The vaccine rollout is in full flow now, the daily tickers have had “people vaccinated” added to their red counters, and the improbably large number grows more improbably large every day.
The sale of the century is very much on. The powers that be want every single person to be vaccinated, and they’re pulling out all the stops to make sure it happens.
Here are the five main ways the establishment is trying to manufacture your consent.
It’s being reported that everyone getting vaccinated is the only way to get “back to normal”.
Don’t you want to go to the pub again? Or the gym? Or see granny? Or hug people?
Well, just take the shot. Take the shot and all this lockdown and social distancing economic collapse and mounting poverty, it will all just go away.
It’s a common refrain, one which rather clashes with “new normal” we’ve been hearing about for a over year.
In fact, it looks like “back to normal” may come with a qualifying asterisk. For example embattled New York governor Andrew Cuomo has said vaccines will help the state “get back to normal*”…
…where “normal” involves an “Excelsior Pass”.
You don’t need me to explain the complexities of this technique. It’s simple coercion. “Do as we say, and you’ll get a treat.”
Important to remember: “Getting back to normal” is a lie. As much as people repeat the mantra in soundbites and social media posts, the “experts” are clearer – many have said we will NEVER be going back to normal, and others have said we need to maintain anti-Covid measures until at least 2022. The “vaccine” itself does not even claim to limit transmission, even those vaccinated are still being ordered to follow the restrictions.
2. Celebrity Endorsements
One of the oldest and most widely used marketing gimmicks. Partly because it works, but mostly because it’s cheap and easy: Simply find a bunch of tools and put them to work.
The NHS was not shy about this approach, claiming they were planning to enlist “sensible celebrities” who are “known and loved” to combat anti-vax sentiment.
For example, Patrick Stewart:
How do we say thank you to the health workers and scientists for their sacrifice and service? Receive the vaccine as soon as one can to lessen their load and keep wearing a mask to protect fellow citizens. In my 80th year, I am grateful and hopeful for better days ahead. pic.twitter.com/emGDlnYL2E
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) January 22, 2021
Or Elton John and Michael Caine:
Or even Her Majesty:
‘It was very quick. It didn’t hurt at all.’
The Queen shares her experience of getting the #COVIDVaccine with England’s NHS Vaccine Deployment Lead Dr @Emily_JR_Lawson, and encourages those who might be hesitant to get theirs when invited. 👑 @RoyalFamily pic.twitter.com/MsR7uqSmK2
— NHS England and NHS Improvement (@NHSEngland) February 25, 2021
Important to remember: Celebrities – especially actors and TV personalities – are simply paid to repeat lines. Even if their intentions are correct, there’s no reason to assume any of them have any understanding of what they’re talking about. And none of these people has anything to lose should you or a loved one suffer any harm from taking an untested vaccine.
3. Forced “scarcity”
Everyone who has ever been inside a store knows this trick. “While stocks last”, “limited time offer”, or a thousand other variants designed to create the idea that if you don’t acquire product X right now, you will miss your chance.
A corollary of this is fake exclusivity, the way credit card companies tell absolutely everyone they call that they “qualified for our exclusive introductory rate”.
By creating the idea that the vaccine is hard to come by, they also create the idea that anyone who gets their hands on a dose is fortunate, or somehow a de facto member of some special club.
Important to remember: It’s all total nonsense. They are not in any danger of “running out” of vaccines. And even if they are, scarcity is a marketing ploy, not an argument.
4. Fake “popularity”
You can’t underestimate the idea of peer pressure when it comes to marketing, one of the oldest tricks in the book is culturing popularity through the idea that popularity already exists. It’s why people buy likes and views on youtube and concerts have seat fillers.
And it’s why Matt Hancock was reported to have said this:
Incredible take up: Matt Hancock says 94% of Britons have taken a coronavirus vaccine or will do so when offered.
— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) March 1, 2021
Is this true? No source is cited, so it’s hard to say. It could be entirely made up, a lot of statistics are. Even if the figure is technically real, it’s likely just from some opinion poll. And, as Yes Minister has taught us, polls are totally meaningless.
To quote (ironically enough) Peter Hitchens:
Opinion polls are a device for influencing public opinion, not a device for measuring it.”
The UK is reporting that 1/3rd of the population has already had at least one dose of vaccine, a number which seems very high (it equates to roughly 250,000 vaccinations per day since the first shot was given on December 8th), this follows early reports that vaccine uptake was “better than expected”.
Even if that’s the case – and the past year has proven there’s never any reason to trust government figures – Hancock’s “94%” seems very unlikely to have any bearing on reality, given the number of reports of low uptake – especially in poorer regions, amongst ethnic minorities, and NHS workers.
Important to remember: An opinion poll is no measure of reality, popularity is no measure of quality, and it is in the establishment’s interest to make all dissenters feel they are in a tiny minority.
5. “Resistance is useless”
This is an interesting one. There’s been a lot of talk about Vaccine Passports recently, and perhaps they will become a thing, but the vast majority of the public discourse is spreading the idea they are “inevitable”.
Now, the idea of inevitability is a powerful tool. You can encourage it as a way of preparing the ground for a policy role out, sure, but you can also use it to engender feelings of defeat in your opposition and thus gain their consent without force.
You can see this defeatist language taking hold in some hitherto staunch Covid sceptics.
Peter Hitchens recently announced he was being vaccinated, claiming he was defeated and vaccine passports were inevitable:
I get the strong sense that any sort of travel, and plenty of other things, will be impossible if I don’t have the necessary vaccine certificate.
Just today, Lord Sumption essentially caved on the same exact issue in the very similar language:
Lord Sumption Capitulating to Vaccine Passports. pic.twitter.com/oL4jkjYNFy
— WE GOT A PROBLEM (@problem_we) March 4, 2021
Desmond Swayne MP, another longtime Lockdown sceptic, also capitulated today:
I’ve just had my jab: make sure you can get yours, so that we can all get back to normal life pic.twitter.com/m0ChCRpkTX
— Desmond Swayne (@DesmondSwayne) March 4, 2021
“Get vaccinated now, because you’ll probably have to eventually” is the message, and it’s not hard to see the utility of it.
From a purely logistical point of view, making people think there are going to be vaccine passports is much, much easier (and cheaper) than actually introducing them.
As a follower said to us on twitter:
I believe it is the next level of the psyop- make people believe they are the minority when in fact the opposite is likely true but because the mind is beaten and manipulated more just ‘tag’ along for the ride
— S.G Truth (@patriotic1966) March 4, 2021
Will they eventually issue Vaccine Passports? Maybe.
Maybe all these tricks will fail and they’ll be forced to use less carrot and more stick. But it seems equally possible that – for now at least – they’re being dangled over people to encourage defeatism in those of us who are resisting, and thereby increase vaccine up take.
Important to remember: vaccine passports will only ever become “inevitable” once the vast majority of people have had the vaccine. If enough people refuse to take part, the program will never work.
So, there’s the breakdown of all the broad marketing categories being used to sell this vaccine. But what’s the final takeaway?
Honestly, not an un-positive one I would say. Because what all these strategies have in common is the increasingly hysterical air of desperation.
If vaccine take-up was really at 94%, there’d be no need to sell the vaccine so much. If they were really running out of vaccines, the papers wouldn’t be advertising it, they’d be telling people not to panic.
They’ve publicly turned several notable anti-lockdown voices for this campaign, these are key cards they have played all at once. That’s a desperate move.
In short, there’s good reason to think the resistance to the “new normal” is a lot more widespread than the establishment ever expected it to be.
You don’t put the Queen on a zoom call when you’re winning the argument.