I am a free, I am not man, a number

Social media was consumed on Saturday by the anti-lockdown protests, or as they are known hereabouts, the Walking Soon to Be Dead. Allegedly organised by far right organisations, the protests attracted people who are convinced that the virus is a hoax, that it’s all being caused by 5G, and assorted climate change deniers and Brextremists. Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers was amongst those arrested in London. Piers doesn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change, supports a no-deal Brexit, and believes just about every conspiracy theory that’s going. Which just goes to prove that Piers Morgan isn’t the most embarrassing end of the Piers show.

Although it wasn’t the protests themselves which caught people’s attention, or even Piers Corbyn. The break out star of the day – if you can call someone a breakout star when they end up in handcuffs that is – was the guy in Hyde Park who got arrested after protesting the lockdown while carrying a homemade placard which appeared to read I AM A FREE I AM NOT MAN A NUMBER. This wasn’t just a shit bit of haiku on a stick, or a protest led by Yoda, it was because he’d not bothered to work out his font size, spacing, and the size of his piece of cardboard properly. This is possibly a metaphor about not thinking things through first before you commit. So exactly like the British Government then. Boris Johnson is going to take it as the new British Government slogan for dealing with the coronavirus crisis as it’s less confusing than the one they adopted last week.

Now I’m not sure about you, but if you’re defeated by a simple piece of cardboard and haven’t quite sussed how to use a ruler, it may perhaps be wise to concede that epidemiology is not going to be your strong suit either. He just picked up a sharpie and didn’t look back, or forward for that matter. Exactly like Donald Trump. The irony is that his Twitter handle is probably something like @randomname72091919336. Anyway, his day ended pretty badly because he got arrested, so now he’s not free and he’s also a number. If he’d asked Priti Patel she’d have told him his number is three hundred thousand and thirty four, nine hundred and seventy four thousand.

It’s easy to laugh at stupid in far away places, but we have our own home grown version of it itoo. Meanwhile in Scotland, we had our very own incarnation of stupid at the demonstration against the lockdown held on Glasgow Green. Well, I say demonstration. It was three guys complaining that they can’t get out the house even though they look like the kind of people who never get out the house anyway. One of them was quite insistent that Scotland listen to his message that Irn Bru is a cure for the virus, which is a bit of a leap from its traditional role as a hangover cure. His belief that the Bru could cure coronvirus is perhaps because he knew that the recipe for the Bru contains trace amounts of quinine, which as well as a flavouring agent is also an anti-malaria medicine. So it’s medicine really, and not just skoosh.

According to an online compendium of medicines, quinine is no longer recommended as a treatment for malaria as there are modern drugs with fewer side effects, however the recommended dosage for treating malaria is 600 mg three times a day for seven days. When used as a drink flavouring, quinine is restricted to a maximum dosage of 100 ​mg per litre, which means that if you wanted to use Irn Bru as a treatment for malaria you’d have to drink at least 18 cans of bru every eight hours for seven days, a total of 378 cans in a week. It might help your malaria, but it would probably leave you with diabetes, a very dodgy bladder, and quite possibly a distinctly orange tinge.

But Irn Bru still wouldn’t do much to help you surive Covid-19. The anti-malaria drug that Donald Trump was touting as a possible cure for the virus was chloroquine, a totally different drug. It would be a bit like getting into some random stranger’s car and demanding to be taken somewhere because it’s a vehicle with four wheels and a steering wheel just like a taxi. In any event, studies have shown that chloroquine doesn’t work as a treatment for Covid-19. Patients who were given it were more likely to die than patients who weren’t treated with it.

Many of the protesters were like those who stood outside Capitol buildings in state capitols in the USA recently, protesting about their own right to have a tattoo, a haircut, or live their lives as they see fit, but without considering for a second the impact that their behaviour might have on other people. Sure fine, knock yourself out if you have no fear of the virus and you insist on going about your life as normal. But if you get infected you’ll only infect other people – and you’ll infect them before you start to show symptoms. Those people might have compromised immune systems or be members of high risk groups. You have the right to risk your own life, but not to put other people at risk. It’s a bit like the hoary old example from undergraduate philosophy classes. You have the right to free speech, but you don’t have the right to scream FIRE! at the top of your voice in a crowded cinema if there’s no fire.

The tragedy for all of us however is that the protesters who took to the streets in anger at a government which is lying to us and treating us like children were in fact quite right to be angry. It’s just that the anger of the lockdown protesters was misplaced. We should all be angry at a British Government whose arrogance and complacency has led to the UK having the highest death toll in Europe. We should all be angry at a British Government whose lack of interest preparing for this pandemic has led the UK to the worst of both worlds, having a high death toll, a virus which is widespread in the community, and a lockdown which may have to last in some form for weeks or months longer. We should all be angry at a Government which abandoned testing, tracing, and isolation and which is now way behind. The British Government is lying, mendacious, and treats us all like children. We are just numbers as far as it is concerned. And once this crisis has passed, the weight of our numbers is going to change Scotland for the better.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…

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46 thoughts on “I am a free, I am not man, a number

  1. Pingback: I am a free, I am not man, a number | speymouth

  2. I suppose this “mass rebellion against SNP tyranny” on Glasgow Green yesterday will now feature highly on EBC Northern Outpost programmes later today…. (sigh…)

    • They forgot to say that just as businesses cannot function without a workforce they cannot succeed without customers.

      There has been little if any indication that businesses particularly in the retail and in the restaurant/cafe/take-away sector have taken on board, or made any plans for, the requirements for enhanced hygiene protocols.

      Hygiene was not their strong suit before Covid-19 and there is little indication that it will be enhanced in any way post-lockdown.

  3. What happened to the EngGov nessage about ‘staying home’ to er, ‘save the NHS’ or whatever it was they faked recently.

    Now it’s get back to work plebs, get your kids in school, and no we are not telling you what trade deals we just did with the U.S, and be grateful at least you have clorinated chicken covered in sh*t to look forward to!
    Oh and when you all start getting diseases of the gut, ( the US has a huge problem with food poisoning) make sure you have plenty of health insurance, because your precious pathetic socialist NHS will have been sold off lolz!

    So, BritNats protest like pathetic little morons. Staff working in hospitals should refuse to treat them uf they get ill with CV19.

    The vids attached are all fabulous, such clever people out there…

  4. I was wondering if the eejit in Glasgow Green may have been head of sales and marketing at Barr’s launching their new campaign?

    Get ma coat

  5. “The British Government is lying, mendacious, and treats us all like children. We are just numbers as far as it is concerned. And once this crisis has passed, the weight of our numbers is going to change Scotland for the better.”


  6. A pint of Wee Heavy with a dram of Glenmorangie on the side, every hour, upon the hour, has been shown to have considerable effect on several fronts: 1) It helps the economy 2) It is quite tasty 3) Its much less stupid than any political solution.

  7. Right wing protesters who support Donald Trump accuse Nicola Sturgeon of behaving like …Donald Trump, Dr Liam Fox says the EU is bad China is bad and only America is good, yet only America is putting tariffs on Scottish produce, Michael Gove says everything’s just great and Boris Johnson is leading the UK wonderfully well, Keir Starmer now says that Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland are right to be cautious but Boris Johnson should make them do the same as England at the same time

    That was just this morning, we’ve got the rest of the day to go yet

    Is this the new *normal* it must just be me who’s bonkers then

  8. “I am a man, not a number”

    Come in, number six!
    Or you will be chased by a giant white ball called Rover.

    For those commenters of a certain age!

  9. Discord in the North growing. Discord in the Northern Cities opposition to Johnston growing. The Tories total mess. Vote Tory die younger.

    Johnston will be going. It will all end in tears again. Wait until the Brexit shambles comes.

    Support for SNP policies and Independence increasing. For better governance in Scotland. Surging ahead.

  10. Johnston poll ratings now -3.

    HS2 costs illegally hidden from Parliament by civil servant. Total waste of taxpayers money.

    The Tories cut NHS/Education and welfare. People are losing their lives. Wasting £Billions on HS2, Hickley Point and Nuclear. Dumping 50% more waste in Scotland. At Faslane, Rosyth and in the Clyde. Platinum produced for nuclear weapons in the US. Illegally and secretly. Kept secret under the Official Secrets Act.

    Tories investing in nuclear discredited in the 1950’s. Leading to more death and destruction.

  11. A former advisor to Trump appears to have only just discovered that Trump only cares about Trump.
    That appears to apply to those who support him and the Johnsons of this world.
    Me,me me.
    It’s about Me stupid!

  12. “…it would probably leave you with diabetes, a very dodgy bladder, and quite possibly a distinctly orange tinge”

    It would help with social distancing, though. No-one would want to be within two metres of you anyway after all that.

    Well, not downwind, at least…

  13. I had a conversation with a yahoo about relaxing the lockdown: His argument was simply, so? if they get ill, you can just quarantine them..simples

    yeah sure I replied, I would like to think that you’d do that at least. But you’d also have to trace and test everyone he came into contact with. You’d need the resources and the money to do it. This why Trump “opened the economy” – stung by criticism that he was shit at his job, he decided instead to enact a retarded policy of populism to escape his responsibilities, transferring it to the new victims of COVID-19. If they got sick, it was their own fault and not his, because he didn’t want to spend the money or devote the resources to it. Johnson and his pet demon Cummings are simply following the same idiotic path. To save money. To shift the blame to the victims. Is there anything more Tory than that?

    Consider the spanish flu..it ran for 2 years, would infect half a billion and kill 50 million. It’s also no coincidence that the financial crash of 20/21 came on its heels. Because when your workers are too sick to work and the customers are too sick to shop…your economy is fucked. If rumors are true that Johnson is pursuing a no deal brexit under the cover of COVID-19 then it is a double whammy of calamities.

    Its often said that what gave the union a stay of execution was a promise of a federal solution, or something close to it. What we got was a parliament of charlatans, led by a serial liar and advised by the villain Gargamel from the smurfs. We got cheated. I want a refund.

  14. We need protest and we need civil disobedience but not now and not over this issue. Will the same idiots be willing to get up of their backsides and protest at the real issues when it becomes safe to do so? Will all four nations unite in national strikes to show their anger?. Or will everyone just go back to the old normal beacause, “Hey it’s easier and, it wasn;t that bad, Nobody in my family died”. I fear so . The civil disobedience could begin now however, with parents refusing to send their kids back to school of 1 June in England and by those in Scotland, with cars blocking main roads whenever caravans/motorhomes are seen travelling to holiday destinations. This govt doesn’t listen to a word anyone says. Action is required.

  15. By the way Paul – your senence “You don’t have the right to risk your own life, but not to put other people at risk.” Should that “don’t” be omitted?

  16. It remains a fact that Covid-19 deaths in the UK peaked on April the 8th – long before this lockdown could have had any effect.

    • Barrow is I understand going though it’s own peak right now, exemplifying the London centric view as not simply out of touch with Scotland but Cumbria and other parts of England.
      Every part of the country has had or will have it’s peak at different times, so would not be quite so ready to write off the effect of lockdown beyond the London metropolis…

      • Yes Bob,far too complex to decide that a piece of data totalled for englandland on a particular day was a peak.
        I have looked and there are multiple peaks and you can tell the weekend troughs in the data.
        My understanding is that there is a delay of between 4 and 7 days from exposure to symptoms.
        We are still talking about 400 people a day, tomorrow the media will crow about the low number.
        Wondering why Cumbria is a hot spot now FOUR weeks after the April Peak.
        The media today with the spin man gove ,a protective ring around the Care Homes. Less people moving,from the empty hospitals, to care homes.

        • We need to remember Dave this a virus spread by contact, so it’s rate of progress will have varied before, during and after lockdown across the entirety of the UK. London deaths will dominate England’s figures along with Birmingham, Manchester, etc., so it’s quite misguided to look at any dates or numerics as indicator of much when it hides the continuing decimation in smaller communities. “Stay Alert” cuts little ice in Barrow where “Stay Home” remains the unspoken solution, but their dead will be a blip on the graph, and they are not the only ones.

          Heard 2-14 days for symptoms, deaths anything from hours to weeks, but what is truly frightening is the unpublicised damage left in it’s wake to kids (Kawasaki-like), debilitated breathing and other side-effects (many they don’t yet understand) and if they make it past 50/50 chances under forced ventilation as in this clip – https://www.channel4.com/news/the-reality-of-coronavirus-intensive-care-in-wales-and-long-road-to-recovery a long slow recovery to a new normal.
          Many peoples lives have been dramatically affected, “taking it on the chin” one day at a time.

      • I may have been a few days out, however the rolling 7 day average has been declining since early mid April. I looked at the coronavstats.co.uk site (sorry I’m no use at posting links) which is based on figures from all four countries and crown dependencies.

        If you feel you have more accurate figures I have an open mind.

  17. Is it just me but I got the impression that Brewer on BBC Politics Scotland interrupted Tory Carlaw less, was less aggressive and Carlaw did not seem surprised at his questions.
    Funny that.

    Any news media experts agree?

  18. Perhaps if governments instead of using the name Corona virus had called it a PLAGUE the virus deniers and political objectors might have behaved in a more circumspect manner and had a little more respect for a disease that if you catch it might result in the kind of ending to your life or others that unless you’ve seen it cannot be envisaged let alone the enormous grief upon the families and loved ones of the affected

    • Does that mean the eejit on Glasgow Green claiming Irn Bru as a cure for Covid was right all along? I’ll get my broker to buy some Barr’s shares today. Thanks for the tip.

      • Funnily enough Barr’s is the one to invest in according to an investment blog I follow, this is due to the UK attracting investment by having its own central bank, if I remember correctly such as in a scenario like the Euro crashing,but how much better when we can have our own currency from our own central Bank! Meanwhile I have been pondering how independence supporters could own a community stock in Hydrogen Storage/or fuels as this is set to take off as the green fuel of the future! Orkney ferries already run on it and there are community investment projects in Orkney too.I wonder if we are missing a trick here as oil recedes??

      • Not if this info saves you from Covid19 .Take hydroxychloroquine early enough to prevent acquiring the full blown disease! I had Paul in mind when sharing this as it could save his life! it saddens me that preventative medicine is not regarded or spoken of by our media when in fact the building of our immune system is key! I shall be posting more of these protocols ….so watch this space

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