Despite the best efforts of the Daily Mail, scaring everyone on two continents stupid, or Obama leading the fight against it, or the WHO pronouncing against it, it hasn’t happened yet.
Even if the Daily Mail had been around, it didn’t happen in 634 BC, “the year of the twelve eagles”, nor did it happen for William Miller and the Millerites in 1843, far less for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 2010.
Most famously of all it did not happen for Y2K, or as you might remember it the “Millennium Bug”, a wholly spurious doom that was, we were told, going to overwhelm all the computers on earth come the change of the calendar from 1999 to 2000. Oh how we shuddered at the thought that all their little internal clocks would fall over and planes would plunge from the skies, lifts would jam in tower blocks (no one ever explained to me why a lift needed a calendar) my toaster would never work again and all would be DOOM.
Of course nothing happened save for a number of old Cobal programmers pocketing a great deal of undeserved cash and retiring early.
In 2012 the Mayan Calendar nonsense failed, and bugger all happened at Bugarach.
Yes indeed it’s the annual late summer “End of the World” scare.
But fear not! Or fear lots if you are a Daily Mail reader. Worse, is here this year and it’s the real thing this time (God knows at the ol’ DM they’ve met a few) and it’s called Ebola and is being touted about by the likes of the Guardian– who really ought to know better and even the Huffington Post who have never really been the same since they sold out. For hot on the heels of Harold Camping, Branch Davidian and HIV, is a medical scare to terrify you right now. Forget Bird Flu we have Ebola abroad again, and this time, this time – it’s catching. Well maybe.
Certainly some poor souls in West Africa, where there is appalling medical treatment and damn all hospital care have caught something very nasty indeed and died.
The total to date is somewhere north of 4,000. In a world of 7 billion this is a non starter. Ebola is never going to be the slate-wiper they claim. But people are never good at statistics. They forget that if you want something that really is easy to catch and kill you, then they should look no further than TB or malaria. But there is medication for this already. Old medicine long out of copyright. Old medicine that’s not a big sale item.
Now we are frightened again, is this an opportunity to resell all those overpriced stocks of Tamiflu? Do we need to turn to big Pharma for a new vaccine? Who, apart from the cynical old hacks at the Daily Mail desperate for greater sales, stand to gain by all this? Who gains from parroting paranoia? Well, the pharmacology firms pushing dubious drugs for one, makers of cheap masks for sale to a scared public “just in case”, makers of respirators, or bespoke isolation units, which can be pushed wholesale onto panicky hospital buyers – again “just in case”.
What better than a “foreign” infection to block imports legally and punt your own local products which can steal a march on those foreign cheaper imports? Or flog the poor buggers a load of old tat they dont really need.
We can also invoke a really good terrorist scare too. Keeping the people worried is the main thrust of Government policy at the moment. Jobs, inflation, pensions, you name it. Frankly I am surprised the Daily Mail has missed this one. How does one do this? Simple.
First bring back that old canard of “you can catch it off toilet seats”. Never fails.
Next you punt the idea that Ebola infected terrorists are flooding into the country to plank their sweating diseased backsides onto every public lavatory seat in London in order to infect the country and sit back and watch the paper’s sales rocket.
Makes you wonder what we should really be looking out for if they are distracting us with these old lies.
Copyright David Macadam 2014.