As we start 2021 there seems little prospect that the Crowthorne Community Minibus will be providing a service anytime soon. For all concerned this is a very sorry state of affairs as elderly people, more than others, need social contact to combat loneliness, and outings on the minibus, shared with friends, were much appreciated. Many passengers said this was a lifeline for them.
Fortunately, because all the committee and drivers are unpaid volunteers and because the bus is off the road, there are negligible current costs. So when we get going again there won't be any need to recover lost revenue, unlike all the small businesses and venues that have been sacrificed. However, it's reasonable to expect that in future we'll be paying higher prices wherever we go.
The most obvious feature since covid arrived is the fear driven by alarmist government "advisers" with dodgy data and ready access to the BBC and media. Personal freedoms have been surrendered without a murmur and censorship prevents alternative views from being heard. Even questioning is mocked. Our government is now authoritarian. Protests against lockdowns are banned and protesters bullied by police.
People have been bombarded with slogans and propaganda: stay home, protect the NHS, save lives - flatten the curve - stay alert, control the virus, save lives - hands, face, space - don't kill granny.
No matter how much anyone supports lockdown the words above cannot be denied.
One of our passengers told me that she's not frightened of dying but won't be seeing her grandchildren simply because she wouldn't want them to feel guilty if she died soon after. How sad is that? The propaganda really works.
Brave people like Captain Tom Moore fought in wars to defend our freedom. As Sir Tom says "life is to be lived".
As a minibus passenger you're obviously elderly and probably vulnerable. You're most likely thinking the government has got this right — preventing people going about their normal daily lives and socially mixing and potentially spreading Covid far and wide. You can reasonably assume this is good for you. The mainstream media and BBC laud this policy and denounce anything adverse. It's not possible to listen to "the news" without hearing the worst fears and numbers. Numbers are often distorted by weekends so on Monday or Tuesday the numbers include all those not previously reported — the BBC will wait until the numbers are much larger than days before. And now they've found new strains with new names. But have you considered the consequences of fear-mongering?
I'm not suggesting for one moment that anyone should not consider their own lives first or that anyone is less valuable than anyone else, but seeking to avoid Covid so that one can get a bit older and die of something else ought to be weighed against the cost to younger people who are much less affected by the illness and should expect to have many more years in front of them.
There is plenty of honest information about the eventual cost of lockdowns - just google it: "cost of lockdowns". Fortunately it's not likely to cost us a penny — we'll all be gone — but our unquestioning support for current government policy will be an immeasurably huge burden on the lives of those who follow us — not just in this country but worldwide, as poverty and wars will inevitably ensue.
Don't be afraid to ask:
How many healthy children have died as a result of Covid? (Google it)
How many healthy people under the age of 65 die as a result of Covid? (Google it)
Ask, "is my personal survival for a few more years more important than"?
It's certain that future generations will suffer in great numbers if we elderly insist that succumbing to this over-promoted ogre would be much worse than any alternative ending, even an early one as consequence of fear.
My own circumstances? 73 years old and increasingly alcoholic, so I'm with you in the category of elderly and vulnerable. Am I worried about dying? Well, yes, because I help you with operating the Crowthorne Community Minibus and have a loving family; but no, because I'm sure that will be the way of all things.
Previous British generations fought selflessly and gave their young lives in millions to keep the freedoms that have been revoked under the pretense that we need to be protected from something that, in many cases, can only be detected by testing. Look around you; how many dozens of people do you actually know who've caught Covid outside of a hospital or care home and died long before their time? Keep this thing in perspective. Of course you should take care of your own health as best you can and expect respect but spare a thought for:
Be human. Enjoy your remaining years not being afraid. Above all, let others see your smile.
If you are currently on our list of passengers you will have received a Christmas card and invitation to tell us what you think about going on future trips. By various means of cards, emails, phone calls, texts and responses through this website we had and astounding 60% response — all affirming a desire to get back on the bus. We sincerely hope this will happen, but if Government continues to remove personal freedom it's not likely this year.
What percentage of the population has died? In August 2020 a survey found the average person thought that 1% of the population had died of Covid-19 and many thought the percentage was betwen 5% and 30%. Well, by December 2020, with 67,000 deaths attributed, that's 67,000/67,000,000 or approximately 0.1% of the population.
So most people were wrong by a factor of 10 and a significant number of people wrong by a whopping factor of 50. In fact about 600,000 people die each year in the UK simply because that's natural.
Obviously older people are more at risk than younger people but people do not seem to know how NOT life threatening this covid thing is. That's not dismissing it as a trivial illness but the actual death rate is really not as bad as the media would have you believe.
For people under 65 the risk of death is negligible. Our children and grandchildren are paying a very high price to keep us oldies going a little bit longer.
The TV and media only give you alarm, not perspective - but you probably know that, that's how they sell the news. The current, January 2021, figures may be large but they're not unexpected. See the graphs below then read this BMJ article explaining how the government uses the science.
Maybe you should take comfort from the graphs below - prediction versus reality. Even the most alarming predictions show the worst will be over by next summer, but the reality is that it's nothing like as bad as predicted — except...
Despite those dire predictions, the surge in early January seems to have caught them off guard and the Nightingale hospitals are not ready, having been decommissioned in the summer and not re-prepared ahead of this expected surge. We are very naughty, getting old and being ill in such large numbers, but not dying.
This graph shows 2020 compared with the average 2015-2019 (source: ONS)
And this one showing the individual years 2016-2020 (source: PHE)
All graphs of mortality follow the same pattern year after year, with 2020 having seen a spike in March-April but fairly normal thereafter. [Check the link below to the summary by Dr Kendrick where he uses more graphs to illustrate this point.]
We now have vaccines that should release us from the awful predicament of 2020. Let's just hope there will still places to go when we're allowed to venture out.
You'll be aware that the government is "following the science". This article in the well-respected British Medical Journal (BMJ) explains just exactly how the government uses the science to keep us all safe and get us back on the minibus as soon as possible - not to be missed.
What is left to say? An excellent summary from Dr Malcolm Kendrick explaining where we are now, with a good look at what figures tell us.
Here's an article from The Lancet about previous epidemics, the role of the press and lack of panic. Worth reading to get a perspective on our current plight.
Please call 0800 567 7090 if you have any questions or would like to talk.
You can see more at newsway.co.uk.
Crowthorne Community Minibus : Registered Charity No 298176