Bad Pharma

The above building is the University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus Research Building, part of the Medical Sciences Division in Headington, the Jenner Institute being one of eight such departments located therein.  This campus is a fairly recent development compared to the university’s main colleges and related departments in or close to the historic city centre.  The impressive scale and design of this campus is a testament to the ‘prestige’ which the biotechnology sector, particularly the vaccination industry, has been granted in Britain.  It is the Jenner Institute that has partnered with the pharmaceutical firm Astra Zeneca to develop one of the experimental ‘vaccines’ for the respiratory illness known as COVID19.  These products have been linked to the fatalities of some people who died shortly after being administered with them, as well as to numerous other adverse reactions, many of them serious.  They are not vegan as they contain genes derived from a chimpanzee.

Although the COVID19 respiratory illness has a very high survival rate, with symptoms for the vast majority of the population no worse than a bad dose of seasonal influenza, it has been hyped up by many in the medical profession, the mainstream media and all politicians in all countries, to be far worse than it really is.  It is a serious illness only for those who are already in the final months of their natural respective lifespans, hence the average age of COVID19 fatality being similar to the average longevity, or those who are clinically obese.  However, in spite of this, the hype was for a ‘need’ to rush a ‘vaccine’ to cope with the supposed ‘pandemic’, the illness only being defined as such following the World ‘Health’ Organisation having redefined the term in 2010 following the outbreak of ‘swine flu’, which had been declared a ‘pandemic’ although it failed to meet the criterion of a serious and often fatal disease.  So that criterion was revised to allow for a pathogen following a mild or serious course.

I must admit that one of my reasons for having a wander around this campus six months ago was territorial in that during the mid-1980’s, when I was in my late teens, I lived on the Wood Farm Estate less than a mile away in the direction away from town.  Cycling to and from town for college or any other reason would take me along Old Road.  This building faces onto what is now called Roosevelt Drive, but back then in the 1980’s was simply known as the Hospital Access Road for both the Warneford and Churchill Hospitals nearby.  The University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus had yet to exist then.  These hospitals are still there as is the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre on the other side of Old Road.  It is hardly surprising therefore that this particular area was chosen as the location for the Medical Sciences Division, whilst the John Radcliffe Hospital, also in Headington, lies about a mile to the north.

The area also has Oxford Brookes University, the former Polytechnic as well as one state secondary school, Cheney and the independent Headington School.  So the ‘feel’ of the area is that of a combination of hospitals and academia, the pupils at each school being maybe unconsciously groomed towards an obvious career direction, if not in academia then in the NHS.  It strikes me as being an area where it would be difficult to build opposition to the dominance of pharmaceutical-industry funded ‘medical science’.  Whilst there are residential areas close by, including that council estate where I used to live, the Old Road Campus has a feeling of being socially segregated from them, such that those employed within the Medical Sciences Division may view the civilian human population the same way that they have always viewed animals, as subjects to be experimented on and nothing more.

Across town on the Woodstock Road is the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science, another department of the University of Oxford, located close to the Radcliffe Observatory, for which photos of the relevant Quarter are shown below.  Dr Ben Goldacre is the Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine as well as being a Director at the Bennett Institute.  Last year on his Twitter profile he had adopted the slogan ‘Get Vaccinated’ between his forename and surname, whilst complaining that someone in his household had COVID19.  I wonder if that household was ‘fully vaccinated’, however defined.  He is best known outside academia for having authored two books, Bad Science and Bad Pharma, published in 2009 and 2013 respectively and for having written a regular column for the Guardian.

In Bad Science, Goldacre gives good descriptions of the placebo effect based on the number of sugar pills a patient may take unaware of their content, similarly with saline injections. He also does a take down that I have to say that I agree with on homoepathy, being also based on such a placebo effect. Having done a basic evening class about it thirty years ago, when I realised the the primary content of the pills had been so strongly diluted that there was nothing of it there, then I thought at the time and still do that it is all in the mind.  I tried to rationalise in terms of residual energy levels but the tutor waffled on about ‘vital force’, which seemed to be a New Age belief. Goldacre is also sceptical about the vitamin pill industry for making unsubstantiated claims analogous to the those of the pharmaceutical industry, Big Pharma, of which some of those companies in the vitamin pill industry are owned.

He continues on the same subject by dedicating a whole chapter to a take down of Gillian McKeith, someone whose television shows I was unaware of, as I rarely watch television and I have never seen her name on any branded goods.  The following chapter deals with a ‘fish oil trial’ carried out in a Durham school in which those responsible from the school and local authority subsequently back-pedalled about the ‘trial’ really being a ‘trial’ when it didn’t deliver the anticipated benefits.  A nutritionist whom I had never heard of then comes under similar criticism as McKeith.  Fair enough.  However Goldacre apparently will not, or would not at the time, countenance any criticism of the ‘anti-retroviral’ drug AZT (azidothymadine), the implication that anyone from the ‘developed’ world who criticises it must have a vested business interest is selling an ‘alternative’ therapy of some form.

Chapter 10 of Bad Science (which forms the basis of Bad Pharma) is dedicated to the way that drug trials are run and how sometimes the data are amended to remove results that appear to be ‘erroneously’ unfavourable.  Unsurprisingly this feeds through the results published and as medical journals prefer to publish trials that show positive outcomes, then the bias comes through.  Drug companies have a vested interest in highlighting data that make their latest product look good.  Similarly, they are keen to hide the side-effects.  Notably, as Goldacre points out (and as Professor Carl Heneghan has recently done so as well), information on the dangers of prescribing anti-arrhythmic drugs to those who have suffered a heart attack were withheld from doctors who prescribed them, with in a great many cases fatal results.  The myocarditis risk from the pain killer Vioxx, developed by Merck, was also withheld from doctors and the withholding of that data only later criticised by the New England Journal of Medicine.

To quote Goldacre directly from this chapter:

Doctors need reliable information if they are to make helpful and safe decisions about prescribing drugs to their patients.  Depriving them of this information, and deceiving them, is a major moral crime.  If I wasn’t writing a light and humorous book about science right now, I would descend into gales of rage.

Substitute the word ‘drug’ for ‘vaccine’ and you might think that he would have a similar view of vaccines.  You might think that, but Chapter 12 entitled How the Media Promote the Public Misunderstanding of Science treats concerns about the MMR (combined measles – mumps – rubella vaccine) as if those concerns were a media fabrication, another ‘scare’.  In this chapter Goldacre deliberately places trashy tabloid stories, sometimes about ‘celebrities’, alongside genuine health concerns as if the latter are no better than the former.  He criticises the mainstream media for being obsessed with ‘new breakthroughs’ when medical journals do precisely the same.  But when Goldacre treats a fellow medical professional Andrew Wakefield as someone of ‘questionable authority’ akin to Gillan McKeith, he gives his own bias away.  The mainstream media have spent since early in 2020 promoting the huge scare story of ‘Coronavirus’ aka ‘COVID19’ and its variants, so one would expect Goldacre to have spoken out against this.  But has he?  Worse still, the mainstream media have pushed ‘pro-vaxx’ propaganda, without any degree of responsibility for the huge numbers of adverse reactions to the ‘vaccines’.

The subject of MMR takes up all of Chapter 15 entitled The Media’s MMR Hoax, implying that it is all a media fabrication.  The Media’s COVID19 Hoax would be an appropriate chapter title for a more recent book.  Perhaps Goldacre would like to write one about all the fearmongering that we have been subjected to for what was and still is nothing more than a seasonal respiratory illness affecting the same demographic groups affected by all such illnesses, notably ordinary seasonal influenza.  In the Introduction to Bad Pharma, Goldacre states:

Drug companies are not withholding the secret to curing cancer, nor are they killing us all with vaccines.

The secret to curing cancer is unlikely to be with any drug or vaccine; and whilst the drug companies are not killing us all with vaccines, there have been a high number of fatalities as a consequence of the Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Moderna products.  As Dr Ben Goldacre is a Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, based within the University of Oxford, then he has a moral obligation to look into this.   As this is a vegan blog, then I must point out that Goldacre supports laboratory tests on animals, as he has written in Chapter 2 of Bad Pharma, so his morality is questionable there and in his own words you can’t even be sure you’ve got a safe, effective drug once you’ve gone this far, because you haven’t given it to a single human yet.  On my old blog, based on information from Bad Pharma, I wrote a brief summary of drug trial information on this blog post from last July.

References

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre, Fourth Estate / Harper Collins, London 2009

Bad Pharma – Ben Goldacre, Fourth Estate / Harper Collins, London, 2013

Mass Psychosis

If I had to pick one photograph that I took during the Lockdown which would summarise the psychosis of it, it would the one above that I took in May 2020 of a skatepark, barriered off to supposedly protect against ‘the virus’.  A virus, which if it even exists, has negligible effect on the age group which uses this skatepark.  Walking past it so often I couldn’t help thinking that previous generations, including my own, would have torn down the barriers without giving a toss what the council or police thought.  But it appears that the youth of the present era are totally defeated, either because they know that they will be permanently priced out of housing and tertiary education and their world is one in which craft apprenticeships are hard to come by with long-term job security being non-existent, or because they have been so programmed by their smartphones that they are incapable of thinking and acting on their own initiative.  This certainly shows through when so many of Generation Z are smartphone zombies who never rebelled against mask-wearing when it was mandated.  Perhaps it is a combination of both.  When I first published this on another blog, we had yet to find out whether the first six months of England’s long established legal system torn up in the name of medical tyranny, was going to be followed by another six months; as indeed it was and another twelve months to follow, which so many people sleepwalked into, happy to accept.

In April 2020 I took the above three photos (amongst several others) of a children’s play area, also in Leamington Spa.  In common with all other such play areas locally and I understand across the country, ‘safety’ tape was applied, as a means of stating that it was out of use.  Along with the unjustified closure of schools, this was another symptom of the lie that children are ‘transmission vectors’ of the SARS-COV2 virus.  When schools were finally allowed to re-open, children were forced to wear masks by psychopathic teachers, supported by their union and the so-called ‘Labour’ Party.  Paedophobia is the most appropriate word to describe this phenomenon that has taken hold for the past twenty-five months; the pernicious propaganda of ‘Don’t Kill Granny’ being peddled by a ‘Conservative’ government and supported by numerous people of supposedly ‘left-wing’, ‘liberal’ and/or ‘progressive’ views.  The impact on the education, mental and physical health of children has been terrible.  It continues with children, as young as five years old, now being targeted by the drug pushers in the National ‘Health’ Service, for injection with toxic chemicals constituting a supposed ‘vaccine’, for a respiratory illness that poses no risk to them.

Ecology Movement

In medieval times, Coventry became an important city due to its weaving and cloth dying industries, ‘Coventry Blue’ from woad being valued because of its purity.  In that era it attracted many families from within a roughly twenty to thirty mile radius, such families escaping a harsh rural life, which if not serfdom, may have not offered a much better standard of living.  Many of these people had supported and continued to support the Lollard ‘heresy’ against the established Roman Catholic Church.  That led to a tradition of religious non-conformism and later political non-conformism, Puritan Coventry siding with Parliament in the Civil War against the monarchy.

By the 19th Century one of the major trades in Coventry was ribbon weaving, with the districts of Foleshill and Hillfields to the north and north-east of the city centre respectively becoming the sites of the factories.  However this industry only remained economically competitive due to import duties on ribbons imported from France.  Another major industry was watchmaking.  In addition to some large factory-based firms, there were many individual watchmakers working from home, a ‘cottage industry’, in the districts of Spon End, Chapelfields and Earlsdon, located to the west and south-west of the city centre.  From 1860 onwards, both of these industries suffered as a result of a Free Trade Act reducing import tariffs, US-made watches in particular were so cheap they could be imported and resold at a profit for less than the cost of manufacturing watches in Britain.  Competition from Switzerland had a similar effect.

In 1861 the Coventry Sewing Machine Company was founded by James Starley, Josiah Turner and others.  In 1866, Rowley Turner, nephew of the latter, was sent to France to act as the company’s agent and whilst there acquired one of the newly invented Michaux cycles, which he brought back to Coventry.  Within a year the company produced its own version and thus became renamed as simply the Coventry Machinist Company, opening a factory in the southern suburb of Cheylesmore.  This was the start of Coventry’s industrial renaissance by the transport industries, the company went on to manufacture a cycle called the Swift after which the company itself was renamed.  There was a ready-made pool of skilled workers from those industries that had declined.  This mass production of bicycles made them more affordable, so they became an essential item for many working men, not just a leisure pursuit for the wealthy.

Several other cycle companies such as Rover and Singer were founded and in time many of the cycle manufacturers went into making motorcycles and then cars, for which Coventry became best known.  Not only did Coventry have the world’s first bicycle factory, it also had Britain’s first car factory (the latter located on a site that is now a modern housing estate).  Local industry then developed even further into aviation and specialised areas to support it.  In the century from 1870 onwards then Coventry’s population quadrupled to more than three hundred thousand people, the city expanding into existing villages and with new suburbs, some of which contained these factories, built on former rural land.  The high wages paid by the transport industries led to inward migration from throughout the British Isles and following the Second World War, from the Commonwealth.  Coventry was thus transformed from being a moderately-sized English city to a large British industrial centre.  Not only did the city itself prosper economically, but so did a high proportion of its working-class inhabitants.

It was due to this prosperity that Coventry had a high-rate of car ownership and a high level of owner-occupation in housing.  For the well-paid skilled working-class employed in the transport manufacturing industries, a motor car was a status symbol of affluence over their peers in other industries and for many a display of pride of the fruits of their labours.  During the inter-war years of the 1920’s and 1930’s Coventry had one of the highest rates of car ownership, at twice the national average, of any city in Britain.  Car ownership during that era was mainly for leisure purposes, rather than commuting, as industry was largely located in the suburbs, with private housing developments located within walking distance of the main centres of employment.  Even in the present era, a large proportion of the housing dates from the inter-war era.  What car ownership allowed was for employees to be more selective as to which suburb they chose to purchase a property in, however this trend of cross-city commuting did not take root until later in the post-war era.

Coventry’s medieval city centre had survived during the urban growth up until the 1930’s when the urban corporation decided to undertake slum clearances by demolishing some of the old housing and creating wider streets for new developments in the process, with a major demolition project to that effect taking place in 1936 to the horror of some locals and visitors alike.  The following year the running of the corporation changed from a ‘Ratepayers Coalition’ of Tories and Liberals to Labour, who appointed the first City Architect.  The appointee Donald Gibson was inspired by Modernist ideas, notably those of Le Corbusier’s The City of Tomorrow, for a zoned centre, the local version of which developed by Gibson’s department became placed in an exhibition of May 1940 self-consciously entitled The Coventry of Tomorrow.

Six months later Coventry became the first provincial British city to experience large-scale bombardment by the Luftwaffe.  The replanning of the city centre from scratch subsequently gained more popularity.  It was a trend to take place in other blitzed cities, though as in those the expense incurred led to spending cutbacks resulting in an ugly dystopian feel.  Specific to Coventry again the original plan for an ‘at grade’ ring road encircling the centre and with buildings facing onto it became one elevated in places, at ground level in others and at no point forming a boulevarded thoroughfare with buildings facing onto it.  When this was being built in the 1960’s, it represented the ascendancy of the car over the pedestrian in urban planning.

The economic prosperity previously mentioned and with it a low level of unemployment, however bred complacency amongst employers and employees, with the agreement of the trade unions, being allowed to give each other two hours’ notice to quit.  By the late 1960’s British manufacturing industry and not just in Coventry, because of this widespread complacency, had started to decline nationally.  Even the devaluation of the pound from $2.80 to $2.40 by Harold Wilson’s Labour government in 1967 was not enough to increase competitiveness by boosting exports.  By the time of the 1970 general election, unemployment had reached a then record of half a million people.  This general election was won with a small majority by the Conservative Party, led by Edward Heath.  His government was beset by a global issue beyond its control, the Nixon Administration dropping the gold standard and consequently the collapse of the Bretton Woods financial system in the Autumn of 1971.  A collapse of confidence in all fiat currencies followed with world-wide commodity inflation setting the trend for the remainder of the decade.

However Heath’s government foolishly tried to reflate the economy during his Chancellor Anthony Barber’s budget in the Spring of 1972.  That budget was intended to encourage borrowing and spending, against a backdrop of already high price inflation for the basic cost of living.  Many people put such borrowed money into property (a trend that would be repeated during 1987-92 and from 1999 onwards); whilst those who could afford to buy non-essential goods as likely as not purchased goods manufactured abroad.  Altogether it was a disastrous policy that led to a spiral of rising wage demands in a highly unionised labour market, including those from miners and power workers, two groups who could and did effectively hold the country to ransom with resultant power cuts in 1972.

Worse was however to come.  In the Autumn of 1973, the Arab-Israeli war and the USA’s support for the latter, led the oil producing Arab countries to embargo all sales to the USA.  Although this embargo did not directly affect Britain, it led to a quadrupling of the price of a barrel of oil, with the resultant increased impact on commodity prices worldwide.  Ironically it was that high price of oil that made Britain’s North Sea reserves economically viable but they did not come on stream until much later in the decade.  At the start of 1973, Britain joined the then European Economic Community (EEC), having failed to do so at the outset in 1957 and having had its two subsequent applications in 1963 and 1967 respectively vetoed by the French delegation.  This belated membership of the EEC further exposed the weakness of British industry in the face of its competitors on the near continent.

That long preamble then sets into context why Britain’s environmental movement started in early 1972, originally under the name of PEOPLE.  With hindsight it might seem strange to some people that it originated in Coventry, but the city had a dissenting political tradition (and as mentioned in an earlier post, it was where the first public vegan meal was produced in Britain).  It could also have been a reaction to the industrialisation that had taken place in the preceding century and the large-scale population growth in that city that had went with it; the latter of course meaning urban expansion onto what had been farmland.  So there were more people living in the city but less local farm land from which to feed them.

There may also have been a desire for a return to a society characterised by ‘cottage industries’, as watchmaking had partly been, rather than large-scale factories.  Not only that, but the destruction of the medieval city centre during the 1930’s and early 1940’s and the subsequent car-oriented post-war replanning was bound to produce a reaction from those local people who did not believe that the city should be so dominated by the motor industry.  With hindsight it could be seen as a desire to rehumanise towns and cities, a rejection not of modernity in itself but the Corbusiesque manifestation of it.  PEOPLE contested the two general elections of 1974, the first of which resulted in a minority Labour government, the second of which was won by Labour with a small majority.  In 1975 what had originally started as a campaigning group became the Ecology Party, still based in Coventry as it was for a decade, putting  up candidates for the general elections of 1979 and 1983.

PEOPLE were also influenced by the views of Edward Goldsmith and his A Blueprint for Survival, which advocated population control and society being organised into small-scale local communities; Goldsmith himself stood as a PEOPLE candidate in the first of those 1974 general elections.  The link in that article claims that ‘people had only just begun to examine global warming and consider the perils of climate change’; however in 1972, the received scientific wisdom as relayed via the mainstream media was that of global cooling, that the world was heading for another Ice Age.  There was none of the ‘Net Zero’ nonsense in relation to the small anthropogenic contribution to carbon dioxide levels.  The link posted in 2012 even states that ‘Greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 42 per cent since the 90s due to the switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation’.  The use of that natural gas was an idiotic short-term market-driven post-privatisation policy, that has now resulted in an energy crisis that will push millions of people into fuel poverty.  It is hardly a cause for celebration.

The population control aspect is the least savoury part of the ‘survivalist’ ideology, as those who preach it are never willing to sacrifice their own lives for the ‘greater good’.  It was of course the economically disastrous times of the 1970’s that led more people into thinking more seriously about the environmental consequences of large-scale industry.  That bicycle manufacturing had been to a large degree responsible for the trend may seem ironic given that the bicycle has long been viewed by many in the ecology movement as the sustainable alternative to motorised transport, the ideal form of transport for urban living; a view that I happen to share, so much so that I’d like this industry to be insourced again, for cycles and their components to be made in Britain.  There is in fact one locally-based cycle manufacturer, Pashley in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Not surprisingly their cycles are expensive compared to those manufactured in lower-cost countries and just assembled in this country.

That A Blueprint for Survival should imply a society structured from the bottom-up, not the top down is a good thing.  Ernst Schumacher’s book Small is Beautiful treads a similar path.  However the use of natural gas to fire power stations whose output is fed into the national electricity transmission grid hardly fits into that philosophy.  This doesn’t mean that we could all live off-grid or that it would necessarily be desirable to do so, but it is surprising that the ‘blueprint’ doesn’t advocate people to become more self-sufficient in their energy usage.  That could mean investing in rooftop solar panels and possibly being able to sell any surplus to an energy supplier, the national transmission and regional distribution grids being essentially a transport system for electrical power.  Note that the authoritarian ‘Covid’ restrictions of the past two years have led many people into more community-based engagement, pooling resources with people that they already knew before or may have met during that time.  In some cases this is by encouraging the growing of one’s own food to share or trade with others, removing dependence on shops and the financial system.

However one should be wary that where this is encompassed by a ‘think global, act local’ ideology, it is being used to force top-down changes to society, hence at odds to what genuine ecologists believe.  It is a phrase that has been adopted by many globalist corporations including Coca-Cola.  It is also the one being peddled by the United Nations Development Programme as part of its ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, re Agenda 2030.  You may think that is not a bad thing, but be aware that no globalist organisation has your best interests at heart.  You will be told how to live your life, you will be restricted as to where, how and when you can travel, with the pretext for these restrictions likely to be climate change although it is a long-term cyclical process, for which humans are now being blamed as a form of ‘Original Sin’ for just inhabiting the planet.

England for example is already divided into artificial ‘regions’ between which travel restrictions may be imposed as part of Agenda 2030.  Warwickshire, the county in which I live, borders (amongst others) Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire and my home county of Oxfordshire.  Each of these three counties falls into a different artificial ‘region’ from Warwickshire and from each other, although it is possible to pass straight through part of all four counties in about an hour by car.  If I go to Stand in the Park at the Rollright Stones that takes me from Warwickshire just into Oxfordshire, hence a different ‘region’ from where I live.  On a more mundane level, economic areas, such as that of Banbury for example, overlap county and in some cases ‘regional’ boundaries; and themselves overlap with other economic areas.  We need to be guarded that freedom of movement is not going to be restricted in the name of ‘sustainability’ and by globalist organisations whose personnel do not themselves face any travel restrictions, intranational or international.

In summary, as part of an ecology movement, try to adopt as sustainable a lifestyle as you can.  If it is convenient and affordable to do so, travel by bus or train, as long as mask wearing isn’t mandatory, rather than by car.  Consider going by coach or train and then getting a ferry across to the continent, rather than getting a flight, when going on holiday.  But don’t be told that you should not or cannot visit other countries, let alone parts of your own country, on a fake pretext of ‘sustainability’ or ‘vaccination’ status.  Reject all forms of global dictatorship including those with a ‘green’ or ‘medical’ dressing.  Be especially wary of the ‘Net Zero’ ideology under the pretext of a supposed ‘Climate Emergency’.  It will be used to impose harsh restrictions on your life, enslaving you to a global dictatorship.  You may enjoy more material comforts than your medieval ancestors did but your societal status will be no better than theirs was.  You will own nothing and you will allegedly be ‘happy’.

References

The Story of England, pp-245-251 – Michael Wood, Penguin, London, 2010

A History of Coventry, pp 218-216 – David McGrory, Phillimore and Co Ltd, Chichester, 2003.

Replanning the Blitzed City Centre, A Comparative Study of Bristol, Coventry and Southampton, 1941-1950, pp 22-26, 30-45, 122-125, 127-129, 131-133 – Junichi Hasagewa, Open University Press, Buckingham, 1992.

State of Emergency, The Way We Were: Britain 1970-1974, pp 218-220, 301-304 – Dominic Sandbrook, Penguin, London, 2010.  (On the origins of the Ecology Party, Sandbrook’s primary reference is Fantasy, the Bomb and the Greening of Britain , pp 240-243 – Meredith Veldman, Cambridge University Press, 1994 and now long out of print).

Homegrown

Garden centres were forced to close for the first seven and a half weeks of the Spring 2020 Scamdemic Lockdown, owing to them being considered ‘non-essential’ businesses.  A few times during that time I walked through the empty car park of my local Homebase.  Just inside the entrance, stacked up were large bags of seedling potatoes, an illegal purchase.  When garden centres were finally allowed to open ‘social distancing’ measures were put in place.  One would think that a government keen to encourage people to ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ would have allowed garden centres to trade, even if only on a home delivery basis.  If that government wanted to discourage town and city dwellers from making day-trips out to the countryside, then what better a way would there be to instill compliance but by encouraging those who have a garden to tend to that instead?  But then that would have run contrary to the other propaganda of encouraging people to stay indoors and to obsessively regularly hand sanitise.  The very last thing that the government wanted people to do was get their fingers dirty.  It would have run contrary to the germophobic agenda.

All the above being said, that when garden centres re-opened I thought that maybe it was too late in the season for 2020, which of course it wasn’t.  For outdoor planting late May /early June onwards is ideal; and bearing in mind how warm and dry April and May 2020 were – ideal for long walks in the sunshine -garden crops planted that early may not have fared that well.  I should certainly have planted some crops in late Spring 202o to see how well (or not) they fared.  The back garden of my house faces north, so it isn’t ideal and trees that provide screening from the the neighbours absorb a lot of the moisture so that isn’t great anyway, though hebes and rosemary plants fare well along one of the borders.  The rear of the garden gets the most sunshine but the soil is the poorest.  Anyway, they are my excuses.  Last year however I did, in late Spring in one of the side borders, plant some seeds for runner beans and courgettes.  Both crops did pretty well, so much so that I still have some of the runner beans left in the freezer.  With the mild February that we have had it is tempting to make an early start but the soil will still be cold.  Carrots and lettuce are crops for which it is apparently OK to plant seeds outdoors in March, so I’ll try them within a few weeks and hope for the best!  My south-facing front garden meanwhile is mainly hebes and herbs.  I might try some tomato plants there though in the hope that they don’t get pilfered!  Any gardening tips from fellow vegans would be welcome!

Whole Food

Usually combined together as one word, my Collins 1987 Dictionary has the following definition: noun (sometimes plural) a. food that has been refined or processed as little as possible and is eaten in its natural state, such as brown rice, wholemeal flour, etc. b (as modifier): a wholefood restaurant.  Some people might argue that as little as possible should be not at all.  Also, one could suggest that eaten in its natural state would be uncooked.  In either case, it would be a subjective definition.   Wholefood shops evolved to a certain ‘look’ with these goods being sold out of sacks in the quantity as desired by the customer; in addition as much as possible would be of organic origin, i.e. cultivated without the use of chemical pesticides.

It was and still is difficult to run a business which all the goods were/are organic due to lack of availability and the price being prohibitively expensive for much of the customer base, who are not – contrary to what many people misleading believe – in a  high income bracket.  If there is any stereotype of a wholefood shopper it may be someone educated to degree level but with a low to moderate income, living in shared rented accommodation, sometimes in the form of a housing co-op.  Alternatively some may own a property with a mortgage in a fairly modest area, but they don’t tend to follow the same lifestyles as those do all their shopping by a car journey to and from an large out-of-town supermarket.  Many wholefood shops themselves were run by workers’ co-operatives as was Sage in Moseley, a multi-ethnic area where the inner city gradually becomes suburban.  Some wholefood shops still are run as workers’ co-operatives, but as a trend it appears to have peaked from the 1970’s through to the 1990’s.  Sage itself closed more than a decade ago.  It was an appropriate name, because if there was a predominant smell, to give the atmosphere of the place, it was that of herbs.  Unusually for a city-based wholefood shop it even had its own garden.  The very name sage means profoundly wise or prudent (though it has over the past two years been misappropriated by the psychopaths demanding ever more repressive ‘Covid’ related measures).  Sage has however been superseded by Indigo Wholefoods, started by one of the former’s founder members.

sage wholefoods moseley garden

In Britain, most wholefood shops evolved to be ovo-lacto-vegetarian, on the basis that this embraced most of the ethics of the customer base, vegan as well as vegetarian, who would find the presence of meat, or meat products, to be off-putting.  The small One Earth Shop in Digbeth, an inner city area of Birmingham, was one of few to be entirely vegan.  However it closed permanently nine years ago.  It was within a building that was and still is owned by Friends of the Earth, but the location for those not in the know tended to be difficult to find.  Add in competition from supermarkets and it feels like another victim of the passing of time.  I’m pleased to say that my local long-established wholefood shop, which is run as a workers’ co-operative, Gaia in Leamington Spa, has retained its vegetarian ethic.  It faces the same struggle of competition from supermarkets, hence if it were to go entirely vegan it would potentially restrict its customer base, when it too may be struggling to survive.  Uhuru Wholefoods on the Cowley Road in Oxford is another similarly long-established workers’ co-operative that has kept its vegetarian ethos.

However many wholefood shoppers are themselves omnivores and this was recognised by Leicester Wholefood Co-op in the late 1990’s when it began selling ‘organic’ meat on the pretext of having undertaken a customer survey and of having spare freezer space available.  I did wonder at the time whether frozen vegetables could have been sold instead.  This trend of selling meat is becoming more common in wholefood shops, as is the move towards a higher proportion of the vegetarian and vegan food being organic, as a greater range of fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses etc are available.  Selling meat in a wholefood shop may seem counter intuitive if a higher proportion of the population are going vegan, but perhaps these are junk food vegans who rarely visit any wholefood shops?

My experience of having visited France and Low Countries during the decade from the late 1990’s onwards is that the emphasis was always on ‘bio’ (organic), rather than vegetarian, let alone vegan and that those shops that did not sell meat were the exception rather than the rule.  Back in England, Warwickshire did have Ryton Organic Gardens, at which the foods sold in the shop were always expensive and its rural location meant that it was targeted at a higher income bracket than town or city based businesses.  It was put up for sale early in 2018 and subsequently sold to Coventry University.  As a business, a visitors centre was due to be retained but for Garden Organic charity members only.  It looks like there are no plans to re-open a retail business.  The retail business sold only food grown on the premises in contrast to other organic food retailers who may sell food imported from half way round the world!

The final type of business to mention and which frequently gets classified with whole food is health food.  Warwick Health Foods, which was in the town centre and run by an elderly couple, closed possibly due to either or both of them being required to self-isolate, at the start of the Lockdown in March 2020.  The business never re-opened.  They may have decided that it was an opportune time to retire.  The business must have got at least half of its trade from the sale of supplements, rather than food, putting it in direct competition with the nearby branch of Holland & Barrett.  It appears that the only businesses able to compete directly with that franchise operation are those of another, such as the Revital shop in Stratford-upon-Avon, which I quite like, all the more so since it has never enforced mask wearing for customers and neither have any of its staff been muzzled up during the ‘Covid’ scamdemic.  However, my local health food store for the many years that I lived in Coventry was Drop in the Ocean, a very long-established retailer, that for more than a dozen years has been run by a nice Indian couple, hence with an emphasis on Ayurvedic products, consultations etc.  It is also more wholefood-oriented than most business that are marketed as health food stores.

Junk Culture

The above photo of the McDonald’s Drive Thru in Leamington Spa, was taken on Easter Monday (hence it being closed) four years ago, for an article that I published on an old blog.  Since then, another drive thru has been built about a mile and a half way in Warwick, adjacent to the Tesco Superstore, where its click and collect service is.  Tesco may not have envisaged the level of growth in that service at the time that it sold or leased the land on to McDonald’s.  Both of these junk food drive thrus are close to the Grand Union Canal where it passes through both towns and amongst customers who don’t drive thru, a fair amount of litter gets deposited near the canal and sometimes in it (which is a change from getting thrown out of a car window).  Why did Warwick District Council give planning permission for the new outlet?  Most likely the promise of ‘additional’ jobs that in reality aren’t, unless the outlet isn’t taking trade away from other eating establishments.

When the Lockdown started nearly twenty-two months ago, all cafes, restaurants and other ‘hospitality’ establishments were forced to close.  This also applied to take-away establishments.  These were subsequently allowed to re-open after nine weeks, with the one pictured doing so a week later.  As pointed out at the time by the Coventry Telegraph on the re-opening of McDonald’s: Huge queues have been reported at several branches, as drive thrus also opened in Nuneaton, Warwick and Leamington Spa (Europa Way).  Of course, these ‘reports’ could have come from McDonald’s themselves and the photo shown in the article of a branch in Dunchurch, near Rugby, could have been taken at some peak daylight trading time prior to the Lockdown starting.   Alternatively it could just be a library photo as all these establishments look pretty much the same.  Gyms however were still forced to close until the last week of July.  So those who previously had any doubts, the Lockdown measures were never about maintaining personal health.

There are of course socio-economic issues behind obesity, down to peer pressure, poor education; and junk food being dirt cheap, easily available and widely advertised.  However almost all people in the UK have access to council-funded fitness facilities, usually discounted for those on state benefits.  In Greg Critser’s book, which focuses on the USA, he shows how growing portion sizes have contributed to rising levels of obesity.  He also shows how genetics could play in part, in that people whose forebears going back several generations had evolved a ‘thrifty gene’ to survive food scarcity, now find that they themselves are less genetically disposed to burning off excess calories.  So this would partly explain why obesity is more prevalent amongst the working-class than amongst the professional middle-class and how it may differ between ethnic groups.  The socio-economic aspect was mentioned in the previous blog post.

Returning to the UK, bear in mind that these drive thrus haven’t necessarily made the typical British diet any worse than it already was.  Wimpy Bars developed the market for American junk food before either McDonald’s, Burger King or KFC expanded at Wimpy’s expense.  And along with Wimpy there were British-owned competitors, as well as long established indigenous fish ‘n’ chip shops and greasy spoon cafes; whilst the cardiac arrest inducing ‘fry-up’ for breakfast has long been part of the traditional British diet, adopted by some pub chains, given all-day opening.  What has contributed to obesity is the general shift away from high energy expenditure manually-intensive labour to less manually intensive employment, or just as likely to unemployment.  This has happened in the space of two generations and is another factor in growing rates of obesity in economically deprived areas.

In his excellent book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser detailed the history, social, economic and dietary effects of the industry.  Included in this, pp 245 – 249, is what had become known as the ‘McLibel’ trial, based upon a leaflet that had been distributed by London Greenpeace from 1986 – 1990, which summarised the environmental degradation caused by the fast food industry, in addition to its selling unhealthy food, torturing animals and exploiting workers amongst other issues.  The McDonald’s Corporation became so paranoid about this challenge to its empire from a small campaigning group that it infiltrated the group and claimed that everything printed on the leaflet was libellous.  Whilst McDonald’s won the original verdict in 1997, part of that verdict was overturned in 1999.  Helen Steel and David Morris, the two campaigners who had refused to be intimidated by McDonald’s, then took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, which agreed that the original trial had been unfair.  Note that at that original trial it was Kier Starmer QC who represented them, back in the days when he still had moral principles!

Naomi Klein’s book No Logo, the theme of which is globalisation and how to fight back against it, also references the ‘McLibel’ trial, including the ‘McSpotlight’ website and what have become known as ‘McJobs’, low paid, high stress, tiring and insecure, the generic employment for the fast food industry.  Updates on the ‘McLibel’ trial were published in the Summer 1996 (p 14) and Summer 1997 (interview with Helen Steel, p 16) issues of the The Vegan magazine, with a summary in the Autumn 2005 edition, pp 10 -11; page 12 of this edition also has an interview with Alex Jamieson, a vegan chef and holistic nutritionist whose partner Morgan Spurlock made the documentary Super Size Me, about his 30 days living on an exclusively McDonald’s diet and the effect that it had on his health.  The past two years should have provided health and anti-corporate activists an opportunity to turn the Spotlight on Big Pharma.  Perhaps a Super Jab Me film would be in order on how humanity is now being treated just as cattle have been.

Returning to the issue of Fat Pride from a previous blog post, feminist ‘comedienne’ Sofie Hagen got into a Twitter row with Cancer Research UK, over its explicit advertising campaign linking obesity to cancer.  Many in the gastrically challenged community backed her up.  This continued denial over the health risks of obesity has in turn led ‘Western’ society where it is into denying the risk of obesity associated with respiratory illnesses, notably COVID19.  It is noticeable that it is obese media figures such as Andrew Neil, Nick Ferrari, Shelagh Fogarty and Jon Gaunt who demand ‘protection’ from the SARSCOV2 virus and its ‘variants’ by insisting that everyone should be injected with an experimental ‘vaccine’ that people who are fit and healthy would derive no benefit from.  Those fit and healthy people are far are more likely to be at risk from a myocardidis-induced heart attack, as a result of being injected with the virus spike protein, than they ever were from the COVID19 illness.  To put it in plain English, COVID19 is a ‘pandemic’ of the obese.

Returning to Cancer Research UK, then pertinent from a vegan perspective, is given that it has admitted that obesity is one of the principal causes of cancer in humans, if this were widely accepted as it should have been, then it negates any ‘justification’ for experimenting on animals.  Broadly speaking, much of the ‘research’ carried out animals is precisely because of the reluctance of many humans to admit that their own poor diet and lifestyles are the causes of their illnesses.  Just as those who are fat expect those who are fit to take the blame for the illnesses suffered by the former.  Returning to the specific subject of COVID19, Naomi Klein who ought to know better, is herself is peddling the ‘pandemic’ narrative deliberately overlooking that it just another harmless respiratory virus to people who keep themselves fit and healthy.  She is suffering from the same groupthink as other ‘progressives’ who believe that everyone is at risk.

One would expect vegans as a demographic to have lower levels of obesity than the general population as a whole, however with the Vegan Society now endorsing Krispy Kreme, perhaps those running the society want us to expand outwards.  A Krispy Kreme doughnut is incidentally the bait offered to some of those in the US who are foolish enough to get the ‘jab’.  Worse than endorsing Krispy Kreme and as an insult to the ‘McLibel’ defendants, the Vegan Society, via its ‘veganuary’ promotion and the Vegetarian Society are now aiding McDonald’s with its ‘McPlant’ PR stunt, that will only serve to grow its business, including that of animal slaughter and all the issues mentioned above.  Similarly the Vegan Society is also supporting Burger King.  If you want to eat fattening food that is up to you.  However, if you have a conscience, you’ll support ethically run businesses, preferably independently run and certainly not the global junk food brands.

References

Fat Land – Greg Critser, first British paperback edition, Penguin, London, 2003

Fast Food Nation – Eric Schlosser, second British paperback edition containing Afterword, Penguin, London, 2002.

No Logo – Naomi Klein, first British paperback edition, Flamingo, London, 2001

The Vegan – Vegan Society, St Leonard’s-on-Sea, 1996, 1997 and 2005

McLibel, Spanner Films DVD, 2005

Super Size Me, Tartan DVD, 2005

Literary Review

The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots – George Orwell

The stereotypical view of vegetarians as ‘cranks’ enunciated eighty-four years ago by George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier held for about five decades following that and only gradually changed when the vegetarian diet went mainstream during the latter half of the 1980’s.  Orwell’s views of vegetarians then became more readily applicable to vegans; the very word ‘vegan’ did not originate however until seven years after The Road to Wigan Pier was published, when the Vegan Society was founded in 1944, as detailed in the previous post.

In his diet and lifestyle, Orwell was very much a traditionalist to the point of loathing American breakfast cereals.  His belief was that people whose diets and lifestyles were not as traditional as his, were off-putting to those whose were, particularly when it came to converting others to socialism, the cause close to his heart.  He considered that socialism attracted every type of eccentric, among them fruit juice drinkers, nudists, sandal-wearers etc.  He was also aware of the religious nonconformist origins, with its ties to the temperance movement, of the vegetarian movement.  For a feel of this see Chapter 11, pp 161 – 162.  See also previous post.

Although socialism, which has nowadays been superseded by ‘progressivism’ (itself full of contradictions), may attract some of the types of people listed by Orwell, it doesn’t follow that it attracts all.  Indeed vegetarian – latterly vegan – ethics, have until very recently tended to attract people with an individualist outlook (nonconformist in a secular sense), rather than a collectivist outlook.  Perhaps Orwell the traditionalist sensed this and disliked it.  As veganism has gradually become more mainstream in the past decade, thanks to various ‘celebrities’ jumping on the bandwagon, then it is now attracting people who are very conformist in outlook, willing to believe all mainstream media propaganda.  But it must be stressed that this is a recent trend.

The England that Orwell wrote about in 1937 was a crowded country with a high level of poverty, with according to his estimate twenty million people not having enough food to eat.  Earlier on in the book, Chapter 6, pp 88 – 93, Orwell highlighted that it is perfectly possible for someone on a low income to eat a healthy diet, but that few people in his opinion would choose to do so.  When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food.  Partly this is due to the belief that wholesome food is dull, or was at the time that he wrote it.  England is now even more crowded, with a high dependence on food imports, but thankfully comparatively few people are starving, though their chosen diets may be nutritionally poor.

Whilst junk food is now in the early 21st Century dirt cheap, to the point that obesity rather than starvation poses the main health risk to those on low incomes, it doesn’t follow that everyone on a low income would choose to eat junk food.  Besides which, plenty of wholesome food is neither dull nor expensive.  From my experience of unemployment and insecure low-paid agency temping, I was still able to eat a healthy vegan diet.  So a junk food diet and related lifestyle are more a case of peer pressure, combined with an unwillingness to educate one’s self.  In both cases it appears to be down to lack of motivation on the basis that there is no long-term future worth improving one’s dietary health for.

In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell foresaw a ‘utopian future’ in which there would be no manual labour, but he believed it ridiculous that in that post-industrial future anyone would lift weights to keep their physique in shape.  He did not foresee other social changes which would accompany de-industrialisation, such as the breakdown of the traditional family unit, the development of the ‘permissive society’, and to a certain degree the erosion of class-consciousness; the last of these being pertinent when considering diet and lifestyle.  Few people nowadays would think that they ‘ought’ not to eat or do something because it falls outside their social class.  Instead, it is unwillingness, rather than any belief that one ‘shouldn’t’ on the basis of socio-economic status and/or origins.

With the benefit of hindsight, one can see that gyms started to become popular during the 1980’s along with the shift in work from manual to non-manual occupations.  In our era, which is not quite the ‘utopian future’, the internet – an invention which Orwell could never have foreseen – has broken down the communications and information barriers to the point where anyone can find information about vegetarianism, veganism, fitness, healthy eating and find an on-line peer group, via social media or a discussion forum.  Overuse of that of that technology is now however leading to a dystopian future of total control.  Ironically, this could mean that dietary intake of junk food becomes limited in the near future, though for much of the past twenty-one months junk food drive-thrus remained open while gyms and other sports facilities were forced to close.

None of this is to denigrate Orwell’s book.  The Road to Wigan Pier is a book that everyone should read.  It is worth taking stock and comparing Orwell’s description of England then to how it is now.  My initial approach to publishing an article on it was too literal, a review: The first part of the book deals with conditions in a overcrowded boarding house.  Such places still exist as ‘guest houses’ with permanent residents, though most of these ‘guest houses’ are unlikely to be quite as bad as those Orwell described.  It was those poor housing conditions Orwell described that were major causes of ill health and hence the obvious lack of willingness of people housed that way to look to improve their diets; rather they sought comfort foods in the same way that many people still do nowadays.

Along with these ‘guest houses’ nowadays are numerous crowded houses or flats in multiple occupation, a trend that has accentuated over the past couple of decades as home ownership has fallen and landlordism has increased.  So progress has gone into reverse.  It was during the tenure of another Mr Blair that this trend took root, New Labour’s New Landlords, the champagne socialists, being responsible.

The small family housing Orwell described has made a comeback in a modern cheaply-built, expensively sold ‘rabbit hutch’ type dwellings including back-to-backs, though they are not sold as such.  With a high proportion of these being landlord owned, Britain post-Blair is almost back to the 1930’s in disparities of wealth, though in absolute terms the vast majority of people are better off now than they would have been then.  But this is straying away from the diet and lifestyle issues highlighted in the paragraphs above.  So rather than my typing a long review of the book, please read it and make your own judgement.

the road to wigan pier

Orwell’s conservative dietary outlook is also outlined in the first paragraph of Decline of the English Murder, first published in 1946.  It is usually available in a compilation form with other insightful essays.

Vegan Journal

Based on an article first published five years ago on an old, now deleted, blog:

This ‘festive’ edition of the Vegan Society’s quarterly magazine was published in December 1989 and was the first one that I bought prior to joining the Vegan Society at the start of 1991.  I don’t recall seeing the previous edition on sale and prior to that I wouldn’t even have been aware that the magazine existed.  I am guessing that this edition is now out of print, so to summarise what was in it, the 1989 AGM Report; an article entitled ‘Animals-in-law’ on their legal status; a ‘Cookless Cuisine’ article on ‘raw foods’; several recipes on the centre pages; a couple of articles on pregnancy and one on acupuncture; two travel articles on visiting Egypt (though why I don’t know as it would have been way beyond the budget of most of the readership); a noticeboard with events and local groups; book reviews; a ‘Postbag’ column of letters; classifieds, as you’d expect (but now absent from current editions of the The Vegan magazine); news featuring various snippets from the mainstream media submitted by readers; and the feature below written by Vegan Society founder Donald Watson on the society’s origins.  I’ve photographed it and shrunk it to such a size that WordPress would upload it. I hope that it is legible enough to read.

donald watson article reduced 2

Reading the article, it would be nice to be able to travel back in time and meet those vegetarians who decided that they would adopt a more consistent expression of that ethic, which became shortened to ‘vegan’ (a word that when I first saw it, I thought was pronounced with a soft ‘g’).  It would also be nice to get a train from Leicester to London and back for five bob!  Watson mentioned that the vegan movement developed directly as a form of natural evolution from the vegetarian movement, which itself had its origins a century earlier in Salford, near Manchester, with the appropriately named Reverend William Cowherd.  So its philosophical origins are with English non-conformism, though the vegan movement’s origins the article stresses were without any religious or political influence.

Leicester itself, where Donald Watson founded the Vegan Society in November 1944, is where the Anti-Vaccination Movement had its origins in 1885, the townsfolk proving that sanitation, not vaccination, was the key to eradicating smallpox.  The Leicester Method as it became known, was not an overtly political movement though it defied the medical establishment for more than six decades until compulsory vaccination came to an end in 1948.  It was an example of how a successful dissenting movement of people power could show a practical non-medical way to eradicate the presence of a harmful virus.  The current resonance of this is obvious, although the SARS-COV2 virus is, for most people, harmless by comparison with smallpox and most viruses for which vaccines have been developed.  How it relates to the Vegan Society is that a city with a tradition of such dissent was fertile territory for a new dissenting movement; and specifically one that advocated a natural wholefood diet (not pharmaceutical intervention) as the key to good health.

The first public vegan meal mentioned therein was in Coventry, another city with a long-standing tradition of non-conformism and where a few decades later the Ecology Party was founded (as I intend to cover in a subsequent blog post).  That the Vegan Society was founded during a time of genuine austerity, including food rationing, it does make me wonder whether it was fair to propose a diet which could be restrictive at a time when the entire British population was subsisting on a restrictive diet.  Or given that by default meat, dairy and poultry products were rationed anyway, mean that abstaining from them entirely would have been less of a challenge than for people brought up as omnivores in times (as now) when carrion and other animal products are widely available and subsidised to be cheap?

Donald Watson’s article also makes no reference to climate-related issues as an influence on the burgeoning vegan movement, although the Winter of 1944/45 was one of the coldest in European history.  But moving on to 1989, when this magazine was published, the ‘global warming’ hypothesis had become a hot topic among many in the ‘green’ movement, which had experienced an upsurge in interest and voting in the European Community elections that year.  Yet it merits no mention at all in the publication.  If it had, it probably wouldn’t sit well with the two travel articles about Egypt!  This doesn’t mean that ecological issues were unimportant to vegans, but they have always been secondary to avoiding the exploitation of animals; back then the Vegan Society saw no need to jump on any ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ bandwagon as a means to attract members.

Interestingly, Donald Watson’s article also makes no mention of avoiding wool, leather and fur for clothing.  This issue is however addressed in one of the letters pointing out the pollution produced during the manufacture of nylon and acrylic fibres, showing that is where the vegan and ‘green’ movements diverge.  The letter also points out that cotton is produced by low-paid workers (often children) on plantations owned by multi-nationals and that Rubber is another Third World cash crop.  However, it should not be a zero-sum game, that avoiding the exploitation of animals ‘necessitates’ the exploitation of people.  It is an argument that many anti-vegans would like to indulge in.  Sweatshirts and jumpers that avoid the use of wool are usually made out of a mix of polyester and cotton.  Also, vegan shoes are made from synthetic material, though at the time that this magazine was published none were available in breathable material.  Back then I had a couple of pairs of cheap plastic shoes, but mostly I wore trainers that were also of synthetic material (as most still predominantly are).

Of the news articles, here’s one that shows how times have changed:

As predicted in the Spring 1989 Vegan, gelatine-free photography is now a reality.  The Canon Ion Camera is in the shops for about £500.  Instead of using film it uses a two-inch floppy disk similar to those used in computers.  Immediately after pictures are taken, the camera is plugged into the aerial socket of a TV and the pictures appear on the screen.  No processing is required and the 50-image capacity £5 floppies can be erased and re-used an almost indefinite number of times.  Although not intended to produce prints, this is now possible using desktop publishing systems.  Meanwhile, Toshiba and Fuji have joined forces to produce the IC Memory Card which uses a card containing 18 individual 1-megabit chips.  Its makers claim that the resulting pictures are superior to those produced by the Canon Ion.  Retailing at around £2,000, the IC Memory Card will be available by Christmas.

Sources: Daily Telegraph 29.9.89 and New Scientist 11.11.89

Oh and if you are curious, I bought it when visiting Durham from shop called Earthcare, which was located in Saddler Street.  The shop has long since closed down.  It was a non-food shop, which sold various ‘green’ and esoteric ‘new age’ type publications; postcards, stationery and possibly a small range of household ‘green’ stuff.  I recall buying one of those big cubes of olive oil soap, which were too big to use and difficult to cut even with a bread knife.  Back then, a few minutes’ walk away in New Elvet, there was also a wholefood shop run as a workers’ co-op, called Maggie’s Farm (named after the Bob Dylan song presumably).  In fact the North East of England was pretty good back then as there were four vegetarian restaurants in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as well as the Beanpot wholefood shop near the bottom of Westgate Hill.

Growing Awareness

My first awareness of the health and ecological benefits of a vegetarian diet came from The People Maintenance Manual, that we had at home.  It was purchased in 1984 or thereabouts I think, from a book club.  At the time, having been brought up as an omnivore, it did not persuade me to go vegetarian; only when I later considered, within the following two years, the morality of whether animals should be killied for food did I consider it.  So it was ethical considerations that finally swayed me.  From its cover you can ascertain what the contents were about.  In dietary terms it advocated ‘cutting down on red meat’ and warned about the growth of obesity in ‘Western’ society.   To the book’s credit, given its mainstream target audience, it had four pages on the benefits of vegetarianism as a chosen way of eating (my emphasis).  On the first of those pages the first paragraph of the main text even states that ‘our teeth evolved to deal with tubers and seeds, not flesh’; this for a book that was first published in 1977 (under the title of Living Well).

It mentions veganism as an ‘extreme’ form of vegetarianism in dietary terms, but also how vegans extend their philosophy (at least it uses that word) to clothing.   Where the ethical issue of not eating animals is concerned, this is dealt with by quoting the Charter of the Vegan Society and by reference to how this fits in with certain religions, eg Jainism.  Up until the time that I read these pages, like most people in the developed world, I lived in a society where vegetarians were either stereotyped as ‘hippies’ or just otherwise treated as figures of ridicule; and vegans were unheard of.  It was the first time that I had ever heard of the word ‘vegan’; at the time and for a few years afterwards I thought that it was pronounced with a soft ‘g’ (as in vegetarian).

The ecological argument is shown on the diagram on the bottom left of the first of these four pages.  In simplistic terms it shows that four hectares of land could feed sixty-one people from soya, twenty-four people from wheat, ten people from maize and two people from meat.  I say that this is simplistic because it might well be based on animals being ‘free range’, not factory farmed and it doesn’t take into account the quality of the land.  It also takes no account that in many cases the land that is used for grazing is that which has been deforested for that purpose and should be reforested to preserve the ecology, not converted to crop growing.  This is especially so in upland areas where deforestation has contributed to the flooding of low-lying areas.  Notwithstanding that, the next time you hear some arsehole sounding off about ‘soyboys’ or even just the general consumption of soya, it is worth making the point how valuable it is as a food source.

pmm land diagram reduced

The book deals with other health, dietary and fitness issues of course; and as a bloke I’ve also always found wearing short shorts like those shown on the cover and within, more comfortable than the awful baggy pantaloons that sometimes nowadays pass for ‘shorts’; these themselves are a symptom of how so many of the population have expanded to fit larger size clothes.  It has an article on three generic body types, endomorph (rounded), ectomorph (lean) and mesomorph (muscular), which seem to have fallen out of use, maybe due to them not necessarily being that accurate.  There is a lot of information on how sedentary ‘Western’ lifestyles, particularly combined with working in a stressful environment and with the availability of ’empty calories’ have contributed to rising obesity levels and with them heart disease, joint problems, kidney failure, diabetes and even gout.  There is an article on what to look for an a gym and other fitness articles are on posture and toning exercises which you can do at home, some of these I did actually start; cycling, swimming, jogging and the value in team sports.  The article on skin health, shows as an example a fair-skinned bloke – yes, wearing short shorts – on a beach, to limit your exposure to the sun.  As the past year and eight months have shown, under-exposure to strong natural sunlight and the Vitamin D that goes with it, can store up health problems by weakening natural immunity to respiratory viruses.

Another article is on childhood and adolescent growth, psychological and social as well as physical.  It makes the link between a poor ‘Western’ diet and stunted growth, though it fails to mention the obvious genetic factor in that short children are usually born to short parents, perhaps a legacy of previous generations experiencing nutritional deficiency.  Much of what it states on sexual and psychological maturity differences between the sexes, that girls mature at an earlier age than boys and look to attract boys a little older than themselves, has been known about since the Year Dot.  Human biology and nature haven’t changed, though nowadays with the onslaught of idiotic intersectional identity politics all that common sense would considered ‘controversial’.  Specific to women are articles on beauty, pregnancy and fundamental checkpoints during the monthly cycle.  It is obvious that a teenage boy would be interested in the photographs of an attractive woman doing a breast self-examination and exercises for breast support, but the accompanying text on breast development, menstruation and other specific gynaecological health issues might at least help to educate the teenage boy, assuming he bothered to read it.

Fat Pride

In Carrott’s Lib, Jasper Carrott ridiculed the claims put forward by the manufacturers of dieting foods with ‘Here, eat these non-fattening biscuits and get slim’.  Weally?  Wobble, wobble, wobble.  Stoutism of the fattest order which, before political correctness, was the sensible response.   Never mind ‘non-fattening biscuits’ but any claims that slimming pills or supplements can work should be treated with the same ridicule or at the very least with the assertion that it’s a scam.  Thus it should have been when a hitherto unknown company started advertising its ‘Weight Loss Collection’ of ‘Meal Replacement & Supplements’.  I can remember such things existing in the 1980’s without anyone getting worked up about them because most people can judge a tenuous advertising claim when they see one.  Read the small print on the ad and you can see that substituting two daily meals of an energy restricted diet with a meal replacement contributes to weight loss.  So in other words if you are already on a calorie-controlled diet, then the ‘meal replacement’ can be part of it.

protein-world-renee somerfield

Back in the 1980’s such ads would have featured ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics.  In this case Protein World chose Renee Somerfield, a naturally slender well-tanned Aussie model with a good figure, a healthy vegan diet and a strict fitness regime.  So instead of bothering with misleading ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics, Protein World chose someone who had no need of a ‘Weight Loss Collection’ to begin with to advertise its products.  Rather than pointing this out, there was an outbreak of feminist fat pride by intellectually challenged protestors.  Their campaign backfired as it was always bound to, giving Protein World more publicity than its owners could ever have dreamed of; unless they had predicted the reaction by knowing that feminists would take the bait.  In the end, it was Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, who fulfilled the feminists’ wishes of body shaming someone not as fat as they are by banning the ads.  He did it to fulfil his reputation for ‘woke’ virtue signalling (for the same reason that he later liked to be shown in a mask on his Twitter account).

Renee Somerfield, as a vegan, found herself having to defend advertising products many of which aren’t, claiming that she used the ones that are suitable for a vegan diet.  The legacy is that many women who aspire to have her figure and her lifestyle are adopting a vegan diet, albeit from a purist perspective for the ‘wrong’ reason; which is better than not doing so at all and those who have experimented with a vegan diet to lose weight might follow it up by looking into the broader ethical issues.  The ‘controversy’ over the adverts however boosted Somerfield’s career, which in the modern era meant more followers for her instagram accounts including the one which she uses for her own branded swimwear.

To be realistic, the vast majority of women are not going at attain a figure like Renee Somerfield’s, with or without ‘slimming’ supplements, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t strive for self-improvement, which six years on from the advertising campaign is its legacy.  Nor however are fair-skinned Brits ever likely to look like a well-tanned Aussie beach bum, without applying fake tan or spending a lot of time under a sunbed.  So you can look at the adverts and say that they are unrealistic and projecting a perfect body image, but most advertising works that way when it is concerned with personal grooming.  It is ironic, but not altogether surprising, that feminists chose to be vindictive towards a successful businesswoman making her own career choices.

Added to which, that the censorship of this advert was successfully driven by Fat Pride identity politics, has meant that any serious discussions of the health implications of obesity get ignored.  In England alone, as of May 2020 according to official statistics on the NHS Digital website, 26% of men and 29% of women were clinically obese, with an additional 41% of men and 30% of women overweight but not (yet) obese.  These are shockingly, but unsurprisingly, high figures and likely to be similar if not worse in other parts of the UK and much of the ‘Western’ world.  A legacy of the Lockdowns undertaken since March of 2020 has been that obesity has increased further.  And yet the supposed pretext for the Lockdowns was a respiratory virus, for which obesity was and remains the main risk factor.

Renee Somerfield’s homeland of Australia had long been on my list of countries that I would like to have visited; late October / early November may have been a good time to visit, in terms of the temperature and strength of the sun not being too oppressive.  However, as has become increasingly apparent, both at state and central government level, Australia is now one of the most oppressive countries among the former democracies of the developed world.  Its ruling politicians are psychopaths and its police are brutal fascist thugs.  It is a country that needs to be liberated and the very last thing that it needs is the idiotic intersectional identity politics of ‘body positivity’, whereby the fit and healthy must be sacrificed to the pharmaceutical industry to supposedly ‘protect’ the fat and unhealthy, which is the consequence of the ‘vaccine’ agenda.

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