from the loss of a job   to criminal prosecution and imprisonment.

Does anyone honestly believe that in the case of the  UK a referendum on immigration at any time since 1945 would have returned a majority  for mass immigration?

Mass immigration should be seen for what it is, namely, invasion and settlement .   Those who have permitted, indeed often overtly encouraged, mass immigration are guilty  of the most profound treason for what could be more damaging to a society than allowing huge numbers of those who make no bones about wanting to keep their own ways at best and are actively hostile to the cultural norms of the society in which they settle?

Western politicians and all those who have  supported them – public servants, the created the enclaves of the unassimilatable have produced an entirely predictable result, namely,  fractured societies which have lost a shared cultural identity.

Film Review – They Shall not Grow Old

Director: Peter Jackson

Running time: 99 minutes

Robert Henderson

This is literally a unique film in terms of  its making. Peter Jackson has taken contemporary footage from the First World  War (the Great War)  and  coloured  the original black and white film in the most detailed and lifelike  fashion  and used special software  to bring the film to a speed which makes the movement  entirely lifelike. (Amongst the many arresting sights  in the film are the  early tanks which were  surprisingly efficient at riding over the very difficult rough ground created by the vast trench systems which  all too easily dissolved into seas of mud. )

Jackson used lip readers to discover what people were saying and then voiced their words using the most probable accents the speakers would have been using based on their regiments (British regiments have a strong tradition of recruiting from particular areas, and what were known as Pal’s Battalions” ).

Finally, he added sound effects for  such things as guns, shell and bomb blasts and even a yellow green mist to replicate the use of chlorine gas.  In short, the attention to detail is astonishing.

They shall not grow old opens with film untouched by sound, colour or speed alteration.  When the remastered and altered film arrives it is like watching a magician perform a particularly spectacular trick.  The original jerky, silent and drab film of the period  suddenly becomes as vivid and real as any modern  example of cinematography.

The film starts   by showing the  Britain of the immediate days after war was declared is shown preparing for  the battle to come as recruits are inducted and trained, all very chipper as they doubtless waited for “a crack at the Hun”.

There were also extraneous surprising  sights, for example the very   large number of motor vehicles in places such as London  despite the motor car being very expensive and barely out of its childhood.

The film concentrates on the war on the Western Front  (the primary  theatre of war in WW1) and deals with the infantry soldier, artillery and tanks.  There is nothing about the war in the air or at  sea, but that does not matter because the story Jackson is telling is about the soldier on the ground, especially the “poor, bloody infantry”.

Jackson decided not to use a single narrator. Instead, when comment and explanation  is needed he allows recordings of the words of men who served in the war drawn from the vast library of recordings held by the Imperial War museum. to provide it.

The voices of those  used in the opening passage are surprising ones, men who even after they had experienced the horrors of the trenches still spoke, always   matter of factly,  about doing their duty, of doing their job. Some went further and admitted that the war was the happiest time of their lives.  This is reflected in  the faces of the men who  are more  often than not smiling and joking  is  rife. There was little  if anything by way of combatants lamenting the futility of it all.

These were men of a stamp whom I can remember from my childhood (I was born in 1947) because there were plenty of men who had  served in the Great War still alive and kicking.  They rarely complained and would take in their stride setbacks which would floor many today.  Those from a  later generation who served in WW2 were much the same.  This difference in mentality compared with now is unsurprising because these were ordinary men who had stormed the beaches on D Day, served on the Russian convoys  (where,   after being torpedoed,  being in the water  for a few minutes signalled death from the cold)  or flown  with Bomber Command where the death rate for aircrew was 50%.   Such things put life into perspective and made trivial many of the daily annoyances of living,

All this  goes very strongly against the general idea of the Great War as being an unmitigated horror for those who served.

Even when talking about their feelings on days when they were scheduled to go over the top  the tone was down to earth. The soldiers were  more afraid of being severely injured than of being killed. Like a batsman waiting to go in  to bat the  nerves they felt evaporated once they were out of the trenches and marching towards the enemy.

But this  is not a film which sentimentalises war. It is unsparing in showing the physically disgusting aspects of life in the trenches, everything from the shattered and  decaying bodies of the dead  (both British and German) and examples of  gangrenous “trench feet”  to the oceans of mud and the general  privations  that war brings.

This is a very rare film  in that it offers no obvious grounds for criticism. It does what it says  on the tin without forced sentimentality or undue  reverence. It has the attributes of a first class documentary which in a strange way it  is , an act of reporting a hundred years after the event.

One last thought. I saw the film in a cinema. If you can catch it on the big screen rather than  your television or computer screen do so because it is much more impressive .

Film review : 22 July

22 July

Cast

Anders Danielsen Lie as Anders Behring Breivik

Jon Øigarden as Geir Lippestad

Thorbjørn Harr as Sveinn Are Hanssen

Jonas Strand Gravli as Viljar Hanssen

Ola G. Furuseth as Jens Stoltenberg

Ulrikke Hansen Døvigen as Inga Bejer Engh

Isak Bakli Aglen as Torje Hanssen

Maria Bock as Christin Kristoffersen

Tone Danielsen as Judge Wenche Arntzen

Sonja Sofie Sinding as Lycke Lippestad

Turid Gunnes as Mette Larsen

Kenan Ibrahamefendic as Dr. Kolberg

Monica Borg Fure as Monica Bøsei

Ingrid Enger Damon as Alexandra Bech Gjørv

Seda Witt as Lara Rashid

Anja Maria Svenkerud as Siv Hallgren

Hasse Lindmo as Svein Holden

Director Paul Greengrass

 

Having adopted the disguise of a policeman,  on  22 July 2011 Anders Breivik exploded a bomb  near a government building in  the Norwegian  capital Oslo  killing eight people. He then went to the nearby  island of Utøya where   a Workers’ Youth League (AUF) summer camp was being held. There he shot and killed 77 people  and wounded around  two hundred more.   Most of the victims were young.

Breivik’s justification for the attack  rested on his belief that Norway was being betrayed by its  politically correct elite  who were allowing large numbers of immigrants, and especially Muslim immigrants, to radically  change the nature of Norwegian society.

He chose  the government building  to bomb because it housed members  of  or auxiliaries of the elite and the summer camp because these were the children of those whom Breivik held responsible  for  what he saw as an existential threat to his society.

His  killing rampage is the  starting point of the film.  Breivik is shown as a merciless  but very efficient killer, as he must have been in real life considering the number of dead and wounded. If the bombing and shooting part of the film is viewed on its own with no clue being given that it was a dramatization of the  real life Breivik story viewers would probably respond to it as they would to a Hollywood shoot ‘en up action film. The shooting of the head of security  and the Camp’s director after they become suspicious of Breivik and ask for his I.D.  is as slick as killings in a Hollywood film.

After the killings the film follows two primary plotlines : that of Breivik and the other of the Hansen family.

We meet Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli  )  early in the film when he and his brother Torje Hanssen (Isak Bakli Aglen) are already on the summer camp.   Viljar is selected to give an address to the rest of the Workers’ Youth League  campers. He trots out the routine liberal internationalist line about the wonders of diversity and  how everyone from anywhere should be welcomed.  Shortly after this trite little homily  Breivik starts shooting.

Viljar   and his brother Torje escape death but Viljar suffers serious wounds including one to the head.  A substantial part  of the film after this point is devoted to showing Viljar ‘s long and painful recuperation.  His part in the story culminates with Breivik refusing to look at   him as he makes a victim statement  to the court. The problem with this element of the film is that Viljar and his family, and especially Viljar,  are  incorrigibly wet and are poor vehicles for  engaging the viewer’s sympathy wholehearted.

The aftermath of Breivik’ mass killing is shown as agonising for the Norwegian elite because,  unlike many mass killers,   Breivik neither commits suicide nor is shot resisting arrest.  In fact,  being arrested is part of Breivik’s plan because he wishes  to bring his message  to a wide audience.  To this end he rings the police  and tells them he is ready to surrender. It is telling that the film does not include  this important fact. Instead it shows police arriving on the island and Breivik coming out with his hands up before he spread-eagles himself on the ground.

The omission is important because Breivik’s phoning of the police in real life shows him in control even of his arrest. In fact throughout the film   in a curious way Breivik is portrayed as controlling matters . He successfully accomplishes the bombing and the shootings, he decides when he should be arrested , he manipulates his trial.

Breivik also has the police running around looking for other would-be assassins. After his surrender to the police Breivik starts a hare running by claiming there will be a third attack on his signal  (after the bombing and shooting) , and that there are others in his organization. The police  eventually come to the conclusion Breivik is  a “lone wolf” attacker but  ithey are never really sure whether Breivik is bluffing.. .

Breivik’s choice of lawyer is a strange one on the face of it for it is Geir Lippestad, a lawyer who comes from the Norwegian ellite whom Breivik despises.  When asked why Breivik chose Lippestad, Breivik says that he remembers Lippestad defending  a neo-Nazi in an honest fashion.  A more Machiavellian explanation would be that Breivik wanted to see a member of the in his eyes despised elite twisting and  turning in the spotlight of the Norwegian elite’s  projection of Norway as a wondrously tolerant   and politically correct society. Whether or not Breivik intended this  the choice of Lippestad had precisely that effect.

A  Breivik alive and only too eager to tell his story  is a nightmare for the Norwegian powers-that-be . They do not want to be seen as intolerant, but the horror of the massacre makes it difficult  for them to simply treat Breivik as just a criminal. Nonetheless, this is what they attempt to do.

This  plays into Breivik’s hands because the dreadful truth about his motivation, namely, that those with power and influence in Norway have effectively conspired to allow Norway to be invaded by foreigners,  many of whom are Muslim, without the native population having any say in the matter.

The Norwegian elite know two things about Breivik: he is a mass killer and his motive is not merely hideously embarrassing but based on a potent fact, namely,  that they, the elite,  had  provided the motive for Brevik’s action. That is not to excuse what Breivik did. Rather, it is to assign a cause. It is inescapably true  that without mass immigration  into Norway Breivik would have had no motive to commit the massacre.

The most telling exchange of the film is between Breivik and his lawyer, Lipstadd   says “Norway is not on trial”  to which Breivik simply replies  with a smile “Are you sure about that?” That simple exchange encapsulates the moral confusion surrounding  Breivik’s terrible act.

There is also a scene which gives a small and fleeting but important voice from outside the Norwegian elite.

Lippestad is with Breivik’s mother  trying to persuade her to give evidence about Breivik’s unsettled upbringing. She refuses because she is afraid of public condemnation, but as Lippestad  is on his way out she suddenly blurts out the Breivik is right when he says that Norway has been changed by immigration and not in a way she liked.

The issue of mass immigration is a most serious concern for any Western nation but it is a particular worry for a small country such as Norway which has a population of only  5.37 million.  Over  the past 4 years (2015-2018)  128, 000 immigrants have arrived. It is a reasonable bet that most will be from third world countries.  Since 2000 the population overall has increased by 853,996. As the Norwegian birth rate is  below replacement level it is reasonable to assume that  the increase  is due to new immigrants and  immigrants having children.

Breivik first legal ploy is to plead insanity.  The man’s  motive in choosing this  path  is  ostensibly at odds with his  desire to make his motivation known to the world  as evidenced by both his planned surrender to the police and by his extremely long political testament which he put on line before he began the killing.

Either Breivik lost his nerve temporarily or  it was done to  enrage those Norwegians who form the liberal left elite and especially the relatives of those he had killed or wounded by thrusting in their face their hypocrisy in being angered into rejecting his plea of insanity when in the abstract such a plea would in almost any other circumstance have appealed  to their liberal left mentality. Suppose for example such a massacre had been carried out in Norway by a Muslim.  Would there not have been  Norwegian  voices raised saying the killer was  variously mentally ill,  radicalised until he was not responsible and/or created by a Western society which did not allow the killer to feel included in that society.  One of the most striking things about the film is no one attempts to make any  real excuse for what he did.

But whatever Breivik’s motive for the insanity plea he overthrows it and reverts to pleading not guilty.

The stars of the fillm are undeniably Anders Danielsen Lie as Breivik and Jon Øigarden as Geir Lippestad . Both are  excellent. Danielsen lie has the look of Cassius, lean and hungry, and  I suspect that  both his general persona and his unapologetic  explanation for  his actions may make his portrayal of Breibik fall prey to what might be called the Alf Garnet effect whereby a right-wing politically incorrect character elicits sympathy from the audience.  (For younger readers Alf Garnett was the lead character in a highly popular soap opera  which ran on BBC1 from 1965 to 1975  called Till death us do part. Garnett  portrayed white workingclass values and opinions  which were meant to crash on the rocks of “right on” younger generation characters. To the horror of the left in all its varieties this did not happen for  many viewers felt  the Garnett character was saying what they felt but dared not say about subjects such as immigration. )

Breivik’s message is seriously distorted by the massacre  and his fantasy  of being  a member of a modern Knights Templars Nonetheless,  that  cannot  sweep away  a great and dangerous truth for the multiculturalist internationalists  that they have permitted mass immigration which constitutes an existential threat to Norway as a Western nation state.

Since Breivik’s  murderous assault on both the victims of his killings and the psyche of the Norwegian elite the liberal left have begun to have their  naïve belief in a single human community  has been challenged in many places in the  West d by the rise of  a widespread populist revolt against the effects of mass immigration in general and Islamic immigration  in particular. This is not a direct result of Breivik’s  actions but is a response to the same general conditions – elites seriously disengaged from those they rule – which drove Breivik to commit his dreadful massacre.

Treated purely as a film 22 July would have benefitted from more severe editing because  at 2 hours 40 minutes it was probably 40 minutes too long . Nonetheless it is still a film which is both important and watchable.  It is important because whatever the intentions of the film’s makers it cannot hide the fact that Breivik was acting to combat what he and doubtless many ordinary Norwegians consider the betrayal of Norway by an elite not merely tolerating  but actively promoting the influx of foreigners in such numbers that  native Norwegians could find themselves  in the minority  by  2050.

The film as had a very limited theatre  release  but is also available on Netflix. On the day I saw it  was appearing only on two screens in London.

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