Market Thinking

making sense of the narrative

On the Twelfth day of Christmas

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Leaving the quixotic and authoritarian world of the Hong Kong Zero Covidians ahead of schedule on account of (correctly) anticipating the rational response of most western aircrew to the latest prospect of 21 days in Penny’s bay solitary confinement (see below) which is, quite literally, akin to prison, i.e they all call in sick and the flights are cancelled, I was able to briefly enjoy a relatively ‘normal’ period in the UK.

Why not enjoy a compulsory week or three in Hong Kong’s new tourist attraction, Penny’s Bay?

Penny's Bay Covid-19 quarantine centre on Lantau
A brief moment when the door is open.

No longer, the Zero Covidians are back here too, as lockdown zealot and former advisor to (now sworn enemy of) Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings went onto the attack once again. With direct critiques and ‘anonymously’ leaked footage and photographs explicitly designed at unseating the PM, it is also no surprise to see Cummings’ former boss and ultimate lockdown fanatic Michael Gove appear from the shadows once more as the political face of the Bio-security state to demand ever more restrictions on the British public including, the Freddy Krueger of policies, the Covid Vaccination passport. A conspiracy theorist would see this as all planned in advance, more likely is that many different players see it as an opportunity to advance an existing agenda.

Thus with little actual new clinical information, the latest Omicron variant is being used to force through more ‘boosters’ and also to advance the Bio-Security agenda at full speed, presumably in case this variant proves to be the end of the pandemic (actually quite likely) and the opportunity for control is thus missed. As a result, the UK government PR machine is spinning at full speed and the usual suspects among the apocalyptic ‘scientist’ modelers are, once again, extrapolating disaster, deriving so called scientific outputs from non-scientific inputs. Despite the Omicron variant being first found in – fully masked and Covid Passported – Sturgeonia (perhaps we should more accurately call it the Cop 26 variant?), the Zero Covidians are demanding that England do the same, with this as well as some other extra-ordinary leaps of logic; for example, the existence of Non Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) didn’t prevent this new variant, but we should implement them anyway. The variant may evade the vaccine, so you need to get vaccinated, the vaccine doesn’t prevent you getting or spreading the virus, it just makes you less vulnerable, so unvaccinated people are the only ones spreading it. And so on.

It’s been noted that ‘Omicron’ is an anagram of ‘Moronic’, less commented on is that ‘Delta’ and ‘Omicron’ together are an anagram of ‘Media Control’ .

The reality is that there is a powerful (and growing) lobby of testing firms and of course the drug companies who have every interest in these policies continuing, while the Bio-Security state, of which Michael Gove appears to be the political front man, clearly wish to use the ‘crisis’ as a means to get everyone into the equivalent of the Chinese Social Credit system. For them, the ultimate aim of the crisis is clearly to get the so called Vaccine Passport implemented, despite considerable democratic opposition so far. The media meanwhile, either through AI clickbait algorithms, an old fashioned “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality or the fact that the Governments are now their biggest customers, are generating fresh hysteria around mask wearing, social distancing and the evil of ‘anti-Vaxxers’.

Against this background I have developed a seasonal ‘ear worm’ that needs writing down to get it out of my head.

On the Twelfth day of Christmas my true Gove gave to me:

Twelve Spinners Spinning

Eleven logics leaping

Ten Profs still guessing

Nine Ladies Masking

Eight Mates a-Milking (it)

Seven Spooks a-spying

Six (Media) hounds a-baying (for)

Pfi-Zer’s new Drug!

Four LFTs

Three Vaxx jabs

Day two PCR

And a passport to prove I’m Covid free!

We can joke, but the creeping authoritarianism is real. The concept of Common Law -everything is allowed unless it is forbidden – is being rapidly replaced with Napoleonic Law – everything is forbidden unless it is allowed. As previously noted, the former allows for creativity and innovation, while the latter largely destroys it. After all, if you are liable for the risk, but don’t get the reward, why would you allow the risk in the first place? At the very least then, this is a recipe for European style levels of low growth.

At the worst, we need to recognise that any new system needs to cope with being administered by people with bad intentions, even if it is designed by people with good ones. Only last week Boris Johnson discussed removing middle class people’s passports and driving licenses for breaking the law (in this case on drugs), which is an obvious clue as to the direction of travel for the authoritarian minded. Once your Covid Passport is in place, already relabeled a “Green Pass’ in technocratic Italy, then the authorities not only have all your personal information in one place, including your DNA, they also have the means to ‘switch off’ your access to public life. No longer just for ‘health’ reasons, but if you fail to comply as a citizen. You live at their dispensation. The, constantly promoted, online harms bill designed to remove anonymity on the internet (again with some good intentions) is a clear part of this too. It’s not difficult to see how your access to the internet could also be based around an identifier on your Green Pass, say the wrong thing and you will be shut down, just like Twitter and YouTube are already doing. Free speech is at serious risk – think how easy it would have been to shut down Julian Assange before the event.

Obviously some are already planning that your travel could be limited to a Carbon Credit allowance, (which some might think a good thing) but presumably you could also be blocked from travelling to protest. Central Bank Digital Currencies are also coming and likely that they will be required for all interactions with government, including ‘helicopter money’ as already practiced on a small scale in Hong Kong. As previously discussed, Hong Kong residents got a HK$5000 digital credit to help with Covid, that could not be saved and only spent within Hong Kong. The temptation to make social benefits follow this rule is obvious, as is the temptation in certain quarters to ensure that the money is spent ‘properly’, i.e on what those in charge deem ‘suitable’. The push to get rid of cash payments is clearly part of this agenda and the “Green Pass” would be the control mechanism.

None of this is guaranteed to happen, we don’t need to end up in the Hunger Games, but the direction of policy is troubling.

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One Reply to “On the Twelfth day of Christmas”

  • I fully agree. A Hunger Games or Snowpiercer world are good analogies for the reality of where this would lead. Tyranny always starts with good intentions but is based on the obvious conceit that one knows what is good for other people.

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