Mary Kelly: Sammy and Madonna's pronouncements a poke in the eye for science

It's a pity we weren't encouraged to wear masks at the start of the pandemic when the sobering reality of weekly death tolls was hard to argue with. Unless of course, you are Sammy Wilson

DUP MP Sammy Wilson and Madonna – neither has much truck with scientific opinion
Mary Kelly

SO WHAT does our own Sammy Wilson, honourable member for East Antrim, have in common with Madonna? We know Sammy doesn’t believe in wearing face masks, which he has compared to being muzzled – something his party colleagues can only dream of. He’s also famously disagreed with scientific opinion on climate change.

Madge also has little truck with science as she’s now shared a coronavirus conspiracy theory with her 15 million followers on Instagram. She claims a vaccine exists but was being deliberately concealed because “they would rather let fear control the people and let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”.

This comes just days after that other expert on virology, Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, shared a post claiming Bill Gates was lying about vaccine trials. He later deleted it. If ever there was a need for muzzling.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, the rest of us are just gamely getting on with wearing masks in shops and on buses.

In recent weeks there’s been a steady increase in new cases of Covid, from 21 on July 27 to 76 on August 10. The chief medical officer, Dr Michael McBride, has warned of worrying signs that fatigue is leading to carelessness. The scientific message hasn’t always been clear enough, though.

At the start of the pandemic, experts said masks would make little difference, even when the rest of the world were keener to use them. It’s a pity that we weren’t also encouraged to wear masks at that time when the sobering reality of weekly death tolls was hard to argue with. Unless of course, you are Sammy Wilson.

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JOURNALIST Amanda Ferguson has quite rightly been railing against the absence of proper media access at Stormont during this unparalleled health crisis. The daily briefings disappeared after Arlene and Michelle had the famous falling out over the Bobby Storey funeral. But if they are too embarrassed to be seen in public together, give or take a photo op with the taoiseach, then what’s to stop the other ministers from fronting up or indeed the top medical and scientific officers? It’s almost as if they don’t want to keep the public properly informed.

Maybe that was another tip they picked up from the Chinese Consul General, Madam Zhang, when they had that cosy chat about matters apparently not including their approval for the Chinese government’s crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong.

Stung by criticism in this newspaper about the Chinese account of their video-call conversation, both politicians responded saying they supported the one country, two systems international agreement for the governance of Hong Kong.

Who to believe – the defenders of a regime that lied about the first instances of the coronavirus which emanated in their country, silenced the brave whistleblower doctor who warned of the deadly disease before he died from it and is currently accused of the repression of more than a million Muslims detained in “re-education camps” for practising their religion, or our first ministers?

To put an end to this case of Chinese whispers, all we need is to see the actual minutes of the conversation. Oh, I forgot. They aren’t that keen on taking minutes up at Stormont.


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NICOLA Sturgeon got an uncustomary 'fail' on her report card over the the Scottish exam results fiasco. Thousands of students had the results awarded by their teachers downgraded in a moderation system that unfairly penalised pupils at historically under-performing schools.

Naturally most of those schools were in mainly working-class areas. Cue an almost immediate apology from herself and Scotland's education minister John Swinney for getting it wrong. He then swiftly announced a complete U-turn on the policy. This is how mature government is done – admit to mistakes and rectify them. Hope you’re paying attention at the back, Peter Weir?

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THANK God Joe Biden has finally decided Kamala Harris will be his running mate after months of dithering about whether it would have to be a woman, and then that she would probably be of colour.

So we might get a double whammy if Biden wins and then old age pushes him off the scene after one term.

Donald Trump has already described her as “extraordinarily nasty” in her attacks on his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanagh. Her appointment looks like livening up the race for the White House. Here’s hoping.

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AND a note to Harry and Meghan who, according to a new book, flounced off from Windsor Inc because they’re annoyed that he’s had to take a back seat to Prince Charles and Prince William.

Er… monarchy is a hierarchy. And you were born second. Dry them.

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