This Week in the New Normal #64

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. The vaccines just keep on coming

This week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer’s new mRNA-based RSV vaccine for use on the elderly. This comes hot on the heels of approving a similar product from GlaxoSmithKline last month. These are the only RSV vaccines ever to be approved in the US, and at least two more are coming up fast behind them:

More RSV vaccines may be on the way, too. Moderna is finishing its Phase 3 trial for an mRNA vaccine for RSV in older adults and expects to submit results to the FDA within the next few months. Bavarian Nordic also said it will report results from a Phase 3 trial of its RSV vaccine for older adults this year.

Just like with “Covid”, there was no vaccine at all and then…boom. Everyone has one that works. Not just vaccines, either, but mRNA-based vaccines, a technology that went from never ever working to working every time in the space of 18 months. Very impressive.

All it took was changing a few safety rules and signing some liability waivers. What a time to be alive.

2. Covid Revisionism

We’ve been firmly in the grips of Covid revisionism for a while. Celebrities and pundits and politicians have all taken steps to downplay their complicity or talk about how “crazy” the pandemic was, as if it was impossible not to get caught up in it.

Further, there is an onslaught of policy “re-evaluation” that ranges from nit-picking to sweeping but is united in its reinforcement of Covid myths. The re-writing of the role ventilators played was especially unpleasant.

However, this one might be more grating, simply for the smallness of it.

A couple of days ago the Telegraph ran a “scoop”, revealing that the UK government’s counter-disinformation unit censored lockdown critics at the height of the pandemic (This really isn’t news, but more on that in a few days). Former editor of the Sunday Times Andrew Neil tweeted about it, neglecting to mention (or apologise for) his column in the Daily Mail calling for “vaccine refuseniks” to be “punished”.

A willing spreader and consumer of propaganda, suddenly claiming to realise propaganda was terrible…pretty nauseating.

As the UK gears up for the latest hearing in its farcical “Covid Inquiry” we can expect more and more of this rewriting of history.

3. Why does Scotland hate jury trials?

Technically not from this week, but it passed us by when it first landed. Scotland’s governing SNP is pushing through a pilot scheme to replace juries with bench trials in rape cases. Apparently, jurors often believe “rape myths” which means too many accused rapists are acquitted. The scheme’s specific aim is to increase conviction rates, which seems…off.

This isn’t the first time Scotland’s government has tried to wipe juries off the books.

Back in the Spring of 2020, when “Covid” was only a few weeks old, Scotland banned jury trials to “stop the spread”. Fortunately, this was overturned pretty soon, due to a protest from Scotland’s bar association, who (rightfully) believed their clients would be less likely to get a fair trial.

It’s not just Scotland, either. In England, bench trials were suggested as an alternative to juries to “clear the Covid backlog”. And in the US, the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse of murder last year was followed by a wave of anti-jury rhetoric. Juries were said to be slow, stupid, expensive and racist.

The same solution to three different “problems” in less than 3 years, that’s always a red flag.

In short, they are coming for trial by jury one way or another.

BONUS: Tongue twister of the week

Shout-out to Just Trudeau for rattling off the full 2SLGBTQIA+ in a recent interview…

That’s a 9/10 effort, he loses half a point for the obvious practice, and half a point because you can tell he’s proud of himself.

For anyone wondering, the “2S” stands for “Two-spirit”, which according to google “refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is used by some Indigenous people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity.”

It’s not all bad…

Neil Oliver’s weekly monologue is absolutely worth the listen this week (some people have taken issue with us sharing him before, but I don’t know what there is to object to in this speech):

Bob Moran’s latest piece is truly an amazing piece of work…

Oh, and the Monkeypox – sorry “Mpox” – pandemic ended a couple of weeks ago. That’s good, isn’t it? We can all breathe a sigh of relief. One wonders where that story was supposed to go, and what happened behind the scenes to stop it.

We’ve got some potentially exciting news about future OffG coming soon, too. So stay tuned!


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention Prince William and David Attenborough teaming up to brainwash kids or China rolling out its CBDC for the Asian games.

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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