Gaslighting the Virus

According to Channel 4 News Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, a heavily pregnant nurse who had tested positive for Covid-19 has died. Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, 28, underwent an emergency caesarean to deliver and save her baby daughter who has survived.

This tragic news combines with the grim overall picture that Britain now has the honour of having the highest daily coronavirus death toll of any country in Europe.

A quietly terrified populace is so far being compliant to the public health demands being made of it, but I’m not sure how long that will last as confidence in those nominally in power seeps away as the death-toll mounts and the scale of their incompetence is realised.

But those people calling for a ‘public inquiry’ are living in another era.

Britain has a long list of public inquiries for shambolic mishandling, corruption, scandals and botched police operations. They follow a familiar pattern: appoint some trusted grandee; take years if not decades to conclude; astronomical cost to the public purse; the result is almost always nothing really happens apart from some modest tweaking of some innocuous legislation. It’s the British way. So that’s the last thing we need.

As the total number of coronavirus deaths hit 8958 we’re being asked to Sing For the Queen. Ben Fogle – an early experiment from the petri-dish of reality tv – who seems to have been elevated by the dark recesses of British popular culture into some figure of substance writes: “It’s the Queens birthday next Tuesday. Let’s throw her a surprise. At 9am 21st April, we are calling on the whole country to sing Happy Birthday from our windows and doorsteps. Let our song bring good cheer not just to Her Majesty but to the whole nation #singforthequeen”.

We’re literally living with death and disease stalking the land and the default anglo-normative response is to sing for the fucking Queen. Not only that but the not-so-subtle Vera Lynn and World War 2 references are shoe-horned into your consciousness. The result is to reinforce deference and hierarchy and to sidestep openness, transparency and accountability. The ancien regime responds to every crisis, however severe with cultural bunting.

Matt Hancock is at it as well.

He’s backing The Sun’s campaign to give the whole NHS staff a St Georges Cross NHS HEROES Back our campaign to award brave NHS staff fighting coronavirus with the George Cross medal”.

This is not just crude hypocrisy from the right wing media and the politicians they have elevated, its a dangerous diversion from the actual task at hand.



It’s becoming obscene. This is a government and state that is failing badly resorting to the most bizarre cultures of exceptionalism. Coronavirus lands in a world of England’s own existing Brexit fever dream, an identity crisis of simultaneous superiorism and inferiorism, grandiosity and jingoism merged with a cringing lack of self-belief.

This turns very strange.

As Fintan O’Toole noted (Coronavirus has exposed the myth of British exceptionalism): “When the prime minister was hospitalised, his overwrought friend and fan Toby Young confessed in the Spectator to “a kind of mystical belief in Britain’s greatness and her ability to occasionally bring forth remarkable individuals, who can serve her at critical junctures. I’ve always thought of Boris as one of those people – not just suspected it, but known it in my bones.”

We are now in a period of Covid Populism where the narrative has become about British exceptionalism rather than government failure and human suffering, it’s about personal triumphs and old men raising money for the NHS as if its a charity, it’s about “heroes” and stupid stories to cheer you up as if you’re a fucking idiot.

Nationalism has been weaponised to cover-up government failure, and our own sense of innate solidarity is being used to justify it. A spurious “national spirit” is being evoked. You are being Mesmerised by the monarchy.

As Adam Ramsay writes (Queen beckons Britain into Covid-nationalism trap): “…in her address, the Queen took iconic elements of the community response to COVID-19: children’s pictures of rainbows, clapping for the NHS, and plonked a Union Flag in the middle of them, claiming them for Britain, and Britishness, and firmly drawing a line around our imagined community, with her at the centre of it. We may collaborate with the rest of the world, but we do so, first and foremost in her rhetoric, as “Britons”.

In shaping this nationalist narrative, she inevitably drew on the UK’s foundation myth, the point when Britain was transformed from an empire into a country: World War Two, concluding with her Vera Lynn reference “we will meet again”.

He continues …”In recent weeks, the government has managed the crisis catastrophically. But the Conservatives have soared in the polls as sentimental nationalism has trumped material reality.”

The relentless rhetoric of war is familiar but damaging. It resets the challenge as one that can be overcome by fortitude rather than science, ‘battles’ rather than rigorous testing and tracing, and a unique ‘Bulldog Spirit’ rather than international cooperation.

In Scotland the lesson we should be learning is we are not exceptional, other than being ruled over by an exceptionally incompetent government we didn’t elect.

In this madness, the right-wing are degenerating, partly because they have had to implement policies they despise and are seeing the worldview they have espoused and the economic system they venerate collapse before them.

As Gerry Hassan has noted (We are not at war yet we are increasingly living in a warfare state) this has led to the poison pen of many of the usual suspects:

“Take Allison Pearson in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ … Writing on the state of Johnson, she said: ‘How is Boris? For millions of people, that was our first thought upon waking yesterday.’

This was but a preamble to a full-on love-a-thon: ‘It’s rare for a politician to inspire such emotion, but Boris is loved – in a way that the metropolitan media class has never begun to understand.’ And then the clincher: ‘Yet, make no mistake, the health of Boris Johnson is the health of the body politic and, by extension, the health of the nation itself.’”

This elevation of The Leader in times of crisis is a familiar trope of the right. But as we have to suffer the forced war-rhetoric, the moronic propaganda of British populism, the hypocrisy of Tory politicians celebrating an institution they have undermined for decades, the celebration of “Boris” a character who was a hapless incompetent even when he was well, is shocking. As we swim in a sea of disinformation we imbibe a steady stream of myths about ‘Nightingale Hospitals’ ‘armies of NHS volunteers’ and a nation united by Rainbows.

After this we don’t need another useless public inquiry, what we need is a complete revolt – an overthrow of the broken institutions that have collapsed and a rejection of the elite rule that has failed in front of our very eyes. Keep safe, but keep your wrath warm for after the lockdown.


* We had previously indicated that Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong was working when she contracted the coronavirus. This was incorrect and we’ve updated the article to correct that mistake.




Comments (125)

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  1. grafter says:

    “We’re literally living with death and disease stalking the land “. Go here for a reality check.

    1. Jo says:

      I used to be a regular reader at Off Guardian but I’ve been quite shocked by their whole approach to this to be honest.

      1. Grafter says:

        You’re watching too much TV and listening to government health “experts”..

        1. Jo says:


          First thing, you’re imposing someone else’s views on me and judging how I form my own. Don’t do that.

          Second, I posted a perfectly reasonable response to you so you could show the same civility to me.

          And lastly, you’re playing a very stupid game with a very serious subject. That’s reckless.

      2. John Monro says:

        Agree Jo, conspiracy theory and poor science rule in the Off Guardian. These professionals are entitled to their opinions, but they are definite outliers as regards most professionals’ understanding of what’s happening. No way is Covid 19 just a bad flu. It’s a totally novel virus, at least ten times more fatal than flu. There’s no treatment, no immunisation. It’s certainly true, stalking an old people’s home it’ll see quite a good proportion die, but it’s also killing off otherwise pretty fit pensioners, who’d have another 10-15 years of productive life ahead of them, as parents, grand parents, great grand parents, volunteers, child minders, club secretaries, odd jobbers, councillors etc etc. and it’s killing a fair share of younger people too. In particular health workers, given a good loading dose of virus particles by one of their patients, will also succumb. I suspect too that a good percentage who have nominally recovered from serious illness will go on to have chronic debilitating sequelae too. (I am not a specialist, but an informed option – as a retired GP with 47 years of continuous medical practice.)

          1. Andrew Moore says:

            erm… would that be the same website which has called the current health emergency “a fake virus pandemic, fabricated to cover-up a global disaster; an outbreak of 5G radiation poisoning” ?

        1. Lynsey says:

          Yes, John, re the sequela. A close family member isolated at home with the virus, full blown fever, coughing, fatigue, breathlessness and pain on breathing, but he got through it without being admitted to hospital. He was given two heavy doses of steroids and two of antibiotics for the secondary infection. Three weeks after the onset, when he seems to have turned the corner, he was still having to use an inhaler and had a lot of chest pain (as well as fatigue). I should say this is an extremely fit person who knows how to take care of himself. Pain didn’t subside so he was sent for a chest x-ray and they kept him in – he has basal consolidation of both lungs and had blood clots. This is serious shit and is annecodally a common experience post-Covid infection. He was discharged a few days ago with more antibiotics and blood thinning meds, with an expected recuperation time of three months. Yesterday, he developed ‘peripheral sores in keeping with frost bite’, which apparently are also appearing on other post-Covid patients. The true impact of this virus won’t be really appreciated until the retrospective studies are done.

          1. Jo says:


            I hope your relative comes through this.

          2. Lynsey says:

            Thanks Jo. I forgot to say that he likely won’t be included in the official Covid stats because by the time he was admitted to hospital , he was no longer infected. Hence my comment about the true impact not being clear until retrospective studies are done.

        2. Dave says:

          Quite correct John. Those who glibly downplay this virus are missing the point. It’s new, highly transmissible, has the capacity to overwhelm healthcare systems taking healthcare professionals with it, there’s no cure and no treatment other than supportive oxygen. Those who take ventilation in ICU lightly need to give their head a wobble.

      1. Me Bungo Pony says:

        “Dangerous” maybe but not “nonsense”. Its just a more laissez-faire approach to what the statistics tell us. However, if we heed their words, and they are wrong, it could be catastrophic in biblical terms. When it comes to plagues never before encountered, I feel we should always err on the side of caution.

        1. Jo says:

          I used to like the site a lot and many of the articles. They also make valid points about the sinister route the Guardian has chosen to go down. Mind you, the Herald has gone on its own journey to mediocrity and dodgy journalism.

        2. Grafter says:

          “What the statistics tell us”. Exactly whose “statistics” ? More analysis required before you say that.

      2. Mandy says:

        To what are you referring as ‘dangerous nonsense?’

    2. Finlay MacLeod says:

      The crisis has brought out the very very worst of britishness and its backward looking view of the world and comfort gained in eleavting a bun ch of parasites to god like levels whilst the uk government is lying though thiee teeth to the public.

      It’s pointed out by some (not by press or bbc) that Gemany is conducting itself like a mature and caring society, but the uk wishes to focus the problems of Italy and Spain. When the uk’s problems overtake Italy and Spain, time now to focus on clapping, Mrs Windsor, the good Capt and fighting boris.

      You then look at the abillity, compassion, honesty and accessiblity of Nicola Sturgeon over those put up by the uk government to speak to the public. You ask yourself why are we still in the woeful and dusfunctional union when we are more than capable of governing ourselves to higher standards morally, economically and compassionaltely.

      The we have the uk dismissing collective procurements of PPE, ventialtors and test kits with the EU, unbelievable in these troubling times.

      This is charge of the light brigade stuff!

      Don’t get me started on brexit,……….

  2. Jo says:

    Thank you.

    There’s more I could add but perhaps later.

  3. Graham King says:

    Let’s cheer for the Queen!
    That’ll make it go away!
    Hierarchy’s OK!


  4. squigglypen says:

    So entertained by your article…but I take exception to one point..I was thinking about Boris..I was thinking ..’I hope he’s deid’.
    I did laugh at your singing for the ‘fucking queen’ ( you’ll never get to the garden party I fear)….
    If you want to get really mad listen to Classic FM. ( F*****G Morons)..’and did those feet’…..that would be the bigga J walking on that green and pleasant land..not our wee bit tho’…too many thistles..
    Keep taking the pills …

  5. Robbie says:

    This dis-United kingdom is doing my f*ck*ng head in, it is beyond belief the gross incompetence of the Whole government on Everything they touch, now the Opposition is lead by SIR Keith Starmer you couldn’t, make it up ,a labour leader a SIR. unbelievable ,the quicker Scotland gets shot of them the better,at least when you make your own mistakes you can do something about it cause your f*ck*ngVOTE COUNTS.

    1. Jo says:

      I share your sentiments Robbie but we shouldn’t ignore the problems we’ve seen in Scotland.

      My biggest issue is with the scum who pose as journalists here but that’s nothing new.

      The concerns about PPE have dragged on for weeks with no real answers and journalists delight in presenting new examples daily. Why can’t this be addressed immediately and resolved? What, precisely, is the problem? I don’t want a special email address…. I want the SG to get to the root of this rather than have to see the media kick lumps out of the FM over it.

      Care Homes. Again, the issues are obvious as are the dangers. The virus arriving in a care home is like a fire starting in a quiet corner during the night. It will take the whole house out! So why no rush to protect staff and residents immediately, right at the start?

      Let’s be brutal! These people weren’t going to be candidates for hospital beds, were they? Yet they absolutely were an afterthought. It’s scandalous. It made me cry frequently to realise that these elderly people were sitting ducks, that many of their carers were on minimum wage while the private owners made a bloody mint yet wouldn’t provide adequate protection for staff or residents.

      I don’t see the press going after the owners! No, their preferred option is to target Sturgeon alone. They are one sick bunch! They can track a CMO from Edinburgh to Fife but can they track all this PPE or call out private care home owners for neglect? Too much bother and not politically profitable! And, by the way, PPE going to NHS premises wasn’t getting to people either so what’s going on there? Or is everything NHS-related so bloody saintly these days that criticising the management of it is a hanging offence?

      1. Fir Kew Hall says:

        Very well said Jo.
        The CEO of HC1 – practically sanctified by the Guardian has, within the last year, hoovered up a large number of Nursing Homes then promptly sold out to an American Venture Capitalist Organisation trousering £21 million in the process.

        1. Jo says:

          Fir Kew Hall (clever name btw)

          Just had a meltdown watching STV news.

          Report about NHS staff going on-shift to receive the PPE which a person just going off-shift has just been using. (Gloves, goggles, gown.) Footage shown of discarded PPE gowns left lying on chairs because “staff don’t know what to do with them.” No one knows how to make them clean again! Management informed but no response. But, hey, let’s blame the Scottish Government and raise it at the daily briefing!

          NHS Management in Scotland are dodging all criticism on this. That is just outrageous. They’re getting no heat from the media. They’re the ones responsible for staff welfare yet they’re not being held accountable.

          1. Anonymous says:

            NHS management are, at best, hypocritical. I wont use stronger words to describe them but many staff are visceral in their views on them. Much was made of the old CMO and her “hypocrisy” in using her own second home while going on TV and telling everyone else not to. But that is only the tip of the hypocrisy. It goes right the way through senior management.

            NHS mgt tell the nation that they must work from home if at all possible thereby helping stop the spread of the virus. Yet, for no good reason, they tell their own staff that they MUST attend work even if they can easily work from home (actual policy). Similarly, they tell the nation that they must stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus limiting journeys etc to only essential needs. Yet many NHS staff whose workloads have fallen off the side of a cliff (with GPs limiting access, clinics cancelled, wards being cleared, admissions being limited, non-essential procedures being cancelled etc, etc), meaning only a “skeleton” staff would be needed to cover it, are told they MUST attend work even if there is little or nothing for them to do.

            Hospitals are no ordinary workplaces in these times. These non-front line staff are having to mingle with staff in close contact with positive cases, their colleagues and the general public in places where social distancing is effectively impossible. They then have to travel to and from these “high risk areas” every day, often on public transport, heightening the risk of infection for their fellow travellers as well as themselves. Then, of course, there is the unnecessarily heightened risk to their own families and communities. The many thousands of NHS staff in this position should be allowed to stay as safe as their senior managers INSIST those outside the NHS do. They will still have to attend work regularly to cover the reduced workload but it doesn’t have to be ALL of them EVERY day.

            The stumbling block appears to be that NHS management are absolutely obsessed with staff working the hours they are paid for. It is preferable for them, it seems, that staff put themselves, their families and their communities at increased, unnecessary risk than they get paid for hours not worked by staying safe at home as much as possible. This is in complete, hypocritical contrast to what they pontificate on the national media where they insist organisations allow their staff to remain safely at home without detriment where possible. It is definitely possible in the case of the NHS but they CHOOSE not to practice what they preach.

            It is unlikely that this policy has not led to unnecessary infections or worse. To me, it is a scandal waiting to break and many NHS workers will never forget or forgive the senior managers for having shown such a callous ambivalence to their safety. You could almost believe they are thinking that if these non-front line staff can’t be “warriors” on the front line, they can be handy “martyrs” for media consumption.

      2. Solesister says:

        well said, Jo as well. I always feared for older people living in care homes. The only way they were going to do anything about it is when the workers spoke out with no PPE and testing and residents started dying. You live your whole life end up in a care home in which you have to sell your home to get into and then you are gone before your time with a deadly virus that the Government didn’t plan for – rabbits caught in headlights comes to mind. Where they not watching what was happening in China, France, Spain and then Italy? Did they think we were immune to this virus. I am truly shocked about how our Government has handled this and very sad that we are not Independent as I feel the SG would have taken the advice of the WHO and tested. As it is we have to follow the UK like a lapdog. They reckon that 40,000 will die of this virus.

        1. Wul says:

          Solesister: “Did they think we were immune to this virus.” ?

          Do you know, I think “in their bones” they really did think we were immune.

          Isn’t it always johnny foreigner who dies from disease and such like? Isn’t it just like a foreigner to catch a fever and die? An Englishman might feel a bit off colour for a day or two, but would soon “send it packing” ( B.Johnston, March 2020).

          1. Mandy says:

            I thought we were supposed to be going out and catching it on purpose to ensure ‘immunity ‘

      3. Alasdair Macdonald says:


        The media most certainly will NOT go after the care home owners.

        After Care workers had been awarded the pay rise, BBC Scotland, ‘interviewed’ a Mr Kilgour, a care home owner and alleged spokesperson for the Care Home ‘industry’.

        When I say ‘interview’ I really mean a set of cues to allow him to go into his prepared speech. No actual testing questions were asked.

        Mr Kilgour is a long term donor to the Tory party and a member of a pro-Union campaign. BBC Scotland did not mention this.

        More egregiously, the Morning Star carried a report on it with the bulk of Mr Kilgour’s ‘speech’ given verbatim. The tone of the article was very much “here is what these nationalist liars are doing” Mr Kilgour was NOT identified as a Tory, despite the fact that the Press and Journal had outed him a few hours after he was on Good Morning Scotland. The Morning Star attitude towards Scottish independence is as venal as that of the Daily Mail, Express, Telegraph, Wuggie Rennie, etc…..

        1. Jo says:

          Sorry, Alasdair, I’ve been slow in responding.

          We can all rightly find the conduct of different political figures admirable or not. The media, however, should be a responsible and trustworthy body equipped to hold all to account. Sadly, that sort of body is something we just don’t have.

          I don’t know how we can fix it. I used to consider journalism an honourable profession. How naïve. Again, the Herald is a glaring example of the fall….and, goodness, it has fallen a long way. It appeals for support while following a twisted and dishonest agenda and has thrown balance to the dogs. It has allowed its online forum, once the best around, (I was among the first to use it) to become a vile place where abuse of others is the norm and some users create multiple accounts in order to peddle their bile. Sadly, however, the bile above the line is too often equally deplorable. It spurs on the nutters below….as it’s meant to do. Sorry days indeed.

          One columnist and a favourite of mine, Fidelma Cook, has written this today. She too recognises the role journalism has played in making the world an even more dishonest place. I hope some at the Herald read it. Of course, she’ll get slaughtered below the line.

      4. grafter says:

        Jo. “My biggest issue is with the scum who pose as journalists here but that’s nothing new”. Yes that’s the same journalistic “scum” who have been trashing Scotland since before and after 2014 and who are now peddling the Black Death fear on behalf of their corporate masters. We really need to wake up otherwise we will be returning to the Dark Ages pretty soon.

  6. Black Rab says:

    I can only see revolt as Scotland leaving this dangerously dystopian reality. Many of us saw this happening at some point. It’s here now. How many people on this strange, backward and subservient island will be sticking their collective heads out of their collective windows and singing a lullaby to send themselves and the nation that isn’t a nation to perpetual sleep.
    Nicola Sturgeon is having a field day moving from one podium to another, sounding and looking like the elegant consummate school headmistress that she is appearing to be more like every passing day. The Scottish Government have fled into obscurity, and have intellectually and personally been self isolating on Scotland’s constitutional crisis for years.
    I don’t think my anger counter can go any higher Mike.

  7. Daniel Raphael says:

    Infantilisation of the populace is achieved de facto through the focus on parliamentary means as the sole, real method of effecting social change. This is of course bogus, but it is largely accepted by the masses, the 99%…until it isn’t, when we then use words like ‘revolution’. The infant is accepting and largely passive and at all times depends on the grown-ups–the 1%, those with obvious power, anointed by tabloid media and celebrated by the BBC–for everything that matters most. That’s appropriate for a small infant, but obviously problematical for those supposedly exercising critical judgement, staying abreast of current news, and being a rational actor in the social fabric.

    One wonders just when the break will occur…what stress, what further danger, degradation, or measure of misery tips the infant into the unwelcome but unavoidable role of full-time adult. It’s obvious that living in the dreamworld of Betters and royalty and the panoply of nonsense the adorns repression soft and hard, is at present sufficiently appealing to most of the population. How much can you take? We ask the same question of each other here, in the States; though without royalty and having a Constitution that supposedly offers fixed rules of the road for rulers, those willing to traduce and bend everything to their rapacious wills, seem largely to be getting their way.

    We have much in common. Which of us will “break” first, and initiate the break from systematic austerity and faux democracy?

    1. Paul McMillan says:

      And replace with what?

      1. Black Rab says:

        Whats your prescription then? Sometimes you have to do things regardless of having a prescription. sometimes you just got to dump the old…………..the new comes along regardless.

        1. Paul McMillan says:

          I dont have one but you need to clarify what you intend to replace the current ‘system’ with.
          Year zero?

          1. Black Rab says:

            No, I don’t need to do anything. I’m quite happy to dismantle and then rebuild. No one knows the way ahead, but this isn’t it.

          2. Jo says:

            Black Rab
            Paul asked a valid question. Your response is no answer at all.

        2. Paul McMillan says:

          Distmantle what?
          Rebuild what?

          1. grafter says:

            Fraudulent unrepresentative government for starters.

          2. Black Rab says:

            Jo. You replied a day after my comment. Sorry man, but I was tidying my loft and dusting my old toys by then.

    2. Kevin Hattie says:

      Erich Fromm covers this subject in his book Fear of Freedom. He tries to provide a psychological explanation for our willingness to submit to authority.

      If we are to overcome our dependency on authority, we have to try and create institutions and practices that promote individual autonomy. Extending democratic principles beyond political institutions might go some way to achieving this.

  8. Kenneth G Coutts says:

    Oh yes indeed.

  9. Matthew says:

    Says 8000 deaths but it’s actually 14800

    1. Grafter says:

      Silly comment.

      1. MBC says:

        Not silly. It’s 14,576 deaths UK wide (as far as we know. 17/04/20). 837 in Scotland (as far as we know).

        1. grafter says:

          According to whose statistics ? Based on FROM or WITH Covid 19 ? How do supposedly death from Covid 19 figures compare to death from Flu figures for the past 3 months of this year ?

  10. Richard Boyle says:

    Thanks. Pleased Im not the only one to think this way. But why do people keep falling for it!

    1. Laura says:

      Refreshing to read . In moments of (even more) madness it feels like majority have been brainwashed!

  11. SleepingDog says:

    Of course, what actually happened after the declaration of WW2 in Britain is that people panicked and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of their own pets, many months before the first bomb dropped.
    I have read Hilda Kean’s book The Great Cat and Dog Massacre, and it is fascinatingly revealing about the mythology before, during and after the events (which at the time were described as a “holocaust of pets”, apparently). During September 1939, possibly 400,000 animals were killed in four days, and places of euthansia were overwhelmed. All this against veterinary, animal welfare and most official government advice. I guess the Queen forgot to say that “we’ll meet again” didn’t apply to many family pets, who disappeared never to be seen again, mostly in London.

    The myth about British exceptionalism (a nation of ‘animal lovers’) meant casting foreigners, especially those in enemy ranks, as rotten to animals, which struggled with the inconvenient banning of gin traps, hunting and vivisection in Nazi Germany, when all were legal in the UK.

    Anyway, I guess it was all hushed up. Perhaps some of those eldsters who have mastered social media can chip in with their recollections. Not quite sure what they would have done with #justkilledourcat or #destroyedourdog material had the information technology existed.

    1. grafter says:


  12. Lurcherlass says:

    I think the owners and managers of care homes who chose to keep their door open to visitors etc as long as possible to ‘preserve the quality of life, mental stimulation and emotional support’ of their residents should have a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror and ask if they can live with the decisions that they made. A care home in St Andrews (near where I work), closed it’s doors to visitors including family members a good 10-14 days before the ‘lockdown’. I’m not sure how safe the residents are or if indeed there have been any deaths. I do know however, that if I was there as a resident, I think I would have felt and been safer there compared to living in a care home that was welcoming to all and sundry…

  13. MBC says:

    I’m just not understanding why the Scottish Government doesn’t get civil servants on to the issue of producing our own PPE equipment. That is the most critical aspect right now. Get a whole team working on it flat out 24/7. Night and day. Find out what clinicians think they need. Find out who can make them. Get them made. Find out who can deliver. Get them collected and shifted. Put out an appeal. We are clearly on our own here.

    Same with testing. What tests do we need? Antibody tests? What labs can make them? A vet in the Faroes made tests in his lab in a matter of days. Are you trying to say that in the whole of Scotland there isn’t the brains and materials to produce our own?

    There is one of my neighbours down the road manufacturing those headband things for acetate face shields on his 3-D printer, says he’s made 600 so far. They’ve gone out to care homes. There was a school in the Highlands, Inverness I think it was, also had a 3-D printer churning them out as well. We have people that can sew garments, we have Brewdog manufacturing hand sanitiser and a distillery in Leith doing the same. Just what is the issue? Folk are willing, we have the capacity, some capacity, may not be perfect capacity but it sure is better than nothing?

    1. grafter says:

      MBC. Calm down. “We are clearly on our own here.”. No we’re not. Haven’t you heard …*We Are All In This Together” ? Making face masks and hand sanitizer is not the answer. Educating ourselves about what is going on here is our only hope in finding a way forward.

  14. Sheelagh Hegarty says:

    My wrath is on the incandescent setting by default
    A beautifully expressed piece : a distillation of the truth .
    Thanks , such eloquence gives voice to the truth which remains unheard .

  15. Kevin Robinson says:

    I have never read such a repugnant and rabidly anti British piece of writing. The author clearly needs to sit down in a darkened room and have a chat with himself.
    I have a deep love and respect for all people across our United Kingdom’s, just a shame that those with the loudest mouthpiece and the most objectionable views seem to revel in winding themselves up.
    Obvious generalisations help his argument, rather than behaving like a credible journalist and researching the truth behind his inane ramblings.
    My heartfelt wishes go out to anyone reading my response, stay safe and as you have a choice, please ignore the disgusting rhetoric espoused by the author of this piece in BellaCaledonia.

    1. Thanks Kevin. Stay safe too.

    2. grafter says:

      Kevin…. “those with the loudest mouthpiece and the most objectionable views ” Yes that describes our totally corrupt MSM to a T. Ignore the lockdown, you need to get out more.

    3. Jo says:


      “…rather than behaving like a credible journalist and researching the truth.”

      Oh, come on Kevin! That’s way out of order. Credible journalist you say? The whole of the UK has been crying out for credible journalism for some time now and is still without that vital thing. Truth? MSM journalists wouldn’t recognise it if it walked up and shook hands with them!

      The current situation is a very difficult one and what do we get from our MSM? We get comparisons with WW2, we get the Queen giving it, “We will meet again.” and we get a remake of that same Vera Lynn song. Oh, and this week, we’ve had some old guy walking about his garden while others donated THEIR dosh and now people want HIM to get a knighthood! (And, btw, that dosh is going to NHS Charities Together, and having checked out what it does I’m not convinced we’ll ever know what has been done with it! ) Ohhh, yes, and today I’ve just heard that the same old guy has done a new version of You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball and totally destroyed it! (All proceeds to, yep, NHS Charities Together!) Our “credible” MSM love it of course!

      Finally, we had the second in line to the throne, along with his wife, speaking yesterday about mental health and the importance of maintaining strong links with family during these times. Long interview with a simpering BBC journalist who didn’t bother to ask him if he’s maintaining strong links with his only brother, the guy who, with his own wife, was snubbed publicly, on camera, by the sainted William and Kate very recently. And btw, I’m not a republican, ordinarily I don’t have a problem with the monarchy but the Queen really should have known better than to allow half-wits to persuade her to go the “We’ll meet again.” route. It was crass and bloody insulting.

    4. James Mills says:

      I name you Piers Morgan and claim my £10 and commemorative engraved ”We’ll meet again ! ” mug !

      1. Jo says:

        I name you something else James for judging me without, clearly, knowing anything about me at all!

        1. Jo says:


          I apologise, I mistakenly thought your post was addressed to me.

          1. James Mills says:

            No problem , Jo ! Stay safe !

    5. John Mooney says:

      I will most certainly ignore your pathetic ranting john bullshit “Britishness”kevin,the World has thankfully moved on from the touch the forelock obsequiousness you espouse,as for your “Credible Journalism” are you having a laugh,the daily heil,torygraph,sun,daily depress,scotsman and sadly but true the herald,please take the blinkers off and come into the real world,that apart stay safe!

  16. Laura says:

    Stopped reading a few seconds in. The nurse wasn’t working when she caught coronavirus. She stopped work on 12th March well before the lockdown began and her symptoms didnt start until 5th April . Speculation and no facts never helped anyone.

    1. Thanks Laura, this has been pointed out, we’ll update the article and correct our mistake.

    2. Jo says:


      Fair enough, however, I have to say that the MSM put out this story in a way which clearly suggested otherwise. Until I read your own post I was unaware of the true facts.

  17. Alin says:

    I agree with Jo the way The Herald is going and as if to affirm, anyone reading Tom Gordon’s article today will be left in no doubt. Quite surprising a political editor keeps banging the same drum and it certainly will not help their sales figures.

    It seems to be the Unionist case during the Coronavirus lockdown that anyone from the Yes side talking about independence will be regarded as an obsessive separatist but not talking about it means they are scared to contemplate the benefits of the strength of the Union and its ability to run up massive borrowings, to be repaid later.

    1. Jo says:


      A number of regular, long-term posters have abandoned the Herald this week. The debate btl was fierce and centred on two columns, by Smith and Simpson respectively, which were rabid and offensive. It was widely observed that the Herald has sunk to depths that, for a once quality publication, are deeply shocking.

      That was Thursday. On Friday all opinion columns came with a new disclaimer.

      “Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.”

      That said, the position of Gordon who, frankly, is a disgrace, is quite different. He writes opinion pieces which the Herald publishes as “News”. Will they put a disclaimer under his news items too?

  18. Jane says:

    The death of Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong is tragic, not least for her newborn daughter; but she was not working when she caught Covid-19, she was on maternity leave. Her father had also tragically died of the virus.

    1. Thanks Jane, this has been pointed out, we’ll update the article and correct our mistake

  19. Angus Bearn says:

    Yes, yes, yes! You Scotts, repulsed at the hypocrisy, ineptitude and conceit of the Austerity Party, remember that we, too, need change. Remember that we share your disgust and impatience. Remember us. We are on the same side. We are Londoners! Millions of us in a sea of red. Let’s drown these pernicious buffoons out of power together.

    1. Hi Angus – yes yes yes – absolutely, we are with you

    2. grafter says:

      Yep that’s it vote for Labour millionaire Keir Starmer that should sort those nasty capitalists out.

      1. Jo says:


        Your own agenda, if your various posts today are anything to go by, is pretty dodgy too.

        1. Graeme Purves says:

          Did he mis-spell ‘grifter’?

          1. grafter says:

            You’ll be hearing from my solicitor.

  20. Jan says:

    I got as far as the opening statement that Mary was working during her third trimester when she fell ill and, since that was way off the mark, I kind of lost interest in anything the rest of it said. Mary was on maternity leave. And her father had just died from Covid19 a few days before she tested positive and fell ill. I don’t know where she contracted the virus, but she wasn’t in contact with patients at the time.
    I have no comment about the rest because I didn’t read it.

    1. Thanks Jan, this has been pointed out, we’ll update the article and correct our mistake.

  21. Caroline Jeffrey says:

    Brilliant just said everything I’m holding in my mind that is having the effect of suffering complete madness. I cant comput how we the people are being treated and manipulated. Where is the voice of Truth ? More than that where is the action the movement that will include accountability for crimes to our people and a positive movement to an improved leadership for this country. Mike Small more from you please

    1. Thanks Caroline, glad you liked it.

  22. K70 says:

    I’m surprised that more people are not questioning the need for the lockdown and the medical group think behind it. I’m not saying the lockdown is wrong, just that no-one in the MSM is questioning it properly.

    In my view it’s another example of us robbing future generations and the young of wealth to support a small number of pensioners. Early predictions of the deaths were vastly over played and included the normal death rate that we’d have anyway. In the meantime the NHS has ground to a halt with no elective procedures being performed and wards lying empty across the country. People are locked in their homes and the government has scared the population into not doing anything. Schools are empty and millions of people are facing economic hardship.

    1. What an uncharitable and mean-spirited attitude to older people.
      “Early predictions of the deaths were vastly over played”, er, what planet are you on?

      1. K70 says:

        Eh? They predicted 500k deaths and it’s now what? 20k?

          1. K70 says:

            Actually, I think you are right – the NHS has done a good job of scaling up and preventing more tragedy due to COVID – but what about the families left heartbroken because their loved one isn’t getting the cancer therapy; eye surgery or asthma therapy? The families left destitute because they have no income or job or any hope of getting one after it settles down?

            My point is that no-one is questioning the group-think of the medics and scientists. Even Mark Woolhouse the eminent UoE epidemiologist says that the government is listening to the scientists too much, as opposed to examining closely the socio-economic effects and balancing the response.

    2. Jo says:

      Yeh, people get old, sod them, let them die.

      You’re disgusting.

      1. K70 says:

        Hey Jo, what about everyone else? The young, the ill, the poor? They are all being sidelined for a disease with a 0.3% mortality rate and OF THOSE deaths, 90% have one or more underlying conditions, are very old or very obese. Yes there are tragic exceptions but those are the tiny minority. If you want to see what’s happening, have a wander around the ERI : wards are empty, ICU is substantially below capacity now. Then take a wander around some schemes in edinburgh : how many more people do you want to see impoverished before you agree that the reaction to this crisis is overblown? btw I’m a doctor

        1. Me Bungo Pony says:

          Urr yi’, aye?

          I work in a hospital. Have done for nigh on 40 years. The wards are largely empty. There’s a reason for that. Most ward admissions are for elective procedures, not emergency ones. Therefore, with a pandemic ripping through the vulnerable in our society, authorities correctly decided to keep as many of them away from “covid central” as possible. Well done them. They haven’t signed up to your “survival of the fittest” kind of eugenics. Hopefully that view will continue to prevail. I’d hate to live in a society where your right to life was dependent on some one else’s view of your economic cost/worth.

        2. Angus Bearn says:

          It’s a valid point. Our political leaders were asleep on the watch. It’s Covid – 19 (that’s n-n-n-n nineteen) for a reason. We slept, then woke with a start and over-reacted to achieve the all-round least credible action. Not good enough. We need decisions that get us back to work AND which throw a cast iron shield around our elders. Now that would be the appliance of science. But the emotions are running too strong for a clear strategy to emerge – which is one very good reason for having a plan ‘oven-ready’ for the most foreseeable crisis in living memory. But… Oh dear. Boris. On a beach somewhere far, far away… Oh dear, oh dear.

          1. Me Bungo Pony says:

            A kind of “Grand Old Duke of York” post. It marches you up to the top of the hill with claims of an over reaction and better planning needed ….. and then marches you down again by an apparent admission of the danger Covid-19 (it’s 19 because it was first encountered in 2019) presents to the vulnerable and no sign of a solution. Oh well, perhaps somebody else will come up with a middle ground answer that is neither “lock down” nor a murderous, “survival of the fittest”, kind of Russian roulette.

          2. Angus Bearn says:

            Me Bungo Pony, I don’t purport to have the formula, and – you might think tragically – no one has asked me to be PM yet. I guess I would start with a comms strategy, maybe a bit of testing, maybe quarantine for likely infected travellers, definitely a warehouse full of PPE, probably a counter-conspiracy programme, prison/care home strategies, ultra-sensitivity to pandemic incidents, and brutal honesty. Boring stuff, really. The surprise is no one thought of it.

        3. Jo says:

          “btw I’m a doctor”

          Wow, even scarier.

        4. Alasdair Macdonald says:


          Josef Mengele was a doctor, too.

          I have a friend whose late mother encountered him in Auschwitz. He actually decided she could live because she was still young and fit enough to work, but most of the rest of her family he had murdered.

          You don’t seem to have the same compassion.

  23. James Coleman says:

    Excellent !

  24. William Brown says:

    First class resume’ of our current situation.

  25. Frank Dunne says:

    Well said. The Telegraph reports that Johnson’s illness has ‘empowered’ him and put him ‘at one with the country’. True to form he disappeared and is now shacked up in luxury with the bird at the country’s exense. While there should be sympathy for him he has only himself to blame for exposing himself to the virus and boasting of shaking hands with the infected. If a member of the public acted so cavalier and irresponsible they would be vilified and hassled by the police for ‘killing people’. Johnson is no hero. I challenge anyone to show where Johnson as a public servant has done anything for the good of the people rather than for himself.

  26. Mishker says:

    Consider my wrath on a low-peep until We can turn up the heat.
    Great article.

  27. grafter says:

    Have a read and maybe just maybe a light might shine in your darkness.

  28. cassiecat says:

    Speaking this morning with a friend about _her_ friend who’s been an NHS pneumoccal infection and pulmonary manager for years, and communicating with all sorts of other NHS managers: they’d emptied wards of elective surgeries, relocated hundreds of cancer, COPD, diabetes, dialysis patients so that there would be open beds for Covid patients all over the south of England, and then the Army/civil servants opened up the ‘Nightingale’ temporary hospitals in London (which are currently completely underwhelmed) and elsewhere in 10 days WITHOUT consulting NHS managers, which makes this particular NHS manager think that it’s basically a huge publicity exercise, in order to undermine the NHS, distract the public, and keep the privatisation process going. And I’m not surprised …

  29. Johnny van Igo says:

    Please correct “St George’s Cross” or you’ll be crucified on it. It’s king george not the saint. Otherwise good article other than rebellion. Not a good idea.

  30. Stroller says:

    The UK elite, who have spent the last few years claiming Britain is bigger and better than the rest of Europe, is now well on course to record the highest number of Corona19 fatalities in the continent in what is possibly the worst performance by government anywhere in the world…

    Hubris and nemesis the Greeks called it, or as the saying goes, pride comes before a fall…

    The Scottish govt must take its share of the blame. They could have followed the path of Ireland, say, but put their trust in Boris and the Tories…

    And 8000 people still arriving in Scotland every week according to The Herald… What is the point of the rest of us living in lockdown if about 50,000 untested people have arrived here since lockdown started? It beggars belief…

    1. Stroller says:

      Every one of the problems some say are going to happen when Britain leaves the EU, and the Tories say won’t ever happen, like food shortages, are going to happen when Britain leaves the European Union, for sure…

      The British government’s suicidal Brexit gamble shows the same nonchalance, the same lack of seriousness, the same arrogant refusal to listen to the experts and behave prudently as we are seeing with the Covid 19 crisis, which are the hallmark of the Tories and the British establishment in general.

      The people who run the UK are so privileged, so cocooned from reality, so self-obsessed and arrogant, that it amounts to a kind of blindness or congenital stupidity.

      The UK is run by a clique of private school upper class twits who do not understand the complexities of the highly specialized modern world, and what is much worse, do not understand that they do not understand it…

      The arrogance of these people is literally lethal…

      1. Angus Bearn says:

        Precisely so, Stroller.

        There is a grievous handicap to privilege: the inability to recognise that others may have neither support structures around them nor the wherewithal to use them if they did. Some people will always come last, no matter what. So, punishment is pointless! You cannot exterminate all less fortunate humans, that is taboo even for Tories. Which leaves you with just the one option : be nice! Until the privileged grasp this fundamental, Johnson and his boy soldiers will always be the Nasty Party. It is why, for example, we have the highest per capita prison population in Europe, instead of taking pride in the Best prison system. So uncivilised, so full of disdain, so Tory.

  31. Aidan says:

    Never read such a crock of shit in my life.

      1. Jo says:

        That made me chuckle.

  32. Patrick Thomas says:

    Spot on, except that it’s not St George’s Cross. It’s named after the Queen’s dad; which of course underlines the points you are making.

  33. George C Brown says:

    Excellent article but may I kindly make an observation. Can you offer a quick read section for those people who wish to be informed but have time critical duties to perform. This is what some American periodicals do. Not for dummies but those who see that (THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE) SHORTER.️

  34. Glyn Jones says:

    I am not commenting here now I have been up to my neck in it, its my lunch break and I got to get back to work and back on my head, its a good post Mike lets hope the floor doesn’t come up too fast.

  35. Brian Flynn says:

    Public enquiries cost millions and serve no purpose except to line the pockets of a lot of lawyers, nothing changes. The Grenville enquiry will cost millions and will not bring one person back or hold one person accountable, mud will be flung, it will not stick. Save the cash give it to the NHS and the other ‘essentials’ and then FFS vote for anyone other than the fucking tories.

  36. Vince says:

    Jesus! This article focuses only on the most negative things!
    If you are suffering from depression or anxiety or other heath problems, there are people available to help, even over the phone/internet. Some NHS.

    Let’s not only look at the negatives and have conspiracy theories that we’re all being brainwashed!

    It’s good to draw together when the country is suffering so much.

    Stupid badges, misleading statement from QE 2 billboard (many have died, there’s no heaven), not enough test kits (isn’t the demand!!). I don’t care about her or her birthday or her irrelevant family.

    Yes, I agree, it isn’t being done well at all.

    The R_nought is very low, that’s great news! The lockdown is working. The deaths per day are dropping!
    Mary’s baby survives!
    We can drive to exercise now (small mercy).
    Let’s celebrate what we do have and try hard to push improvements and accountability.

    Wallowing in negativity will not get us out of this mess.
    We should imagine the best possible way forward, and try to achieve that. We will get some of the way.

    1. Angus Bearn says:

      Hi, Vince,
      I don’t know about ‘wallowing in negativity’. Firstly, there is a clear lack of confidence in the (UK) Government messaging. In that context, a vigorous exploration of alternatives by many, many people gives faith that we continue to think for ourselves. I find that refreshing. Secondly, there is a constituency – always will be – that demands reasoned, honest answers. These people will just go on and on asking (they can’t help it) until they understand. Answering is the best policy. Finally, the ‘conquest’ of Covid-19 – the empty hospital wards, the empty Nightingale hospitals – tends to reinforce the view that there was an under- and then an over- reaction. In other words, incompetence. There will be deadlier viruses, for sure. There will be another Chernobyl-style meltdown (maybe). There will be hundreds of millions of migrants around the world with the most sophisticated people-trafficking banditry ever seen. There will be unknown unknowns. It is not wrong to poke the Government very hard and to say (you know the tune!) “You don’t know what you’re doing!”
      When we stop asking basic questions – like, er, is this building-cladding actually fireproof – people die. Long live negativity! Long live the awkward pedants who are never satisfied!

    2. Legerwood says:

      The ‘drive to exercise’ is in England not Scotland . The guidance was recently changed in England but has not been changed in Scotland where it is still ‘walk local’

  37. Mach1 says:

    Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has been the infantilisation of the public health message, and the ditching of a concerted attempt to either interrogate government or the science that undelies current policy. As we move towards the lifting of lockdown, that scientific debate will have to be opened up to public scrutiny. (When this morning the BBC reveals scientists are working on plasma transfusions to treat Covid-19 patients, you have to wonder what institutions taught those who took five months of the outbreak of a new disease to remember how vaccines were first developed as a possible, though high-risk solution.) This infantilism allows government to blithely promise all the PPE is on its way, as if care home workers are kids in the back of the car asking: ‘Is it here yet’ , then equally vow that it will be there soon…
    However, Hancock’s half-hour, when during the daily crisis briefing promises are routinely made then broken to unhilarious effect, is more than a laughing-stock, it also continues unchallenged, even when the hard facts arrive and government apologetics fail to cover up the Cummings-borne spin of moments before.
    This leaves us gazing at a media so manipulated to adhere to a government-led agenda that it has reduced the BBC, for one, to the role of cheer-leader. Critical journalism itself is the outlier, and public ignorance the result.
    I would agree here with the critics of alt-right sources of information that proliferate on the web (you really know you have lost the argument when you are siding with The Donald). But it’s not difficult to find clear and well argued presentations from reliable sources elsewhere. The argument for testing and tracing as THE only way out of lockdown, if lives are to be saved and public health protected, needs to be explored with some of the criticality so desperately missing from the current debate. There are many dissenting voices in the scientific community, particularly among virologists, who have focussed all along on the need to test and trace to control any disease outbreaks. No amount of frankly inspirational pensioners on telly (as opposed to those condemned by official neglect to die in our largely privately run, council funded, care home sector) can detract from the fact that the lockdown is beginning to do a great deal of harm in its own right. That it has also shone a torch on the inequities of public health provision and the scourges of poverty may also propel this most absent of governments to soon, perhaps too soon, reverse its belated lockdown measures in a bid to resuscitate the only patient by whose bedside the Tories would ever linger, capitalism itself

    1. Angus Bearn says:

      Beautifully put, Mach1, beautifully put.

  38. Carole says:

    In not so many words collapse Parliament and get rid of our ‘so called ‘ royalty this is 2020 and we still have complete poverty of thought. Its totally distressing to see all these caring NHS nurses and doctors lose their lives while the nation claps. Ffs its a complete horror film becoming our daily reality its a surreal nightmare.

    1. grafter says:

      Stop reading the Daily Mail or watching BBC or Sky “News”.

      1. Jo says:

        Says the guy who is running all over this thread telling everyone else how to think!

  39. Owain Glyndwr says:

    Writing from Wales, where we are also a proud Celtic nation of peoples and we would also like and strive our own Welsh Independence (but a long way to go). Certainly the Scottish should have second referendum and it is not a matter of England/London allowing it. Independence is to be taken and not begged for. In the 2014 referendum the “No” gained 383,937 more votes, so there is a hell of a long way to go (source I am not surely convinced you will gain 50.01% in indyref2 but try you must ,try, try and succeed.
    Re. Northern Ireland, return it to the rest of Ireland that is proper. Dismantle the UK , a very unfair and unequal union.
    These three proud Celtic Nations could would and should help each other with strong comradeship to achieve their own and each others independence – Celtic Spring.
    Certainly we would also rejoin the EU, we rather would “need” to. Many, many great renewable energy projects can be put together in the great countries of Scotland, Wales, N Ireland.

  40. gray says:

    Once again a great article Mike. Telling it exactly as it is.

  41. Fiona A Walker says:

    This is the most coherent article I have read so far. I am sick to the stomach of the whole “Rule Britannia” brigade. Just like a sullen dame, my wrath is being nursed and won’t stop being so until something is done about these mobsters.

    We, the citizens of Britain need to do something about this. I sometimes feel ashamed to have to be included, not through any choice of my own, as a citizen of a country that will end up being the laughing stock and despised by the rest of the world.

  42. R E says:

    This author would do well to investigate the actual origins of this CCP virus and the cause of it’s rapid spread (globalisation) rather than irrationally slagging off the UK

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