Dr Bruce Scott for UK Column
We are in unprecedented times. Not because of the deadliest virus known to mankind, but because we have never been attacked with such ferocious psychological methods as is deliberately being done today by our UK and Scottish governments; measures to coerce us, manipulate us, to scare us, to shame us, and to make us shame other people for not following orders pertaining to COVID–19 measures.
We have been warned previously by many who suffered totalitarian communism in Eastern Europe. We were warned for many decades that such a moment would come to the West if we were not vigilant enough; unfortunately, it seems that our watchfulness has failed and our liberty has been stolen.
We have a lot to learn from history and from the great Russian writer and critic of Soviet communism, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, especially in our present era of the COVID–19 Brave New Normal. In his address to Harvard University in 1978, Solzhenitsyn said:
Many of you have already found out, and others will find out in the course of their lives, that truth eludes us if we do not concentrate our attention totally on its pursuit. But even while it eludes us, the illusion of knowing it still lingers and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. There is some bitterness in my speech too, but I want to stress that it comes not from an adversary, but from a friend.
Likewise, when it comes to our era of the COVID–19 Brave New Normal, there are many bitter truths we have to face now.
Applied behavioural psychology
One bitter truth is that we are being manipulated, coerced, frightened and shamed by the state; the very same state that is supposed to have our best interests at heart. The UK and Scottish Governments are using applied behavioural psychology, breaking the ethical guidelines for psychologists, to deliberately ramp up fear in the population. A group of psychologists called SPI-B, part of SAGE, have been tasked with advising the UK and Scottish Governments how to get people to adhere to COVID–19 restrictions. Their document which is freely available on the UK Government website, and which was reported on the UK Column News of 11th May 2020, states the following:
A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened.
The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging.
The psychologists of SPI-B and the UK Government knew fear alone would not be enough. Therefore, SPI-B suggested to government the use and promotion of social approval for desired behaviours, to consider enacting legislation to compel required behaviours, and to consider the use of social disapproval for failure to comply. They have used the mainstream media and social media, along with false “fact-checking” and censorship, to get their message across, and it has been working.
The tactics of the SPI-B psychologists who are informing the UK and Scottish Governments’ policies on the COVID–19 response are, in my opinion, contrary to the ethical and practice guidelines of the British Psychological Society (BPS), the psychology equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath for medicine. Below are some excerpts from two documents: the British Psychological Society Code of Ethics and Conduct (2018) and the British Psychological Society Practice Guidelines (2017).
From the British Psychological Society Code of Ethics and Conduct document:
[From Section 3.1]
Statement of values: Psychologists value the dignity and worth of all persons, with sensitivity to the dynamics of perceived authority or influence over persons and peoples and with particular regard to people’s rights.
In applying these values, Psychologists should consider:
(i) Privacy and confidentiality;
(iii) Communities and shared values within them;
(iv) Impacts on the broader environment – living or otherwise;
(v) Issues of power;
(viii) The importance of compassionate care, including empathy, sympathy, generosity, openness, distress tolerance, commitment and courage.
Because of their acknowledged expertise, Psychologists enjoy professional autonomy; responsibility is an essential element of autonomy. Psychologists must accept appropriate responsibility for what is within their power, control or management. Awareness of responsibility ensures that the trust of others is not abused, the power of influence is properly managed and that duty towards others is always paramount.
Statement of values: Psychologists value their responsibilities to persons and peoples, to the general public, and to the profession and science of Psychology, including the avoidance of harm and the prevention of misuse or abuse of their
contribution to society.
In applying these values, psychologists should consider:
(i) Professional accountability;
(ii) Responsible use of their knowledge and skills;
(iii) Respect for the welfare of human, non-humans and
the living world;
(iv) Potentially competing duties.
From the British Psychological Society Practice Guidelines document:
Safeguarding means protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect […] Abuse takes many forms and cuts through various domains of life. The categories below are often referred to in investigation/legislation context and are not mutually exclusive with e.g. emotional abuse featuring in the other domains of abuse. Abuse can be found across all sections of society, irrelevant of gender, age, ability, religion, race, ethnicity, personal circumstances, financial background or sexual orientation.
• Physical abuse is the use of physical force or mistreatment of one person by another which may or may not result in actual physical injury. This could include hitting, poisoning, deprivation of food, water or liberty, rough handling or exposure to heat or cold, amongst other things […]
• Psychological/emotional abuse is behaviour that is psychologically harmful or inflicts mental distress by threat, humiliation or other verbal/non-verbal conduct. This may include threats, blaming, controlling, intimidation or coercion amongst other things.
• Financial abuse is actual or attempted theft, fraud or burglary. It is the misappropriation or misuse of money, property, benefits, material goods or other asset transactions which the person did not, or could not, consent to, or which were invalidated by intimidation, coercion or deception […]
• Institutional abuse is the mistreatment or neglect by a regime or individuals, in settings which people who may be at risk reside in or use. Institutional abuse may occur when routines, systems and regimes result in poor standards of care, poor practice and behaviours, inflexible regimes and rigid routines which violate the dignity and human rights of the adults and place them at risk of harm. It may occur within a culture that denies, restricts or curtails privacy, dignity, choice and independence. It involves the collective failure of a service provider or an organisation to provide safe and appropriate services and includes a failure to ensure the necessary preventative and/or protective measures are in place.
• Neglect is the persistent failure to meet basic physical and/or psychological needs. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter, failing to provide or unresponsiveness to, basic emotional needs or failing to protect from physical harm.
It seems quite clear from the above ethics and practice guidelines that the explicit tactics of SPI-B — making people more fearful by deliberately ramping up their sense of personal threat, and encouraging people to shame others for not following regulations — have breached the ethical and practice guidelines governing the use of applied psychology.
Mental health crisis
From the reports of several mental health charities, and from UK and Scottish Government reports, it is clear that mental ill-health is in a crisis because of the COVID19 response/measures. Suicide risk has undoubtedly been greatly increased; when the official figures are completed, I have no doubt that there will have been, and there will continue to be, many suicides because of the COVID–19 governmental response. People have been isolated from friends, family and ordinary daily social interaction (and even from seeing a full face, due to mask wearing). They cannot travel freely. Many are stopped from working and transacting. Many businesses have gone and will go bust, and many people face losing their homes and becoming unemployed. Is this what applied psychology and responsible government was intended to achieve — to make us mentally unwell, suicidal, and to remove our sovereign rights of freedom and liberty? This is nothing but a tyranny.
All this has come to pass based on the threat posed by a virus, despite huge disagreement about the nature of this threat within the scientific community (for example, the Great Barrington Declaration signed by 50,000 scientists and doctors). However, UK and Scottish Government policy seems intent on taking the most damaging route for society for all concerned, relying on advice from scientific advisors who seem determined to change society forever based on the idea that a wonder vaccine will return us to normality: not the old normal, of course, but a new normal where surveillance, vaccine/immunity passports, and a cashless society will be the only way where people can shop, travel and work. Seems kind of harsh? Well, unethical diktats usually break over into the realm of abuse.
The COVID–19 response, with its resulting misery, fear, austerity and hopelessness, seems increasingly to equate to society-wide abuse. The similarities to domestic physical and psychological abuse, coercion and manipulation are striking. When reading the below, please bear in mind the restrictions that the UK is under. The applicability of the concept of abuse to the COVID–19 restrictions and their effects is self-evident.
Physical abuse is the use of physical force or mistreatment of one person by another which may or may not result in actual physical injury. This could include hitting, poisoning, deprivation of food, water or liberty.
Psychological or emotional abuse is behaviour that is psychologically harmful or inflicts mental distress by threat, humiliation or other verbal/non-verbal conduct. This may include threats, blaming, controlling, intimidation or coercion, amongst other things, as well as isolation from friends and family. Abusers want to know the victim’s whereabouts and obsessively track and check the victim’s location at all times.
Financial abuse is actual or attempted theft, fraud or burglary. It is the misappropriation or misuse of money, property, benefits, material goods or other asset transactions which the person did not, or could not, consent to, or which were invalidated by intimidation, coercion or deception.
In the realms of abuse by the government, the definition of institutional abuse is fitting. Institutional abuse may occur when routines, systems and regimes result in poor standards of care, inflexible regimes and rigid routines which violate the dignity and human rights of the adults and place them at risk of harm. It may occur within a culture that denies, restricts or curtails privacy, dignity, choice and independence. Institutional neglect is the persistent failure to meet basic physical and/or psychological needs.
Physical or psychological abuse follows a pattern of abuse and manipulation, often involving a phase of ‘grooming’. As a population, it seems we have been groomed since March.
Most survivors of abuse say that at the beginning of their relationship, their partner was charming and affectionate, that they expressed love for them very quickly and wanted to spend a lot of time together with them. Abusive behaviour is interspersed with warmth and kindness, slowly desensitising the victim to the behaviour.
Perpetrators use a wide range of hidden tactics to maintain control and brainwash their victim, by presenting insults as a joke, by gaslighting, and by presenting different versions of events.
Thus, at the beginning of the COVID–1984 nightmare, we were told we needed a three weeks’ lockdown to “flatten the curve”, save the NHS, and save lives. We were told to be good, and we have been good. We were told by the Government that they cared about us, that they loved us. But now, seven months later, we are told things are out of control, that we are at tipping point; that they only way out of this is for a vaccine, for an immunity passport, for a New Normal or Building Back Better to form a New World Order. We have been duped. We were good, we did our best, but now we have been told we are complacent, and we are now trapped, just like a victim of abuse.
Professor Susan Michie, a psychologist with SPI-B of SAGE, speaking on LBC Radio with Andrew Castle on 4 October 2020, declared how the population had been complacent by not following COVID–19 regulations. Castle mentioned all the businesses going bust and the rising unemployment. Michie retorted that people will just have to retrain for new jobs or careers. She even mentioned that because of social distancing measures needed for schools (and other workplaces, I presume), government should just take over unused or empty buildings to adapt to the new regime. Sound familiar? It should. That’s because this is what happened under totalitarian communism. Not surprising, as Susan Michie is a member of the Communist Party of Britain.
Like the abuser, the UK and Scottish Governments keep changing the story and goalposts to try to placate us. One minute, the crisis is the so-called deaths from COVID–19, the next minute it is the R number, and now we have a casedemic based on a questionable PCR test, which it seems will place us into a Kafkaesque indefinite COVID–1984: it seems the PCR test can be used and manipulated to bolster population control and movement at a whim; the PCR test was never designed for such diagnostic purposes or to inform public health policies in this way. And then they tell us we have been too complacent and that even more draconian measures could be needed for months or years to come, until a rushed-out unsafe vaccine can save us.
The COVID–19 Brave New Normal is an experiment in which the long-term outcomes on children are as yet unknown; but, from what we know about developmental psychology, it is highly probable that the government(s) are harming future generations.
While the unethical psy-op carries on, the British Psychological Society (the regulator of psychologists), the Health and Care Professions Council, psychologists, mental health charities, psychotherapy organisations, politicians, and so-called political activists are completely silent about this deliberate psychological torture of our society and our children. Is the silence from the British Psychological Society because the Director of Policy of the BPS, Kathryn Scott, is on SPI-B of SAGE?
The silence from the aforementioned groups and individuals is unacceptable; it is complicity.
The data and the science are clear: COVID–19 is not a threat requiring us to lock down society and destroy the economy. COVID–19 is the equivalent of a bad flu season. The PCR test is unreliable and should not be used as a diagnostic instrument, and the use of the PCR has contributed to what is now just a casedemic. The hospitals are not overwhelmed; they never were, nor ever will be. Indeed, the famous Nightingale Hospitals were never used and for all intents and purposes have been decommissioned.
Why have mask wearing and hand sanitising not seen a reduction in the yearly average for flu deaths, and why are flu deaths currently outstripping deaths from COVID–19? This is a question never asked by a UK mainstream journalist. Why are the politicians not yelling in anger that lockdown measures will cause more deaths that COVID–19? People cannot get operations, people cannot get screened for illness and disease, people cannot see a dentist, and people cannot see their friends and family. Isolation is a huge killer, especially for old people who are unable to see loved ones if they are in a care home.
It seems clear that COVID–19 is an excuse to take away our freedom and liberty. But here are some things to bear in mind:
Churches are closed, brothels are open. The rule of six does not apply to supermarkets. We have to wear masks in supermarkets, but MPs and MSPs from many households can meet in the UK and Scottish Parliaments, without masks. Children have to wear masks and are not allowed to sing in school, yet politicians can shout and mingle unmasked in government buildings. Children cannot say goodbye to a dying parent; old people are dying alone, unable to be comforted by loved ones. Matt Hancock, allegedly, can drink wine in the Houses of Parliament Bar after the 10 pm curfew — not socially distancing, of course. We can go grouse shooting but not to a restaurant. Amazon is doing a roaring trade, as are the big multi-national supermarkets, but the High Street is dying.
In Scotland, it was estimated two months ago that one half of all small and medium-sized business will not make it out of this mess. No doubt, with the new measures in Scotland, the list of businesses going bust will be even bigger.
In the good old days, before COVID–19, social justice activists used to cry that “austerity kills”. Those activists now are silent; they put on their masks and comply with the regulations whilst the economy burns. In the age of #MeToo, we became used to people calling out abuse and abusers. There is widespread abuse now with the COVID–19 measures, #MeToo activists are silent. Pre-COVID–19, the Adverse Childhood Experience “movement” (ACEs, ACE Aware, etc.) was concerned with negative childhood experiences. Now, they say nothing about children being forced to wear masks, of having to socially distance in classrooms, nor about children are being scared witless by being continually told in school that they are in danger of death, even though the risk of children getting even mild symptoms of COVID–19 is minuscule. ACE awareness, it seems, does not stretch to inappropriate fear-mongering and depriving children of oxygen by muzzling.
How strange it all is. Can people see how illogical these positions are? Can people perceive the cognitive dissonance in those tasked with making decisions?
The psychological attack, the abusive nature of it, the illogicality of measures and the cognitive dissonance of those who should speak out confuses us, frightens us, angers us and demoralises us. As KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov indicated in relation to the takeover of totalitarian communism, we are in the stage of demoralisation. The psy-op of SPI-B and the politicians who dictate to us are deliberately trying to frighten us, scare us, shame us and sap our morale.
Unfortunately, at the moment there are not enough people (especially politicians and mainstream media journalists) with the necessary courage to call out the tyranny and call out the abuser. Historically, this has also been a problem: both on the political and on the personal scale, the victim finds great difficulty calling out their abuser. In a critical remark and warning to the West, Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in his Harvard address in 1973:
A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations … Should one (have to) point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?
In our COVID–19 Brave New Normal, let us not ignore the warnings of the past and the historical events through which totalitarian regimes came to flourish. A totalitarian medical technocracy is now being forced upon us. Let us be courageous, let us be brave. We have to do this for our children and grandchildren. If we do not, they will never forgive us and we will never be able to forgive ourselves.