In answering the question “what happened”, we did not attempt to tackle the obvious follow-up question (apart from a brief discussion about social contagion): “why did it happen?”
The sceptical community – living up to its decentralised worldview – is not short of opinions and theories, robustly debated. These are too numerous to cover in detail in this short piece: it suffices to say that they cover a wide spectrum ranging from calamitous ineptitude (and innumeracy) of politicians and civil servants, deceitful and underhand sales and marketing by nefarious global corporations, efforts by the elite to enrich themselves by impoverishing the middle classes and the digital enslavement of the masses, through to some more esoteric beliefs covering depopulation agendas, eugenics and long-in-the-planning Satanic plots… the list just goes on and on.
As many of the most ardent supporters of both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions (PIs and NPIs) begin to wake up to the collateral damage they helped bring about, it is instructive to stand back and observe tried-and-tested Biblical precedent being re-enacted. Few are not enjoying seeing the pantomime villain Matt Hancock being hoist by his own self-promoting petard via the Oakeshott WhatsApp trove. After all, who does not take some satisfaction from the fall of a petty tyrant? But much like the goat that gets bestowed with the sins of the community in Leviticus (“the goat will carry on itself all their iniquities”) before being cast out into the wilderness (thus avoiding a full and frank ‘lessons learned’ exercise), the demonisation of this preening ’cock (or monkey) does not necessarily get us much further in terms of identifying whodunnit — who was the organ grinder? After all, a self-promoting chancer whose self-confessed epidemiological education is based on a studious viewing of the film Contagion is demonstrably not an evil Blofeld mastermind. Indeed, some sceptics have attempted to use the Telegraph’s Lockdown Files to scotch any discussion of conspiracy and underscore their belief that the disastrous events of 2020-2022 were ‘merely’ a cock-up.