• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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When Anti-Vax Prophecy Fails: Charity for “the Vaccine Injured”

A blurb on JustGiving:

Weʼre raising £1,000,000 to Help fund the setting up of the “Charity Organisation for the Vaccine InjureD”

I am raising money to finance the setting up and running of a charity to help those who have been injured by vaccinations. My proposal is for the Charity to set up a call-centre to refer enquiries to qualified medical personnel who can advise and help and ultimately to help those in financial difficulty because of their adverse effects. It is known that adverse effects and death are afflicting approximately 3% of the Covid vaccinated. So far. Approximately 5 billion people have been vaccinated worldwide. 3% extrapolates to almost the poulation of the UK. So far. Help me set up this Charity. We should help these people. With your help we can.

The blurb was uploaded by John Bowe, a former actor now associated with Laurence Fox‘s Reform Party.

As a “proposal” this is all quite thin. Where has the million quid figure come from? On Twitter, Bowe has assembled anecdotes from people who claim they have been permanently injuried by Covid vaccination; but few or any of their claims appear to be properly documented, and medically recognised “adverse effects” (presumably the basis for his “3%” figure) are overwhelmingly transitory. We know, of course, that very rarely the AstraZeneca vaccine can cause blood clots, but what kind of “help and advice” is currently missing that Bowe intends to provide? In the UK, patient advocacy organisations already exist for anyone who believes they have suffered harm due to NHS treatment.

Despite the lack of credible detail, Bowe was invited onto GBNews to discuss his plan in a softball interview with Mark Steyn, where he said that he was inspired following a “three-month sabbatical”. On Twitter, he has further announced two trustees: sometime TV archaeologist Neil Oliver, and Dr Tess Lawrie, a pregnancy and childbirth specialist who has found fame as an invermectin enthusiast and Covid vaccination alarmist.

Vaccine conspiricists have for months been predicting an apocalyptic day of reckoning when the vaccinated will suddenly sicken and start dying in large numbers; significantly, the white-bearded Bowe told Steyn that the charity will be an example of the unvaccinated being “big enough” to help the vaccinated, implying that everyone aside from the unvaccinated elect will be afflicted.

In this context, Bowe’s grandiose proposal looks to me to be messianic cope in the wake of a failed prophecy; the predicted harm is not self-evident, and so members of the public will be invited to come forward and identify with the victim narrative on offer. As with therapists specialising in Satanic Ritual Abuse, the strategy will likely generate some apparently confirmatory anecdotes that will serve as data.

While Bowe is attempting to raise funds for his charity, another page on JustGiving in the meantime is raising funds for the man himself:

Weʼre raising £50,000 to help the British actor and campaigner, John Bowe.

John Bowe – a man of principle
Over the last two and a half years, due to circumstances beyond his control, the great actor and campaigner, John Bowe, has lost his income and his house.

This is our way of thanking John for all he has sacrificed.

This campaign, set up by a comedian named Abi Roberts (although originally using the name “Cathy Crunt”), has been endorsed by Fox, the narrative being that Bowe “has lost everything for speaking out”. However, the man is in his seventies, and he announced last year that he had decided to “quit acting” to focus on activism. At his time of life this was a retirement, and although actors’ finances can be precarious, he enjoyed professional success in a number of televison roles and his career included steady and lucrative work on two prime-time soap operas. It’s not clear why he should now be so hard up (despite owning a house in Italy), much less why he should be taken seriously as the visionary figurehead for a million pound project.

UPDATE (17 June): Bowe has been invited back onto GBNews for a segment hosted by Mark Dolan billed as “The Big Question – is the Covid 19 vaccine safe?”. Don’t expect much debate: Bowe will be in conservation with Lawrie and all-purpose conspiracy crank Naomi Wolf.

UPDATE 2 (19 June): His trustees now include a menopause specialist named Dr Tina Peers and (perhaps inevitably) James Melville.