We will be dealing with the poisonous consequences of lockdown for years to come, if not forever, says Neil Oliver

We will be dealing with the poisonous consequences of lockdown for years to come, if not forever, says Neil Oliver

WATCH NOW: Neil Oliver shares his thoughts on the coronavirus lockdown

GB News
Neil Oliver

By Neil Oliver

Published: 16/03/2024

- 10:46

Who are we as a species if we don't put children first at all times as parents?

We tell ourselves that children are our most precious resource and treasure. We sing songs about it. I believe that children are our future and all that jazz. Let's have a look at the recent reality of life and death of children around the world, shall we?

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 12,300 children have been killed in that open air prison since October last year. The children of the generation that went through the fires of hell and said, never again, are witnessing 21st century children consumed by other flames.

Plausible genocide the International Court of Justice calls it, if taken at face value, it would mean more children died in Gaza between October last year and February this year than the combined number of all that died in all conflict around the world in the four years from 2019 to 2022.

For those who dismiss numbers presented by the Gaza Health Ministry as unreliable, even fictional, the Save the Children charity estimates the total of dead children in Gaza in the 100 days from October to the end of January, that's already six weeks out of date, at 10,000.

Whichever figures you believe, it seems reasonable to accept we are confronted by a lot of dead children and babies piling up in the few square miles of Gaza. There's all manner of footage, again, much of it roundly dismissed as fake in some way of little corpses pooled from piles of rubble and wrapped in brightly coloured blankets for transport to God knows where. Maybe God does know.

Hopefully God cares as well, because evidently not enough of the right people do. Not enough to make it stop. Children are our future, we sing. So what about all those children with no futures at all?

Last month, Unicef estimated at least 17,000 Gazan children had been orphaned by that war, or at least separated from all family and therefore left alone. 17,000 stories of heartbreak and grief. In a separate report for Unicef, the plight of the children of Ukraine was laid bare.

Two years of chaos, destruction and loss, separation from families, disrupted schooling, disrupted health care, reports of a mental health crisis and a learning crisis. Many children have fled the chaos alone, exposing them to abuse of every kind. Human trafficking on an industrial scale. Children robbed of childhood. Scars visible and invisible. Human traffickers, child traffickers. Dark tales abound of more of the same harvesting a bumper crop of orphans in Gaza, too.

Neil Oliver

Neil Oliver shares his thoughts on the coronavirus lockdown

GB News

It seems to me that present evidence makes plain that far from irreplaceable treasures, too many children are treated as disposable.

Closer to home, we have altogether different damage to contemplate. All parents hear and share anecdotal evidence of harms caused to children during the Covid years.

In lockdown, the response to the neighbourly question 'how are you all doing' was met first with a cheery 'fine', time spent digging deeper, however, invariably revealed struggles, anxieties, real concerns about youngsters.

We must now conclude that as a society, we will be dealing with the poisonous consequences of lockdown for years to come, if not forever. A consensus on the number of so-called ghost children, those who fell off the radar of schools and social services during the Covid debacle and haven't been heard of since is hard to come by, but tens of thousands is certain.

And the think tank Centre for Social Justice says 100,000. The CSJ tries to keep a spotlight on the poorest and most disadvantaged in society. And as early as 2021, they were warning: "Covid 19 has wreaked havoc in our schools. Young people's life chances have been laid waste by successive school shutdowns and interruptions to the learning.

"The damage caused by lockdowns could not be clearer than in the case of school attendance. The pandemic has given rise to a generation of ghost children. If we're not careful, we're creating an Oliver Twist generation of children exposed to significant safeguarding hazards".

Over the years here at GB News, I've spoken specifically about children. My primary motivation for speaking out at all in any context from the beginning three or four years ago was, as a parent, fearing for my own children, what lockdown and the rest of the madness would do to them.

How it would affect their futures by fundamentally altering the fabric of society. When it came to the product pushed as vaccines, my number one focus was on making sure no needle touched any of my children. And so from time to time on a Saturday night, I made children the focus of what I was talking about, including asking questions about harms caused to so many by the malignancy of the lockdown policies that kept families apart, closed schools, delayed learning to speak, compromised normal emotional and psychological development, delayed the learning of social skills left unknowable numbers isolated in dangerous domestic circumstances.

But the truth is that the viewing figures for those monologues, were always conspicuously lower than those on other subjects. Maybe when it comes to children, too many people just don't want to know, just don't want to think about it. But here we are in 2024 and our world made different.

All parents know that if their children were hooked on phones and the rest of the tech before lockdown, that time of enforced isolation only cranked up the addiction. We all hear the stories about spikes in the number of children self-harming with eating disorders, simply struggling with day to day life, referrals for children needing mental health treatment spiked along with the rest.

Last year, it was reported that one in five primary and secondary aged children are behind in their speech skills, their understanding of words. Charity Speech and Language UK said it was the highest number of children with speech and language challenges ever recorded. 80 per cent of teachers said children in their classrooms were lagging behind.

This is fundamental, condemning generations to underachievement, to isolation from society on account of not understanding, not being able to make themselves understood. During a recent parliamentary debate on excess deaths, Conservative MP Dr Caroline Johnson, a consultant paediatrician as well as an MP, reported that up to March 2023, there was an 8 per cent increase in child deaths compared to the year before.

She went on to say suicide and self-harm was the main cause of death for children between the ages of ten and 17 "getting much worse in the 10 to 14 age group". Stop for a moment to take that in. Of course, the vast majority of MPs won't discuss excess deaths full stop, staying away in droves from any debates on the subject.

Which brings me to the subject of accountability. We can see where we are now, surrounded by children struggling, falling behind, falling through cracks in the floorboards, dying in greater numbers than before, self-harming, killing themselves. All of this has happened on our watch.

In a time made utterly different by official policies, with which MPs of all stripes remained in lockstep, almost without exception, giving the full throated support. Safe and effective, that, worst of all mantras was a death sentence for uncounted numbers.

Worst of all, it was never based on data of any sort, just baseless, preordained propaganda from the start. Save our NHS, three weeks to flatten the curve. No jab, no job, or yet more mantras, all of them contributing to the alternative reality in which we find ourselves with children bearing so much of the brunt.

Last week, the summertime catch up tsar tasked back in 2020 with helping repair the damage done to education, talked about the circumstances that saw him resign his post and walk away in disgust, describing how government at first promised commitment and then refused to foot the bill for the necessary measures.

Sir Kevin Collins said: "All these things we could have done to send a signal about childhood, but we did nothing. We gave up. It was pathetic". We must have accountability from MPs, from doctors, from scientists, from the media, from all levels of the establishment. Because if those who set and train the policies that left us where we are remain in post, then we will have learned nothing and even worse consequences will lie ahead.

All the time children were shut up at home, all the time we were told children are resilient, it was wine time Friday in Downing Street, a maskless free for all who had access to the data, plainly reassured those ruling our lives, restricting our lives that there was nothing at all to fear. We know where we are. Hardly any child can report a peer that died of Covid.

Plenty more have seen youngsters, often the fittest of the fit youngsters, dropping dead on the field of play for reasons that are never made plain, never discussed, like so many of us have certainly known family members, neighbours, parents of friends succumbing to unexpected heart attacks and strokes.

More of those who feature in the spiking figures of the excess deaths were not supposed to notice, far less mention. A generation of our youngest, at crucial times in their education knew they were let down by teachers, by university lecturers, let down by the authorities that closed the schools and the gyms and the rest of the venues making up the fabric of their lives, that they were pressured into accepting medical interventions even when they'd had Covid and so had natural immunity from an illness that posed them no meaningful threat anyway, so they could get into pubs and nightclubs.

They look on the adults, those who wielded power over them and find no reason to trust those so-called grownups ever again. It's no exaggeration whatever to say that on the altar of save Granny, children's well-being was knowingly sacrificed, and many of them know it. I remember seeing at the time that a society standing behind a shield made of its own children, that forces children to risk their lives by being injected with products that were demonstrably neither safe nor effective, and that, most important of all, they never needed, is no society at all.

Here's the thing. Society sought to put children's lives on hold, to shut them indoors, to sacrifice their education, to turn a blind eye to the hobbling of the natural development of the very youngest and most vulnerable.

I ask again, where are we as a society? Who are we as a species if we don't put children first at all times as parents? Our gut reaction should be to nurture and care. So why do we so often look the other way, while so much is inflicted on the innocent by those guilty of putting profit and ideology before the wellbeing of our youngest?

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