In Victoria on Friday, retiring Chief Health Officer (CHO) Brett Sutton was named the state’s most upright and valued citizen, garlanded with the title of Victorian of the Year. Sutton was the face of the COVID lockdowns in the world’s most-locked-down city, the ever-nodding stage prop at Premier Daniel Andrews’ press conferences, where the latest offences against liberty and democracy were daily announced. The right to assemble, to leave one’s home, to appear in public unmasked and, most shameful of all, the all too often violent gagging of free speech were erased at the whim of the Premier and his compliant CHO. In their place, the right to be arrested for posting dissident views on Facebook, and if so bold as to take those objections to the streets, the right to be peppered with VicPol’s rubber bullets.
Three mad years of all this and, while COVID has receded, Melbourne is nowhere near a full recovery. Perhaps we will never see the damage fully repaired. Sure, it’s a subjective view, but there are reminders everywhere in still-empty shops testifying to small businesses pushed to bankruptcy, a CBD gutted and a populace cowed. When pulled over for a random breath test, the inevitable thought, discretely unspoken as you exhale into the Breathalyzer, is this: “So, officer, how many lockdown protesters did you club when Andrews let you off the leash?”
What has vanished since 2020 and that first lockdown (to ‘flatten the curve’, as CMO Sutton presented that epidemiological bill of goods) — is trust and the suspicion that it can never be fully restored. We have seen what an arrogant, autocratic Premier can do. We have seen the so-called ‘experts’ shilling for their TV closeups while mainstream media, flush with pandemic cash from public notices and get-jabbed-or-die ads, dutifully reported Spring Street’s authorised narrative while suppressing all comment to the contrary.
In Britain, unlike Australia, a public inquiry has been charged with examining how the country reacted, and over-reacted, to COVID. Below is a submission to that investigatory body from a woman who writes of the damage done. She relates her experience in London, but were you to substitute ‘Yarra’ for ‘Thames’ it could just as easily be Melbourne. Her submission is republished with the permission of The Daily Sceptic, where it first appeared.
— roger franklin
BEFORE COVID I was part of a small choir which I had helped to form. I helped out at a ‘Repair Café’, serving the tea and cake to a busy crowd. I was part of a group of eight friends we called the ‘philosophy club’. We gathered monthly to explore a topic in depth and then eat, drink and talk together about life, the universe and everything. I met one-to-one with close women friends and my sister. My small family gathered regularly from three points along the Sussex coast. I swam three to four times a week at a local health spa, visited gardens and our local nature reserves often. I walked both along the coast and in the South Downs. I went to Qi Gong class once a week and had shiatsu massage regularly. I used the local library. My partner and I shared companionable meals, games and conversation frequently with two local friends. Other friends came to stay with us and we with them. The last friends we had to stay were from Norway. My partner was part of the local history society, went to a local jazz club and was a regular at premier league football matches.
The last collective thing I did before we were locked down on March 23rd 2020 was to participate in a large one-day singing workshop. I was an optimistic, cheerful person with a satisfying and generally happy life.
Overnight in March 2020 all my opportunities for coming together in person – in community and one-to-one – were gone. Overnight I could no longer swim or walk in nature in beautiful gardens or listen to birdsong in the reserves. From a life where I had a rich mixture of connections with other people in person, enriching time spent in nature and healthy exercise, suddenly I had a life with a loving male partner, three cats and what connections could be made by email and telephone. We walked each day on the local beach, read books, watched TV and sat in the garden. I wrote a journal and took to making mosaics. I know I was fortunate in my personal situation compared to so many people and yet this locked-down life without a variety of activities, intimacies and community gradually sapped my strength, weakened my spirit, emptied my life of joy and rendered me hopeless.
The elements that felt most oppressive were:
♦ social distancing and all the signage and strange behaviours that went with it
♦ face masks
♦ plastic screens
♦ fear inducing propaganda
♦ weird and changing rules about what you could do or not with who or how many, inside or outside
♦ The lack of any real discussion or debate about what we were living through
I was living in a dystopian nightmare imposed by a Government from which there was no escape. Once I learnt about how Sweden was doing it differently without lockdowns and face mask mandates, I longed to live in Sweden!
I was also deeply concerned for children and young people. I think that the wellbeing of a whole young generation was ignored, and that they were oppressed and abused by lockdowns, social distancing, endless testing and, perhaps most of all, mask-wearing in schools. Schools and universities should never have been closed and masks were a form of abuse.
I was deeply concerned for anyone living alone in lockdown, people imprisoned in care homes, people in dysfunctional and violent relationships, people without garden space, women forced to give birth alone and miscarry alone, people left to die alone, people left to grieve alone and bereaved people forced to be socially distant and masked at funerals. How could the system be so cruel?
By August 2020 I was more miserable and hopeless than ever in my life before. I would wake up every day awash with anxiety, anger and grief. Fortunately, some good friends turned out to be resolutely rebellious and I was empowered to break the rules with others of my loved ones who were willing. Illegal hugs became particularly special. Some of my close friendships were restored to physical and emotional intimacy by autumn of 2020.
But the nightmare continued, on and on for more than two years. I went willingly and without too much thought for three lots of COVID jabs. I stupidly assumed that when everyone most vulnerable had been offered vaccination the world would open up and life would return to pre-COVID normal.
I stupidly assumed that vaccines would prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 – isn’t that what a vaccine does? Now I know different. Almost everyone I know has had COVID at least once and they have all been vaccinated. We were told these vaccinations were safe and effective – I believe we were lied to. My own experience of COVID was brief and unremarkable, apart from the nasty metallic taste in the mouth. I have had much worse experiences of flu and other respiratory viruses.
I want this enquiry to answer the big questions
♦ How could lockdowns be justified? Where was the evidence?
♦ How could face covering mandates be justified? Where was the evidence?
♦ How could all the fear-mongering propaganda be justified?
♦ How could all the weird and ever changing rules be Justified? Where was the evidence?
♦ How much harm was done to health, both physical and mental, by the non-pharmaceutical measures taken in response to Covid?
♦ Why was no cost benefit analysis done before lockdowns?
♦ Why weren’t we told the truth about the vaccines, that they do not stop a person getting Covid or passing onto others?
♦ Why were we nudged, pressurised and manipulated using behavioural psychology techniques?
♦ Why were alternative approaches from many highly qualified experts censored, ridiculed and silenced?
Personally, I am recovering now. There is some joy back in life.
I still feel weakened, lacking in resilience, courage and hope, and unable to find inner peace. I do not trust mainstream media, especially the BBC, I have little confidence in the NHS, and there is no political party that I want to vote for. So much was lost and needs to be rediscovered, reclaimed and restored for living a good healthy life.
I hope that the Inquiry will recommend that a UK Government never embarks on such oppressive treatment of citizens ever again.
There was always an alternative approach: to focus protection on the most vulnerable and let life go on for everyone else. Sweden got it mostly right. Most of the rest of the world made the same horrible mistakes as the UK.We will be living with the consequences for a long time to come.
Quadrant Online is grateful to The Daily Sceptic for permission to republish this memoir.