A Christmas Murder Mystery
December 22, 2020
Who killed Old Normal?
The scene is a grand country house where the owner, Lord Normal, has been found dead in the library. Foul play is suspected and, true to form for Murder Mysteries, our Detective has assembled the list of subjects in the library to begin his enquiries. Naturally, they are all masked, seated 2 metres apart and the windows are wide open despite the winter chill. There is no fire in the grate obviously – because of Global Warming.
It is Christmas 2020 and the Lord of the Manor has been found dead in the Library, but who killed ‘Old Normal’? And with what? Was he poisoned by the mysterious seductress Miss Scarlet (China)? Or perhaps a dagger in the ribs from the loudmouth, pompous, blustering bigot Colonel Mustard (the Media)? Or perhaps he was strangled by the seemingly pious but in reality vain and greedy Reverend Green (Academic scientists)? It seems certain that his first wife, the preening and self important Mrs Peacock (The political establishment) was there at the death, but did she kill him, or just fail to save him? Did she smother him deliberately or accidentally? And what of her brother, Mr Brown (the Fabian Socialist/crony capitalist nexus)? Did he see a chance to take on the education of the heir, young New Normal and thus bludgeon the Old Normal with the lead pipe of lockdown?
Finally, what of the two sinister characters in the background, the wealthy and powerful Professor Plum (the Medical Industrial Complex) and the quietly efficient and all knowing cook, Mrs White (the security services)? Both had the oldest of motives to see off Old Normal – essentially money and power. A faked suicide with the revolver perhaps? Or a simple blow to the temple of the bottom up gig economy of Old Normal with the top down authoritarian Candlestick of Crony Capitalism?
We know that the real drama in Murder Mysteries is not so much the original crimes as those committed in covering it up and the fate of the heir to the title, young New Normal. Will they survive? Read on.
To consider our suspects,
Miss Scarlet (China)
Miss Scarlet sits a distance from the others, dressed in a real fur coat (great value thanks to the latest mass slaughter of mink in Denmark) and with her own portable paraffin heater. A Femme Fatale, who seduced many but now finds her rejected suitors vengeful, she is seen as the ‘obvious’ suspect, particularly by Colonel Mustard and Mrs Peacock, because she was the one who discovered the crime and was apparently the last person to see the victim alive. But was she?
As Mark Twain observed, “the thing that kills you is not what you don’t know, but the thing that you know for certain to be true that turns out not to be”. And the thing that we all ‘know’ is that this China Virus’ or ‘Wuhan Flu’ came from China. After all the media constantly tell us this and the US politicians – particularly Trump and Pompeo – the spurned suitors now turned vengeful – have lost no opportunity to tell us it is a problem caused by the Chinese Communist Party – with constant use of the trigger word ‘Communist’. However, if we take stock of the things we have learned over the last year, we remember that there have been increasing reports from wastewater and frozen blood samples showing that Covid was actually circulating outside of China in October and November 2019 and possibly much earlier. In particular, there are suggestions that mystery respiratory deaths were occurring in the US as early as June or July. 2019 An important paper published last May by a Cambridge geneticist, but since largely ‘forgotten’ pointed out that there were three strains of the virus, which he labelled A, B and C, with A being the one closest to the type of SARS- Cov-2 found in bats. The key conclusion was that the A strain was almost non existent in China; China has the B strain, two mutations from A, so it couldn’t have started there. Even more interesting, the A variant was only found in patients from Australia and the US. There were only five cases detected in Wuhan and all were US nationals. Were it not for the propaganda, it would be ‘reasonable’ to assume that the virus originated in the US and spread to Asia and Europe as type B, but mutated in Italy to type C. In fact, Germany’s top virologist has claimed that 99% of the Covid cases can be traced back to the Italian variant. (for some curious reason the link only works if you open it in an incognito window)
This is not to ‘excuse China’, rather to suggest Miss Scarlet may have a decent alibi and to remind ourselves of the evidence that was presented at the time by Japan and Taiwan (clearly no friends of China) but which was vehemently denied by the US, who also continues to refuse to co-operate in any pan-national investigation. In particular the US inverted suggestions that the Wuhan military games in October was a potential transmission point for the virus into China into ‘baseless’ claims that somehow the US military had deliberately spread the virus. In fact, what is more likely is that following the games – wherever the virus actually came from, be it the US, Australia or Europe – a number of US military personal were hospitalised for a strange and unidentified illness and that they and other troops from all round the world then returned home with the virus. As the French defense ministry suggested back in May, with over 9000 participants from 110 different states it is likely that any infected troops could spread the virus rapidly around the world. As we know from the Spanish Flu, which was spread by the US military at the end of WW1, troop rotation and deployment is an obvious route for rapid global transmission. Indeed with over 300 athletes returning to 250 bases in 25 different states in the US it is perhaps no coincidence that infections subsequently occurred at a minimum of 63 US military facilities.
So, in terms of means, motive and opportunity, what did Miss Scarlet have to gain? Well in terms of motivation, she had no need to kill off Old Normal as she was doing very well out of him (it) over the last 10 years. Nor would the supposed means of achieving it – infecting herself in order to somehow transmit it to the rest of the world in the hope that they would bizzarely chose to close down their economies in panic make a lot of sense. Perhaps most importantly, it’s not the virus that has caused the real problem, it’s the official response to it. All previous protocols have been ignored and the healthy have been locked down to protect the sick, causing immense collateral damage. In short, as far as the death of Old Normal is concerned, Miss Scarlet looks more like a red herring than a red menace.
Colonel Mustard (The Media)
Colonel Mustard sits between Mrs Peacock and Mrs White and alternatively bullies and blusters with very little evidence of any knowledge of what he is talking about. He nevertheless has the loudest voice and is forever demanding that “something must be done”.
It is clear right from the start that the media have sought to profit from the situation in terms of the old adage “if it bleeds, it leads” and the traditional metrics of chasing circulation have been replaced with chasing ‘clicks’. Either by simple counting, or by using more sophisticated AI, the media have increasingly polarised the debate on most things, but in terms of Covid have been almost entirely on the side of the ‘official narrative’ coming from Mrs Peacock. Partly this makes sense, after all the government are now the major source of advertising revenue for traditional media – especially as it is happy to pay full rack rate. Secondly, like Colonel Mustard, much of the media is no longer journalism as we might know it, but little more than copy pasting of corporate and government press releases and Mrs Peacock, aided and abetted by the Reverend Green and Professor Plum have been keeping them well supplied with narrative.
The constant press focus on bad news – even when good was available – also suggests a degree of direction – probably from Mrs Peacock, now desperate to avoid blame for her previous ineptitude. As the daily death rate fell, albeit it was never put into context, focus switched to ‘cases’ and ‘infections’ when they were in fact neither. They were positive test results from the PCR test which was known to have a meaningful false positive rate, indeed according to many experts (not consulted by Mrs Peacock obviously) up to 90% of positive tests are likely to be false positives using this method (which was never supposed to be a diagnostic test in any event). A massive ramp up in total tests was never conceded as a reason for ‘record cases’, even though the UK is routinely conducting 50x as many tests now as it did at the peak of the virus in April. Indeed in terms of tests per 1000 people, the UK is now at 683, the second highest after Denmark and compared with less than 3 per 1000 back in early April. Meanwhile good news such as a sharp drop in the fatality rate within ICU (helped by better treatment protocols) was never celebrated. Uncritical championing of the official narrative and relentless pronouncements on a second wave to keep the project on course until year end and the arrival of Professor Plum’s vaccines, suggest that Colonel Mustard was a willing, but largely ignorant party to the crime.
As such, it is difficult to see how Colonel Mustard can be seen to be directly culpable. Perhaps what Lenin would describe as ‘a useful idiot’ he has been a tool for others to advance their own agendas and thus at best might be thought of as an accomplice after the fact.
The Reverend Green (The Academic Scientific advisors)
Reverend Green presents himself as wise and virtuous but in reality is vain, pompous and greedy. He has long been in the pocket of Professor Plum and his associates and enjoys the influence he appears to have over Mrs Peacock – even if he is largely being influenced himself (albeit unwittingly) by Professor Plum and of course by Mrs White. Colonel Mustard is a big fan of the Reverend, whose ego is stroked by his attentions, while the Reverend in turn uses the Colonel to advance his own agendas – as well as the agendas of those in turn influencing him.
The scientific advisors of the UK SAGE committee, along with the World Health Organisation are widely presented by the media as experts, although as (real expert) former head of virology at Pfizer Dr Mike Yeadon has pointed out, most of them are mathematicians and modelers, with almost no expertise in virology and obviously no understanding of economics or the real world. In fact there are two key components of SAGE – the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling otherwise known as SPI-M who are the modelers, such as Neil Ferguson of Imperial Collage – he of the wildly exaggerated ‘projections’ – while the second are the all together more efficient (and sinister) behavioural group, known as the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours, or SPI-B- the propaganda arm of the project, using advanced behavioural techniques to control and manipulate the public response. They also work, via the media, to control the whole narrative around the virus, using known techniques to discredit criticism borrowed from the Global Warming campaigns.
The choice of ‘expert’ seemed almost designed to produce a certain outcome – policy based evidence making as it is sometimes known. Imperial College and Professor Ferguson were already well known as catastophists, whose wildly exaggerated claims for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Mad Cow disease (CJD) and Swine Flu had led to huge government over-reactions in the past and yet were preferred over more cautious advisors, most of whom were actually virologists and epidemiologists rather than simply mathematicians attributing huge certainty to very uncertain inputs.
However, rather like Colonel Mustard, it is difficult to see the Reverend Green as the true killer. Their theatrical headline grabbing behaviour and their exaggerated claims certainly contributed to the initial mistakes, but it is the political class that are accountable for what was done with that message, however flawed.
Mrs Peacock (The Political Class)
Preening and self important, the rather grand Mrs Peacock was the first wife of Lord Normal and theoretically in charge of the heir, young New Normal. She sits between Colonel Mustard and the Reverend Green, while keeping a steely eye on Mrs White, the cook who seemingly knows everything about everyone and Miss Scarlett of whom she is deeply jealous. Seemingly confident, in truth she is panicking as she has no idea what is really going on.
The political class behaved in two broad ways. First, they realised that Old Normal was in trouble, but so used were they to the system self-correcting that they had no idea what to do next. Like Dad’s Army or a superficially experienced but shallow management board of a major corporation they initially decided to simply copy what everyone else was doing. In Europe this meant following France, which was in fact trying to emulate China. It is ironic, that after a year of escalating criticism of ‘Authoritarian China’, at the first opportunity so many western governments rushed to emulate its policies of lockdown and surveillance. The second thing they did was to call in ‘the experts’ and try and shift the narrative blame away from themselves for shutting down economies on the basis of hysterical over-reaction to projected figures from Reverend Green that have consistently proven to be over-stated by a factor of 10x. In this they enlisted the help of Colonel Mustard (not least to shut down valid criticisms of Neil Ferguson et al, , Nobel Prize winning scientist Michael Levitt was subsequently banned from Twitter) and also found themselves following instructions from Mrs White, who had several agendas at work, including the removal and suppression of populism, in particular the overthrow of Donald Trump and the establishment of something approaching a Security State.
Latterly, they have moved from the bluff, bluster and incompetence of Dad’s Army to what might perhaps be known as the full Melchett, Like First World War Generals they keep applying the same, failed, lockdown strategies, insistent that it just needs to be done properly this time. All the while safely away from the front line of job losses and lack of civil liberties themselves.
So was Mrs Peacock there at the death of Old Normal? Almost certainly, although it is difficult to tell whether she smothered him in regulations and restrictions or simply failed to revive him when the opportunity arose in the summer. Perhaps, she saw a better future with the heir, young New Normal? Thinking perhaps that the youngster could be better controlled than the old man, it is highly likely that she took a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) view of events. More culpable homicide than first degree murder perhaps?
Mr Brown* (Fabian Socialists)
*An original Cluedo character, although never used. Until now. Local Councilor Mr Brown is the younger brother of Mrs Peacock and was known to dislike Lord Normal intensely and, perhaps like Mrs Peacock, believes that that he has the prospect of ‘regency’ over New Normal, shaping them in his image. He considers himself wise and virtuous, but in reality is neither. A temperance fanatic and in thrall to the Reverend Green, the former Deputy Headmaster pretends to be ‘thinking of the children’ but in reality dislikes young people intensely.
There is a second strand of opportunists within the Political Class that we might refer to as the nexus of Crony Capitalists and Fabian Socialists. They have taken the opportunity to try and advance a ‘New Normal’ as heir to Old Normal and thus might be considered a prime suspect in his demise. Like Mrs White, they are well organised and have clear agendas, part of which is on display as the “Great Reset’ being advanced by Klaus Schwab and the ‘Men of Davos’. This focus on redistribution of wealth rather than wealth generation was already aiming to piggy back off the global warming/climate change agenda under the auspices of Agenda 2030 and the UN Sustainability Goals. For all that Klaus Schwab may resemble a cartoon Bond Villain (minus the cat), big business is also fully onboard with the idea of a global government setting ‘the rules’ in its favour. As is Wall Street with the prospects of (more) enrichment from projects such as carbon credits trading. The biggest threat to this New Normal was the appearance under Old Normal of the bottom up driven ‘gig economy’ and the myriad of small and medium size businesses using technology to access consumers directly. As such this is another reason to suggest that they are a prime suspect.
In addition to the Crony Capitalist agenda of self enrichment, the Fabian Socialists see an agenda of ‘self improvement’. The Green agenda, along with much of the sustainability plans is clearly part of this (fuelled, naturally, by lots of ‘research’ from Reverend Green), but so too is a streak of puritanism. Based on some very flimsy research by the University of Hong Kong that late night drinking made people less careful about social distancing, the Fabian Socialists took the opportunity to close down much of the hospitality industry, despite a lack of any evidence that it contributed anything to the ‘problem’. Indeed, closing down bars seems to have become almost the main focus of Mrs Peacock’s actions of late.
So rather like his sister, Mr Brown has certainly helped to hasten the death of Old Normal. Insistence on the blunt instrument of lockdowns has done more damage to the healthy than the sick and crushed the private sector economy, albeit this would not be something he would be unhappy to see happen, allowing him to reset the world in his image. His claimed influence over new Normal makes him a prime suspect, albeit setting up for a big family feud. However, it still feels like both siblings are simply following an agenda set by others.
Professor Plum (The Medical Industrial Complex)
Professor Plum sits apart from the others, frequently checking his digital media. He is rich and influential and looks down on almost all other present – although he is slightly in awe of Miss Scarlet.
The Medical Industrial Complex clearly had motive in the manner of the response to the virus and it is a monetary one. With over $1.2trn in sales, the pharmaceutical industry is dominated by four countries – the US, UK, Switzerland and France and is heavily embedded into the establishment in all these countries. They work on the notion that (constant) medication is better than cure and are always looking for new drugs that can be patented and are thus very expensive, rather than allowing old, cheap non patent medicines. They also of course love the idea of regular vaccines, especially if mandated (and largely paid for) by central government. They also dominate the research and scientific publication ‘industry’ and essentially lobby and influence almost everything that passes for healthcare. They truly are the ‘Merchants of Health’.
In France, it was noted, especially by Marseille Doctor Didier Raoult, that the authorities moved very quickly to restrict the use of the anti malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine, which he claims is highly effective in early treatment of Covid when used in combination with azithromycin (a bacterial antibiotic). First they banned its availability over the counter, then they tried to suppress prescriptions of it, finally they banned its use, due to claimed side effects – albeit these were known for over 50 years. Currently he is being tried in court by the industry. Obviously as an old, off patent drug that cost just a few Euros, this was a serious threat to the Medical Industrial Complex in the form of companies like Gilead, hoping to sell Remdesivir, its Ebola drug (at over 2000 Euros a time).
The media, in the form of Colonel Mustard were quick to parrot the line that Hydroxychloroquine was ‘controversial’ and ‘unproven’, naturally seeking to link President Trump’s support for it to a ‘right wing conspiracy’ as if it was trying to promote the hugely profitable drug rather than the cheap one. Meanwhile, in the UK, it seemed much more about vaccine than therapy, indeed it was noted that the original ‘therapy’ appeared to behave as something of a live ‘trial’, with the UK as seemingly the control group as initially nothing was given other than paracetamol and oxygen. The US meanwhile developed more complex protocols involving (yes) Hydroxychloroquine, anti-coagulants and cortico-steroids.
The MIC also had motivation to create the so-called second wave in the late summer/early autumn, both from the testing aspect (very profitable) and the need to keep the fear factor high ahead of the announcement of vaccines. In fact, the vaccines are better thought of as prophylactic therapy rather than a traditional vaccine. Their aim is not to prevent the spread of the disease but to lower its lethality. As such, they offer a slightly different route out of the situation we find ourselves in, in that they offer a way of ‘protecting the vulnerable’ by reducing the Infection Fatality rate to levels below seasonal flu and thus allowing ‘normal’ flu protocols to re-establish.
Ironically the latest moves by the UK government to shut down the capital city were blamed on a fast spreading variant on the virus which doesn’t appear to be more dangerous, so large numbers of people become infected and thus develop immunity without really getting very ill. Much like a traditional vaccine then.
So Professor Plum certainly looks culpable in encouraging the behaviours from Mrs Peacock and Mr Brown and ultimately is in a position to see that he prospers whichever relative gets to take over the guardianship of young New Normal. Not directly involved perhaps, but more of a Moriarty like figure.
Mrs White (The deep State/security services)
Tirelessly working in the background for many years, Mrs White knows everything that goes on in the big house. Moreover, as the only truly organised person – apart perhaps from Professor Plum – she is relied upon heavily by Mrs Peacock and has great influence over both Colonel Mustard and the Reverend Green. Unlike the others, she has never fallen for Miss Scarlet’s charms and dislikes her intensely. Indeed, it is probably her, via Colonel Mustard, who is behind much of the critical stories circulating about Miss Scarlet.
If Professor Plum is Moriarty, then Mrs White more closely resembles Mycroft Holmes. It was Rahm Emanuel, current Mayor of Chicago and President Obama’s Chief of Staff who famously updated the old Machiavellian doctrine of ‘not letting a good crisis go to waste’ in a public statement, but it has been the modus operandi of the so called ‘deep state’ for centuries. And this crisis is no different. In the UK, the security services moved quickly to sit within Downing street as ‘advisors’, using the new, multi billion pound track and trace systems combined with their existing surveillance technology to help ‘manage the crisis’. The Covid response is being managed by the Joint BioSecurity Centre, run by the Mycrofts at MI6, while both the new head of the Home Office and the new head of the Cabinet Office might best be described as ‘spooks’. They will doubtless be excited by the fact that over 40 million PCR tests have already been conducted, not so much for the fact that they have high false positive rate that allows the ‘crisis’ to be managed by means of controlling testing levels, but for the fact that it is basically a DNA test. Technically these can not be retained unless there is a criminal offence, but almost certainly they will be being cross checked against existing unsolved crimes (this is already a business in the US) and many will doubtless be held on file under some ‘security’ mandate.
They will also be excited about the prospect of a Covid Passport. While this is apparently not going to be actually compulsory, we can already see the way we are being steered towards it being almost essential in order to live anything close to a normal life. A Covid test, probably linked to some form of vaccine or immunity certificate is going to be required to travel, go to shops, restaurants. Theatres, concerts, sporting events etc. Probably also work and schools. Shortly, these will become digital in nature and linked to some form of the track and trace app meaning that the population can be monitored at all times ‘for your own security’. Combined with AI and facial recognition software and you have the essence of a new surveillance state. The risk then of course is that, as in China, this becomes linked to a Social Credit system, whereby in addition to the ‘health’ tests, compliance with the official narrative is also necessary to participate in society (even if it isn’t quite what the west thinks it is.) If New Normal is under the control of Mrs White, that makes for a key motivation for the death of Old Normal.
Mrs White also had a motivation in the US to remove Donald Trump, as the four-year battle with what he referred to as ‘the deep state’ has proved. The delaying of announcements by Professor Plum on vaccines until the week after the Election also shows a revealed preference for political candidates. Maintaining the threat of a virus as well as the economic damage caused by the official response to it was a major factor, if not the only factor, in the Democratic Party campaign to remove him. Here Colonel Mustard – in thrall to both Mrs Peacock and Mrs White – also played a major role.
In politics they always say that it’s not the crime, it’s the cover up and in corporate fraud it is often a relatively ‘small’ initial crime such as padding sales to inflate an IPO price that leads to a cycle of fraud and fabrication as management tries to cover up its original fraud. So it has been with the death of Old Normal.
The original discovery by Miss Scarlet of Covid in December/January looks to have been a Red Herring as it looks like the sickness was already abroad much earlier, but it was the over-reaction by Mrs Peacock that turned the illness fatal and thus ultimately the death of Old Normal has to be laid at the hands of the Political class in general – first the shallow and superficial corporatists who were clearly out of their depth at the beginning, but then subsequently by Mr Brown and the idealogues who pushed their own, democratically unpopular agendas of socialism and temperance.
But in many senses they had accomplices or even manipulators who were just as guilty, in Professor Plum and Mrs White, seeking respectively money and power. Both used others – Professor Plum used the Reverend Green with his exaggerated predictions of horror to advance huge spending in his direction, aided by a compliant Colonel Mustard, while Mrs White used both the behavioral science of Reverend Green and the megaphone of Colonel Mustard to advance her own power and influence and to rid herself of troublesome populism.
The conclusion of our detective is, of course, that like that most eminent of Murder Mysteries, Murder on the Orient Express, they all conspired to do it. We just have to hope that the bottom up wishes of the people overcome the top down ambitions of our Cluedo suspects to enable a better, New Normal to emerge than the one they have in mind for us all.