Today is Freedom Day! The long promised day where the government would finally take its knee off our necks and let us breath again.

Except of course it’s not.

Like a narcissistic abuser, they promised it would be different this time. Dangling hope in front of us, before snatching it away. At the last minute, they oh so apologetically found an oh so convenient excuse, with clearly cherry picked data, and moved the goal posts once more.

As everyone knew that they would.

“The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.” 

Elena Gorokhova, A Mountain of Crumbs

Freedom day is now July 19th, except nobody seriously expects these compulsive liars to keep their word this time either. They never have in the past. Indeed, a leaked Whitehall document outlines this has been the plan all along – to drag this out until the winter, where the inevitable rise in cases will force us back into full lockdown again.

Why, when the country has one of the highest uptakes of the vaccine anywhere in the world, and we’ve clearly demonstrated that we have broken the link between case rises and deaths? Oh, I’m sure there will be a new “concerning” variant appearing, or some rise in cases that will be “alarming”, which will be trotted out closer to the time as a post hoc justification for a decision that has already been made.

Who knows why they’re doing this, but I rather think that – like any abuser – the pencil necked bureaucrats in government and in SAGE (who are clearly running the show) rather like having power and the ability to micromanage our lives. SAGE and government ministers now get to determine who we can see, what we wear on our faces, how we greet each other, where we can travel, and who can dance at a wedding. They get to determine who we can have in our homes, what kinds of businesses can trade, what activities you are allowed to enjoy, or how close you can stand next to someone you’re not living with.

Sitting at a restaurant table, is ok, but don’t you dare stand up without putting a mask on, because SAGE tells us this will murder a granny!

Do the rules seem capricious and contradictory? Is it maddening how often they change? Can’t make firm plans or commitments, lest the whims of SAGE change without warning? Shut up! Science Denier! Don’t you dare try and divine the wisdom of the almighty SAGE!

If this sort of abuse were levelled against another person, in an intimate relationship say, then the police would rightly be involved. However, it seems the country is in the grips of a massive case of Stockholm syndrome, and can’t see the blatant absurdity of all of this, and the obviousness of the abuse.

Hey UK, blink twice if you’re in trouble!

“But you see my love, it’s because of the virus! Can’t have you meeting up with your friends, they might be dangerous! Oh, and I definitely can’t have you galavanting around the globe, you have to stay here with me!”

Except, of course, if you have a diplomatic passport.

I’m a big behaviourist. Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do… actions never lie.

G7 leaders from around the world, and their entourage, all jetted in to Cornwall last week for a summit. Of course it was vitally important that they all meet face to face. None of these vitally important conversations could have been conducted over Zoom, that would just be silly in the midst of a global pandemic.

Did they do the mandatory two weeks of house arrest for quarantine that SAGE insists is vital for everyone’s safety? Did they even have a test? Do you seriously believe that Joe Biden had a swab stuck up his nose before he got off Airforce one?

No, of course not. As soon as the socially distanced press photo was taken, and the cameras were thought to be off, the masks were ripped off and the champagne started flowing. Definitely no social distancing, and I’m pretty sure there were more than two households mixing.

It looked almost as if they were on holiday! You know, that thing that SAGE tell us riffraff we’re definitely not permitted to have.

This is nothing new, of course. Every day a precession of masked up ministers walk into No. 10 and rip the rag off their face as soon as they think the cameras are not on them.

It’s almost as if our elites don’t think Covid is all that big of a concern anymore, eh? It’s almost as if we’re being played for fools. Shouldn’t be a surprise… if it wasn’t for double standards, they’d have no standards at all.

“But you see, my love… it’s all those vaccine refuseniks that are to blame! It’s them making me do this to you!”

Despite the UK having one of the highest uptakes of the vaccine anywhere in the world, our abuser is trying to shift the blame. Trying to shift our attention away from their own flouting of the oppressive, ever changing capricious restrictions, which they force us to live under. Instead, they encourage us to turn on each other… divide and rule, got to love a classic!

You must loudly proclaim that you can’t wait until you’re called up to get your shot! … lest someone think you’re a dreaded antivaxer, denounce you, and blaming you for all their suffering. Be sure to post a selfie of you in your mask to Instagram, proudly showing off the bandaid on your arm, and don’t forget to update that Facebook profile picture with a vaccine badge!

Believe your abuser, who has lied to you throughout, and listen carefully when they tell you that the vaccine is perfectly safe. Believe them, despite there being no possible way they could know what the long term health effects of an entirely new and experimental vaccine technology will be, when rolled out on such a massive scale. Believe them, even though the longitudinal data simply does not exist, so there are no grounds to make any claim beyond “it seems to work ok so far, so long as you don’t look at the yellow card report too closely”.

Do you have questions as to whether it’s necessarily a good idea to conduct perhaps the largest public health intervention in human history, on essentially the entire global population, using an experimental drug technology, all without even stopping for breath? Act in haste (or in this case fear), regret at leisure. Maybe you have concerns about taking a drug, for which the long term health effects are entirely unknown, when you are in a very low risk category for the virus itself?

Having questions or concerns like this is clearly insane, and not at all what any rational person would ever do, our abuser tells us.

Our abuser informs us sternly that this is WrongThink, and people who think like that are crazy antivaxers who all believe the Illuminati and the lizard people are using the vaccine to implant everyone with 5G tracking chips made by Microsoft!

Our abuser tells us there is no sane reason to refuse to have the vaccine, and that anyone who does so is a crazy conspiracy theorist who wants to murder your grandma! Our abuser tells us that of course they would never lie to us, and that they only want the best for us! You must have imagined all those times they’ve lied before, you’re so silly like that!

So, put aside any silly worries you have about taking an experimental drug when you’re neither elderly or clinically vulnerable. The new chicken tikka flavour of Covid is super duper extra special dangerous, which is why you always see me wearing my mask and standing two meters away from everyone, when the TV cameras are on me at least!

Don’t you listen to anyone who asks questions as to the sense of all of this. Don’t listen to anyone who points out that new variants of viruses happen all the time. Don’t worry your pretty little head with those silly little logical deductions, like if the criteria for freedom is “no new variants”, then that basically means “never”.

Don’t notice things like the way the herd immunity threshold has constantly crept up ever higher, or that it is always conveniently just above where we are now. Did I say you’ll have your freedom back when we’ve vaccinated the elderly and vulnerable? Na, you must have imagined that, you know how bad your memory is, silly! When we’ve vaccinated the over 50s? No, you must have imagined that too.

You remember? I said I can only give your freedoms back after we have vaccinate everybody, didn’t I. I’ve always said that from the beginning! You must have imagined all the times I said anything different. So remember, it’s that healthy thirty year old who has concerns as to why they are being pressured into an experimental medical procedure by people who lie all the time… they’re the reason I’ll have to lock you in your house this winter! They’re the reason I’m going to have to cancel Christmas again! It’s not that it’s an entirely political decision, or that the hospitalisations and deaths from Covid are at a record low and falling, or that power is an end in and of itself, or anything silly like that.

You know you shouldn’t listen to them. Just do what you’re told, you know I know what’s best for you.

“Darling, I love you! Why do you make me hurt you?”

Our abuser cries, as they beat us.

Just a very quick one, really as a aide-mémoire for when this inevitably happens again and leaves me scratching my head.

So, if you’re creating a foreign key relationships between two tables in your mysql / mariadb database, and you get errors along the lines of:

errno: 150 "Foreign key constraint is incorrectly formed"

or

Failed to add the foreign key constaint. Missing index for constraint 'BLAH' in the referenced table 'whatever'

and you’ve checked that your statement is correctly constructed and otherwise correct, check that the tables in question are the same collation using show create table TABLENAME

It is easy to miss, but foreign keys can only exist between tables of the same table collation and type. So, if they’re different, you’ll need to do an alter table, e.g.

alter table TABLENAME convert to character set utf8 collate utf8_unicode_ci;

Hope this helps someone!

This morning I wrote a letter to my MP to, hopefully, express the dangers surrounding the numerous “vaccine passport” systems being proposed in this, and other countries.

Discussion around these passports, in my mind, seem to miss the main danger. A cynical mind might say that this omission is deliberate, but I am going to assume good faith for now, at least until it is proved otherwise.

My letter is below:

I am writing to you to express my strongest objection to Tory plans for the introduction of a vaccine passport in the UK, something the Labour leader also opposes. 

Internal vaccine certification is something alien to this country, and with the wide uptake of the Covid vaccine, seems to me unnecessary. After all, if we are at herd immunity, what does it matter whether a particular individual is vaccinated or not? 

It is my belief that requiring us to prove our medical status to anyone who demands it from us is a massive invasion of privacy. It is also my belief that they will be divisive, with those unwilling or unable to get the vaccine being treated as “untouchables” and effectively barred from civil society.

However, fundamentally it is my belief that vaccine passports are clearly meant to be a form of coercion and control. 

Coercion because it is clearly meant to threaten those reticent to take up the vaccine with being effectively “unpersoned” unless they undergo a medical procedure, a practice outlawed in the Nuremberg code of medical ethics. 

Control, because every scan of the bar code will inform a government database of your location, who you’re with, and what you are doing. This is essentially an ID card system by the back door.

It is my firm belief that we are on a dangerous road to a very dark place. Not only are we moving to a world where we allow the state to effectively mandate citizens undergo medical procedures, but we are letting the fear of a virus take us to a world where, with widespread adoption of this system, the government could essentially place political dissidents in internal exile with the press of a button.

Imagine a world, ten years from now, where you have to prove your vaccine status for anything that requires you to come in contact with other people. The government is already talking about pubs and concert venues, but logically, why stop there? Why not shops or public transport systems as well? After all, you will be mixing with just as many, if not more people. You are obviously going to need it to leave or enter the country.

Now, imagine you have the “wrong opinions”. Perhaps you attend an environmental protest, or you write something on social media critical of the government. Any one of a million things that are perfectly reasonable in a liberal democracy, but which inconvenience those in power.

Well, will you look at that! Your vaccine passport suddenly stops working. Now that person has been removed from interacting with society, and all without any of that messy “due process” business!

This is not paranoia, or science fiction. This system exists, right now, in China, and it is called the Social Credit system. There, every citizen has an app on their phone which is scanned numerous times a day to prove, not their vaccine status, but whether they are a “good citizen” or not. Have the “wrong opinions”, or post something on social media critical of the government and look at that! Your score drops, and you are suddenly barred from participating in society. 

The proposed vaccine passport system is obviously, on the face of it, different. However, it is functionally the same mechanism as the Social Credit system. That system is the mechanism by which the Chinese government exercises totalitarian control over their citizens everyday lives and is not something that a so called “free” society should ever seek to emulate!

I therefore urge you to oppose any form of vaccine certification.