Muzzling the public

Why I’m against mandatory mask-wearing.

Brendan O'Neill

Here come the sneerers. Their target this time? Anyone who expresses even a tiny amount of scepticism about mandatory mask-wearing in shops. Within hours, mask sceptics have become the new climate-change deniers. They’re granny-killers. They’re sociopaths. They’re the kind of people who care more for their right to breath all over the fruit and veg at Lidl than they do for the continued existence of people over the age of 75. The speed with which mask scepticism has been turned into a foul blasphemy that only thick people who probably voted for Brexit would ever engage in rather confirms that this latest manifestation of the culture wars has very little to do with masks. It’s all about people. Those people. It always is.

Boris Johnson has announced that it will be mandatory to wear masks in shops in England from 24 July. If you don’t wear one you could be fined £100 by the cops. We should talk about this, right? We should weigh it up. Discuss the efficacy of masks and the desirability of empowering the police to take a hundred quid off someone who dares to show his face in public, like a politer public-health version of the morality guards in Afghanistan who would whip women with a stick if they ever committed the crime of unmasking their face in public. Apparently not. Apparently you would have to be a Covidiot, a mad libertarian, to want to discuss this latest development. The right thing to do is vigorously nod your head in agreement with the Tory government, don your mask, and muzzle your opinions.

It is remarkable that it is always the people who spent the past year or so telling us that Boris and his crew are fascists who have unquestioningly embraced every Covid-related diktat issued by Boris’s government. Stay in our homes for three months? You got it! Don’t engage in sexual relations with people we don’t live with? Sure thing! Wear a mask in public? Yes sir! The most fanatical lockdown-lovers tend to be found among the millennial left, in Corbynista circles, in the pages of liberal broadsheets, and of course among public-sector workers who know they’ll have a job at the end of all this (unlike many private-sector workers). So it isn’t surprising that these masochistic middle-classes are now fuming against mask sceptics. ‘Do as you’re told!’, they’re essentially saying.

But there’s a lot to talk about here. There are big questions. Do masks guard against Covid? The evidence is unclear. Why will it become compulsory to wear them now, when Covid levels in England are shrinking rapidly? Why could I go to Morrison’s without a face mask when hundreds of people were dying from Covid in England every day but I can’t do so now, when there are so few Covid cases that we don’t have enough people to test the vaccine on? Apparently even raising those questions makes me a Trumpian lunatic. Masks might be designed to stifle one’s possibly infected spittle; mask conformism, on the other hand, is designed to muzzle free expression. Gag yourself. STFU. The masks are now at least partly about that.

The clampdown on mask scepticism is motored by the usual hatreds of the culture war. Witness James O’Brien, LBC’s privately educated mocker of the dim masses, putting out a video in which he discusses the possibility that anti-mask people are Brexit voters. Of course they are, the thick shits. The snobs even have a study now to confirm their prejudices against mask sceptics. The Daily Mail reports that researchers in the US have found that ‘people who refuse to wear a mask or comply with social distancing have lower cognitive ability’. ‘Real covidiots!’, as the Mail sums them up. We’re squarely back in Brexit / blue passport territory, with the chattering classes once against looking down their long noses at what they presume to be the mentally deficient, ‘low-information’ little people. In certain circles, mask-wearing will become a form of distinction; a way of distinguishing yourself from brainwashed cretins and showing you are a Good Person. Masks will become moral garments, public demonstrations of decency. Not unlike in Afghanistan.

We have to talk about this. We cannot let mask-wearing become the ‘new normal’. Masks are horrible. They’re stuffy and claustrophobic. They make it hard to read people’s faces. They alienate us from each other even more, hiding smiles and discouraging chit-chat. And they actually worsen the culture of fear by spreading the idea that our fellow citizens are walking diseases who must be muzzled and kept at a safe distance. Only people comfortable with the contemporary social atomisation that has been intensified by the lockdown would embrace mandatory mask-wearing with no questions whatsoever. Some of us dislike atomisation. We want connection, community, engagement. And so we believe that mask-wearing should be voluntary. Are we allowed to say that?

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Leah Williams

29th July 2020 at 11:28 pm

Where is the proof that COVID is “petering out”? The fact that it is being transmitted at lower levels is the same reason that flu is quieter in the summer. It doesn’t mean flu has ‘”petered out” either. Like flu Coronavirus will ramp up again in the autumn and winter, partly because we will spend more time indoors.

As I understand it, the main reason that masks are recommended is to prevent the spread of COVID to others. If there is a small chance that it may reduce transmission of this virus, then why would we not wear them? I certainly wouldn’t risk my family members lives just to feel a little less uncomfortable or make a political point, and I don’t understand why anyone else would.

When the transmission rates are low because we are spending lots of time outdoors, then we are further reducing the spread when indoors. So when we get to the winter, there are less people spreading the virus at the beginning. So at a time when rates are Covid are low is a logical time to implement a strategy like masks. Preventative strategies work best BEFORE something gets bad,. not afterwards.

Multiple governments of the world can’t agree on the smallest things, I just think it’s ridiculous to believe that all of the countries of the world are conspiring together on something as complex as a new world order! This virus might be man made, I agree, but it’s out there now, and it’s happening, and people are dying because others are so caught up in their paranoia, and self focus.

In so many ways I wonder why I am bothering to write this because anything I, or anyone else, will say to make you realise how selfish your response is, will be shot down with cries of sheeple, and stupidity.

Whilst all the while supporters of this line of “there is no evidence” use baseless statements like “don’t trust them, they’re all paedophiles” to justify your refuting of evidence that is presented to you.
Hardly any better than the suggestion of “intellectual superiority” that mask wearers apparently adopt!

Ness Immersion

20th July 2020 at 12:26 pm

In all the opinions, the lack of evidence seems to get littlw consideration let alone the null hypothesis.

John Wells

19th July 2020 at 2:09 pm

Anyone who can say they think the government’s continuing reaction to a barely unusual annual coronavirus outbreak has no concept of liberty and, as Brendon says, free speech. The official numbers are available through the ONS and the NHS, removed of all political spin. They do not make a case for the lockdown generally – maybe a case for advising vulnerable people to be guarded (or indeed accept the risk as they do EVERY WINTER SEASON).
People – Do your own research, educate yourself, form your own opinions – You are being scammed.
I also now note the insinuation that we might see a rise in cases of ‘coronavirus’ come next winter. ARRGGHHH! Of course we’ll see a rise in cases again – that’s when influenza (aka coronavirus) cases rise EVERY YEAR.
It’s hard to comprehend the reasoning behind the events of this year and beyond, but it sure isn’t for the good of the people. General control, the continuing push for a cashless society, retraction of the economy, compulsory tracking of citizens, forced vaccination – they are much more likely reasons and non of them are good for freedom.

Jonathan Castro

19th July 2020 at 12:01 pm

The masks fiasco proves the government have no intention of going back to normal. We are bumping along at the bottom of the curve and have been shopping in supermarkets and corner shops for weeks without wearing masks.
And now the government wants us all to wear masks. Feeble excuses such as preventing a “2nd wave” are just that – feeble excuses. There is no evidence for a 2nd wave. Ratcheting up the control just because “something might happen if we don’t” is totally unreasonable.
The virus will always be out there, even if the odds of contracting it, let alone dying from it, are vanishingly small.
Now is the time to refuse to wear masks in shops. If we clog up the courts, the government will have to back down. If we simply go along with it, the government will come up with an even more draconian rule – e.g. wearing masks outside.
The government wants to keep the fear going until there is a vaccine, then make that mandatory. But who will want to take the vaccine when the virus has gone?
This government’s actions are all about money and control, and the refusal to admit a mistake. Nothing else.

John Wells

19th July 2020 at 2:24 pm

“Now is the time to refuse to wear masks in shops. If we clog up the courts, the government will have to back down. If we simply go along with it, the government will come up with an even more draconian rule – e.g. wearing masks outside.”

And there’s the beauty in the illusion, Johnathon. The government don’t need to enforce mask because the shops will. They too are afraid of the big governmental stick and are entitled to refuse entry to anyone not conforming to ‘The Rules’.
As to people banding together to fight back … The People have been made too comfortable and meek over many generations to gang up against their masters. They are (empirically) more likely to don their mask or take their injection, then pick up a rock and stone those who don’t.
Was George Orwell a time traveller?

Gareth Edward KING

19th July 2020 at 6:11 pm

Well, good luck in terms of people organising and refusing to wear these face wads. They’ve become the latest fashion item in Spain, but hey, what’s the problem? It doesn’t matter that there’s no evidence behind them, yes, let’s wear them on the beach, at the swimming pool, when cycling, doing sport, at the park, even when kissing! Yes, I’ve seen couples kiss with them on!

Ian Smith

23rd July 2020 at 9:55 am

My plan tomorrow is to use this:
The TFL Exemption Card
I get very distressed with face coverings and the reduction in O2 intake will make me faint.

Sandy Shore

18th July 2020 at 12:47 pm

Blimey. The balance of probability is that masks, while a minor inconvenience, are effective and contribute both to halting the spread end enabling economic recovery. It’s a bit inane to turn it into a crappy Culture War in which not wearing a mask is some form of brave political statement. Maybe stop whining like a Poundland Toby Young and just slip the thing on now and again.

Gareth Edward KING

19th July 2020 at 9:59 am

It’s a pity that the wearing of surgical masks has absolutely no evidence at all to back up their use. In terms of a mechanical intervention to stop viral spread, you’d have to have had set up experiments (i.e.under controlled conditions) with a sufficiently high sample which replicate their wearing in a public space. These masks have NOT been used in public spaces ever; they were designed for a specific set of LIMITED functions in hospitals, laboratories and the like. Each mask has a course behind it in terms of correct useage, but here we are with people wearing them willy-nilly en masse. Some have been designed to resemble fashion accessories so that they co-ordinate with the rest of the user’s wardrobe: using linen, for example, in a range of pretty colours. Most people have lost the plot if indeed they were ever in control of said ‘plot’.

kevin king

21st July 2020 at 8:36 pm

This isn’t a culture war. It’s an intelligence test. It’s very easy to pass except for exceedingly thick people like yourself. Unfortunately our country is full of idiots like you and it is a real problem for the future of humanity. Those are the stakes.

James Knight

17th July 2020 at 7:04 pm

Even if masks are just an experiment to see if they are effective it would be worth it.

John Pretty

19th July 2020 at 1:15 am

You wear one then.

I won’t.

Patricia garwood

17th July 2020 at 5:43 pm



17th July 2020 at 5:08 pm

It’s not just the literal muzzling, we’re being muzzled everywhere on almost anything.
I responded to a comment on today’s Telegraph leader about ‘Russian lack of scruple’.
Stephen Allsop had written:
“Poor Yemen, being used as another proxy ‘front’ against Sunni Saudi Arabia, by Shia Iran.
Poor examples, not really relevant to recent breaches by Russia and China.”
I responded:
“There’s no evidence of Iran supplying the Yemen but, even if there were, how would that justify the wanton destruction of one of the poorest countries on earth by one of the richest and most arbitrary?
And most thinking people would see the Berlin Wall and the nuclear treaties as very important examples – and very relevant.”
My response never appeared, despite repeated attempts at posting.
The Daily Telegraph’s eager defence of Free Speech clearly doesn’t extend to itself – or are they too being ‘policed’ by the 77th brigade?

Alex Ander

17th July 2020 at 9:52 am

Seriously? You need to chose your battles – and “mandatory” mask-wearing isn’t one of them!
Ultimately, I really see it no differently to wearing a bike helmet: you feel a bit of a plonker wearing one at first, then you get used to it & stop thinking about it, and then it simply becomes a non-issue.
As with face-masks, the scientific so-called evidence as to the effectiveness of bike helmets as a form of protection is (still) up-for-debate.
And also like bike helmets, it’s not a full legal requirement to wear them, just under certain circumstances/ situations that it’s insisted upon.
And there is also the off-chance & added benefit that it could even save lives!
This really isn’t a big deal and i don’t for one minute see this as symptomatic of a government trying to reign-in personal liberty…..

Lexi McGregor

17th July 2020 at 4:51 pm

I bike to work every day, and I choose not to wear a bike helmet. I’d like to be allowed to choose for myself, having looked at the evidence, not to wear a mask. It’s a matter of personal freedom. I don’t like being treated like a child.

Hugh Anderson

17th July 2020 at 10:40 pm

The difference of course being that not wearing a helmet doesn’t put other people at risk, just (potentially, pending your point of view) yourself. With a mask it’s the opposite.

Gareth Edward KING

19th July 2020 at 10:12 am

I’m not sure about your analogy. As an adult I decide when something I do is ‘risky’ or not, for example, cycling in a big city is an enormous risk and I certainly don’t wear a helmet. This sudden requirement to wear a muzzle four months into this never-ending febrile crisis has to be questioned; is there any evidence to back up their mass wearing in a public space? No, none at all. They were created to be worn in very specific circumstances which does not include entering a shop! It’s social control through and through; I don’t smoke, but if I were a smoker I wouldn’t appreciate being treated like a leper! Where’s the evidence to suggest that ‘social distancing’ and wearing a face flannel in a pub is at all effective in terms of halting Covid-spread? At the very least it goes against the grain of why one is in a pub in the first place! You’re not there to ‘worry about your health’! If that’s your perogative please stay at home and forget about socialising! Medicalising social interactions is simply dystopian!

Jonathan Castro

19th July 2020 at 12:06 pm

I could not disagree more.
Masks are unpleasant to wear and they are a huge issue for many people.

kevin king

21st July 2020 at 8:48 pm

You have to be kidding right? If the Politburo asked you to hope on one leg and repeat ‘stay alert, control the virus,save lives’ you would presumably one of the cretins to be first in line. What is terrifying about this entire hoax is the incapacity of sheep like yourself to understand even remotely what is going on here.

Tony Benn

17th July 2020 at 6:38 am

The logic behind compulsory wearing of masks is they stop viruses going out, but don’t stop them coming in.
If you believe that I have a bridge I want to sell you.

Hugh Anderson

16th July 2020 at 9:47 pm

I agree with a lot of what you are saying in relation to wearing masks Brendan. There is something quite ridiculous about how late this legislation has been introduced. And the way that it is serving as a springboard to polarise and patronise certain people is clearly very damaging to our already broken society. What I find frustrating in this piece, and a lot of your writing, is that you buy into so many labels and generalisations (‘millennials,’ ‘Corbynistas,’ ‘liberal elite’ etc etc), often without any weighty justification or evidence. You essentially stoop down to the same level of those you accuse of making outrageous, sweeping generalisations themselves. In doing so, your own credibility and robustness as a writer is immediately undermined. More importantly, you risk further entrenching divisions within our society, rather than offering any hope of re-connecting and uniting them. Is that what you want?

Tony Benn

17th July 2020 at 6:41 am

The mask is there to placate those who believe everything the media feeds them who are now too scared to venture outside into the “unclean” world. An army of Howard Hughes’ has been created who now fear every cough, every sneeze, the touch of another. Everything is now contaminated to them.

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Shnarkle Von Barkle

15th July 2020 at 9:36 pm

wait until they release the next new and improved corona virus. They won’t need to remind, intimidate, or mandate mask wearing when people are dropping like flies. Until then, the economic collapse will make fines pointless when your money isn’t worth anything. When there’s a real danger of infection and death, people will be eagerly wearing their designer burkas and hazmat suits.


16th July 2020 at 7:57 am

Wait until ‘they’ release the next crackpot conspiracy theory. People won’t dare go log on the internet on account of their sheer terror.

kevin king

21st July 2020 at 8:56 pm

The next phase is the vaccine dummy. This was predicted years ago by a German virologist called Stefan Lanka. The vaccine will be untested and will change your DNA. People will literally start to drop like flies and they will tell the dumb sheep like yourself that the hoax virus has mutated and become a thousand times more virulent. It really is that simple to fool idiots.

Hasting Keith

15th July 2020 at 7:30 pm

Sadly, we are losing this fight at the moment. Despite the overall UK mortality rate now being lower than the pre-covid seasonal average, the number of new covid cases last week falling to below pre-lockdown figures, and the Government having to revise down the R-rate that they have reported in the last couple of weeks, people are still scared. And the new edict that muzzles must be worn when entering a shop has just made people even more scared. I fear that any large-scale dissent will not happen until the economic consequences of this lockdown start to bite hard, as they inevitably will. The pubs may have opened, but there is little custom – not because of the restrictions on the number of punters they can allow in but because people are staying away. Similarly with the barber shops – empty. People tell me they will not be going to the town centre shops any time soon, especially if they will have to be masked up. And that’s if they have the money to spend. The furlough scheme will end soon and then the job losses will escalate. Many have already lost their jobs, and many others have been forced to take a pay cut to keep their jobs. And then there’s the 200-billion quid (and escalating) that the Government is going to have to find to pay for this through tax rises or cuts in services. Unemployment and hard times not seen since the early eighties (or possibly even the thirties) awaits us – it’s going to be a shock to the millennials. And poverty kills. Maybe then people will realise that the response to covid has been taken out of all proportion. There will be trouble ahead – maybe in the new year.

jamie murray

15th July 2020 at 6:29 pm

If any supermarket stuck it’s head above the parapet and said muzzles weren’t mandatory at their stores and were willing to legally challenge the government on it, i suspect their profit margins would go through the roof, of course they wont as they’re willing collaborators in this jackboot fascism but at times like these one must dreams.
If i was single i could find ways to duck n dive and avoid the muzzle tyranny, but with a wife and three children to feed, how can i reasonably avoid shopping? While in the beginning it was slightly irritating watching the neurotic hysterics dodging you on the pavement and the supermarket, at least one had a choice to desist, now though, joining the hysterics is forced! Why is no one in authority challenging this, what is the end game, and why do friends/family and colleagues [not all] just happily go along with it and think i’m the nutter for having a divergent view. They all seem to believe everything the MSM and government tell them is the truth and full picture, it’s as though they’ve never read a history book in their lives!

Alan Wren

17th July 2020 at 1:16 am

Why would profits go through the roof?

Have you ever spoken to English women over the age of 36 to confirm that they are particularly keen to buy pints of milk and tins of beans in the shops with the lowest standards of health and safety and young staff who are slack with personal hygiene?

Jim Denham

15th July 2020 at 6:00 pm

Only a hysteric and/or ignoramous would seriously compare the treatment of people who refuse to wear masks in the UK with the treatment of women by the Taliban in Afghanistan. O’Neill’s self-righteous self-pity has sunk to new depths.

Andrew Levens

15th July 2020 at 5:44 pm

WHO first of all said masks don’t work, now they have changed their minds. People wanted the government to decide. The government recommended people should wear masks in shops. Then people complained that was not clear enough. They wanted to be told what to do, not to think for themselves, so the government made it mandatory. Now other people don’t like that.
As a nation, we are just sheep.
Fortunately it does not matter much either way. Gives people something to talk about.
Meanwhile vaccine development continues quite effectively. The more people there are with the disease, the sooner they can complete their tests. If anyone does not want the disease they can just stay at home and wait for the vaccine, due some time in the new year.

bf bf

15th July 2020 at 6:03 pm

So you are OK with oxygen depletion / immune system suppression and the fact that weft and weave of ALL masks are not tight enough to stop viruses (like trying to stop mosquitoes with a chain-link fence) let alone all the psychological / societal harms.

Johnny Doh

15th July 2020 at 4:39 pm

I’m against anything mandatory. Even mandatory breathing. The logical argument FOR Masks – is psychological. They remind you not to touch your face after touching the elevator button. They remind you the virus could be right here – it is invisible – so they are a visible sign reminding us to be careful.

Steve Stevens

15th July 2020 at 1:27 pm

Thankfully I don’t come here for medical advice.

Ven Oods

15th July 2020 at 3:27 pm

You’d rather take it from Boris, who has a degree in Classics?

Steve Stevens

16th July 2020 at 7:28 pm

Certainly not. But let’s leave the politics to the political issues. Face-coverings are not a political issue. Shop workers deserve to have their risk mitigated. You or I have the choice to go into a shop, the pensioner on the checkout or the appallingly paid retail worker does not. Those members of the working class deserved to be listened to when it was about Brexit, but they are sidelined now.

Vivian Darkbloom

17th July 2020 at 1:53 am

It’s Biopolitics, Steve. Social and political power over life. The masks are intrinsically linked to politics as is the response to the Covid outbreak. From Wikipedia: Biopolitics is an intersectional field between human biology and politics. It is a political wisdom taking into consideration the administration of life and a locality’s populations as its subject. To quote Foucault, it is ‘to ensure, sustain, and multiply life, to put this life in order.” […] In the work of Foucault, the style of government that regulates populations through “biopower” (the application and impact of political power on all aspects of human life).

Jonathan Castro

15th July 2020 at 1:02 pm

I’m not wearing a mask anywhere, anytime.

fret slider

15th July 2020 at 11:41 am

If you do decide to go along with it, howabout putting something informative on your mask?



fret slider

15th July 2020 at 11:42 am

Howabout putting something informative on your mask?

This mask doesn’t really work, but I bet you feel better just the same


Muzzled by the State


Tony Benn

15th July 2020 at 11:35 am

Masks not only don’t work, they reduce oxygen levels and increase the risk of infection. This has been shown in many research papers, a quick search will bring them up. So given we were told by the “experts” that they did nothing, which was correct, why would we accept masks now?

I won’t be wearing one.

Leon Kershaw

15th July 2020 at 6:56 pm

I’d like to know how it will be enforced. Rozzers outside every shop in the country? Security Guards taking down your details? Photographing you and your car & passing it on to the filth? This should be entertaining.

Russ Wood

21st July 2020 at 1:11 pm

In South Africa, the ruling junta (the Coronavirus Command Council, operating under DISASTER rules, which are forever being renewed) knows that they can’t police the people (not that they give a flea for the ‘people’), so they’ve made it a serious offence for the SHOP to allow people without a mask inside. So, the average person being kind, they allow themselves to be partially suffocated to protect the shop owners and workers.

James Conner

15th July 2020 at 10:28 am

At the outset, the sensible thing would have been for the govt to advise all people to wear mask all the time in public. Of course, the reason they didn’t do this is that there was a shortage of masks in this country. So they decided that ‘the science’ indicated that maks were not necessary.

Masks are now in plentiful supply, (albeit costing many times what they would have been sold for pre-coronavirus) so now it’s time to tell everyone that ‘the science’ has changed and wearing masks is a good thing.

Jerry Owen

15th July 2020 at 10:52 am

There is scant evidence that masks work. And I believe that masks give a false sense of security, if you believe there is anything to worry about now. I don’t.

fret slider

15th July 2020 at 9:47 am

“Do masks guard against Covid? ”

Do chain-link fences keep mosquitoes out?


G Wallace

15th July 2020 at 9:12 am

After over 25 years working with nanoparticles – here’s what happens with a cloth face mask when you cough or sneeze. The larger droplets are caught in the mesh of the mask – they are mainly water filled with 100’s of thousands of tiny virus particles (if you’re infected). To scale – imagine a football hitting the back of the net and sticking there. Now imagine the football as a water droplet filled with tiny plastic balls about 1000 times smaller than the holes in the net – the net holes are roughly 10 cm so say 10 microns or about 1/10 of a human hair across. Now put a large fan on the goal line and set it to blow through the water football i.e. simulate breathing through the mask. You will get a plume of water droplets roughly 10 times the size of the plastic balls they contain (or 100 times smaller than the holes in the net) sent through the net into the stands. Your mask is now acting as a reservoir for the virus to be spread more widely. To go back to the football analogy – it would be better to have no net and allow the football to settle and slowly evaporate at the base of the advertising hoardings.
The only way this will help is if the mask is removed immediately after a cough or sneeze, disposed of (ideally contaminated waste burn bin), face and hands thoroughly cleaned and new mask fitted. Every cough or sneeze.

James Conner

15th July 2020 at 9:06 am

Apparently among those exempt from wearing a mask are people who would suffer severe discomfort and distress. Now here’s the thing, there is no onus to prove this, so if you want to enter a shop without a mask it is sufficient to declare “I am exempt” and leave it a that. Even plod is not allowed to ask for proof.

Phil Carsley

15th July 2020 at 9:42 am

Good morning James, good post.
Is there a list published somewhere of the ‘officially’ recognised exemptions?

James Conner

15th July 2020 at 9:55 am

I haven’t been able to locate an ‘official’ list of exemptions from say, I’m just reporting what I’ve read on numerous newspaper sites this morning.

So, I may be wrong, but my Auntie says I never am. 🙂

Jerry Owen

15th July 2020 at 10:54 am

Being a reckless Brexiteer is one I presume.

Tony Benn

15th July 2020 at 11:38 am

If it causes you “severe distress” you don’t have to wear one.

Jonathan Castro

15th July 2020 at 1:03 pm

I’ll be looking for a thrown away inhaler on my next litter pick!

Jerry Owen

15th July 2020 at 8:40 am

We have had many dreadful PM’s, but Boris Johnson is probably the most sadistic PM we have ever had.
If you can subjugate a population into wearing muzzles in the workplace and shops into next year ( a further six months ) just when we thought we were beginning to regain our freedoms, then you can pretty much do what you like with the population ( the law abiding ones ).
Brexit is still writ large behind this (the remainiacs still bang on everyday about it). If Brexit is simply overturned by a newly emboldened and sadistic government that has been testing the waters by pissing the public around over covid , and let’s not kid ourselves Westminster is still largely pro remain, where do we go from here?
I believe that peoples will power and self autonomy is being deliberately crushed and shattered to pieces, we are being smacked around, the establishment love it, the BBC positively wets itself over it.
We are a people being ruthlessly broken and stripped bare. I like many here can never be broken. We need to fight back, we need to mobilize on the streets, it really is time to do it now time is fast running out.

Jonathan Castro

15th July 2020 at 1:05 pm

Agreed. The first thing to do next Friday (when we’re not at work that is), is to test going into local shops and supermarkets without a mask. We have to disobey this rule and see how far we get.

Theo Cupiér

15th July 2020 at 2:35 pm

“self autonomy”!, is ‘self’ redundant? 😛

Jerry Owen

15th July 2020 at 8:42 pm

No edit facility!


15th July 2020 at 6:14 am

Perhaps some entrepreneur could start marketing face masks with a symbol or simple, short, slogan that will make it clear to the very dimmest commentator – however determined he or she is to twist its message into an unacceptable narrative – that the wearer disapproves of this monstrous arrogation of state power. Some sort of joke that even Emily Maitlis couldn’t misinterpret, so a swastika (whether left or right handed) or ‘SS’ wouldn’t do. Possibly ‘Jawohl, Mein Fuhrer’, ‘NKVD’ or ‘Stasi’. Ideas?

Phil Carsley

15th July 2020 at 9:46 am

I mentioned this to my wife this morning, suggesting the words “under protest” emblazoned across the front.
Or perhaps a more succinct and striking one would simply be a large middle finger – the bird as those across the pond might say

Charles Buonaventura

15th July 2020 at 12:19 am

I have to eat and drink to survive, so I will put an old scarf around my face when going to the supermarket but apart from that, I won’t be visiting any other shops. Early on I was able to look upon the lockdown and its petty tyrannies with humour, but I now find myself wondering if this madness is ever going to end. It definitely puts paid to the idea that totalitarianism “could never happen here”.

Highland Fleet Lute

14th July 2020 at 11:44 pm

A little way down the line, after a few robberies in shops where the perpetrators can’t be identified because they’re wearing masks, a ‘solution’ will be found whereby you will not be able to purchase any item, nor any service without being tracked and traced. This is the real reason for the mandatory wearing of masks in shops. It’s all been nicely lined up. You will not be allowed in a retail environment without a track and trace device.

Vivian Darkbloom

15th July 2020 at 1:43 am

When all our private business – banking included – is subject to data investigation and a digital panopticon, then imagine this outcome: I’m walking into a supermarket and a security guard approaches me. My credit card is linked to my bank account which in turn is linked to my social security number which is linked to my social credit score. We don’t even have to imagine the latter. The guard says to me “I’m sorry Ms Darkbloom but you don’t have enough money in your account to enter this shop. Please leave.”

Already we know that supermarkets have conducted research which reveals that at least one third of customers visiting supermarkets do not – in that horrible term – add value. They’re simply clogging up the aisles. They are old people looking for discounted items; they are poor people looking to buy the cheapest food on offer. They are not helping the supermarket to achieve the high sales figures the managerial technocrats have modelled. They do not belong in that space because they are economically useless.

You are damn right. We will have to forgo anonymity to even shop for food unless we’re registered on some kind of digital control grid. And wearing a slave mask to boot. F*ck that. I refuse to live in such a sick society. I’d rather be dead.

Ness Immersion

14th July 2020 at 10:48 pm

As face masks are so effective at stopping transmission of viruses, the Japan must have a really low incidence of flu, because so many people in Japan wear facemasks remember.
Yes / No – answers on a postcard

Ben Shirley

14th July 2020 at 10:44 pm

It’s not a viable long-term solution and will eventually be undermined, but for the time being you’re allowed to self-certify as exempt, so we can all pretend to be autistic or whatever. You can download and print a ‘face coverings exemption card’ from the Transport for London website and it seems to be totally legit. Under the Equality Act 2010, we are under no obligation to reveal our disability to anyone who questions us.

But who am I kidding? The jackboots are on and the march has begun. This loophole is only to ensure a smooth transition without hassle from disabled rights groups. They’ll get to us in the end.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 10:43 pm

This is tyranny. There is no other rational explanation. The muzzle is symbolic and has nothing to do with the prevention of disease. It is Foucault’s biopower – power over life – made explicit. It is fascism revealing itself: “shut up and accept your servitude.”

From Leah Butler-Smith: Sunday 19th July – a march against mandating masks will take place in London. Towards Whitehall.

Hope this is a big one but hope dies last. I’ll be there.

Highland Fleet Lute

14th July 2020 at 10:39 pm

Last chance saloon.

Glenn Jones

14th July 2020 at 10:35 pm

You can now see how “ordinary people” sleepwalked into horrors like Hitler’s Germany.

Phil Carsley

15th July 2020 at 9:55 am

Indeed. The worrying thing is that so often, as it was with the Reichstag Decree and Enabling Act, people will not only accept such removal of liberty, they demand it. Already I hear those who like us oppose mask wearing being pilloried by the self righteous, millennial idiots accusing ‘us’ of being selfish, stupid, uncaring etc, etc.
It seems I’m not alone, judging by the comments here in thinking that this is nothing to do with public health and everything to do with a bigger agenda in which the government seeks to remove ever more liberty.

David McAdam

14th July 2020 at 10:32 pm

Viruses are a part of life. This fact seems lost on our present generation of politicians and their agencies, that I regard as soft, devoid of the stoicism, pragmatism and confidence of previous generations. I recall the typhoid outbreak here in Scotland in the early 60s. No lockdown, masks, distancing and shrill headlines. Tuberculosis was another contagion the UK faced around the same time. Again, none of the aforementioned restrictions. A ban on imported Argentinian corned beef dealt with the former, while sanatoriums coped with the latter. Compared to the prevailing attitude of that period, I feel today like a child living in a nation that has taken on the character of a nursery with no adults in charge.

Vicki McKerrell

14th July 2020 at 10:10 pm

You’re absolutely right Brendan. It makes no sense. Right at the beginning of this, the WHO and other so called experts told us all not to wear masks as they weren’t effective at stopping the spread. So now after its been circulating for months, it’s a matter of life and death not to wear them. And we’re to obey their every word no matter how inconsistent. It seems they want to keep us in a state of perpetual fear. I’m not sure what this obsession with handwashing and mask wearing will ultimately do for our immune systems, especially children. Being exposed to the environment builds up the immune system. There’s going to be a lot of sick kids in the future. So ironic considering they are at low risk from Covid.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 9:03 pm

“The rights of citizens in a liberal democracy are worthless if they can be suspended at any moment, as the COVID-19 crisis reminds us.”

Michel Foucault understood that truly free people must be willing to choose death, like the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. What would he make of the restrictions on liberty in our efforts to safeguard life from COVID-19?

An article from The Tablet:

Mor Vir

15th July 2020 at 12:08 am

Interesting article, the writer seems to be pretty p/ssed at the suspension of religious services – but a wacko website.

I was initially surprised that MF, who I had, perhaps naively, supposed to be a rigorous and consistent thinker, was so all over the place in his political allegiances and support. He was consistently optimistic and consistently disappointed. He supposedly had a Nietzschean perspective that society is the interplay of will to power – so, what did he expect? Perhaps he never really believed it; or perhaps he was faking an optimistic humanism as the best posture to adopt in such a scenario? Who knows?

Vivian Darkbloom

15th July 2020 at 2:14 am

Mor, he’s delineating an inchoate escape route from State control, or any control I suppose. It’s up to us, in whatever form it takes, to make our escape. Foucault is difficult because, like Nietzsche, he’s not telling us exactly what to do and that’s a really difficult message to absorb in a world where, um, most people seem to want to be told what to do, if you get me.

Al Wilson

15th July 2020 at 5:39 am

Good article -Foucault so ahead of his time and could see how most political/state discourses were essentially traps and control mechanisms

Michael Fereday

14th July 2020 at 8:23 pm

Covid 19 is communism and our real heroes of the 1940s would be utterly ashamed of us.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 11:56 pm

Michael: I reckon it’s capitalism resetting itself; it had become tired and worn out after the material base had been offshored to countries such as China and India. Covid has provided a cover for the movement of economic activity into the digital realm. I don’t believe communism has much to do with it; after all, the UK is clearly a capitalist state.

No ideological Marxist would countenance such huge jobs losses as will occur in the aftermath of the lockdown and the implementation of the new normal. No Marxist would put up with the disruption and street protests which have happened as, perhaps, an epiphenomenon of the lockdown; OK, I’m being generous here as they have clearly been encouraged – but that’s a different issue. No, a Marxist administration would have shot the woke BLM protestors down in the streets or exiled individuals to the equivalent of Siberia. Marxism would not tolerate the woke; only liberalism would do this.

For the record I am an independent individual and unaligned with any political ideology or movement. An observer – a voyeur even.

Ivor D

14th July 2020 at 8:06 pm

Look on the bright side.

At least the facial recognition software will get a good run out – nice socially-distanced targets with clear line of sight, and plenty of obscured and partially-obscured faces to check.

As a real-world large-scale beta test, it is quite excellent.

James Knight

14th July 2020 at 7:45 pm

It is even more grotesque than the article suggests. People were sneered at for buying masks at the start of the pandemic by journalists backed up by official scientific advice (they were magic masks that only worked for health workers and not for ignorant plebs) . Now they are sneered at and criminalised for not wearing masks. You couldn’t make it up, but they did.

The real “covidiots” are in the medical and political establishment.

Andy Bolstridge

14th July 2020 at 7:34 pm

What’s more ludicrous is that we must now wear a mask to the shops.

But we don’t have to wear one to the office, or down the pub, or wandering about for daily exercise or any other social interaction. That just make me angry at the uselessness of this. We have no leadership from the government, just flailing around trying to look like they’re in control of the situation.

In Negative

14th July 2020 at 7:24 pm

Happy for an excuse to start wearing bandannas again 😀

Lee Cox

14th July 2020 at 7:00 pm

This is, typical gaslighting Brendan horseshit. He moans the lack of debate about masks – conveniently ignoring the months and months of debate – right across the media and of society – on this exact issue. Brendan wants to “discuss the efficacy of masks”. Has he not watched a single current affairs or news programme in the last five months? They’ve talked of nothing but pros and cons of masks. Will Brendan be doing his usual round of paid media appearances to advance his mad narrative? Almost certainly.

James Knight

14th July 2020 at 7:37 pm

They talked about it and concluded in the UK and in the US they were not recommended for the public based on “expert scientific” advice. That was before the pandemic peaked and people were still packed on tube trains and buses. Now the deaths were below the average they start making masks mandatory.

They wonder why people don’t believe experts on vaccination and blame the low IQ of the public when the truth is the scientific establishment lied to the public and lost credibility.

Lee Cox

14th July 2020 at 7:57 pm

“Concluded”? Who concluded anything? This subject has never been off the agenda. Michael Gove was on Marr this weekend saying that masks should not be compulsory. No one was shutting him down. He wasn’t stifled. It’s mad. Most people I know are happy to stick a bit of cloth over their face if it helps push down this virus a bit. It seems a small price to pay if it helps us get back to ‘normality’ a little bit quicker. That’s what it’s about. Not this supposed war on liberty that Spiked get so excited about.

Jerry Owen

14th July 2020 at 7:45 pm

I hope he is paid very well for his appearances.
He clearly doesn’t follow the narrative of the media.
Face mask good.. face mask protective.
There is no debate.
BBC news tonight , three people are asked their opinion on face masks… All were pro wearing them.

Jerry Owen

14th July 2020 at 7:50 pm

The BBC is now talking about the ‘second wave’ and that a hundred and fifty thousand could die.
The BBC is a f**cking disgrace with it’s fear mongering propaganda.. excuse my French but no other word expresses my anger!

jamie murray

15th July 2020 at 5:36 pm

Credit to you for actually watching it, i believe my anger levels may even exceed yours as i simply will not, nay cannot physically stomach it. The fact that it’s a forced tax is what turns the knob from 10 to a full blown spinal tap 11!. Impartial, please, does anybody with a brain cell or propensity to honesty really believe that?

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 8:51 pm

Lee: I’ve made my own mind up. I will not submit to fascism. We’ve had plenty of warnings from the past. You call this gaslighting? That’s exactly what the Tories and their slavish followers in the mass media have been doing since the beginning of this assault on ordinary people.

Covid-19 is the modern Reichstag fire. Masks are the visible sign of our acquiescence and subjection.

If you think this will end you’re severely mistaken. Please take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones and I don’t mean wearing the useless muzzle; it’s so much bigger than that. All the best from the darkness.


14th July 2020 at 6:36 pm

Bre ndan is a professional contrarian. He would oppose breathing on the grounds that most people were doing it.

James Knight

14th July 2020 at 7:29 pm

Except it was the experts who told us NOT to wear mask when it would have been most beneficial, at the start of the pandemic. Apparently the number of new cases is now so small covid19 is not officially a “pandemic” any more.

It is the experts who are “contrarian” – against themselves. The other word is “liars”.

Eric Praline

14th July 2020 at 7:33 pm

I don’t think they’re liars, I think the government has been panicked into acting again by forecasts of 100k+ deaths over the winter, a replay of what happened a few months ago.

T Zazoo

14th July 2020 at 10:50 pm

At he’s making a living at it. You’re only amateur contrarian.

Glenn Bell

14th July 2020 at 6:24 pm

To me this is just Boris trying to cover his arse, but he’ll need more than a face mask to do that. The covid crisis has been badly mishandled on several levels, we should have closed all our borders as soon as covid got out of control, but the government knew that would get the bleeding hearts up on their soap boxes; but if I have to wear a mask, what about the 100s of illegal immigrants arriving here each week, many of whom simply disappear into the community; do they wear masks? Its utter bollox.


14th July 2020 at 6:39 pm

Notice how there are almost no articles criticising this incompetent government that has presided over one of the worst virus responses in the western world. Imbeciles like Johnson, Gove, Hancock and MP Cummings get a free pass despite doing so much damage to this country.

Jerry Owen

14th July 2020 at 6:45 pm

Brendan’s entire article criticises the government policy of making us wear face masks.
Spiked has consistently criticised the government’s handling of covid from the start.
You really are such a prize plonker aren’t you !!

Lee Cox

14th July 2020 at 7:16 pm

Apparently the lockdown is all the underhand work of sourdough baking leftists, and nothing to do with the Tory Government who actually enacted it.

Gareth Edward KING

14th July 2020 at 5:56 pm

Why is Johnson suddenly always to be seen with a muzzle on? It seems to me: you’ve got no idea about what to offer people? Insist on a muzzle! The symbolism couldn’t be more apparent. Maybe it’s because his friend Trump is also suddenly to be seen with said face wad on.
So, the Spanish are complaining about us wreckless Brits not wearing surgical masks in Mallorca. Excuse me! oh PSOE-followers! It’s still not even clear how many people have died from Covid-19 since March; is it 28,300? or is it beyond 40,000? Never mind the fact that the PSOE-UP incompetent government back in March said that mask-wearing was unnecessary. Now it’s obligatory to wear the pesky things in practically the whole of the country! Let’s blame foreigners instead of the clueless Stalinists in power, in fact, let’s make tourists and their anti-social behaviour the cause of all our problems, in fact, let’s be total hypocrites and let’s forget that until quite recently the Balearics’ GDP was about 20% above the Spanish average: it was all down to tourism that this Mediterranean archipelago was so relatively rich in the first place. Never mind that c. 90 billion Euros has so far been wiped off Spanish GDP due in no small part to the authoritarians in power and their over-reaction which has had a knock-on effect on Spanish tourism. Talk about slagging off the hand that feeds you! Spain doesn’t deserve tourists and less in the Balearics. If you think that masks are going to protect you as GDP comes crashing down this year; is it 14% of GDP? or even more? The Spanish need to seriously get a life.

Danny Rees

14th July 2020 at 5:45 pm

Brendan is panicking without reason, this latest enforcement of face covering isn’t going to enforced. The police ae never around half the time and so won’t be to fine anyone who isn’t wearing a face mask in ASDA etc.

And even though it’s Boris who has brought in the legal enforcement of face covering Brendan still rages at the “middle classes” and liberals for supporting it.

Afraid of alienating Spiked’s most hard Right supporters by criticizing Bojo Brendan?

George Whale

14th July 2020 at 8:01 pm

I’m confident that police will prioritise masklessness over burglary, robbery, assault etc.

Jonathan Castro

15th July 2020 at 5:56 pm

That’s not really the point. The point is the fact that it’s mandatory.

Al Wilson

14th July 2020 at 5:38 pm

Labelling pro mask wearers as Corbinistas, lefties, millenials, and fanatical middle classes is really lazy journalism.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 6:35 pm

Yes, it’s disappointing in an otherwise good piece. He’s simply rounded-up the most ignorant members of society; such generalisations are never illustrative. And the millennials I know are already wise to the fascism. They know they’ve been sold a pup with useless degrees that will drain their finances for years to come; they know they will never afford a mortgage in the South East; they know they will be poorer than their parents. And so on.

More accurately, it’s the bourgeois managerial class who are panicking at loss of control. This goes back quite a few years to the point when they realised their class was tiny and lacked the support of the majority. They’re scared and look to the State to heal their existential dread. But the State is the coldest of all cold monsters and will eat them up with the rest of us if given a chance. They are cheering their own servitude yet are too ignorant and scared to recognise they are also cheering their own destruction.

Gweedo LeStrange

14th July 2020 at 7:03 pm

It’s the Marxist bourgeoisie who are panicking, not the private sector manageriat; their jobs are always safe. The incompetence of our bloated, parasitic state has been cruelly revealed by the Covid “crisis”. These Communist weaklings took the spineless ‘safety first’ approach, for they do not bear the costs of the draconian measures they decree, and it will cost them. They are prisoners of the fake expertise bubble, and they believe themselves to be virtuous guardians of the public good. But now, they sense that their tax slaves are in a revolutionary mood, that their worldview is crumbling, and that the state is bankrupt. Pitchforks are being sharpened for them. Soon the blood will flow.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 8:43 pm

Gweedo: I don’t discount that, but we live in a capitalist state; following from a popular definition of fascism, attributed tentatively to Giovanni Gentile, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Capitalism has been in crisis since 2008 and Covid provides the perfect opportunity to restructure and renew itself. The new model is pure neoliberal market economics, where absolutely everything is monetised, including the human body. Working from home, isolated individuals with little power and no opportunity for solidarity or organisation, overseen by remote managers. Data as the new commodity, supercomputers from multinational tech firms harvesting information and profiles of net users to sell on or analyse. Public spaces strictly controlled and monetised; social distancing enforced as if we were in a real life website. Schools given over to EdTech and distance learning. Humans declared toxic and social interaction limited to screens or behind muzzles. All life subject to algorithmic control and turned into data. Huge pools of unemployed and most workers on ZHCs. A return to serfdom with the few lucky elite in gated communities and working from home.

Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft; the five most valuable corporations, worth more than some small countries. Note: they are all tech firms who stand to benefit from the new normal. Likewise the big supermarkets moving to consolidate their power as monopolistic behemoths at the expense of the corner shops and SMEs, who will go under if this continues; and it will.

Fundamentally, I don’t disagree with you, even down to the pitchforks business. There’s only so much people can take, and this is only the beginning. Just wait for the waves of redundancies once the furlough finishes in, what is it, September? The legions of dead and mentally ill because services have been withdrawn to “free-up the NHS”. The young people who are expected to pay full whack for university fees in order to receive little more than they would at the Open University. And so on. I can only see unrest and civil conflict resulting from this debacle unless it ends soon; and it won’t, it really won’t.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 8:55 pm

I come back on this site to comment on the muzzling and find myself metaphorically muzzled by the moderators. How’s that for irony?

jamie murray

15th July 2020 at 5:48 pm

It’s the constant modding of reasonable comments that prevents me from donating, even though i’d like to. They’re not yet as bad as MSN with the deletions, but it always starts somewhere.
Until they stop it my wallets staying shut!

David Graham

14th July 2020 at 5:18 pm

Is it the ‘New Normal’ for eternity? The reasoning behind it seems missing, at least absent? So it sounds like we will be muzzled for however long is required.

Diane Roche

14th July 2020 at 5:07 pm

Another day of lunacy. I find it almost insane that we are in this bizarre situation. I find it increasingly surreal to observe the idiocy, complacency and compliance of the British public. The virus is waning yet the crazy Government are now ramping up fear levels again which will obviously deter people from enjoying any new freedoms. Who in their right mind wants to visit a pub with the staff acting as if in a science fiction film. Why are people so accepting of this fiasco and it’s connotations. If we are happy to accept this, what next?I want to see faces.I want to be a social human being.I want to see smiles. And if we don’t comply we are nothing more than thick, uncaring evil killers. Oh, and obviously Brexit supporters.
I want to be free with my own free will. Obviously it is sad that some people have succumbed to dying with Covid-19 but life goes on.The vast majority now deserve to start living normally (not New Normally) again. They have sacrificed several months of hardship, many losing businesses.Our children have suffered and thousands of people who have neglected their own health which will result in a huge rise in our death rates.To me this is a criminal act carried out by the Government against its’s own people.
There appears to be no thought given to these devastating effects.The Lockdown was never going to be sustainable and it has dragged on far too long. Why are the Government continuing to terrorise us into carrying out ridiculous measures when the virus cases are clearly falling. It’s clear there are certain sections of society who actually want all this to continue.They have already decided a second terrifying wave is on the way.The big
nagging question is Why?.

George Whale

14th July 2020 at 8:05 pm

“Who in their right mind wants to visit a pub with the staff acting as if in a science fiction film.” You reminded me: The Twilight Zone.

kevin king

21st July 2020 at 8:51 pm

Your questions answered. You can registerbut and discover all they have planned for you and your children.It isn’t going to be pleasant and we haven’t even started yet.
This has been planned for decades. What you are seeing is the second phase.9/11 was phase one.

Alan Elgey

14th July 2020 at 5:06 pm

I suspect that one of the (presumably unintended?) consequences of this will be that many people will go to fewer shops, despite their being largely open once more, thus accelerating the demise of the high street.

Supermarkets and chemists are probably largely OK; the rest……

Gareth Hart

14th July 2020 at 4:49 pm

The pro-maskers will not be satisfied until we are wearing a mask in our own homes. At all times. Forever. What is ironic is that all of this is being done under legislation originally enacted in 1984. Which seems apt.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 6:43 pm

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a muzzle covering the human face—forever.”

George Whale

14th July 2020 at 8:07 pm


Jerry Owen

14th July 2020 at 10:30 pm

That’s rather good.

Jerry Owen

14th July 2020 at 4:31 pm

Leicester was closed down because of the alleged re emergence of covid. There was a graph shown on the tv news last week which showed covid cases. They gave the figures of covid in per one hundred thousand of the population in various northern towns / cities. Leicester, even thought the largely Pakistani communities ignored the lockdown in the clothing factories registered 124 cases per 100,000 of the population and other places were of a similar figure.
Covid has all but gone as a public health issue.
We therefore have to look for another reason why we now have to wear face masks.

Simon Maxwell

14th July 2020 at 4:26 pm

Why don’t we just all wear bloody hazmat suits when we leave our homes? That would be taking this coronavirus hysteria to its logical conclusion, wouldn’t it?

Of course, being forced by law to wear a muzzle in shops won’t be the end of this. Oh no. In several weeks good old BoJo and his government will announce that anyone outside in any public place will have to wear a muzzle or face a fine.

I’m tempted to buy the most ludicrous mask I can find as a way of mocking these mask laws. How about a gas mask? It couldn’t get much more ludicrous than wearing a gas mask when out in public.

Jerry Owen

14th July 2020 at 4:49 pm

Peter Hitchens has a gas mask I believe.

Gareth Hart

14th July 2020 at 4:52 pm

Only a matter of time before you have to wear them in your own home. Boris called for a “culture change” and everything points to a slow, permanent change in all settings. I’m betting schoolchildren will have to wear them in school come September. Anyone who does not comply can expect to be cancelled.

Eric Praline

14th July 2020 at 5:15 pm

You could daub your own slogan on one. Some wags might go for f*** Boris. Some people here would probably go for something like “this mask is a symbol of the globalist Marxist oppression of the masses”.

“This mask is pointless”.

Jerry Owen

14th July 2020 at 4:25 pm

The compulsory wearing of masks in shops will just make those that are wearing them already even more petrified ( and I have seen plenty of these people ) because they will believe that there is some new evidence that masks are needed, there is none.
Masks will also give a false sense of protection ( none is needed anyway ).
We are continually told that CO2 is bad for us yet wearing a mask simply means you breath in that which the lungs have just expelled, namely CO2.
I for one will not be wearing a mask, which simply means I will not be visiting the high street shops out of principle.
What utter lunacy Boris has come up with by opening pubs restaurants and shops only to in effect close them down a week later virtually ( his announcement has done just that ). Businesses that have hung on by a limb to reopen have just had a hang mans noose put around their necks. This has to be soul destroying for small to medium high street businesses.
This is not about controlling Covid anymore ( it has all but gone ) but about controlling us.
There is nothing absolutely nothing whatsoever that is conservative about this ‘Conservative’ in name only government, we lull ourselves into a false sense of security believing it is some sort of saviour from the wokeness in our society.
This government is part and parcel of everything that is wrong with this country.
As for James O’Brien it’s a pleasure to see him change from a fairly robust socialist of maybe ten years ago to a raving lunatic.. it goes with the territory it seems.

Gareth Hart

14th July 2020 at 4:53 pm

No mask = no home delivery. Calling it now.

Eric Praline

14th July 2020 at 5:07 pm

Some businesses might welcome masks, some people will have their fears allayed. I haven’t seen any evidence that there is widespread anti-mask feeling, which somewhat undermines Brendan’s argument that it’s an elitist ploy.

Jerry Owen

14th July 2020 at 6:52 pm

I have seen the anti mask sentiment. I see it in the observable fact that the vast majority of people don’t wear them.

Eric Baxter

14th July 2020 at 4:22 pm

Poor Old Brendan, getting his knickers in a twist because he wants the right to asymptotically infect as many people as he chooses.

Eric Baxter

14th July 2020 at 4:23 pm

*asymptomatically – autocorrect fail.

Jonathan Marshall

14th July 2020 at 4:46 pm

I rather think you just made Brendan’s point for him.

Jonathan Castro

15th July 2020 at 5:46 pm

The logical conclusion to your “argument” is that you will never not wear a mask again.


14th July 2020 at 4:03 pm

Well, it’ll encourage me to stay out of shops. It’s awfully embarrassing to be mistaken for the kind of person who’s had his or her brain turned to mush by media scarce stories.

Jonathan Marshall

14th July 2020 at 4:49 pm

Hear, hear!

Eric Praline

14th July 2020 at 5:06 pm

Not everyone will have the luxury of staying at home and looking down their nose at all the sheeple.


14th July 2020 at 6:06 pm

True enough Eric, and for my part I won’t be able to. But it will encourage me to minimise my visits to shops. I can’t but suspect that that will suit the big retailers – supermarkets etc – as it may discourage people from going into the smaller stores, just to get a quick impulse purpose. As regards the ‘sheeple’, those who really seem to believe that we’re in the midst of a terrifying global pandemic, they’re hardly going to be emboldened to shop more because of this nonsensical rule. It’s yet another nail hammered into the nation’s economic coffin lid.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 6:32 pm

I’ll be visiting my local Turkish corner shop sans muzzle for my supplies. Good prices, nice people. They want my business and on my terms because they recognise the old adage about the customer always being right.

Warren Alexander

14th July 2020 at 3:59 pm

So a government that has one of the world’s worst records on Covid 19, has yet to make a single correct decision in this so-called crisis, that has run a propaganda campaign that has spread fear and panic in the population, that can present no evidence that any of its actions have had any effect in slowing down the spread of the virus, has chosen the very end of the pandemic, a time when people should be told it is safe to go out and resume a normal life, to warn them that it is still too dangerous to go shopping without a mask. And this is meant to encourage people to return to normal life?

Jonathan Marshall

14th July 2020 at 4:52 pm

Yes, absolutely unbelievable. I voted for a real Conservative (and conservative) government, not this shower of Onanists. I really think his brush with death has seriously affected Boris’s mental health.

Lee Cox

14th July 2020 at 7:33 pm

Jesus. You voted for Boris Johnson and you’re surprised when you got an incompetent, narcissist, chaotic clown car of a government. Well done.

Highland Fleet Lute

14th July 2020 at 3:46 pm

“And so we believe that mask-wearing should be voluntary.”

Really? I believe mask-wearing should be illegal.

Why bother wasting any more time with these simpering Left/Right, Brexit/Remain, Tory/Labour, Working Class/Middle Class, Woke/Conservative arguments?

You’ve only got one problem now. Babylon is coming after you with its mandatory 666 vaccine and is already three quarters there with its financial reset and total permanent global lockdown and boot stamping on a human face forever.

James Clark

14th July 2020 at 4:15 pm

You fool! Now you given yourself away, the Lizard People will be coming down your internet connection to get you!

Highland Fleet Lute

14th July 2020 at 4:20 pm

If I’d had told you six months ago that it would have been mandatory for everyone to wander around Waitrose in gimp masks, no doubt you would have said exactly the same. That comment of yours was just a manifestation of your weakness, as no doubt will be your next one.

Phil Carsley

15th July 2020 at 10:20 am

I’m not sure about the significance of the 666 bit, however I’m not so quick to dismiss our friend entirely. I genuinely believe this is merely a precursor, a step toward what is coming. Cashless society? Monetisation of the person? Ratchet effect whereby seemingly small and inconsequential removal of personal liberty until we reach a point where we have none? Are we really that far away from such things already? What do we have now? Cancel culture, wokeness, spreading of mass panic with absolutely no hard evidence to back it up……….I think what is to come will make a genuine pandemic look like a picnic.

Jonathan Castro

15th July 2020 at 5:41 pm


James Conner

14th July 2020 at 3:42 pm

People complain that this government doesn’t have a plan in place for covid-19. But I disagree. In fact the govt has plenty of plans, and it wheels a new one out almost every day.

Plan 1. Covid-19 is no threat. Carry on as normal, shake hands with everyone you meet.
Plan 2. Covid might be quite serious, but not serious enought to block flights from countries where it is rampant.
Plan 3. Wash your hands, stay at home, protect the NHS.
Plan 4. Forget about masks, they don’t do anything.
Plan 5. This thing is a killer. You can’t go to work. Here’s 80% of your wages for 6 months. After that you’re on your own.
Plan 6. All shops will shut, except the ones that can remain open. You can buy compost from B&Q but not a garden centre.
Plan 7. Covid cases are falling, now it’s time to quarantine everyone arriving from abroad.
Plan 8. The economy has hit the skids. Everybody must go back to work immediately.
Plan 9. Masks work. Everybody must wear one in shops or face a £100 fine.

Please feel free to add Plans 10 to 100

Mor Vir

14th July 2020 at 4:10 pm

Brilliant, thanks. Saved for future reference or outright quotation!

George Whale

14th July 2020 at 4:31 pm

Haha, brilliant!

Jonathan Marshall

14th July 2020 at 4:50 pm

Plan 10. The High Street is now completely wrecked. What do we do now?

Flossy Morris

14th July 2020 at 7:21 pm

What do you mean “what do we do know?” Follow the science, of course! It’s worked wonders so far… sort of.

Honestly, if this mess is what “following the science” looks like, I’m not surprised so many of us spent half the time during science class at school smoking in the bogs.

Anyway, thinking about a Slipknot mask now. It is a “face covering” after all.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 9:06 pm

Flossy: I reckon the medieval plague doctor look is the way to go. Not too expensive either:

Highland Fleet Lute

14th July 2020 at 10:13 pm

While to many, this all just looks like governmental idiocy, it seems to me more likely this is a series of AI chess moves.

I talk to people who sell AI programmes to the government in my job.

This governmment is gung ho for AI, and it wouldn’t surprise me if, for whatever nefarious purposes, they are using it against the population at large.

Vivian Darkbloom

14th July 2020 at 11:06 pm

Yep, that’s it alright. Embedded behavioural “scientists” within the civil service; the Behavioural Insights Team AKA the Nudge Unit headed by the unelected Mark Halpern, independent of the UK government. “A social purpose company. It is partly owned by the Cabinet Office, employees and Nesta”. The application of game theory. The use of digital monitoring to control and influence the public. The reduction of human individuality to pure data – the most valuable commodity of the third industrial revolution being enacted without the consent of the voters under the cover of a fake pandemic. Mining personal data to be sold to the highest bidder. Takeover of education by obscure remote learning companies. Real life moved online to a mediated and controlled screen simulacrum. Control of public space. Abolition of physical cash in favour of digital money. Tracking by mobile phone. Chinese social credit system. Happy days!

James Conner

14th July 2020 at 3:32 pm

James O’Brien, the thinking man’s turd.

Phil Carsley

15th July 2020 at 2:34 pm

Quite! I stopped listening to LBC because of him. I prefer Talk Radio, not all presenters mind you, still find James Whale a little too Alan Partridge.

Jim Lawrie

14th July 2020 at 3:03 pm

Masks protect from a wearer in the active stage of the virus who from the moment of donning the thing never touches the viral load he has concentrated into his mask through breathing until he arrives back home.

I bought 2 from a discount supermarket. On the packet “RECOMMEND WASH BEFORE USE.” 95°.

James Clark

14th July 2020 at 2:50 pm

“And so we believe that mask-wearing should be voluntary. Are we allowed to say that?” err..yes, you just wrote an article about it.

John Pretty

14th July 2020 at 3:11 pm

err … , I don’t think that a literal interpretation of those words was the intention of the author.

As you well know.

James Clark

14th July 2020 at 4:07 pm

I can’t help poking fun at those who claim they can’t say stuff after they just have.

jassmine fariendesss

14th July 2020 at 2:47 pm

good day

Mor Vir

14th July 2020 at 2:33 pm

Perhaps the DM would like to tell us why, if people are ‘real covidiots’ for not wearing maskes when c19 is petering out, Boris is not a massive covidiot for not imposing them when covid was rampantly k/illing people? It really made sense to wait and impose them now – not.

Likewise tests at the borders and imposed isolation after flights, not when covid was flooding into the country but now that it is falling off. It is tempting to point out that DM does resemble ‘dumb’ but I will not lower myself to name calling. How dare that partisan TP rag talk about the public like that!

Jim Lawrie

14th July 2020 at 3:04 pm

The article is about the here and now. Not the past with 20/20 hindsight.

John Pretty

14th July 2020 at 3:14 pm

Mr Lawrie, I cannot decipher the point you are attempting to make with this comment.

Mor Vir

14th July 2020 at 3:28 pm

WHO recommended face masks back in Feb to combat spread of c19, TP completely ignored the advice. Closing the borders was the obvious first move in a pandemic, we all saw what was unfolding in Italy.

Boris did absolutely nothing to stop the spread of c19 throughout the population, and he has since done U turn after U turn and he is still doing them. He has trashed the economy in the process.

There will have to be a full public enquiry into TP handling of c19 and it will not make pretty reading. TP cannot expect to get elected at the next GE after that fiasco.

It is unbelievable that you would attempt to deflect criticism of TP performance in such an openly cynical, partisan manner. This is supposed to be a democracy not a one party state.

Weyland Smith

14th July 2020 at 4:01 pm

I think it’s reasonable to ask ‘why now?’. Masks, lock-down, border controls are all physical barriers. We’ve been allowed to shop unmasked during the exponential growth phase, but now have to wear masks when the risk of infection is minimal. Jennie Harries admitted during one of the daily press briefings some weeks ago that the lack of supplies was the determining factor of government advice on mask wearing, not science. There really doesn’t seem to be much sign of coherence in any of this.

michael savell

14th July 2020 at 5:06 pm

Governments should have vision and are paid to see the future,they wanted the job,they have to put up with the kickbacks.If I am wrong then maybe we should just elect a soothsayer and have done with it.This country is the lowest in the world for commonsense now which is why we are going to suffer worst of all.All that had to be done was to prescribe HCQ and zinc to the young and work slowly towards the shutdown elderly.This would have saved 000’s of lives and wouldn’t have evaporated any hope we had that some industry would have been left standing.What is going to happen when the fed ditch the dollar,the US won’t bother about us .We still appear unaware that there are going to be food shortages as well,can’t wait to see my emaciated image in a mirror with a mask on.When will one man decide that we should wear these indoors as well,that should be fun,and will we wear them in bed as well.It’s all a dystopian nightmare but it will be here shortly.Those who say they will not wear a mask are presumably those whose wives and kids have to scurry from shop to shop.They of course have higher things to think about but for all their thinking it isn’t going to do them any good.

Highland Fleet Lute

14th July 2020 at 3:28 pm

‘No sense makes sense’ manoeuvres. It’s probably all done by AI.

Mor Vir

14th July 2020 at 3:36 pm

As the old joke goes, the government could do with some AI, they certainly lack any I.

Highland Fleet Lute

14th July 2020 at 4:02 pm

You think I’m joking? Do you think any of this is funny?

etidretni noinipo

14th July 2020 at 3:47 pm

The WHO didn’t recommend face masks until June. And this recommendation applies to people living in areas where virus transmission is widespread. You can attack the government (or TP as you call them) for a lot of things, but they did not ignore the WHO’s advice, and are now implementing compulsory mask wearing at a time when transmission is on the wane.

Highland Fleet Lute

14th July 2020 at 4:00 pm

The WHO is run by pedophiles. Anyone who’d take medical, or any other advice from an organisation like that must need their head testing.

Mor Vir

14th July 2020 at 4:06 pm

I checked and you are correct. Google search indicated that the page with the recommendation was dated Feb but the page itself indicates that it was updated in June. Other pages confirm what you say. Thanks for that.

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Deplorables — a spiked film