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March 4, 2023

ISABEL Oakeshott’s work to reveal the truth behind the COVID-19 lockdown when we were imprisoned in our homes, policed and denied essential goods in stores in Wales and even short journeys is an immense achievement to rank alongside Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate revelations.

Unlike many of her colleagues, she refused to collude and concur and her stubborn and principled stance to “out” the shocking truth behind some of the bizarre and baseless decisions to lock us down should earn her a title not opprobrium and disgust.

Again and again during that dystopian nightmare, I sensed that politicians were making policy up by the day or the hour based mainly on expediency and advancement after first disproportionately magnifying the real risk of death with some woefully wrong statistical forecasts and now that ultimate symbol of expediency and advancement, the odious Matt Hancock has let the cat out of the bag in messages which strip bare the whole foul and disgusting episode.

I am not and never have been a “lockdown sceptic” nor a “vaccine sceptic” in the way our lame and compromised BBC-led media have tried to mendaciously and maliciously turn the term into either evidence of mental imbalance on my part and a tendency to invest in QAnon cock-eyed conspiracy theories like faked moon landings or of far right extremism and a secret Nazi allegiance.

No, I am a lockdown and vaccine sceptic because I am naturally sceptical and inclined to approach everything politicians tell us with doubt and suspicion.

This motivated me in my own journalistic career, most vividly when I was working into the night and found that members of the political class enjoying far better pay and conditions had gone home at the end of their working day hours earlier and the more I learnt the more obvious it became that Winston Churchill’s words that the truth has to be guarded by lies is usually a de-facto reality it was my job to either reject or reveal.

But during COVID-19 we saw journalists suddenly reporting exactly what they were told without even bothering to ask for the evidence behind the decisions. Press conferences with a politician flanked on either side by a symbol of scientific and medical authority at 10 Downing Street in front of flags safely distanced from each other were entirely stage-managed, curated illusions to keep us uninformed, helpless and controlled.

And journalists herded by government like sheep into a pen to be sheared and branded simply asked what they thought they would be allowed to ask rather than what they should have asked and then demanded to have answered by creeps like Hancock.

Most notable among them was the BBC, which armed itself with “disinformation journalists” and “fact-checkers” to promote and process authoritarian orders from above and to unquestioningly and unconditionally aid and assist what was outrageous government overreach.

It started with Boris Johnson stating that he needed to level with us and that many of our loved ones would die “before their time”. Now, that is a general truth because too many people do die too young so all he was stating was a universal truth which a gullible and weak media simply accepted meant that an apocalyptic scenario of mass death would naturally follow. Nobody even pointed out to him that his words were nonsensical.

A lame, compromised and often colluding media made the mistake of “following the science” as if that were some universal truth on a tablet of stone left with the Ten Commandments by Moses when science is really only a process of proving and/or disproving things by inviting as much information as possible for scrutiny, debate and deliberation under specific rules designed to test scrupulously before arriving at a destination or conclusion. This, of course, is an ongoing, dynamic, ever changing, organic and entirely open and collegiate process because science is NOT something you follow but something you contribute to with evidence and opinion you freely give in a healthy sceptical atmosphere.

But health itself, we were told, was being threatened like never before (not true) with repeated malicious and mendacious use of the term “unprecedented” when much worse had happened earlier in history so scepticism, too, died and we were left with blind rule takers suddenly turning on anyone they perceived were breaking those rules.

The Stanford Prison experiment and Millgram’s obedience study, which saw people “execute” others with electric shocks, both highlighted just how brutal and aggressive people can be to each other when someone in authority facilitates an environment where they are able to penalise rule breakers.

My most distressing memory was of callers to Radio Wales phone-in shows repeatedly calling for much more draconian rules, regulations and punishments, especially for English people in cars or out walking harmlessly alone on the Brecon Beacons where they could do no damage.

COVID-19 unearthed and let loose some decidedly distressing and blatantly totalitarian instincts in many people and the cruelty and viciousness of that period still persists in our everyday interactions still horrifically invested in the concept of social distance to avoid deathly contagion first and foremost. That distance, in my opinion, will never be abandoned.

The WhatsApp messages reveal a string of decisions made on loose evidence with a medical and scientific hierarchy effectively in the pay of the politicians so unable and unwilling to really stand firm.

They also reveal that party political issues, most notably due to devolution and the opportunity that that gave to opposing political groups in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to alter, amend or radically change various approaches and strategies to control the spread of COVID-19 were far too high on the list of priorities and clearly were dominating the response when it should have been completely co-ordinated and co-operational.

Independent inquiries are not needed in Wales and the Westminster probe is likely to last for years and years with too much of the real truth discarded or covered in secrecy and a ring of protection put around it.

So thank you Isabel Oakeshott for doing the work your colleagues should have been doing and exposing the real truth behind the lockdown – you’re one hell of a Lady.

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