Swine flu: can we have our £1 billion back now, please?

Journalist dies, oinking horribly, after failing to take Swine Flu seriously. That was the title I gave one of my first Telegraph blogs – April 27th 2009 – well aware that I was offering up a tremendous hostage to fortune. My how they would all have laughed darkly if I’d caught swine flu and died! But I didn’t, did I? And nor strangely did you.

Here are some of the comments that appeared below the blog:

Here’s a very angry science expert who signs herself Kaytie:

“James Delingpole is a dolt and…it’s well worth spending quite a bit of resource on stockpiling Tamiflu and Relenza even when the stockpiles have a shelf-life and have to be regularly replaced.”

Here’s Redking:

None of us can put a pounds and pence value on human life. Our politicians have to make that call to protect our lives.

Here’s an oh-so-clever-fellow called Quintessence:

As for the rest of you, well: it’s very different from SARS because SARS was rather difficult to catch. It’s very different from avian flu in the Far East because it is almost certainly transmissible from person to person. It’s too late to stop its global spread. However, the death rate so far appears to be about 2%, which is not (some may say unfortunately) going to make much of a dent in the grotesque human overpopulation of the biosphere. Unless it mutates into a real nasty, of course – you never know with viruses.

Here’s Gibbotron:

You have to be kidding! This is a serious issue, its not made up to cover economic problems! And even if it was, i suppose thats what politicians do – they play politics. However any influenza outbreak on a level that is global should be taken very seriously. Just because there has been a global financial crash does not mean the governments of the world are now trying to rob the people even more by clamping down on flu! Get a grip.

and here’s Kaytie, again, losing it big time – as is her wont.

“So just go out and enjoy your life kaytie. Life is to short to wrap yourself in cotton wool.”

Excuse me? Because I debunk the rubbish that Delingpole writes I’m somehow wrapped in cotton wool? How did you reach that conclusion?

In any case, how is being reckless with all our lives “going out and enjoying ourselves”? SARS was nipped in the bud and fewer than a thousand people died. If the likes of Delingpole are in charge then millions would die through complacency.

Personally, I have faith in the WHO, the CDC and the others that did an pretty good job at protecting us from SARS. I do think they will get control of this outbreak. But just remember that the fight against SARS was undermined at the start by the Chinese Government who did a Delingpole and tried to play down the danger.

Am I revisiting this subject to crow about the fact that a minority of blog readers are libtard berks who haven’t a clue what they’re talking about, whereas I do because I’m right about everything? Well, yes. Partly, obviously.

Much more importantly, though, I want to celebrate the intelligence and insight of those people who were right. Besides me (hurray for me!) they include this perspicacious commentator David Bevir:

Why not hedge our bets and buy shares in AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline with the handouts from our generous government, aka our own money ?

and this one called Britishpatriot

How to make a Killing on the Stock Market,

first Create your very own Pandemic.

Next sell the Vaccine to the Masses.


These two commenters suspected that some sort of scam was probably involved. And this story suggests that they were dead right:

The swine flu outbreak was a ‘false pandemic’ driven by drug companies that stood to make billions of pounds from a worldwide scare, a leading health expert has claimed.

Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, accused the makers of flu drugs and vaccines of influencing the World Health Organisation’s decision to declare a pandemic.

This led to the pharmaceutical firms ensuring ‘enormous gains’, while countries, including the UK, ’squandered’ their meagre health budgets, with millions being vaccinated against a relatively mild disease

We’ll probably never know how much the whole scare cost us, but the unneeded drugs alone cost us £1 billion.

Dr Wodarg’s claims come as it emerged the British government is desperately trying to offload up to £1billion of swine flu vaccine, ordered at the height of the scare.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson last year ordered the NHS to plan for up to 65,00 deaths” Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson last year ordered the NHS to plan for up to 65,000 deaths.

The Department of Health warned of 65,000 deaths, set up a special advice line and website, suspended normal rules so anti-flu drugs could be given out without prescription and told health and local authorities to prepare for a major pandemic.

Planners were told to get morgues ready for the sheer scale of deaths and there were warnings that the Army could be called in to prevent riots as people fought to obtain drugs.

But with fewer than 5,000 in England catching the disease last week and just 251 deaths overall, Dr Wodarg has branded the H1N1 outbreak as ‘one of the greatest medical scandals of the century’.

Christopher Booker has written a piece today excoriating the Government “scare machine” which helps promulgate scandals like this. But while, of course, our fullest disgust should be reserved for government Safety Nazis, corrupt WHO officials, and Big Pharma profiteers, let us at least save a raspberry or two for the useful idiot members of the public who helped make their actions possible.

I refer of course, to the type of weapons-grade prats whose favourite radio programme is Radio 4’s You And Yours; the ones who believe fervently in the importance of the “precautionary principle”, and that no Government intrusion can ever be too great or too expensive if it’s done in the name of public safety. Naming no names, obviously, Kaytie.