Could G K Chesterton please report to the office?

…and bring fence repair tools.

There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

For example, lengthy clinical trials before rolling out new medicines, sometimes lasting 7 years. That kind of “fence”.

Why do we bring this up? Well, the UK Government just quietly changed its policy regarding mRNA vaccines and pregnant or breastfeeding women (aka “pregnant people” and “chestfeeders”, in the vernacular).


Ok, well that’s a bit of a minor change with no negative implications, isn’t it. because previously, there was a significant amount or urging going on. In fact, there were urges everywhere, no corner of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was spared the urge.

Northern Ireland was urged:

England was urged:

Wales was urged:

I couldn’t find the Scotch urge, but it’s probably covered by this catch all:

And this urging:

Don’t forget, they were being urged and put on the priory list:

Let’s not forget, if you weren’t already scared shitless, pregnant people and chestfeeders who definitely had no comorbities could die with of Covid:

Finally, here’s the BBC (mission statement: “to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain“) telling you it’s perfectly safe for the aforementioned pregnant and breastfeeding people to take the vaccine.

Fully vaxxed? Fully tested, natch.

Bill’s Opinion

I sincerely hope you and nobody you hold dear suffered any negative consequences as a result of taking a brand new medicine during pregnancy before the clinical trials had completed.

Someone must certainly have though, else why has this policy been changed now?

How many miscarriages and how many and how severe birth defects are we talking about, I wonder?

The shoes keep dropping.

How many shoes will drop?

Let’s count them, shall we?

Transitory inflation.

Not so much.

Vaccines stop the spread?

Not so much.

Scientific evidence supported the lockdown approach.

Not so much.

The human lives saved were worth the cost of lockdown.

Not so much.

Shutting down schools and teaching online is a good substitute for classroom learning.

Not so much.

Bill’s Opinion

What are the next shoes to drop, do we think?

How about:

There were no existing therapeutic treatments we could have used.

The vaccines are perfectly safe, especially for your children.

Lockdown legislation was legal/constitutional.

Bourgeois chutzpah

Level: Jedi Knight

Written by Daniella White, who is also the author of this Numberwang from January, where she misses asking any questions about denominators or the relationship between numbers of Covid tests and positive cases but simply reports government statistics as if they actually meant anything useful.

So, Daniella is clearly one of the intended targets of this article.

People’s poor understanding of statistics resulted in misinformation and “fake news” spreading throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers say, as a study calls for changes to how mathematics is taught in schools.

Schools? Yes, those things we shut down for months at a time.

Australian Catholic University Professor of Mathematics Education Vincent Geiger, who co-authored the research, said more needed to be done to teach students how to critically interpret statistics like those published during the pandemic.

Not just students. Also every media outlet that ever published a percentage without an accompanying denominator, or a case fatality rate without comparing it to the ‘flu and the caveat we don’t test for ‘flu.

“Mathematics and statistics were used in the media like almost never before over COVID-19,” Geiger said.

Yes, we can all agree with that statement., unfortunately.

“What does flattening the curve actually mean?

Yes, we wrote about how the conversation quietly changed about that here, turns out it means whatever we want it to mean and we’ll stop using it as our strategy without telling anyone.

He said schools also needed to do more to help students scrutinise whether sources were credible, and the media should provide links to original sources of statistics and information quoted in articles.

Agreed. It kind of infers the churnalists understand numbers though. Big assumption, there.

Geiger said unless key skills were addressed at school, there was a real danger that students would grow up to be adults at risk of accepting “fake news”.

You see that tall mast disappearing over the horizon? That’s the ship that’s sailed already.

One example was misinterpretation of vaccine effectiveness data. While raw data might show a higher raw number of deaths and infections among the vaccinated population when most people have been vaccinated, the rate of infection and death in unvaccinated people is still higher.

“The numbers may appear simple, but they’re not, they’re what we would call composite variables,” she said.

Oh, I feel this might be a topic to which there will be many unhappy returns this year…..

Bennett said people should defer to the experts in the field to explain data and not necessarily attempt to draw conclusions from statistics for themselves.

Really? Do they have some computer models? They’re always very persuasive and worked out really well for us.

Bill’s Opinion

The fucking chutzpah and irony of a journalist writing an article bemoaning a lack of numeracy and critical thinking.

Anyone who, after the last two and half years, ever again finds themselves reading a data point in a newspaper without assuming it’s 180 degrees incorrect, should consider wearing a sign or some kind of symbol to let the rest of us know to avoid them.

Oh, they do already. It’s called a face mask.

Chocolate rations increased to 20 grams!

You may have remembered the ration was 30 grams previously, but you would be incorrect.

The CDC have quietly and tacitly admitted a few facts that are in direct contradiction to their previous statements.

No! Say it ain’t so, Bill!

It also brings the recommendations for unvaccinated people in line with people who are fully vaccinated – an acknowledgment of the high levels of population immunity in the U.S., due to vaccination, past COVID-19 infections or both. “Based on the latest … data, it’s around 95% of the population,” Massetti said, “And so it really makes the most sense to not differentiate,” since many people have some protection against severe disease.

There’s a few things going on there. Firstly, it infers a prior infection is as good as the vaccines to provide future immunity. Here’s Fauci saying exactly the opposite just last year.

It also infers “herd immunity” from the dual source of vaccine and prior infection is a valid concept when fighting this virus. Some of us are old enough to remember when Fauci said that was not possible back in, erm, April this year.

Anyone with access to an internet search engine would also find him giving varying figures between 60 to 95% vaccination levels to achieve this apparently simultaneously possible and impossible thing.

So there we have it; Covid is not a problem for you dirty unvaxxed. We’re good then, right? All’s well with the world?

Well no, not really.

You see, we’ve got a few questions we’d like answered. Here’s a few to get started:

1. Are we supposed to forget how many times the authorities made unchallenged new laws discriminating against a swath of citizens based on these medicines which were are now told are not required?

2. Do the people who lost their jobs for not accepting these pointless medicines get to work again and receive compensation for lost earnings?

3. Do the vaccine injured (we don’t need to argue how many – there must have been at least one) receive compensation in a timely manner and without going through a “the process is the punishment” Kafka-esque process to receive it?

4. How are we supposed to live together after this? After people like this fucking authoritarian unscientific cunt wrote such absolute fucking horse shit?

Bill’s Opinion

We see you. We know who you were.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

We’ll forgive you but we can never forget.

There are many people who have been shaken from a complacency about their fellow humans, a state to which they will never return. When we meet you, we will always wonder which side you were on, and depending on the conclusion, will interact with you with much caution in future.

A line was crossed

Bold highlighting, mine:

A large number of people walked out of Jerry Sadowitz’s show [contrary to Sadowitz’s tweet] as they felt uncomfortable and unsafe to remain in the venue. We have received an unprecedented number of complaints that could not be ignored and we had a duty to respond. The subsequent abuse directed to our teams is also equally unacceptable.

“At the Pleasance, our values are to be inclusive, diverse and welcoming. We are proud of the progress we have made across our programming, which includes significant investment and support for Black, Asian and Global Majority artists, LGBTQ+ voices, those from working-class backgrounds, and the strong representation of women. We do not believe that racism, homophobia, sexism or misogynistic language have a place in our venues.

“In a changing world, stories and language that were once accepted on stage, whether performed in character or not, need to be challenged. There is a line that we will not cross at the Pleasance, and it was our view that this line was crossed on this occasion.

“We don’t vet the full content of acts in advance and while Jerry Sadowitz is a controversial comedian, we could not have known the specifics of his performance. The Pleasance has staged his work numerous times over the years, but as soon as we received complaints from those in the building which caused us great concern, we knew we could not allow the final performance to go ahead.

“The arts and comedy, in particular, have always pushed the boundaries of social norms but this boundary is always moving. Our industry has to move with it. However, this does not mean that we can allow such content to be on our stages.”

Same week:

Salman Rushdie stabbed in New York State.

Bill’s Opinion

If you don’t value free speech, feel free to stop using it.

Defending free speech as a concept is useless if you then fail to defend speech with which you disagree.

I’ve seen Sadowitz live twice. They were two of the best comedy and close hand magic (that’s his other skill) shows I’ve ever seen. The jokes he told were outrageous and offensive, and I laughed like a drain.

On stage, he plays a character, a bitter, hateful failure with mental illness. It’s partially based on himself, of course, but it is an on stage persona.

If the line we can no longer cross is in-character comedy, or if offensive words are treated as if the context in which they are spoken is irrelevant, how do we differ from the Ayatollah who ordered what happened to Salman Rushdie?

If you want to help, buy a Sadowitz DVD and a book by Rushdie (Midnight’s Children is least bad; I generally dislike his writing but I’ll defend to the death his right to write shite).

The SMH’s high priest is in the bully pulpit

We start today with our constantly handy flow chart:

The Australian discount royal family, the Wilkinson-Fitzsimons of Mosman, are frequent content generators for this site, mainly due to their permanent resident status at the nexus of hubris, moralising, and self-unawareness.

They are the perfectly-suited couple, creating what must be the world’s most securely-vacuum sealed echo chamber in their bijou home. NASA scientists are craving research access to this natural phenomenon, where dissenting opinions cannot enter.

Lisa Wilkinson is the family bread-winner, despite many of her recent salary reviews being shockingly impacted by the patriarchy. She comforts herself in her selfless public service of tweeting helpful improvement suggestions to airport security processes to speed her route past her loyal subjects to the Qantas President’s Lounge

Crueller commentators than I might suggest Peter Fitzsimons’ contribution to the family income is somewhat irrelevant in comparison to his spouse, so much so, that others have even suggested she actually subsidises his army of history research interns churning out his regular contributions to the bargain clearance baskets in Australia bookstores.

Similarly, it seems barely credible his frequent vernacular-rich, comma-heavy columns in the Sydney Morning Herald attract a real wage. Few would be surprised if the rumours were confirmed that Lisa slips a cheque to the Accounts department each month to cover his “earnings”.

There’s no shame in this if it were true; it’s a perfectly respectable way for Executives in Manly to keep their wives busy with loss-making cup cake delivery businesses rather than having the time to spare for extra-curricular lessons with the tennis coach. Why not female TV presenters? Equality an’ all that, it’s 2022, you chauvinists.

Fitzsimons is a complex character nonetheless. I’m reminded of a quote about the late All Black, Keith Murdoch, who was infamously sent home in disgrace from a tour to Wales for cowardly knocking out a hotel security guard; “Keith was an unhappy drunk”.

Fitzsimons is sober these days. It’s unclear to me which is worse, being a thin-skinned bully when under the influence, or continuing this behaviour once the fighting juice has been forsaken?

Why do I ask this?

Consider his latest skirmish in the culture war. Peter has chosen a side on the debate about whether Aboriginal Australians should have further constitutional recognition, or “The Voice”. Unsurprisingly, Peter picked the one requiring least personal cost and maximum public virtue (check the flow chart above).

As is Peter’s idiom however, once a position has been taken, dissenting opinions are not allowed. Alternate takes are greeted as if calls for murder. Peter tends to spend so much time living in the logical fallacy, “ad hominem”, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn Lisa has bought their 5th home in that postcode to save on his rental costs.

(Yes, I’m aware of the irony that I’ve just accused someone of reverting to ad hominem attacks in a column which is almost entirely ad hominem. Sometimes that’s the only language bullies understand).

You can read the details about this week’s moralising in the Spectator. In summary, Senator Jacinta Price believes the energy and resources of the Voice campaign might be better directed to those in need in remote communities. Peter strongly disagrees and is alleged to have been less than a gentlemen about it when they met for an interview on the topic. On verra, if/once the tape is released.

He’s since made veiled legal threats to Price to retract her statement that he bullied her.

Some important context; Senator Price is Aboriginal, has spent a great deal of her life with these communities and devotes huge amounts of time and personal resources to delivering tangible outcomes for disadvantaged Aboriginal communities. She also has very little access to funding for a protracted legal battle.

Peter is a private school-educated spouse of a multi-millionaire and devotes huge amounts of time tweeting signals of virtue on his iPhone from the downstairs toilet of his wife’s prime Sydney real estate. Oh, and he’s a socialist (eye roll).

Bill’s Opinion

I’m genuinely undecided on “The Voice”.

However, it’s my observation there is a very lucrative industry channeling government funds to a growing metropolitan Aboriginal demographic. It’s the political third rail to suggest this is not right, and for your career’s sake, stay well away from what the definition of “aboriginal” is for the purpose of funding allocation.

Meanwhile, the infant mortality rate in some communities in NT and north QLD is STILL equivalent to some sub-Saharan African states despite decades of “intervention”.

Perhaps we can chew gum and walk at the same time. Observed fact suggests we struggle with that.

However, unlike Peter Fitzsimons, I treat situations where people disagree with me as learning opportunities. Particularly when they’ve got a far more relevant CV compared to mine.

As for Fitzsimons’ cup cake delivery business, I’m not across the details of the SMH’s accounts, but if I were Tory Maguire, Bevan Shields, Mike Sneesby, James Chessell, or the directors of Nine Media, I might ask for a reconciliation between payroll and accounts receivables. Is Lisa paying for his column inches?

Actually, it’s probably worse if they discover they really are paying for this bullying thin-skinned 1970’s sports jock throwback masquerading as one of the caring and the good. What does that say about their judgement and authority on the shop floor?

He can dish it out but can’t take it. We’ve all known people like that. When we meet them, if we are brave, we confront them on their terms. They always turn tail and run away.

The best performing teams generally operate a “no dickheads” policy. Perhaps it’s time for Peter to spend more time double parking his coal-powered car outside chi chi Mosman cafés.

Denial, not a river in Egypt or India

I have been travelling extensively for the last two weeks. My travels have taken me through various Asian hub airports and around the Indian sub-continent.

Through observation, I can confirm the petty bureaucrats and rule-givers across Asia are as illogical and stupid as their counterparts in Australia.

In a message exchange to a good friend I expressed the sentiment that I have accepted the lunacy. He congratulated me on reaching the fifth stage of the Kubler-Ross rubric.

The fact that I may have reached acceptance still doesn’t make any of this madness right though.

For example, I must wear a mask on the train to Sydney airport. I can remove it in the airport. I must replace it on the Malaysian Airways flight, except whilst sipping on a drink or eating (I can nurse a drink for a loooong time).

The mask must remain on at Kuala Lumpur airport unless I am in the Business Class Lounge. It must go back on the moment I leave the lounge, of course.

I must also wear the mask on the Indian domestic flights. The pre-flight announcement requests us to maintain anti-social distancing between our fellow passengers, seemingly oblivious to the sardine-tin we are sharing. Officially, we must wear our masks in the airports, unless proving our identify but the local security staff nearly all use theirs as chin-warmers so are not enforcing the rule on the public anyway.

The day prior to a visit to a supplier’s office, a test kit was delivered to my hotel room with the request that I use it and bring the negative result with me the next day. This wasn’t requested at all during the visit.

Trying to make any sense of this results in a headache. Questioning why this still is going on is a fool’s errand; there is no consistent thread of logic holding any of this together.

In the meantime, my colleagues chuckle behind their hands at the ineffective and leaky Indian airport security checks as we remove shoes and belts, take laptops out of bags, display our power adaptors for inspection, etc. and make disparaging remarks about how silly it all is.

We don’t comment on the inconsistency of the masks though. There’s a code of silence as we put them on, take them off, rinse, repeat.

This is either a deadly disease that can be prevented by the addition of a knitted woollen barrier over the mouth and nose, or isn’t and it can’t.

That we are all continually living like this makes me wonder if we have become fully house-trained. What else might we quietly and compliantly accept now in the future?

Bill’s Opinion

I can think of only two possible reasons for this bio-security theatre to remain in place;

1. The process to remove the rule has far more steps and gatekeepers than the process to impose it. We must participate in the Holy Communion to the god of Covid until eventually a person in authority decides we can stop, or

2. It’s about the love of power and control. The gatekeepers preventing the removal of this ridiculous charade from our lives know it serves no purpose. They know we know it serves no purpose. They know we know they know we know it serves no purpose. But yet they keep the rules in place.

Aaaaand exhale.

You could have just thrown a big party

William of Ockham’s Law of Single Issue Activism; if the main goals of the lobbyists or charity are achieved, the infrastructure will not be disbanded but will be redirected, usually to a corrupted facsimile of the original purpose.

The spark for the idea for this theory is a vague memory of hearing the history of the charities set up to eradicate smallpox. The memory hasn’t stood up to the test of Google but my recollection was, once the goal of eradication had been achieved, several charities continued but engaged in fraudulent activities.

We have a perfect present day example with the organisation, Stonewall:

Originally founded after the Stonewall riots in New York to fight for decriminalisation of homosexuality and equal rights for that demographic, the campaign is arguably the most successful single issue civil rights movement ever. Homosexuals have exactly the same rights as heterosexuals and are excluded from no profession. They can marry and are able to adopt children. Well, everywhere except certain countries, but Stonewall doesn’t seem too interested in taking that fight on.

If one could go back in time and tell the founders of their success, a big cheer and massive closing down party would seem the most likely response.

But the 2022 version of Stonewall is instead operating a shakedown scheme, “advising” organisations on how to use pronouns at £2,000 a time. Rather like, “that’s a nice company you’ve got there, would be a shame if someone started accusing it of bigotry and hate”.

A similar model was successfully used by Rev. Al Sharpton long after the USA Civil Rights organisations achieved their key stated goals.

The Suffragette movement and first wave feminism were similarly very successful in achieving their goals of votes for woman and equal access to the professions.

It’s been over two generations since women were required to obtain their father or husband’s permission to take out a mortgage, for example. As for equal access to the professions; most people reading this will currently have a female boss further up in the hierarchy, several dozen if you work for Wokepac (absolutely none of whom got there through just redefining the noun, “manager”. No, not at all).

But just like our other corrupted campaigns above, feminism has been warped into a poor facsimile of its original purpose. Today, feminism looks more like a desire to copy all aspects of being male, with little discussion about the negative consequences.

Women are told the lie they can have a career and delay finding a life partner and childbirth. Or that hook up culture is equally fine for both males and females.

The cold reality of our inability to dramatically extend the female fertility window or the asymmetrical biological and emotional consequences of hooking up as if they were male are not mentioned so much, however. You go, girl!

Antifa is another case study that springs to mind. When was the last time you met an actual Fascist who wasn’t Premier of the Australian state of Victoria, or Prime Minister of New Zealand or Canada?

Our final example is the environmental lobby. Those old enough to remember the campaign to remove CFCs from aerosols and fridges to reduce the hole in the ozone layer might wonder what happened. Tick, successful.

Remember the campaign to reduce acid rain? Tick, successful.

What do you think happened to all those employees of the not for profit organisations and non governmental organisations built to achieve these two goals? What about the thousands of people working on the fundraising campaigns?

Do you think they looked at the ever-improving data and decided it was a job well done, called a few venues and chucked a massive party?

Or, do you think they segued in to a new campaign, resulting in autistic teenage Swedes lecturing us about computer models that have yet to reverse predict the observed temperature at any point in their use, while your fuel and heating bill is rising daily.

Bill’s Opinion

The key to being a good party guest is knowing when it’s time to go home.

Give me back the Berlin Wall

….Give me Stalin and St. Paul
Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby
It is murder

At some point in the last few decades, we seem to have lived through what Leonard Cohen predicted in the song quoted above, The Future: There’ll be the breaking of the ancient Western code.

One important aspect of that ancient western code was that children mattered more than any other demographic and we should sacrifice for them, not the other way around.

But consider three significant points of evidence in the argument this is no longer our code:

1. Abortion.

It’s always happened, true. From secret potions to beating of bellies to coat hangers and back street arrangements. In countries where it was made legal, the argument was that, if it no longer carried a criminal offence it might be made safe, early and rare. Those words were much used in the campaign during the original Roe vs Wade ruling.

Early and rare seem to have been dramatically forgotten in subsequent years, however.

Approximately 1 million abortions are performed annually in the USA of which, up to 18,000 are in the third trimester. Let’s hope they were at least safe.

2. Lockdown.

For two years, most countries went through several phases of closing the schools and shutting their children away in bedrooms to be educated remotely. School and community sport was banned, as was playing in the parks or even meeting with friends.

We all knew this would impact the most vulnerable kids, those without computers and parents at home, those with abusive family members, those with emotional and mental health issues. But we did it anyway.

Why? To save them from a disease we knew didn’t pose any material risk to the young. We sacrificed those at the start of their lives for the sake of those at the end of theirs.

3. Transgender.

We’ve accepted fiction as fact and figures of authority have presented this to children.

Quite reasonably, many children have now acted upon this lie and genuinely believe they are born in the wrong body and, worse, this unhappy situation can be ameliorated by a mixture of powerful drugs, life changing permanent surgery and the rest of society going along with this charade.

A study of 81,000 teenagers discovered 2,200 thought they were a different gender to the one everyone in the world would have said they were if asked about 10 years ago.

A not insignificant proportion of these confused kids are going to physically act upon these thoughts by taking drugs, slicing bits off themselves and acting out a cosplay fantasy of their new gender.

We can be bloody certain this will not improve their happiness at all.

Well done, everyone. Seriously, well done.

Bill’s Opinion

Golda Mier famously said of the Arabs;:

“We will only have peace with [them] when they love their children more than they hate us.”

I believe that quote is relevant today but it needs a slight modification to reflect our pathological self-loathing:

We will only have peace when we love our children more than we hate ourselves.

Which cat killed curiosity?

You’d be forgiven for not paying attention to the “election” of the new Leader of the Conservative Party (AKA “The Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”) in the UK right now.

As some wag put it on the socials yesterday, it’s rather like having to choose your favourite Covid vaccine. Except you’re not being asked to choose.

There have been a series of press conferences and televised debates. Plenty of opportunity for our media class to pose the hard questions. One topic notably absent from the mouths of any of the candidates, not even the otherwise great Kemi Badenoch, and certainly not asked by the journalists is “whither lockdowns?”.

As in, were they a good idea, should we even consider them again, how did the cost/benefit analysis play out two years down the track, etc.?

Complete silence.

I have to check myself in my surprise at this. Am I wrong in thinking what we just lived through was without precedent in peace time? That the speed at which basic civil liberties and rights were cast aside was shocking and brutalising for huge numbers of citizens?

It seems more than strange that a single question hasn’t been reserved about it during the dozens of hours of candidate scrutiny. Is nobody interested in whether any of the candidates would use these powers again on us. Just me?

Bill’s Opinion

Many of us state a belief we are living with a fiction of choice, that our “democracy” is nothing more than a unaparty, a single party of government.

I would love to hear a counter argument to that view in the context of a political and media consensus to completely avoid discussing what’s just happened.

And when you finished explaining that, have an attempt at describing to me how an Epstein and a Maxwell can be convicted of crimes involving possibly hundreds of other co-criminals but no other investigations or prosecutions are apparently underway?