This Week in the New Normal #38

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. Heat Wave Hysteria

It’s pretty hot in many places around the Northern Hemisphere this week – as is often the way with summer. Perhaps slightly less routine is the sheer amount fear they are trying to generate around it.

“The Experts” are back, warning that  “thousands could die” in the heat wave.

The UK has actually declared their first-ever “national emergency” due to heat, with the government advising people not to travel. The Sun blares out there could be “riots” and an “emergency services meltdown”.

And of course there’s the ever-present dangers of (not-even-slightly-vaccine-related) bloodclots. Even the BMJ is onboard with that.

One paper was even warning that the hot weather could mean sharks attacking people at the beach. Terrifiying stuff.

Our friends over at the Consent Factory had the best response…

It’s not especially hard to see where this fear is heading – heatwave fear will segue to “climate change” emergency and so it goes. Last month France actually banned public gatherings due to hot weather. It’s just a short step from that to the “climate lockdowns” they’ve clearly been planning for ages.

2. have the Deep State made their pick for Tory Leader?

You’d probably never heard of Kemi Badenoch before this week. She’s an MP and former Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities, she joined parliament in 2017 after being parachuted into the “safe seat” of Saffron-Walden. As of this week she has been in politics for fewer than 7 years and an MP for just 5…and is very close to being the next Prime Minister.

She joined the Tory leadership race as a massive underdog vs the more established candidates – Rishi Sunak, Penny Maudant, Sajid Javid etc. – but is suddenly a big favourite according to polls, opening up a double-digit lead.

You should always be suspicious of “surprise candidates” that “come out of nowhere”. Emmanuel Macron was one such, as was Vlodomyr Zelenskyy, and most famously Barack Obama. When a candidate suddenly streaks up the field, it’s more than likely because they’re being pushed.

The Deep State love “surprise candidates”, they are blank canvasses to create a mythic “personality” around, whilst having no political baggage from previous scandals. That’s how Obama was able to blast Hillary Clinton off the ballot in 2008. A new face promising some kind of change but inevitably delivering more of the same.

The marketing of Badenoch could not be more obvious – “the free-speech candidate” one paper calls her, a “pro-free speech Brexiteer”, the “anti-woke candidate” – these are all terms designed to appeal to the “common sense” demographic.

In the age of Identity Politics, it’s also very clear how having a female Nigerian immigrant as PM will lift the office above criticism. Criticise her policies and you will be “racist” or “sexist”, that’s just going to happen. Death and taxes level inevitable.

Clearly, she hasn’t won yet, and who knows what backroom deals will be done to decide the eventual winner, but it’s a example of how these things work.

3. Simon Tisdall goes a bit mad(der)

Simon Tisdall is a foreign affairs correspondent for the Guardian, and has never met a bomb he doesn’t like or a country he wouldn’t bomb. That’s his thing.

For Simon everything from his toast being burnt to the neighbours unruly lawn “is the last straw” and “requires a military solution”.

He’s wanted to personally invade Russia for close to a decade at this point, a frothing Russophobe straight out of Dr Strangelove with no sense of irony, and today he’s decided enough is enough (again). He says NATO needs to use its “overwhelming power” in order to “repulse Russia’s repulsive horde” and “bring Putin to heel” .

It’s all a bit mad….or is it?

On the surface, yes, it’s floundering warmongering ravening nonsense, but it could be seen as a quite clever piece of propaganda messaging. You get so distracted by the “NATO should declare war on Russia” madness that you don’t quite stop to critique other things he’s saying.

Throughout the article, behind the apparent desire to see us all die in a fiery nuclear inferno, is narrative reinforcement. Russia is blamed for the economic situation, “cyber attacks”, wars, the price of energy and even global warming. Meanwhile the US is said to be weak and EU afraid and both are having their “sanctions backfire” Totally by accident.

None of that is true, but readers will be so keen to not die that, suddenly, the calm moderate position becomes “Yes, Russia is to blame for all our problems, but maybe nuclear war is a bad idea”, simply in an effort to get a the crazy man to put down the gun. It’s very subtle manipulation.

BONUS: Irony of the week

…Our “of the week” entry comes from the same article again.

In a piece of wonderful unintentional irony, as Tisdall writes leaders should “not profit from lawless butchery”, there’s a link to The Guardian’s interview with Alastair Campbell in the sidebar.

Just beautiful.

It’s not all bad…

Another week, another (perhaps temporary) legal defeat for vaccine mandates in the US – this time for the Air Force regarding religious exemptions.

Elsewhere in the world, the Dutch Farmers’ protest is continuing, and they have now been joined by Dutch truckers as well.

Others from Italy, Poland and Spain are joining in the protests too. In France, the cost of living increases have given rise to protests there too:

Shout out to Rothmus (via Twitter) for our chuckle-worthy meme of the week:

Oh, and if you’re stuck inside this week and want a real way to handle the hot weather without panicking about sharks or bloodclots, just grab a cool drink, close your eyes and stick this video on in the background:


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention China’s push for a nationwide vaccine mandate or Amazon’s latest Alexa feature that can mimic the voice of your dead relatives.

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.


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