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This Week in the New Normal #22

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. …what the Guardian means by “admitting mistakes”

The worst article we read this week was in The Guardian, it usually is but this one bad even by their standards. They’ve got a long screed of a piece in which so-called covid experts “admit their mistakes”…and trust me, those quotes are well justified.

It’s an awkward and transparent read, a ham-fisted attempt to sell the same old product in a brand new box. I won’t bore you with all the details, but to sum-up, the “mistakes” these experts are willing to admit to:

  1. Underestimating how well masks work.
  2. Underestimating how effective the vaccines would be.
  3. Underestimating how virulent the disease was.
  4. Questioning whether or not scientists should have a hand in political policy decisions.
  5. Assuming the British public would be less selfish.

There’s no actual rebuke of the Covid narrative here at all, not a single challenge, except some token admission that school closures might not have been necessary (and they only say that because of the rise of home-schooling, but we’ll get to that later).

One “expert” states that “there’s more evidence masks work”, but she doesn’t link to it. And she’s wrong, they don’t.

It really is just delusional revisionism. Like asking Icarus what he did wrong, and having him blithely reply “Well, if anything, I didn’t get close enough to the sun.”

It is self-flaggelation so weak it becomes patting themselves on the back.

Special mention should be made of Neil Ferguson, the avatar of failing upwards, who even in this limp-wristed pretense of humility can’t even bring himself to admit he did anything wrong ever, cloaking his paragraph in “we ALL underestimated”, not “I underestimated.”

Pathetic.

UK wants a database of all homeschooled children

We noted above that the only Covid-era policy to receive real criticism in the “if anything, we were TOO clever” article was school closures. That’s likely no accident, as the UK has reported a big rise in the number of children being home schooled.

Thousand of pupils simply did not return to school after the lockdown was over, and as a result the government plans to create a “national register” of homeschooled children.

Any parents who want to educate their own children in their own home, and do so without formally registering with the state, will face “sanctions”. What, exactly, these would be they have not yet said.

Homeschooling has had its neck on the proverbial block for a long time, it is already outlawed in France, and the UK government has been gunning for it since at least 2018.

You can read one our old pieces about it here. If you’re interested in homeschooling your own kids, Lucy Davies wrote a handy guide for us.

3. Jimmy’s Gypsy Joke signals censorship

British comedian Jimmy Carr is in the news this week for the same reason he usually is – he said something pointlessly offensive that wasn’t very funny.

In his latest stand-up special, released on Netflix in December, he makes a joke about thousands of Roma people being slaughtered as the “positive” side of the holocaust. Having watched the clip, I can confirm he does say this, and it is not funny.

But why should a comedian known for punching down and trying to be shocking really be news? It’s what he does.

The reason we should be concerned is the response from the UK’s Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, as quoted by the BBC [emphasis added]:

Ms Dorries suggested the government could legislate to stop comedy people find offensive being shown on streaming platforms. “We’re already looking at future legislation to bring into scope those sort of comments,” she told the BBC.

Dorries said in another interview, quoted in the Guardian…

We don’t have the ability now, legally, to hold Netflix to account for streaming that, but very shortly we will.”

I don’t like the sound of that, do you?

Legislation on what’s offensive or not is the thin-end of a rapidly widening wedge. It’s not far from making Netflix responsible for offensive content, to making YouTube responsible for “misinformation”.

There’s a very clear end-point there, and it’s total cenorship.

Personally, I’m fine with Jimmy Carr (or whoever) being able to make all the poor-taste jokes they want, provided I get to say whatever I want too.

I don’t like this image, and would like to stop this getting any worse:

4. The wrong kind of Uyghur

For those who don’t know, one of the on-going propaganda wars between the US and China is the so-called “Uyghur genocide”, with the US accusing China of rounding up Uyghur Muslims and herding them into re-educaction camps, they classify this as a “genocide”, despite scant evidence any such activity is taking place.

Where it becomes funny is how desperate the US media becomes in pushing this narrative, like a few weeks ago where the ____ tweeted out about the Chinese government banning the learning of the Uyghur language, but published it under a photo showing a classroom with an Uyghur dictionary in it, and Uyghur words written on the chalkboard.

This week the New York Times went one further in their coverage of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. One of the two athletes chosen to light the olympic flame is an Uyghur, and very pointed move the NYT calls “provocative” in slightly hysterical fashion.

Not content with claiming they’re being “provoked”, the NYT does its best to suggest the athlete isn’t even really an Uyghur, whilst present no evidence to back this insinuation.

China chose two athletes — including one it said was of Uyghur heritage — to deliver the flame to the Olympic cauldron and officially start the Games.

Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a cross-country skier who the Chinese said has Uyghur roots

The irony here is that the NYT is perfectly willing to erase an Uyghur from history, if it means they can pretend China are doing the same thing.

BONUS:comic of the week

Here it is, presented at first without comment…

Some people on social media were outraged the artist could suggest free speech could destroy society or democracy, but having checked out the artist’s twitter, I’m pretty sure it’s a satire on the way the media is portraying the “threat” of the truckers.

Either way, there’s a brilliant second layer of meaning here. Because, while free speech won’t ever actually destroy democracy, it’s entirely possible the powers-that-be will blow democracy up from the inside, and pretend it was free speech despite it being physically impossible.

BONUS II: Betrayal of the week

After halting all donations to the Freedom Conboy last week, GoFundMe is now shutting the account down and (allegedly) returning all the money to the individual donors. At last count the GoFundMe had raised around 10 million Canadian dollars.

GoFundMe claims they closed the account down because law enforcement agencies “convinced them” the large-scale protest had become “violent and unlawful”…

…the funding platform originally claimed any donors should apply for a refund, and any unclaimed funds would be “donated to a charity”, but when the state of Florida threatened to sue them for fraud, they reversed that decision and decided to issue automatic refunds instead.

It’s not all bad…

Following in Denmark’s footsteps, Sweden has now dropped all Covid measures too. Again, while this isn’t total victory, and it would be foolish to let our collective guard down, it’s at least something to show some kind of progress, even if there is a razor buried somewhere deep in the cake.

Also, other countries are joining Canada’s truckers in their convoy protest. These are scenes from outside Canberra, Australia yesterday…

And here are German farmers and truckers…

The US-Canadian border is now being blocked in some places by what they call the #FreedomBlockade:

Also, Biden slurring around like an alcholic at closing time is always funny…

*

All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention the new “super virulent” HIV strain, the left’s synchronised turn against the Freedom Convoy, or the editor of CounterPunch claiming Big Pharma and anti-vaxxers are the same.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.