Both my degrees are from the University of Birmingham – an establishment with an excellent record in research and academic achievement. You must be very proud to be its chancellor as I am proud to be one of its alumni.
I am writing to you because of concern that the opportunities we had in our day are no longer a facet of society and no longer available to students. A clampdown (I was tempted to write lockdown) has taken place which separates undergraduates, graduates, lecturers and professors from one another. In its place is a system encouraging home-study. Classroom lectures, university-based library study and person-to-person tutorials are fast becoming a thing of the past. The social interactions we had – in the “pig-hut” (post graduate centre), student union and Shakespeare Institute, for example – are absent from student life today.
This change has been brought about by a virus. Never in my long life have I known the likes of this. The virus, Covid-19, is said to have been responsible for a pandemic. In the press, on the radio and television, in reports from the MHRA, everywhere, this word “pandemic” is trotted out relentlessly – so much so that you would think all medics, scientists, virologists, epidemiologists and other scholars believed in its propagation. That is not the case. Far from it.
Today, opinions which do not subscribe to the thunderous clamouring of “pandemic” and “Covid-19” are removed from public access and any voice of dissent goes unheard. One such example, I bring to your attention is Sucharit Bhakdi (see image). Professor Bhakdi is one of many doctors and scientists who believe these meme words to be the antithesis of true science and knowledge. Their voices are deliberately not being heard.
Enlightened scholars and teachers appear at certain times in history. For example in the sixth century BC widely-diverse intellectuals of their day were bringing forth theories, laws and prophecies that transcended known teaching in a variety of geographical locations. They included Buddha, Confucius, the prophet Daniel, Pythagoras and Zarathustra.
Here in the Birmingham area we had a more localised and more recent enlightenment with the Lunar Society in the latter half of the eighteenth century, cementing the historical significance of Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin, Joseph Priestley, William Withering and a whole host of doctors and scientists of their day, who were in communication with like scientists and educators abroad: Jean Jacques Rousseau, Antoine Lavoisier, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. They did not always agree – but their views were heard and considered.
Encouraging the cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the introduction of new ideas, should be a basic tenet of the higher education system – as it always was except for periods when Tetzel’s followers were burning Luther’s books and Luther’s followers were burning Tetzel’s; except for periods when Joseph Priestley’s house, library and laboratory were burnt down and destroyed in the Birmingham riots of 1791, forcing Priestley to flee to the safety of America. Led by the mainstream the “Church and King mob” was responsible for this attack on dissenters. Although the rioters were ordinary people, they had heads full of memes, from pulpit and press, including from cartoons by James Gilray. What was lost in those riots was something precious, that all societies should uphold: the right to freedom of expression.
What is happening today, from those who subscribe to this “pandemic” – I freely confess I am not one – Is the same as what happened in Priestley’s time. It is dividing communities and is likewise led from the top. When the higher education system goes along with a meme which does not stand the test of scrutiny it can only lead to the downfall of society. When parliament is replaced by three individuals behind lecterns dictating policy – it is the end of democracy.
So I urge you, and your vice-chancellors, indeed I urge chancellors the length and breadth of the country, the length and breadth of the world, to get together to bring an end to the divisive fragmentation of families, culture, social interaction and the education system (for which you have an important contribution, and duty, to make).
Thank you for reading this. I look forward to the day when once again we individuals have a choice: the right to determine whether or not to be experimented on with vaccines. I look forward to the day when individuals are fully informed about what the vaccines contain and what are the long-term effects of taking them. I look forward to the day when individuals can once more go to sporting events without being segregated, take part fully in all university activities and debates, go to the theatre, concert-hall and cinema. I look forward to the day when individuals and groups can go to their favourite restaurant, like we used to do in the eighties, down Ladypool Road or Stoney Lane: for a curry and a glass of beer. You, and others in a similar position to you, can get together and make this happen. Please do. All free-thinking people will support you.