5Put all your trust in the Lord and do not rely on your own understanding. 6At every step you take keep him in mind, and he will direct your path. 7Do not be wise in your own estimation; fear the Lord and turn from evil.
Proverbs 3: 5-7 – Revised English Bible
9But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will deliver us
1 Corinthians 1: 9-10 – King James Bible
A year ago, I published two separate posts about the lessons that we’d learned from the first year of lockdown. For those of you who didn’t catch those posts, they can be found here:
We’re now a year further on and our screens are almost entirely COVID-free and packed instead with stories about the war in Ukraine, which is precisely why I feel that it’s necessary to take stock of where we are, two years on. What have we learned? What questions remain unanswered? What has changed that may never be the same again? In doing so, I’ve also touched on some of the other issues facing us that may also be affected by the longer-term ‘fallout’ from COVID. Amazingly enough, some of the lessons read across several current issues, which is why I was so struck by Bob Moran’s cartoon, copied above. I hope you’ll support his work, which can be found here:
In reflecting on the last two years, I’ve been struck by the thought that my own level of trust has been seriously damaged in some really significant ways.
In fact, I’m sure in my mind that trust has been the greatest and saddest casualty of all. I’ve listed out the areas and organisations where this has been a major issue and trust has been lost (I might almost say squandered, in some cases).
Government and Parliament
The government seems to have spent far too much effort trying to work out how to get compliance from the population, and not nearly enough time worrying about how to avoid wrecking the fragile trust by the governed for those who govern them.
Am I the only one who now cringes when I hear government ministers being interviewed? It has always been the case that politicians have ‘held the party line’ but it now often sounds as though they have lost all brains and common sense in the process. I’ve heard a minister being challenged about the complete lack of science behind the mask mandates; when he was asked what science he could point to, to support the policy, the response was: ‘Well I still think they work.’
Those that govern us made us very aware that they did not believe that COVID was a danger; what other interpretation could we possibly place on the multiple Downing Street parties and the pictures of the G7 meetings in Cornwall, where only the waiting staff were wearing masks?
Why should we listen to such people ever again, and if we don’t, what are the future consequences for government? Why do politicians of all parties now routinely treat the public as if they are completely incapable of picking up their many lies and deceptions?
Scientists and Scientific Bodies Including Behavioural Scientists
One of the things we’ve found out in the last two years is that many scientists have been very happy to prostitute themselves, in order to gain government and research money. And governments and funders have been happy for science and scientists to prostitute themselves, in exchange for their money. If, as I suspect, untold damage has been done to the public trust, as a result of the politicisation of science over the last two years, what will the long-term impact of this be? This is perhaps one of the most serious long-term consequences of this period. Why should we believe those people when they say that we must give up fossil fuels and go cold and dark in the name of ‘global warming’?
The ‘behavioural scientists’ have openly used fear to manipulate the population and have even suggested that such techniques could usefully be used to influence future democratic outcomes. This is an abuse of ‘science’ on such a monstrous scale that we should reject all these people as underserving of public positions or money.
Personally, I’d been looking forward to doing some journeys to places I’d have liked to explore further, and all of which were ‘No nonsense’ places: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and several others. These have morphed from sane, liberal places into full-blown hard-line authoritarian ones. I’ve lost all trust in their governments and in the process have lost all interest in spending time and money in those countries. Do they have any idea what the long-term effect might be, of such loss of trust by the travelling public?
The start of this saga was when the WHO told the world that they’d been reassured by China that COVID could not be transferred from one person to another. They went on to say later that there was no reason to believe that the virus may have escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan. The loss of trust in these trans-national bodies has been massive.
And in the context of the current war in Ukraine, why would Russia accept Ukraine becoming part of the European Union, when that body has already declared that one of its aims is to establish a European military force?
Mathematicians, Modellers and Professors
Does anyone have any trust or faith left in the mathematical models that have been such an important part of the government’s claimed authority for interfering in our lives over two years? Obviously, all models are driven by assumptions. To prove how correct the assumptions are, the models outputs should be shown to work retrospectively. In other words, actual historical data, when run in the models, should show results close to the actual historical outcomes. Judged by this standard, they have failed completely and miserably. Why should we trust these modellers, when they say they can predict to +/- 0.25° C what global temperatures will be in 78 years, when their models of the damage to be done by Omicron were proved to be wrong by hundreds of percent in just two weeks? Why should their refusal to stand up and be challenged on this horror show not have damaged what little remaining trust we have left?
And why should we have any trust in the massed ranks of ‘Professors’ from our Universities, when they’ve supported policies that have almost all been shown to be totally wrong? Do you now need to renounce common sense to become a top academic?
Big Pharma and the Medical Approval Authorities
The vaccine roll-out was a managerial triumph (and a colossal financial one for Big Pharma, it must be added). But if the industry had been honest, they’d have been stressing that they never claimed that the vaccine would stop transmission, and they’d have been far more focused on ensuring that people being offered the vaccines were fully informed about the risks, before taking the decision to be vaccinated. Why did Pfizer do everything it could to resist providing Congress with the documents it was asking for? And why is it that the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, the UK government-appointed body which is responsible for the safety of new vaccines, is refusing all attempts to discover what action it’s taken or is taking to investigate the now massive and growing list of reported serious side-effects and deaths through the Yellow Card scheme (and VAERS scheme in the USA)?
And maybe the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question is what damage will have been done to the trust in future vaccine programmes? Is this not of absolutely crucial importance?
The Media, including and the Social Media Giants
It’s been impossible to turn on a radio or a television without hearing endless government advertising about COVID and restrictions. We should perhaps not be surprised that the media have been very happy to pump out the government ‘line’ in exchange for having their palms crossed with such massive amounts of silver. Having been cheerleaders for lockdown, masks, and all the other restrictions, it is sickening to note that some are now trying to distance themselves from almost everything they’ve been saying for the last two years. Why should they be surprised if we’re now very sceptical about some of their reporting on the war in Ukraine? They’ve destroyed trust on an epic and probably irrecoverable scale.
Why should we ever trust Facebook, Twitter et al, when they’ve censored honest open discussion about masks, lockdowns, global warming, vaccines etc, but at the same time have allowed Nazi groups in Ukraine (believe me, they do exist) to call for the slaughter of Russian soldiers? Why should such organisations command any respect or trust at all?
The Medical Professionals, the NHS and ‘Public Health’
I regret having to include this category. But we now have a full-blown medical crisis, as a result of the almost total focus on COVID for two years. I don’t blame those on the front line. But those making managerial decisions have made many very serious errors of judgement. The legacy of this is going to make the deaths from (as opposed to with) COVID, look very small indeed over the next few years. A visible sign of this malaise is that, now that almost everyone has accepted what most of us knew two years ago, ie that masks cannot and do not stop the spread of COVID, they’re still compulsory in medical settings. It’s impossible to overstate how much trust has been lost by the NHS and medical profession. And there’s one enormous question that remains unanswered. Has anything at all been done to increase hospital capacity, for the moment when the next annual viral season comes along? By that stage, our NHS will have had almost three years to take action. I fail to believe that it’s due to lack of funding, now that the amount per head we’re spending is the highest in the whole of Europe, even ahead of Germany’s.
And throughout the last two years, the ‘Public Health’ officials have shown that they have thinly-disguised political agendas.
The Church of England
The last two years have exposed some of the biggest moral social challenges I’ve ever seen. And whilst this has been happening, the Church of England has been fretting about historic memorial tablets in church buildings and the need for more ‘diversity’ on church vacancy shortlists. When the government wanted churches closed, the Church of England went one step further and locked them completely, even for private prayer by the vicars who were responsible for them. I have no trust left in the Church of England; at a time when the Archbishop of Canterbury should have been providing serious Christian teaching about so many huge injustices on display daily (the numbers about to hit fuel poverty surely merit at least some mention?). Instead, he’s been interviewing ‘celebrities’ like Tony Blair on Radio 4.
When the Archbishop supported calls for vaccine mandates, he was calling for the unvaccinated to be ostracised. Why should anyone trust someone who so publicly demonstrates his complete lack of understanding of Christ’s teachings?
I was involved with the Home Office in 1981, when they were agonising over whether they should issue the Police with riot helmets. Many police had been injured in the Brixton and Toxteth riots, but Willie Whitelaw, the minister forty years ago, was worried that the public’s relationship with the ‘Bobby on the beat’ might change forever, if they appeared in riot gear. In the last two years, we’ve seen the Police of several nations dressed like scary paramilitary cyber-warriors. We’ve also seen some shocking scenes of Police dealing with demonstrators and arresting innocent citizens taking walks in the countryside. Will our relationship with the Police ever be the same again, now that we’ve seen the ‘enthusiastic’ way in which they’ve implemented what were, in a lot of cases, not the law, but guidelines? What on earth has gone wrong with Police training?
I must apologise for singling out the teaching unions, but the way in which they pushed the government to close schools, to force children into masks, and to get children vaccinated when they were almost at zero risk of contracting COVID, has left a most unpleasant taste. When did we as a society start to think that it was acceptable to sacrifice our children, to save those at the end of their lives? It underlines, I’m afraid, the extent to which we’ve lost our moral compass.
There is comedy to be found in the fact that we now have a President in Ukraine who used to be a comedian, at a time when all of our comedians seem to have gone AWOL (I make a major exception of Bob Moran and his cartoons). We’ve needed comedy, and above all sarcasm, like never before. Instead, our comedians seem to have become politicians
Everyone is now bored with COVID, but we should not underestimate the damage that the last two years have done to trust in the public sphere. It would be nice to be able to say that the signs are now that trust is being rebuilt. Sadly, I don’t think that is the case; our leaders do not seem to be at all keen in learning lessons. Would we deal with a similar epidemic any better? I wonder.
Dear Lord, we know that trust is a fragile, tender flower. May those who carry responsibility learn that trust is hard won and easily lost. And please help us to see humour in our world, as that is a great healer. Amen