The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.
— 'Nineteen Eighty-Four,' by George Orwell, Part II, Chapter IXIn order to get UK residents in full compliance with the government's draconian lockdown rules, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested "frightening the pants off" the public with the arrival of a new Covid variant, according to leaked WhatsApp messages.
In what is being dubbed by the British press the "Lockdown Files", over 100,000 WhatsApp messages exchanged between ministers and officials were leaked with many showing the use of scare tactics to force compliance with Covid lockdown orders.
The UK government had throughout the pandemic been accused of scaremongering, but always denied such allegations just as it has long dismissed speculation that its agencies inspired "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
George Orwell worked for the British government during World War II as a propagandist at the BBC before writing the classic novel that has surged in popularity since the Covid pandemic.
The WhatsApp conversation between Hancock and his media adviser, Damon Poole, took place on Dec. 13, 2020, two days after the emergence of the new variant, known as alpha or the Kent variant.
Poole suggested that the variant could be helpful in preparing the ground for a future lockdown and tougher restrictions in the run-up to Christmas.
Hancock responded: "We frighten the pants off everyone with the new strain." Poole agreed that this would lead to proper behavior change.
Hancock resigned as health secretary in June 2021 after his apology for kissing his closest aide, Gina Coladangelo, in his ministerial office – in breach of his own Covid-19 rules – failed to quell public outrage.
In another leaked message, UK Cabinet Secretary Simon Case said that the "fear/guilt factor" was "vital" in ramping up messaging in January 2021 during what was the third national Covid lockdown.
Hancock joked in another message that Bill Gates "owes me one" because of "how many people I'm getting his chips injected into" during the pandemic. The message referred to claims that Gates had developed Covid-19 in a lab and used the vaccine to implant microchip tracking devices into billions of people.
Other messages revealed that Hancock was given advice from England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty to test all residents going into care homes for Covid. Hancock did not follow the recommendation — which, he claims, was due to test shortages at the time.
Case also joked with Hancock about locking up travelers arriving in the UK in quarantine hotels.
Hancock also told ministers to "get heavy with police" to enforce lockdown rules, according to the messages.
Hancock's WhatsApp messages were leaked by journalist Isabel Oakeshott. Hancock shared the messages with Oakeshott as they worked on their book "Pandemic Diaries." Oakeshott then passed the messages to the Daily Telegraph, which published them on its front pages.
Hancock accused Oakeshott of a "massive betrayal and breach of trust," but Oakeshott argued that she acted in the public interest. She said that this was about the millions of people who were adversely affected by the repeated lockdowns on the flimsiest of evidence for political reasons.
Free Press International
[Freedom Is Not Free!]