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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...

 

 
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GIRL, 13, ALREADY HAS COUGH

 
The most pathetic headline for a long time was (need you ask?) in the Daily Mail this week: "Panic at school as girl aged 12 becomes latest swine flu victim".
 
The report told how a girl of 12 has become the latest and youngest Briton to be diagnosed with deadly swine flu. Hundreds of her "frightened" school friends were hurriedly innoculated with anti-viral drugs yesterday after confirmation that she had tested positive.
 
News that she has contracted the disease "caused panic" among pupils and parents at Paignton Community and Sports College, who said they did not know about the case until it was announced in the Commons by Gordon Brown yesterday lunchtime. "Anxious parents" rushed to the 2,000-pupil school - which will now be closed until May 11 - to find their children.
 
The report featured a photo of another girl, Amy Hutton-Hands, who already has a cough. Her mother said "the whole thing is a nightmare".
 
Charlotte Cleverdon, 11, was in her class when a teacher came in to tell pupils what was happening. 'Everyone started crying and holding their noses,' she said. 'I know the girl well. She's nice and I'm worried about her.' Another parents said 'It is frightening. Devastating and very scary. My daughter is very upset and we are off to the doctors to get her checked out.' Her daughter said 'We were told one student has swine flu. I don't want to get it. Lots of children were crying.'
 
Strangely, Daily Mail readers were not entirely sympathetic with the panicking Devon parents. "It's the Aporkalypse" wrote H.Mann of London, and Chris from Cheltenham said "We're all going to die. Again."
 
I suppose it's worth saying that the one child who is affected is said to be responding well to treatment and wasn't in school all week, anyway. Still, why let inconvenient truth stand in the way of a nice bit of hysteria?
 
Yesterday the BBC displayed its usual fine sense of intelligent balance when yesterday evening's Look East programme devoted an entire news item to a woman from Essex who hasn't got swine flu. Oddly they didn't refer to the fact that roughly 60 million other Britons haven't got it either.
 
Journalist James Delingpole of the Telegraph got it about right, we think:
 

 
Journalist dies, oinking horribly, after failing to take Swine Flu seriously
Yeah, well I suppose there's always the risk but that's just the kind of crazy, devil-may-care guy I am. So here's my prediction: I'm not going to die of swine flu, you're not going to die of swine flu, none of your friends is going to die of swine flu, none of your Mexican pen pals is going to die of swine flu. Not even if we throw caution to the wind and refuse to wear one of those blue masks the World Health Organisation now seems to consider essential if we're not all to keel over going "Soweee. Soweee. Razorback. Oink. Aaagh!"
 
Obviously I don't wish to be callous about the estimated 80 Mexicans who have died of the pneumonia and respiratory illness associated with the disease so far. But 80 deaths in a country where around 4 million people die every year (mostly of less newsworthy things like heart disease, cancer, road accidents and bloody drug war shootouts) hardly constitutes the next Great Plague. So why do bodies like the World Health Organisation and functionaries like the Government's Chief Medical Advisor insist on talking the disease up as if it is?
 
Because this is what their government paymasters want them to do. As H.L.Mencken put it: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
 
Can you imagine the secret delight with which this swine flu threat is being greeted by embattled, increasingly unpopular leaders like Gordon Brown and Barack Obama? Besides distracting from their economic ineptitude, it enables them to pose as nurturing, caring father-figures-cum-men-of-action who are doing everything in their power to protect the health of their beloved people from this sinister viral threat.
 
Our job, meanwhile, is to be grateful and stump up. This health scare alone is going to cost us at least 500 million in anti-retroviral drugs which the government has been stockpiling, bought up from drug companies presumably at emergency rates, to cope with the imaginary menace.
 
This is the great nonsense about the much vaunted precautionary principle. It encourages "experts" to dream up the most extravagant worst case scenarios: 100 months left to save the planet from global warming; 500,000 Britons to die of vCJD; 150 million to die of bird flu; computers to be brought to a stand still by the Millennium Bug. But it never holds them to account when they get it wrong.
 
Imagine if all those computer experts had been held liable for the cost estimated between $300 billion and $600 billion of combating the non-existent Millennium Bug. Imagine if the scientists and government ministers who talked up BSE had been stung for the 7 billion their scare eventually cost the UK economy. Imagine if, in 50 or 100 years time the descendants of Al Gore, Dr James Hansen and Sir David King were forced to compensate the global economy for all their misleading, ruinously expensive predictions about climate change.
 
"And pigs might fly," you might say - if it weren't in such appalling taste.

 

 
Right on, James. We reserve a certain amount of contempt, though, for the silly parents in Paignton who were so pleased to roll over with their legs in the air when approached by reporters in search of a juicy headline. Still, to be fair I dare say there were quite a few who just said "Yes, that's right, I'm taking my children home so they can have yet another few days off school getting under my feet and lolling in front of the telly. Now, will you get out of my face, you stupid little man?" but they didn't get in the papers.
 
We really are turning into a nation of wimps, aren't we? The blame has to be shared between the media who over-react to every tiny thing in their desperation for attention, the place-serving government ministers and officials who spend their entire time watching their backs and making sure no one can accuse them of ignoring a potential problem - and a populace who are always ready to take what they are told at face value and wallow in juicy victimhood so everyone will feel sorry for them.
 
Luckily we're not all like that. Some years ago a large party of local schoolchildren and teachers were on a trip to France. One contingent of them were on a coach about half an hour from their hotel near Paris when Concorde crashed into it. The press swarmed round, but soon left them alone when they found that there were no photos of distraught children in tears to be had, because the kids were totally unfazed - they hadn't seen the crash, they'd never been to that hotel before, they didn't know any of the people who were killed, and all they knew was that it took a bit longer to get to another hotel instead.
 
So the press turned their attention to the children's parents waiting at home for news. Unfortunately for them, this was Suffolk where folk are pretty phlegmatic. The best quote any newspaperman was able to get out of them was "Oh yes, we know all about it. No, we're not worried at all. Someone from the County Council phoned to say they were all safe. Would you like a cup of tea?"
 

 
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