Are we living in China?

I was watching Julia Hartley-Brewer in conversation with Peter Whittle, complaining about the attack on fundamental freedoms by Covid lockdowns, pubs closed by experts who knew nothing about anything, and depressing public compliance,. “Are we living in China?” Julia asked.

They both spoke as if this was something wholly new, that only started in 2020.

All I could think was that this has been going on for a very long time. It all started with the 2007 UK public smoking ban. That’s when fundamental freedoms came under attack. That’s when it stopped being possible to just sit in a pub and drink a pint of beer and smoke a cigarette – something people had been doing for centuries.

But neither Julia Hartley-Brewer nor Peter Whittle mentioned the draconian 2007 smoking ban. And this is probably because neither of them smokes, and so neither of them were affected by the ban, and in fact maybe they even approved of it.

But really that’s when the loss of freedoms and the public compliance started, and Public Health experts started dictating what everyone had to do. There’s been 13 years of it.

Julia Hartley-Brewer and Peter Whittle only noticed it when the insidious process started to affect them.

At one point Julia Hartley-Brewer said that we should demand that every single last one of our freedoms had to be restored. If so, then that should include the simple right to sit in a pub and drink a pint of beer and smoke a cigarette.

But does she want that too? Given that she never mentioned the smoking ban, I’d guess that she’s actually quite happy with it.

It’s too late now to recover these lost freedoms. The Public Health juggernaut has picked up momentum over the past 13 years, and it’s become unstoppable. Lockdowns are just an extension of the same mentality. And now they’re even talking about “passports” for people who have been given the (ineffective) vaccination. The web of social control is getting tighter and tighter.

Are we living in China?

Well, yes, we are. And we have been for a long time.

Maybe salvation will come from China. I was reading about what’s happening there.

Once a fervent Marxist, I had parted ways with Marxism and increasingly looked to Western thought for answers to China’s problems. Once a proud defender of official policy, I had begun to make the case for liberalization. Once a loyal member of the CCP, I was secretly harboring doubts about the sincerity of its beliefs and its concern for the Chinese people.

It seems there is dissent in China against the Communist Party. It’s not quite the same as Public Health, but if there can be dissent there then maybe there can be dissent here too.

About Frank Davis

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25 Responses to Are we living in China?

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    And now in San Fransisco, original home of the smoking ban “San Francisco bans smoking inside apartments; pot smoking OK” at

  2. Mick Walker says:

    Maybe we’re all guilty of not noticing devastating bans that don’t affect us?
    Hunting with dogs, for example, in 2005.
    Not something I’d ever do, but an integral part of many people’s lives.
    No doubt there were others before that.

    • Rose says:

      I noticed the “magic mushroom” ban in 2005, I was worried in case they might be growing in my lawn.
      I can’t tell a mushroom from a toadstool and am scared of them all, unless they are packaged and neatly labelled in a supermarket.

      But as we came to find out, ill thought-out and spiteful laws were a regular thing in the Blair years.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I know what magic mushrooms look like.

        A long time ago, I even tried some.

        • Rose says:

          As luck would have it, Frank, at the time I had a friend who kindly checked my lawn for me and set my mind at rest as there weren’t any.

          “Exceptions will be made for people who unknowingly pick the mushrooms in the wild or find them growing in their garden, and critics have argued the act will be difficult to police”

          Well, would you trust them to keep to their word?

          Life under Labour: the worst of worlds

          “From MPs’ expenses to our over-regulated, badly-governed society. Is it any wonder we British are so angry?”

          “We are snooped on more than the average North Korean, harried by marauding armies of parking enforcers and wheel-clampers; pestered by health fascists and safety obsessives and shaken by speed humps. If we smoke we are told where to puff; it we drink we are made to feel guilty; if we drive a big car we are pariahs; if we hunt we have been turned into criminals; if we make an “inappropriate” remark we can expect a visit from the police; if we stand up to hooligans we can end up in court.

          Innocent people have been put on a DNA database meant for criminals and will stay there for some time even after the European Court of Human Rights said they should come off – which is a bit rich given that this government introduced the Human Rights Act in the first place to wave its progressive credentials around.”

          “This Government has brought in more legislation than any of its predecessors. Since 1997, the Home Office alone has introduced 50 Bills, launched more than 100 consultation papers, made at least 350 regulations and created an astonishing 271 new offences.
          Overall, more than 3,000 new criminal offences have been created by Labour – 1,000 of them punishable by imprisonment.

          Here are just a few of the things you could do before 1997 but can’t now – many of them, it must be said, forced on us by EU directives, though our government in most cases agreed them.

          “Smoke in a pub or on a railway platform in the open air in the middle of the countryside, or at a covered bus stop, or in your own car if it is used for work, or in your own house if it is used as an office where outsiders may come.

          Own a horse, donkey or Shetland pony without possessing a passport carrying a picture of the animal.
          Ride off with a pack of hounds in pursuit of a fox or stag.”

          When we become a truly sovereign country again, there is an awful lot of damage to undo.

      • RdM says:

        Psilocybe semilanceata seems to be the most common and potent.
        I’ve only seen them once, somebody had saved some soaked with liquid honey.

        As for legality, well, yeah, nah, you’d have to be in possession, and if they were growing wild in your lawn that wouldn’t seem to be an offense in itself.
        Until you picked them.

        More …

      • RdM says:

        has a good more few identification photos.

        And there’s a UK map …

        View at

  3. Lepercolonist says:

    We need a Mikhail Gorbachev to reform our public health department. Smoking perestroika. More openness for our citizens in the West.

  4. Frank Davis says:

    Brexit leader Nigel Farage has condemned the government’s “massive increase” in state control, warning that the British people could face “long-term battles” to win back their freedoms.

    Speaking to Brexit Watch, Mr Farage said: “I think we’ve been through one of the worst years of government any of us have ever experienced in our lives. In many ways, the pandemic has shown us just what’s wrong with the country. Hopeless quangos that move at the speed of a snail, government decision-making based more on followership that it is based on leadership, u-turn after u-turn… lockdown after lockdown, and a massive increase in state power and state control.”

  5. Clicky says:

  6. Clicky says:

  7. Clicky says:

  8. jaxthefirst says:

    I quite like JHB. I warmed to her when she announced some years before the referendum that she had, over time, moved from being an avid supporter of the EU to being deeply skeptical about it. Soon after that she was moved from the prime lunchtime spot on LBC, where she was then working, to another, less popular time, so I knew that she must have been saying some things that were upsetting the very people who I like to see upset! I suspect that, sadly, like most non-smokers, she just doesn’t see the connection between the massive power over-reach that’s happening now and the fact that the smoking ban was a kind of “softening up” or “testing of the water” of this kind of infringement of liberties. Because the more I see of how they are going about these lockdowns/restrictions – the guilt, the hectoring ads, the encouragement of the goody-two-shoeses of this world to nag and complain about those who won’t do as they are told, the “for the sake of” some innocent bystander who can never be personally identified, the subtle emotional blackmail on employers and business owners to enforce the regulations – the more similar the whole “process” of the two starts to look.

    Of course, the same large numbers of people are falling for it, just as they did the passive smoking scam. And because they fell for it the first time, and still haven’t realised they’ve been scammed (or can’t bear to admit it), they’ve fallen for it again. My first comment to my (non-smoking) OH when his beloved pubs were first closed up was “Welcome to the world of the smoker, sweetie. Don’t think it’ll get better, or they’ll come to their senses. It won’t, and they won’t. And they’ll grip onto this opportunity to finish off real, wet-led pubs once and for all like grim death. Just you wait and see.” And so it was. After the second, shorter lockdown, guess which institutions are still closed, or are only allowed to open to sell stuff (soft drinks and food) that virtually none of their customers want to buy? Oh, yes – pubs! The wet-led ones, of course, not the restaurants-with-a-pubby-name, which are no longer the same animal at all, no matter what they like to think they are. After all the hoo-ha about the Obesity Epidemic, it turns out that drinkers were next in line after smokers for the “naughty step” treatment, after all! As predicted. What a shame they can’t see how they’ve been duped. How people can’t see – particularly given the wording of the 2006 Health Act – that the smoking ban was just the first hammer blow to the nails in the coffin of the wet-led pub trade never ceases to astonish me. None so blind as those who will not see, I guess.

    Talking of the media, I’m actually a bit surprised that the massed ranks of Remainers haven’t been shouting from the rooftops about the UK being the first country in the world to get a Covid vaccine, and pointing out that we were able to move so swiftly on this precisely because we are now 99% out of the EU and were thus able to insist that all of our medical research resources were devoted to developing the jab as quickly as possible. If we’d still been in the EU we’d still be waiting – as the whole of the rest of Europe is – for the EMA to complete its massively cumbersome and lengthy “consultation” procedures before getting access to a vaccine. I’m not surprised the Merkel’s response to the news was that she felt that the “more cautious European approach was better.” How could she say anything else? But she must have been furious! Like you, Frank, I’m not convinced that the vaccine is anything more than flag-waving, but at least the fact that we were able to speed through the necessary research and development to get it so quickly is indicative of exactly the kind of control over our own processes (and the ability to move swiftly and nimbly when necessary – something which none of the European agencies seem to be able to do) which so many of us voted to leave for. Which bodes well for the future, once we have some real, grown-up politicians in charge who can speed through things that we really do need. At least it shows that we now have that mechanism in place and, better still, the freedom to use it.

  9. Joe L. says:

    Just like with smoking bans, it’s beyond obvious that mask-wearing has absolutely nothing to do with health, and everything to do with social engineering:

    Disney World is seemingly editing virtual masks onto parkgoers who take theirs off for ride photos

    People visiting Disney World are required to wear face masks at all times — even for photos.

    Though there are various consequences for removing masks, some people have attempted to take theirs off for on-ride photos. Now, however, it seems that those who do so will have their faces virtually covered by digital masks, as reported by WDW News Today on Wednesday.

    The report was published after a man named Tony Townsend reportedly shared a photo of parkgoers on the Animal Kingdom ride Dinosaur to a theme-park Facebook group. In the photo, which has been reshared by WDW News Today, a parkgoer in the last row of the ride’s vehicle can be seen with what looks like a digital mask across her face.

    Disney World previously enforced its face-covering rules by not allowing maskless riders to purchase ride photos that showed them without masks, according to WDW News Today. But because some ride vehicles allow for multiple groups to ride together, that meant those who did wear masks could not purchase their photos either if one person removed theirs.

    As the publication noted, the new, edited photos require “additional processing,” so there can be “a bit of a delay for them to finally appear” in Disney World’s app.

    Some people applauded the theme park for what they feel is a “brilliant” idea.

    Others said the effort to edit digital masks onto parkgoers is dangerous, and argued that Disney World should remove visitors who don’t follow mask rules instead as they could potentially spread COVID-19.

    We’re quickly approaching the point where living in China might actually be better than living here.

  10. Clicky says:

  11. Mark Jarratt says:

    Extremely odd, barking mad, and irrational. Well reported thanks Joe L. Does everyone have to wear Mickey Mouse ears too… 🐹

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