The Roots of the New Normal

For some, the odious new normal is yet another malign child of the pandemic. It is the dustpan where the armies of the new normal faithful are swept into obedience, each faithful soldier but a speck of dust swirling in the maelstrom, carried along by the madness of crowds. Each one wears the badge of compliance, a mask: some gaily embroidered and tightly fitted, like a wired brassiere, others black, as if to signal ask not for whom the bell tolls, and yet more the ragged remains of a soiled and stained surgical mask, left dangling from ear or wrist. At the other end of town, covid marshals scan smart phones as visitors to the exhibition centre show their digital covid papers to confirm a recent negative lateral flow test. Never mind the negative test result is meaningless and pointless, because the test has too low a sensitivity to be useful as an enabling test, the exhibition visitors comply, because it is part of the new normal, as is the hand sanitizer semaphore as they go in and out of the store next door. The new normal is a never ending stream of badges, totems, rituals and voodoo that rolls past day in day out, with never an end in sight.              

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Muppetry, n. the fanatical desire to promote and implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol as the solution to the world’s alcohol problems.

There has been a rise in muppetry in the UK in recent years. Two of our nations have introduced minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol, first Scotland, in 2018, and then Wales, in 2020. All eyes are on the data, to see whether muppetry works. The muppets of course want to show that it does, while the more sceptical, including Dr No, are inclined to be, well, more sceptical. Almost a decade ago, when muppetry was all the rage, but had yet to be introduced, Dr No published a number of posts pointing out that the underlying dogma and predictions — chiefly a dodgy marriage between Geoffrey Rose’s sick individuals and sick populations theory and some elastic economics, all veiled in a dense web of creative numerology — were about as robust as a wet paper bag. And so it seems: alcohol related deaths have been on an upward trend over the last few years in Scotland, with 2020 having the highest age standardised morality since 2011. Yet in the face of this hard evidence of a worsening position, we have muppets publishing a paper telling us that muppetry works.

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Further proof, were further proof needed, that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is Not Up To Scratch (NUTS) can be found on its website in documents that are completely at odds with each other. On the one hand, one corps of the health fascists wants governments to ban — without a shred of evidence — all alcohol for all women of childbearing age, a preposterous example of coercive healthism so extreme that could easily fill a post of its own. On the other hand, another corps of the health fascists breezily endorses — no need to worry about that side effect nonsense round here — covid mRNA vaccines for all but all women of childbearing age, despite animal studies showing that the vaccine is very likely (we can’t yet say certainly, as we shall see presently) preferentially concentrated in the ovaries. One blasted precautionary principle so large it can be seen from space, another blasted precautionary principle so small not even an electron microscope could detect it. Truly, the WHO is NUTS.

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