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Lately the UN has admitted that it grossly exaggerated the scale and nature of the AIDS epidemic. Many of us could have told them years ago that they'd got it round their necks, and that their prediction of an unstoppable plague spreading through whole populations in the Western world was pure hysteria.
 
But of course AIDS was just one of the first of a long list of things that were going to kill us all - salmonella in eggs, listeria, mad cow disease, Ecoli, bird flu, blue-tongue, obesity Then there are the non-disease threats like the Millennium Bug, "speed kills", passive smoking and Ritual Satanic Abuse. Global Warming is the biggest scam of all, though the media are doing their best to rival it with hysteria about knife crime which hasn't actually increased at all according to official statistics.
 
Because they're all b*ll*cks, aren't they? And we instinctively know that they're b*ll*cks. It gives this grumpy old heart a certain amount of satisfaction to realise that there's hardly a scare on the list that the GOS has not fulminated against in the last three or four years. We wrote ages ago about the killer eggs which experts claimed would affect millions of people - until they were forced to admit that there hadn't been one single solitary case.
 
We've pointed out more than once that there has not been, anywhere in the world, a single properly-observed and documented case of someone dying from passive smoking. We've written several times about the lunatic social workers who have snatched children from their parents, in some cases kept them away for years, long after the courts have ruled in the parents' favour, because they claimed in all seriousness that the parents were part of some Aleister Crowley-type devil-worship cult, eating babies and having sex with Beelzebub. You wouldn't think it could have happened in 20th Century Britain (and America) but it did, over and over again.
 
The "Speed Kills" lie was one of our earliest targets when this website first began, and once again we take satisfaction from the fact that the government has now instructed its civil servants that they must no longer make the hackneyed claim that "a third of all accidents are caused by speed" because it's been shown to be completely untrue. In fact, it's actually the opposite of true, as there's some statistical evidence to show that slower drivers have more accidents.
 
The asbestos scare gave rise to one of the greatest scams in human history. The beneficiaries were first and foremost the lawyers, mainly in America, cowboy asbestos removal specialists and many thousands of people who had no disease symptoms at all. The victims were thousands of productive companies that were forced into bankruptcy and everyone who pays insurance premiums. Lloyds of London was brought to its knees and many of its "names" were driven into bankruptcy and suicide. Many substances are deadly when inhaled - water for example, and very much quicker. The panic actually liberated tons of the deadly stuff into the atmosphere, when it was quite safe where it was, in solid form. The slogan was typical - "One fibre can kill!" Absolute nonsense! Every adult has thousands of such fibres in their lungs. Even if asbestos had never been used in manufacture they would still be there, as this is a prolific and naturally occurring substance.
 
And speaking of things that occur naturally, we have posted no fewer than 44 pages about the alleged Global Warming (you remember Global Warming? It's a thing we used to have in the last century - there hasn't been any in this one!). It began in the 1970s with threats of a New Ice Age. Industrial pollution would block out the sun and plunge the world into an appalling frozen future. We were promised that by 1990 Britain would have the climate of Newfoundland, that our coasts would become no-go areas because of the stench of dying fish, that half the world would starve from crop failures and so on. When all this failed to happen, the hysterics simply did an adroit U-turn. Without pausing for breath, they converted the threat of an ice age to one of catastrophic global warming. Without a trace of embarrassment they made up a new set of lies about dying polar bears which are actually on the increase, and the disappearance of a polar ice-cap that is actually getting bigger, and so on.
 
But this page isn't just the GOS raking up all his old hobby-horses for one more canter round the paddock, tempting though that would be. In fact it's a puff for a new book by Christopher Booker and Richard North called "Scared to Death" which gives chapter and verse on all these campaigns, explaining how they came about, what the scientific basis was (if any) and who stood to gain from them.
 
And make no mistake, they are campaigns. We don't know if a group of hard-headed manipulators sit round a table and say to one another "I know, let's start a scare story about, oh, I don't know er how about fluffy little kittens going to sleep on babies' faces and suffocating them? what? We've already done that?" But these stories are deliberately spread by politicians, media men, scientists and activists who have something to gain from the draconian legislation, the mass closure of perfectly good businesses, the multiplication of officials supported by the taxpayer, the enrichment of lawyers and the erosion of human liberty that follows. The inestimable Professor John Brignell writes of "the continual shift of labour and resources from the economically productive sector to the parasitic elements of the regulatory system and the compensation culture. Have no doubt about it - scares have robbed this generation of the age of prosperity and freedom that was their birthright, for which their forefathers fought and died.
 
"Presiding are the international organisations, such as the UN and EU, riddled with fraud and corruption, unanswerable to democratic control or even the simple constraint of audited accounts, yet able to foist their policies on a world population who have no means of resistance.
 
"National parliaments are populated by a new generation of professional politicians, most of whom have never done a real job in their lives, hyperactively feathering their own nests, while indolently yielding to the most vocal pressure groups.
 
"Journalists, too lazy to gather information for themselves, reproducing without question and virtually unedited the press releases of activists (look at your newspaper and ask yourself: how does, say, the environmental editor justify his pay for a week's work?).
 
"As always, there are the lawyers, particularly in America, who will ruthlessly turn any opportunity to their financial advantage, regardless of the cost to human society.
 
"Then, as the driving engine, there are the activists themselves. They are a collection of the amorphous new left; remnants of various groups, such as the anti-war, socially-parasitic hippies, the communists made homeless by the collapse of the Soviet Union, people who simply get their kicks out of ordering others around and many, many others."

 
Christopher Booker is well-placed to observe and describe the machinations of modern society. One of the co-founders of "Private Eye", he has enjoyed a long and successful career in serious journalism. Previous books include "The Mad Officials: How The Bureaucrats Are Strangling Britain" and "The Castle of Lies". This is not the first time he has collaborated with Richard North. A previous book was about the secret origins of the European Union, and was called "The Great Deception".
 
You can buy "Scared to Death: why scares are costing us the Earth" here.
 

 
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