Conspiracy Theory (Half Serious)

I have been finding it harder and harder to make sense of what is going on.

In theory we all have to wear face masks, socially distance and follow other regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but the level of compliance is dismal in and around London. Go on any train. 40% of people have masks over their mouths but not their noses. 30% have no mask at all (or it is nowhere near their faces). Only about 30% are wearing them properly. Nobody is enforcing anything much. Despite high theoretical fines, and a few shops being forced to close, nobody else faces any real consequences for flouting the rules.

My first thought was that the government didn’t care who got COVID-19 and that they only cared about deflecting blame. It was sufficient for them to give correct instructions and then say “Not our fault” when non-compliance lead to unnecessary deaths.

But then I had a much more sinister idea…

Why are the right wing media pushing non-compliance so hard? Surely it is not in their interests to get their readership killed? Who is behind the idiotic anti-lockdown rallies where morons are invited gather, infect eachother and then take the infection back to their communities?

OK. Put your tinfoil hats on. Here comes the Conspiracy Theory.

  • Publish regulations. (These should be fairly reasonable to avoid blame for what is to come.)
  • Subtly encourage non-compliance with your own regulations.
  • Covertly encourage and, if necessary, even organise astroturfed protests against your own regulations.
  • Offer only weak initial condemnation of the protests allowing them to grow.
  • Once things are clearly out of control start to loudly decry the protests as a threat to public health and stir up anger against the idiot protesters even as you secretly continue to encourage their idiocy.
  • Complain about how sad it is that your hands are tied by the law and that you can not take decisive action, even though, of course, you could if you actually wanted to. By now, people will be able to see how dangerous the situation is and will support, even demand, a clampdown. Wait until they are good and angry.
  • Reverse ferret! Emergency powers! Full lockdown! Ban the protests fast and hard using hasty, vague, shoddily written and easily abusable legislation taking advantage of the lack of political opposition.
  • Oh look. Is that a legal precedent for banning future public protests? Where did that come from? Let’s put that one away safely in case we need it later. Heh heh heh.

So, do I really believe this? Not really. At least, not intentionally on the part of the UK Government. They are far too incompetent to pull something like that off. But do I think that maybe a certain Mr Putin might be thinking along these lines and nudging things down that path in countries which he wishes to destabilise? Maybe…?

Putin is invested in sowing as much chaos as possible in the West. (Yeah, I know that “The West” is a problematic term but you know what I mean here.) He is invested in legitimising authoritarianism. That is why he loves Trump so much. Trump may have been far too unreliable to get much specific done on Putin’s behalf but he was (and still is) a very worthwhile asset for creating general chaos, setting people at each-other’s throats, and for normalising authoritarianism and lawlessness.

You may now take your tinfoil hats off, flatten them out, wash them and reuse the foil for its official intended purpose.

Footnote: I wasn’t sure whether to put this in the “sensible” or “silly” categories but I went for “silly” as I really hope that I am wrong about all of this.

November 29, 2020. COVID-19, London, Politics, Silly.

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