Is this the most bizarre anti-vaccine conspiracy theory yet?

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It may be early days, but the Sentence of the Year contest for 2022 already looks a foregone conclusion. On Saturday, the following line appeared towards the end of a newspaper report about an anti-vaccine march.

“John O’Looney, a funeral director and antivaxer, had been due to speak at the march but is believed to be in hospital with Covid.”

Reading that sentence, it’s hard to avoid feeling a pang of sympathy for our comic novelists. Not even the most revered among them could hope to get a line like that past their editors.

“Yes, Mr Amis, it’s very droll. I’m just wondering whether perhaps the name you’ve given to this eccentric conspiracy theorist is a touch lacking in subtlety.”

As it happens, this is not the first time that that particular name has come to public attention. Last month, a group of anti-vaccine activists filed a case at the International Criminal Court. Among the applicants listed at the top were Piers Corbyn, the older brother of St Jeremy, and one John O’Loony (this time spelt without the “e”). And, according to the document submitted in their names, there is “good reason” to believe that the Covid vaccines will kill the vaccinated, about 18 months after injection. Apparently, as part of a plot known as “the Great Reset”, the “Globalist Elite” want to bring about “a great global depopulation”, and “the Vaccinations is one way to do it”.

It’s certainly an interesting theory. I can’t help feeling, however, that it may contain a tiny flaw.

If the theory is correct, then by 2023 the only people left alive – apart from this mysterious Globalist Elite – will be those who repeatedly refused to get vaccinated. Which, for the Globalist Elite, would surely be less than ideal. Put it like this. If I were the Globalist Elite, hellbent on attaining unchallenged dominion over the entire planet, why would I want to get rid of all the people who happily obey authority, while leaving alive all the people who constantly defy it?

Traditionally, after all, dictators have tended to do the opposite. They keep the people who obey them, and kill off the people who defy them. From an authoritarian point of view, to kill off the former and keep the latter seems, at the very least, somewhat shortsighted. Stalin must be rolling in his grave. Imagine what he would say to this Globalist Elite, if he got wind of what they were up to.

“For pity’s sake, comrades. This is schoolboy stuff. The dissidents are the ones you’re supposed to eliminate, not the other way round. You can’t hope to run a dictatorship populated solely by people who never do what the authorities tell them. Tractor production figures would collapse overnight. And how are you going to hold a mass rally to celebrate your own glorious leadership, if everyone present is waving placards calling you a liar and saying they hate you? Sure, you could have them all shot. But then you wouldn’t have anyone left to rule over. Honestly. Tyrants these days simply haven’t got a clue.”

On reflection, it seems to me that there are two possible ways to analyse the “great global depopulation” theory. Either the shadowy cabal that runs the world hasn’t thought its secret plans through. Or the anti-vaccine activists have ever so slightly let their imaginations run away with them.

I wonder which it is.

No place like home

Still, not everyone necessarily hates the thought of living under a dictatorship. For one man, in fact, it appears to have an irresistible allure.

According to reports over the weekend, an unnamed man has defected from South Korea to North Korea. This news was startling enough. But then yesterday the plot thickened, when officials in Seoul said that, just a year earlier, the same man had defected from North Korea to South.

Why he should have chosen to make such a swift return north, it’s not easy to say. Of course, we are all prone to indecision. But most of us tend to be indecisive about, say, the colour we wish to paint the walls of our spare bedroom. When it comes to a choice between peaceful prosperity or violent tyranny, however, we tend to take a more consistent view.

At any rate, South Korean officials have apparently discounted the possibility that the man was a North Korean spy. Let’s hope they’re right, for his sake at least. After all, what would happen to him, when he reported back on conditions in the neighbouring country? He couldn’t very well tell Kim Jong-un that the hated capitalist South was vastly richer and happier than the noble socialist North. He’d be shot for treachery.

Imagine. Risking your life by sneaking across the world’s most heavily armed border not once, but twice – only to be executed as soon as you returned safely home.

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