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The Never Normal is Forever
UK Gov aims to Embed Control through 'New Identities'
Case finding, border controls and “supported isolation” are among the permanent changes to life proposed by psychologists advising the UK government. Their latest report proposes a permanent change to behaviour in schools, work and public spaces to embed Covid permanently in the culture, with new routines, norms and identities.
An influential member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) wants to change our lives in the same way that masks change our relationships, according to a report published by the British Psychological Society.
Fun stuff on the way includes:
Casefinders (witchfinders) general - ‘No-one is safe until everyone is safe'
Data sharing by workplace, bank, school, doctor, shop and cop.
“Co-production" of people; corporations changing your behaviour
Time-series trials on the population
Grading and filtering people by type
"Embedding" Covid-safe behaviour
It underlines how risk aversion is becoming a universal mindset as banks, pharma, social media and the defence sector continue their drive for control.
Terror is being used to manipulate the public, but officials are also giving into fear and becoming increasingly aggressive, even hysterical, as they struggle to manage outcomes, as demanded by the powers that call the tune.
Sep 7, 2021
If you are hoping the Covid shot — or even the vaccine passport — will return life to its old ways, think again. Governments are planning for the Never Normal.
Psychologists want to embed population control measures over the long term. They propose to establish new identities and create a completely different culture.
The proposals are revealed in a report by Prof Susan Michie, member of the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on Aug 31, 2021.
She was widely quoted in a recent television interview as saying face coverings and social distancing should become permanent. Now we have proof of the plan.
Her latest research suggests that everyday institutions like schools, shops and offices can change public behaviour through “interventions” that are Normal, Easy, Attractive, and Routine (NEAR). Public and private bodies will monitor how behaviour shifts.
Reading between the lines it suggests companies in many different fields — the military, industrial, banks, pharma, social media — will collect data on how people respond while grading and filtering people by type.
Citizens will be subject to randomized trials, natural experiments and time series studies — perhaps like the pilot programme in South Australia that calls people randomly and demands they supply facial recognition, proof of location and vaccination.
The report talks of “co-production and extensive stakeholder engagement,” meaning corporations manipulate the people with and on behalf of the government — in other words, state-corporatism.
The University College, London, professor in psychology and language sciences is part of the team behind the use of fear to make people surrender their freedom and submit to control on the pretext of Covid, a pandemic that in 2020 killed no more than the seasonal flu.
The minutes of SAGE from Mar 22, 2020 say: ‘The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent' by ‘using hard-hitting emotional messaging.’
Michie’s latest proposals include Covid-safe schools, offices and public places while creating the “motivation needed to underpin those behaviours.” Embedding these into everyday routines will require “education, regulation, communications and social marketing.”
In another television appearance Michie became angry when asked about her four-decades-long membership of the Communist Party. The Independent newspaper criticised the presenter’s impertinence, describing Richard Madeley as a dangerous man. 
This protective attitude towards Michie comes not merely from her status as a government adviser but from her establishment connections.
This communist is no radical outsider. Oxford-educated, her father was a pioneer of artificial intelligence and her mother of in-vitro fertilization. Her career bears the hallmarks of an insider’s progression to influential positions: researching psychology and genetics at a conservative university college closely tied to the military, King’s, London. Her focus was public attitudes to genetic testing and informed choice. She is head of the Human Behaviour-Change Project funded by the Wellcome Trust.
In 2019 she won the British Psychological Society Research Board’s Lifetime Achievement Award for creating a coherent language of behaviour change. Remember that when you read below about Gary Sidley’s challenge to the BPS about ethics.
Michie’s party allegiance might be seen in a different light — more technocrat and social-genetic engineer than red flag-waving champion of the proletariat.
In fairness to Michie, it tells us rather more about the true nature and intent of government that it feels not a flicker of unease about communist affiliation when that person is working towards the same goals of control of the people.
Michie’s research, Staying ‘Covid-safe’: Proposals for embedding behaviours that protect against Covid-19 transmission in the UK, written with five others, begins from the assumption that Covid is forever, because of variants. 
Covid-protective behaviours will be needed on top of ‘case finding, supported isolation and border control’. The resonance of the phrase ‘case finding’ is clearly lost on the authors. Perhaps they would not flinch at the appointment of a ‘witch finder general’. 
The report says motivations and nudges should come at people from multiple directions and sources, and be coordinated and sustained.
The wording of the research on Google Scholar is uninspiring but the conclusions are worrying by their apparent superficiality. For example:
A potentially powerful way of embedding representations of new phenomena is through objectification (Devine-Wright & Devine-Wright, 2009). This involves using a concrete, easily understood metaphor (Wagner, Elejabarrieta, & Lahnsteiner, 1995). For instance, the process of aerosol spread can be likened to inhaling someone else’s cigarette smoke and hence generate understanding of the contexts where this is likely and the measures necessary to avoid it.
Superficial because the measure is not important. Like mandating a mask, it is designed to nudge an outcome.
Prompting behaviour needs a simplistic, easily-digestible story line as pretext. What’s odd about Michie’s report is that it’s full of shallow motivations. Each has a seemingly obvious purpose: you wash hands to keep them clean.
Each of these strictures, like the orders of a nanny, is intended to provoke compliance and a change in character — but the reason is not stated. The report is silent about the end goal. You might think nudges are the visible tip of a deep and complex policy. The aim of each nudge, especially the compounded result of numerous outcomes, is unstated to the population.
Mitigation comes up time and again in the Michie report. Public policy, from education to the work place, is increasingly concerned with risk avoidance.
Some time in the past decade German schools celebrated a year in which not a single pupil had drowned. Did they teach them all to swim, a heroic achievement? No. Schools had taught children that water was dangerous: keep away.
The same mindset pervades Covid policy. One gets the impression that if there was no deadly virus it would be necessary to invent one.
Officials, too, are flustered by fear. They show signs of becoming more aggressive, hysterical and changeable, their diktats change like a whipsaw.
Could it be that fear and mania are the handmaids of power? It may seem odd in those who claim to rule — but we are talking servant and master and the will to serve. Is that why the soldier and the secret policeman feel such affinity for the Communist that they work together: because they share the same fear and worship of power?
It certainly would help explain how 30 years of health and safety reached the point where firefighters and police are forbidden to save lives if it even slightly endangers their own. That has morphed into the Covid slogan of keeping everybody safe.
The will to fear
Like many Romantics, Hegel worshipped power, as Karl Popper observed:
It is difficult to overlook an element of hysteria in this theory of human relations and their reduction to mastership and servitude. I hardly doubt that Hegel’s method of burying his thoughts under heaps of words, which one must remove in order to get to his meaning (as a comparison between my various quotations and the original may show) is one of the symptoms of his hysteria; it is a kind of escape, a way of shunning the daylight.
The plans, but also the words, of government psychologists are a clue to their minds. SAGE Environmental Modelling Group (UK Government, 2020) describes its enhanced risk management approach thus:
Employing multiple levels of protection, in organizational safety, a key principle, characterized by the ‘Swiss cheese’ metaphor, involves recognizing that any one layer of protection will allow failures but if one applies multiple layers, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, one can build a more resilient system that minimizes the risk of failure while maximizing the ability to operate effectively (Reason, 2021).
Is government becoming more hysterical and fearful? People have been prompted to give up their rights by its deliberate promotion of fear. But is SAGE, along with bureaucrats in the Joint Biosecurity Centre reporting to UK Health Security Agency (both established in Apr 2021) a reflection of increasingly risk-averse government.
‘No-one is safe until everyone is safe – why we need a global response to COVID-19,’ says UNESCO 
O is for Outcomes
The latest bureaucratic fashion is managing by outcomes. Implicit is the aversion to anything that deviates from that outcome.
Picking a site by random, I read that “Good leaders recognise that they cannot actually manage people. Such an approach would be patronising, because people manage themselves… They show people the picture of success.”
A second characteristic of our Politically Correct age is that you dare not issue orders. Telling people what to do invites resistance, criticism and accusations that might entail racism and misogyny. So nudges are the only way.
Yet resistance and push back is vital. It is a real-time, human indicator that you’ve got it right or wrong. That is the advantage of managing by tasks, in other words, not being afraid to interact with people.
Managing people is overt. Managing outcomes is covert. So who is driving policy? We have a new generation in government who grew up with Political Correctness. They were taught that opinions can reflect your privilege. It is better not to have them. You still have goals and aims but these will emerge by consensus.
Where is the mechanism for consensus? It is not seen. If you read The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab you will see much talk of stakeholders but no decision-making mechanism that channels the will of the people. Social policy belongs to committees of experts. It is preordained.
There is still a management class, with a class interest. They just disguise it behind adopted attitudes, a chummy diminutive of their name and adopt what they imagine is a classless accent. Tony Blair blazed the trail 25 years ago, after Richard Branson.
Ethics of fear
So much for government and their advisers. What of the people. It is common to hear people say folk have gone mad — that they are crazy Covid deniers or, from the other side, that social distancing and masks are voodoo.
Gary Sidley, former NHS consultant clinical psychologist, in a recent post reminds us that people have not gone mad nor had their brains rewired as vindictive germaphobes. They have been made fearful on purpose.
Governments admit using psychology to manipulate behaviour and nudge units to drive fear and emotion, specifically playing on the ego to make people feel virtuous while seeking to blame others.
Sidley has challenged the British Psychological Society to defend the ethics of its members, several of whom sit on the SAGE committee. In response the BPS ethics chair insists nudges are indirect rather than covert, and that social decision making does not require individual consent. The BPS's third defence is 'because Covid'. 
The deliberate use of fear is beyond doubt. We have the SPI-B advice to SAGE of March 22nd, 2020, in which the use of fear is explicit. The BPS counts several of its members on SPI-B.
We have the MINDSPACE document (2010) in which it is admitted, “Citizens may not fully realise that their behaviour is being changed… Clearly, this opens Government up to charges of manipulation.”
Psychology of Management
An Oct 2020 article that should have got more attention at the time was Sidley's critique of the Behavioural Insights Team that operates as a private company selling to governments the tools of social engineering and political manipulation. 
BIT was conceived in the UK Prime Minister's Office a decade ago, which alone rings alarms because that is not parliament, it's not even the civil service. It is upstream of the legislature and the judiciary and most of the executive and closer to the crown.
The Cabinet Secretary at the time was Augustine ‘Gus’ O'Donnell, who served with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron. O'Donnell is described in Wikipedia as a leader in the wellbeing and happiness movements a founder of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. 
An “independent collaboration centre,” it “shares robust and accessible wellbeing evidence” to improve decision-making through community action and policy making.
What Works is a network of charities in education, ageing and health that are funded by government grants, such as £125m from the Department for Education that goes to the Education Endowment Foundation that was founded in 2011 by What Works Education’s lead charity, The Sutton Trust, in partnership with Impetus Trust. The Centre for Ageing Better, a charitable foundation, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, and part of the government’s What Works Network.
Clearly it is profitable to get paid to make the world a better place, especially if you trade in platitudes. But it serves another more nefarious purpose. It makes it impossible to see where policy comes from. One cannot separate government from charity yet it appears that government is paying those charities to nudge policy in the direction the government wants.
Except that it isn't government — it's a small group of people around the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Cabinet Office (CO). I looked up the definition of government and was surprised. I was sure from my British Constitution O-level that government would have been defined something like the administration of a nation and its people, usually by elected and hereditary authorities acting through institutions that answer to the people through a written or unwritten constitution.
This is the decade of rewriting dictionaries. Google famously redefined fascism. Regardless of where you stand politically the tendency is clear. 
The top result for government on Google is “The definition of government is the exercise of control or authority over a group of people.” That is not government but governance… cybernetics, in other words.
The document MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy (Dolan et al., 2010). was – produced by the Institute for Government, ‘the leading think tank working to make government more effective.’ Its main funder is the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. Its board includes Lord Sainsbury, Sir Andrew Cahn, Dame Sandra Dawson, Lord Currie of Marylebone, Miranda Curtis, Lord Heseltine, Susan Hitch, Sir Andrew Likierman, John Sharkey, Jonathan Stephens, Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, Lord Simon of Highbury. 
Martin Burch and Ian Holliday in 1999 concluded that Britain is run by an executive known to insiders as The Centre and located in a few narrow streets of Whitehall around Downing Street. A few people heading the PMO and CO shape, coordinate and dispatch policy in Britain, relying also on government Law Officers, the Treasury and the Whips' Office (who enforce party discipline). 
This would explain how a small cadre was able so quickly to secure power in Britain and other countries in early 2020, waving aside parliaments and legislatures and exerting power through compliant courts and judges.
Just because you can do something does not mean you should. A simplistic statement yet in 2021 a necessary objection.
Rather than persuade people to act rationally upon the evidence, nudges act upon us “automatically, below the level of conscious thought and reason.”
MINDSPACE is an acronym for these nudges, which include norms, defaults, salience (novel or personally relevant), and priming (subconscious cues).
The key nudges in Event Covid are MEAN -- (influential) messenger, ego, affect (emotions) and norms.
Consider Ego. Psychologists know we take credit when things go right and blame others for bad outcomes. They call it the “fundamental attribution error” yet psychologists have exploited the ego to push people to comply with Covid restrictions.
“If you go out you can spread it. People will die.”
Politically correct Karens are the result, fulminating with virtue, and narky men with high-pitched voices collaring felons in piercing tones. Sidley writes:
"For 10 consecutive week… neighbours stood on their door steps whooping, clapping and clanging pots and pans, smiling at each other in mass recognition of their self-righteousness; meanwhile, those who opted not to participate in this pre-orchestrated show of virtue often felt like skulking Beelzebubs by remaining indoors."
“Don’t kill granny with coronavirus,” warns Matt Hancock, appealing to the aforementioned attribution error that encourages people to blame all deaths on granny killers.
Turning to Affect, psychologists know that the “mood congruence effect” will produce memories or expectations in keeping with our current state of mind,’ Sidley writes.
The Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) advised SAGE to use hard-hitting emotional messaging to raise the “perceived level of personal threat.”
The state-corporatist media relayed a death tally that had no context, an ominous, rising toll, with images of masked people gasping as they lay dying. Soon a third of people was telling pollsters that six to 10 per cent of the British population had died of Covid as of Aug 2020 — four million or more.
Norms are the final pillar of MEAN. An uncompliant minority will go its own way unless there is strong, visible evidence of obedience: masking. Very few people are willing to show their face publicly without a mask. It presented as a small gesture of politeness or care, while the failure to comply is framed as callous disregard for the lives of others.
None of the above comports with the British Psychological Society code of ethics which stress consent and self-determination. The MINDSPACE document admits that nudges are unethical without public agreement to the government using them. When did the people agree?
Sidley wonders if a compliant focus group was prodded to provide the assent.
Paying the piper
The Pied Piper of Hamlyn has been notorious since the middle ages. When the citizens refused to pay for his rat catching, he used his magical flute to lead the children away just as he had the rats.
In our modern age we don’t believe in magical instruments. We say, he who pays the piper calls the tune.
Central banks, the richest investors and biggest corporations are no doubt making a grab for assets and resources under cover of Covid.
Meanwhile the public mind is debased. Its aspirations are diminished. This attrition of the public mind, foreclosing on the possible, is at the heart of The Great Reset. For all its highfalutin language it is a power grab.
Policy is made at several removes from the people. Physical but also psychological distance, because the official mindset does not state its objectives outright. It nudges towards outcomes, seeking safety in consensus and the absence of confrontation and thus the avoidance of overt communication.
This is what makes the Communist Party of Britain’s Susan Michie such a perfect match for the establishment. The former seeks nothing more than a zero-sum game of social engineering. The latter seeks only a power grab for its own enrichment.
Together they create a policy that is delivered by the vector of fear. But the fear is felt by both sides: the public strung out on its emotions; and by the bureaucrats driven to ever-more bizarre displays of inner grief and outward anger as they fail to deliver on the managed outcomes.
What is the provenance and authority that makes failure seem all the more perilous?
 SAGE, Mar 2020 — Evaluation of options for increasing social distancing
 The Independent, Jul 2021 — GMB: Richard Madeley criticised for arguing with doctor and psychologist about end of lockdown
 Wikipedia — Witchfinder General, 1644-47
 UNICEF, May 2021 — No-one is safe until everyone is safe – why we need a global response to COVID-19
 BPS, Apr 2020 — BPS replies to article on psychologists' involvement in the Covid-19 response
 Gary Sidley, Oct 2020 — How the MEAN psychologists got us to comply with coronavirus restrictions
 Gus O’Donnel — What Works Centre for Wellbeing
 Daily Caller, 2017 — Google Redefines The Word ‘Fascism’ To Smear Conservatives, Protect Liberal Rioters
 Burch and Holliday, 1999 — The Prime Minister's and cabinet offices: an executive office in all but name