This weekend, British Summer Time will end once again and the clocks will go back one hour. But in 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic, has time ceased to mean anything at all?

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Fonda’s watch from Easy Rider (Columbia Pictures, 1969)

At the beginning of Easy Rider, sitting astride his distinctive chopper motorbike, Peter Fonda pulls off his wristwatch, looks at it disdainfully, and then tosses it into the desert. The watch symbolises ‘the man’, the restrictions that society imposes, division and regulation of daily life and experience — everything that the Woodstock generation opposed. …


Can we Build Back Better taking inspiration from the iconic War of the Worlds character?

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Photo by the author ©MichaelAbberton 2020

At the beginning of the pandemic, one of the books that went right back to the top of the bestseller list was War of the Worlds by HG Wells. Its descriptions of the end of the British Empire, with the then unthinkable devastation that British soldiers had meted out on other cultures and foreign cities being dealt on the familiar streets and suburbs of London. …


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The poster for the event

Another antimasker rally in London, this one marketed as “medic-focussed with expert speakers”. But who exactly are these so-called experts, and what is their agenda? If you are genuinely concerned simply with civil liberties and the way the pandemic is being handled, please think again before giving your support — and your money — to these people.

Once again the rally was MC’d by suspended nurse Kate Shemirani. I wrote about her previously and you can read that . …


Who are the organisers, and what is their agenda?

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Web banner for the event — note reference to New World Order

Last Saturday (29 Aug) there was a protest in London attended by thousands of people who believe that COVID-19 is a hoax, who refuse to wear masks or social distance. The press have normalised the protest to an extent, some outlets making clear that the beliefs and conspiracy theories these people hold to be true are nonsense. However, this was very far from normal and the far right influence and links associated with this protest have been largely ignored. Just who are “Unite for Freedom?” Let’s unmask the anti-maskers.

Kate (Kay) Shemirani was the MC for the event. She was an RN but was in July for spreading false information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Amongst her other work as an anti-mask and antivax ‘influencer, she’s also the ‘Health and Wellness’ expert for the US alt-right media The Sons of Liberty. …


Can anyone sing this song whilst recognising the history of the British Empire?

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Empire? photo ©MichaelAbberton 2020

The row over the jingoistic anthem ‘Rule, Britannia!’ appears wholly to be a construction of the British right-wing press, but one that the Prime Minister saw to fit to ‘personally intervene’ — when he didn’t think that the A-level scandal (the biggest government education failure in decades) warranted the same level of attention. It serves as a convenient distraction from the latest government failures, and appeals to the Tories right-wing base. It’s another opportunity to divide — rather than unite — along lines of class, race and nationality. Surely then, even by writing this piece I’m falling into the government trap myself? …


Science Denial and Conspiracy Theory all in one

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Anti-masker. Another neologism with its genesis in the US, that is now on the rise in the UK, as we belatedly adopt the same minimum safety measures that have been in place across Europe and elsewhere for months. But who are the anti-maskers, why are they determined to ignore the science and wealth of evidence from other countries on the efficacy of these measures? And why has the simple issue of wearing a mask for twenty minutes at the supermarket been blown completely out of proportion and politicised?

Anti-masker has a ring of other recent terms, such as birther (someone who maintains Obama was not born in the US), 9/11 truthers ( who maintain that the World Trade Centre atrocity was a false-flag operation), climate science denier, science denier or even simply denier (someone who believes climate change isn’t real or a hoax). Looking at the posts on social media, it seems that one follows the other in a surprising way, so some anti-maskers are also climate deniers, and even extend in some cases to resort to the same sort of justification. …


We assume that those we consent to govern over us share a common decency and fundamental moral values — what happens when they reveal that is not the case?

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Niccolò Machiavelli — remind you of anyone?

Dominic Cummings broke quarantine. That’s indisputable. What is claimed since is that, although uncounted thousands of families found themselves in similar or much worse circumstances and observed the regulations, the option was always there, for everyone, to ignore the rules based solely on their own judgement at the time.

This argument is clearly nonsense, and shows complete contempt for the public. Numerous instances have been posted on social media of direct government messaging, or of the Prime Minister or members of his cabinet stating repeatedly that this was absolutely not the case. In the past when ministers or senior government officials were caught out, revealed to be hypocritical or worse, and shamed by public opinion they would apologise and resign or in other cases, be sacked. …


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It’s easy to see the parallels in lifestyle between Moon’s lone worker and those of us in living solitary isolation — but we must take inspiration from Sam as we prepare to return to the world. (Warning — Spoilers!)

Moon (Duncan Jones, 2009), is an SF film set in the not too distant future. Sam Bell (played by Sam Rockwell) is a blue-collar working man supervising a lunar mining operation, with his only companion being an industrial robot, Gertie (voiced by Kevin Spacey). …


The government seems to be expecting frontline NHS personnel to sacrifice themselves — and is creating a moral obligation that they can’t refuse.

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Last week the government and others asked the population to open their doors and windows and applaud to show their appreciation for the NHS. The Prime Minister and Chancellor stood outside No 10 and joined in, and there were numerous videos of the event that were both heart-warming and eerie. Many NHS workers went online afterwards to say how much they appreciated this gesture.

However, there were some doctors and nurses who said thanks, but… where the but pointed out that for the past several years whilst the Tories have been in power, the NHS has been catastrophically under-funded and under-resourced, with the business model and ongoing privatisation directly downgrading the health service’s capability to deal with a regular winter flu outbreak, let alone a global pandemic. …


What can the the apocalyptic Sci-Fi of the Seventies teach us during the COVID-19 crisis?

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As a child of the sixties and a life-long SF fan, I grew up with all the dystopian worlds that the movies and TV put in front of me. The main threat in the SF of the sixties changed from the avatars of communism and nuclear war of the previous decade to nature itself, as the earth seemingly fought back against human overpopulation and environmental pollution. Regrettably, these warnings went unheeded.

Now with Coronavirus we find ourselves actually living through one of those scenarios, which has revealed particularly in western neo-liberal and capitalist countries that the system upon which our society is based is simply not up to the task. …

About

Michael Abberton

Tomahawk thrower, writer, drummer, activist, Japanese speaker and all around good guy. For fiction, please go to

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