By Graham Crawford

My life has been ruined – and I feel such a fool

I cannot believe I was such a fool for so long. I feel such anger and shame. I also feel exhausted and beaten.

I really believed he cared.

I really believed they cared.

He was so convincing.

They were so convincing.

He had me convinced that I was all that mattered to him. That he loved me and wanted only what was best for me.

They had me convinced that my well-being really mattered, that they were always acting in my best interests.

He’d speak to me on the phone for hours on end, telling me how much he loved me and wanted us to be together. To have a dream life together, a real happy ever after. He told me all about himself and sent me pictures and all kinds of information. I felt as if I really knew him. I guess I trusted him completely, I certainly did for a long time.

They had all these experts on the television and in the papers, constantly telling how much we were all at risk but how they were determined to keep us all safe. They were always showing graphs and data to explain how bad things were. It seemed to make sense, and I had no reason to doubt them.

I shared his pictures, texts and emails with some close girlfriends. They really liked the way he looked and the sound of him. They said he seemed really genuine and that I was lucky to find someone like him.

I spoke a lot to friends and colleagues about what was going on. It was the only thing everyone seemed to talk about. They agreed the situation seemed pretty scary and that we should all listen to the government and their experts – do what they said.

There was one guy I spoke to, a neighbour, Jim; we talked one day while walking the dogs. He was picking his words carefully, but looking back I can see that he was warning me not to believe everything I was being told, to be a little sceptical. He told me not all men can be trusted, no matter how they seem. But I remember thinking, ‘it’s only Jim, what the hell does he know’. I wish I had listened. Instead, I kind of avoided him after that.

There was one guy I spoke to, a neighbour, Jim; we talked one day while walking the dogs. He was picking his words carefully but looking back I can see that he was warning me not to believe everything I was being told, to be sceptical. He told me never to trust governments or big business, no matter how they come across, and to do my own research. But I remember thinking ‘it’s only Jim, what the hell does he know’. I wish I had listened. Instead, I kind of avoided him after that.

Look, I’ve always been a trusting and decent person. Maybe I was guilty of assuming everyone else is the same – honourable and true to their word. I couldn’t believe there were people out there who could be such barefaced liars and wouldn’t think twice of saying anything regardless of the hurt it caused. I’d never come across that kind of person before.

I guess as time went on, and my love interest started telling me different stories about why we couldn’t quite be together yet, I started to have some doubts. But he always seemed so sincere, and he’d be speaking to me every day, saying lovely, reassuring things. I really wanted to believe him. I suppose I was all in at the point. I was head over heels in love and not thinking straight.

I guess as all the restrictions and measures dragged on for weeks and then months, I started to have some doubts. But they kept coming up with more experts and reasons why everyone had to stay away from others and from work, and wear masks and so on. Every day it was headline news – it seemed as if this problem was never going to go away.

Alarm bells should have rung when he started asking for money to help his struggling business. But then he sent me paperwork which looked really genuine and seemed to explain everything. So I started giving him money. Somehow things just escalated over time. He’d say things like, ‘this time, it will finally help me get things sorted and then I can sell the business and we can make a new start together’.

Alarm bells should have rung when after endless and increasingly crazy restrictions on everyone, they suddenly came up with these vaccines. In such a short time. A bit worrying, but they had all these experts saying how effective and safe they were, and how they were going to finally get us all back to normal. We’d finally have our lives back.

In less than a year, I had used up all my savings and re-mortgaged my house – transferring all the money to him. Many tens of thousands of pounds. After he got the last lot and I told him I had no more to give, he suddenly went quiet. Disappeared. No response to my texts, phone calls or emails.

The penny dropped like a bombshell. I contacted the police but they said this happens to many women, and there is little they can do about it.

Within a year, I had three of these injections. I didn’t feel great after the first two, but they convinced me to get a third even though – I realise now – I was not even regarded as particularly at risk. We were all just put under so much pressure to get the jabs.

That was months ago, and I’ve had a catalogue of serious health issues since. I’ve told my doctor I know it was the vaccine, but he just says they can’t be sure. I feel as if no one cares or wants to know.

I lost my job with the stress of realising I had been utterly duped and also being an emotional wreck. Crazy as it seems, he didn’t just steal my money – he broke my heart. I’m not fit to work, and on top of everything else I may have to sell my house and try and find somewhere to rent. My life has been ruined.

I’m no longer fit to work, and it has been a nightmare trying to get care support as well as disability payments to keep my head above water while the cost of everything goes through the roof. I’m going to have to sell my house.

My life has been ruined. I even had to let my precious dog go. I wonder what Jim would say to me now.

What did YOU do Daddy?

By Graham Crawford

Annie: ‘What did you do during Covid Daddy?’

Dad: ‘I’m not sure what you mean darling.’

Annie: ‘I mean what did you actually do about it? I’ve been reading all about it and I can’t believe it was allowed to go on for so long.’

Dad: ‘Well, people were really worried.’

Annie: ‘What? For years? Didn’t you all realise something was strange, didn’t add up?’

Dad: ‘Well…’

Annie: ‘Did you actually know anyone who died during that time?

Dad: ‘Not in the family.’

Annie: ‘What about friends or neighbours?’

Dad: ‘Well, no. But I did know someone who said they knew someone who died of it. And a lot of people did say they were very unwell with it. I think I had it myself but it wasn’t too bad.’

Annie: ‘Didn’t you think it was strange that they were calling it a pandemic all that time and you weren’t seeing anybody die of it? Didn’t you know that those who were dying were mostly over the age of 80 and already very unwell with other diseases? Didn’t you know that 99.9% of the healthy under the age of 75 weren’t dying?’

Dad: ‘Well, I don’t think I really knew all that then. The information might have been out there, but they were constantly telling us every day on the television, on the radio and in the newspapers how bad things were, how we were all in danger, and how we had to be really, really careful. They had all these experts warning us, as well as the politicians.’

Annie: ‘But in the book I’m reading, it says these experts were telling you different things all the time – that they were constantly being shown to be wrong and changing their stories.

‘And did you not think it unusual that you were not hearing different views from other experts? When did the world ever agree on something?

‘And that expert Neil Ferguson, why did the whole world believe him, and him only, at the start when all his previous predictions on serious health issues had been so wrong?

‘And what about the politicians? Didn’t they constantly change their stories too, and were caught doing things they were telling the public not to do? Did you trust them? Had they been honest and reliable before all this?’

Dad: ‘Eh… well… no… absolutely not. Wouldn’t have bought a used car off most of them, to be honest. Look Annie, I don’t know where you are going with all this.’

Annie: ‘I’m just trying to figure things out, that’s all. It’s incredible what they are saying in this book.

‘What about the way they counted a Covid death as someone who died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, regardless of any other health issues? That was new, they never did that with anything before.

‘And these PCR tests, was there not always huge doubt over their reliability?

‘And why did people meekly keep wearing masks when there was no real science given to support them and after being told for months at the start that they were useless. And why were children made to wear them all day in classrooms? How cruel was that?

‘Did you wear masks, Dad?’

Dad: ‘Yes, I did. We were told to. Look, I think you are being a bit unreasonable.’

Annie: ‘Really? Why were the elderly and others made to live alone without company for long periods during all this? Didn’t anyone realise that would not be good for their health?

‘Why were so many small businesses allowed to be shut for good and so many jobs lost? Didn’t that concern you, the effect that would have on people?

‘And what about those people who lost their jobs because they wouldn’t take the vaccine, didn’t that bother you? Did you not think it was seriously wrong that many people were being forced into taking something they didn’t want, especially something that did not even stop the virus from being spread or them catching it?

‘Did that not seem weird and illogical to you?

‘Did you not wonder why so many people, including medical professionals, were prepared to lose their livelihoods rather than take these injections?

‘Oh, and tell me, did you know about all the deaths and dreadful side effects? These medical people obviously did.’

Dad: ‘Well, we did hear about some, but we were told they were extremely rare. That said, I felt okay after my jabs but I did know a lot of people who said they felt awful for a long time. Some said they never felt right since.

‘Looking back, I guess there was a lot that we weren’t really being told but most of us just went along with it.

‘It wasn’t as it seems now, it really wasn’t darling. And I was really busy with my job and other things. I trusted what we were being told. Most of us did.’

Annie: ‘I can’t believe how close I came to being given an awful injection I didn’t need when I was just two years old. Would you have stopped them?

Dad: ‘Eh…. I’m sure you would have been alright. You would have been, darling.’

Annie: ‘Dad, I’m 15 years old. I’m sick of you talking to me like I’m a child. For years now you have been nagging at me to be careful, not to be too trusting of people. You’ve told me to question everything, make up my own mind and not just go along with the crowd – haven’t you?’

Dad: ‘Yes, yes, but it’s only because I want what’s best for you Annie.’

Annie: ‘You always say that, but do you do what you tell me to do? Did you? And you a journalist as well. Were journalists not always supposed to investigate and ask awkward questions and stand up for people?

‘Why did you not say anything, Dad? Why didn’t you? Why?’

How has it come to this?

By Henry Widdas

How do we tolerate political leaders braying for division?

How do we tolerate friends being coerced into medical treatments against their will?

How do we allow for fear to dominate our entire world?

How do we allow for the elderly and vulnerable to be railroaded into medical treatments they know nothing about?

How do we tolerate a medical profession that no longer puts the patient first?

How do we tolerate a media industry that no longer holds authority to account?

How do we allow for cancer sufferers to die alone at home without the treatment they need?

How do we allow for children to die alone in hospital, their family not allowed to hear their dying breath?

How do we allow this hysteria to control our lives?

How do we tolerate a world where asking questions is a hate crime?

How do we allow for ignorance to dominate over enlightenment, for hate to dominate over love?

How do we?

How do we get out of this?

How has it come to this?