Author: Emma Monk

Emma Monk trained as a Molecular Geneticist, before giving that up to be a full time Mum. As with many full time mothers she then filled her time with helping to run toddler groups, preschools, PTAs, sports clubs, and more recently several political campaign groups. Having lived in Surrey, Bath, Cambridge and Bahrain, she is now settled in the New Forest with her family

Sick note Britain: really, Prime Minister?

Emma Monk

In mid-April 2024, the Prime Minister got himself a juicy front cover on the Daily Express: PM tells sick Note Britain: Get a grip and get a job. He then put out a thread on X (formerly Twitter) claiming “We now spend £69bn on benefits for people of working age with a disability or health […]

Brexit and farming

Emma Monk

Four years on from Brexit, I’m taking a look at how various industries have been affected by the realities of our decision to leave the EU. The first in the series looked at ‘How fishing was gutted by Brexit’, and this time I’m going to look at how British farming has fared. Before I begin, […]

How fishing was gutted by Brexit

Emma Monk

Having recently ‘celebrated’ the anniversary of Brexit, it seemed like a good time to look at how various British industries and sectors of society have fared four years on from leaving the European Union (EU). This will be done over a series of articles, the first focusing on the Brexit poster child – The Fishing […]

Where are we with Covid and flu, as we go into winter?

Emma Monk

In October 2023, the BBC published an article titled Changing Nature of Covid: Is it just a regular winter bug now? The TL/DR (too long; didn’t read) answer is ‘No. It really isn’t’. That’s not what the article would lead you to believe. It caused a lot of comment on social media, with some wanting […]

Taxing private schools: coherent strategy or counterproductive?

Emma Monk

Since Labour announced their plans to either remove the charitable status of private schools, or add VAT to school fees, social media and right-wing outlets have been awash with people claiming it wouldn’t raise any money in reality, or it would cause untold private schools failing and ‘flooding’ the state sector with students. I thought […]

That resignation letter…

Emma Monk

Nadine Dorries’ resignation letter in full. It was quite fun to read. I fluctuated between “what on earth is she talking about” to “ha ha, she’s bang on there”; a mixture of whining “poor me” to real hatred towards Sunak! Wow – a lot of the things she thinks she achieved during her time as […]

NHS ‘pen-pushers’ are doing a great job

Emma Monk

In the week when the NHS celebrated its 75th birthday, there was an article in The Telegraph  headlined ‘NHS to slash bureaucracy by recruiting doctors and nurses over pen-pushers’. This, of course, led to all the usual clichés about the NHS being full of managers. I thought I’d take a look at what the evidence […]

Is it really true that no healthy under 50s died from Covid-19 in Israel?

Emma Monk

At the end of May 2023, I came across multiple, well-known, anti-vaccine Twitter accounts claiming that new Israeli data showed that there had been “No Known Covid Deaths in Healthy People Under 50.” We know from ONS data that in England and Wales there were 4976 deaths involving Covid-19 in the under-50s since 2020, so […]

Just one day in the misinformation world of Andrew Bridgen

Emma Monk

Andrew Bridgen may have apologised for breaching lobbying rules and breaking the MPs’ code of conduct, but he’s not letting up on his anti-vax campaign. Emma Monk analyses just one day of misinformation. In the process of writing an article about former Conservative MP, Andrew Bridgen, having the whip removed for comparing the vaccine roll-out […]

What does the new Covid-19 wave tell us?

Emma Monk

‘Are we in a new Covid-19 wave?’ asks molecular biologist, Emma Monk This week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced we had hit a horrifying milestone: recording 200,000 Covid deaths in the UK since the start of the pandemic. But look around the shops and on the trains and you’d be forgiven for thinking […]

Putting their foot in it…the great Tory tweets and retweets of Sunday 29 May

Emma Monk

Thought I’d take a look at what some of the esteemed minds that were elected to run this country were tweeting about this fine Sunday morning… First up, we have Andrew Rosindell retweeting about how it is “common sense” to regress over fifty years: Here we have Fabricant, Redwood, and Karl McCartney apparently completely unaware […]

What will the removal of all Covid protections mean for England?

Emma Monk
crowded shopping centre

Almost two years since the first pandemic safeguards were introduced on 23 March 2020, unvaccinated people arriving in the UK will no longer have to take tests, and passenger locator forms have been scrapped. The testing rule had already been lifted for people who have been vaccinated, and the government removed the last of their […]

Is Omicron really that mild and does it spell the end of the pandemic?

Emma Monk
graphic of phrases connected with coronavirus

When the Omicron variant emerged in early December, there was a big split in the consensus between three views: “Omicron is mild”, “Omicron is just as bad as Delta” and “let’s wait and see what the data tell us over the coming weeks” Unfortunately, while the sensible scientists and commentators were erring on the side […]

Debunking the claim that only 17,371 people have died of Covid in the UK

Emma Monk
The Covid memorial wall

In my very first West Country Voices article I debunked the claim that “There have only been 388 Covid-19 deaths among the under-60s in the UK,” reported in various newspapers back in December 2020. Last week, a similar claim started doing the rounds. People were tweeting figures such as “only 17,000 people have died of […]

Covid-19, Omicron and the anti-vax/misinformation agenda

Emma Monk
Cognitive dissonance

Emma Monk takes a look at the ease with which Covid misinformation is created and spread and at the cognitive dissonance on display. Within days of scientists discovering a new Covid-19 variant, now called ‘Omicron’, the usual anti-science/anti-vax culprits were trying to find ways to cast doubt over it on social media. I made a […]

Covid-19: 2 months since ‘Freedom Day’, but where are we now?

Emma Monk

Just over two months since ‘Freedom Day’ and in many places it feels like Covid-19 is a distant memory. Masks have been abandoned, schools are ‘back to normal’, people are crowding back on tubes; meanwhile you still can’t go into a vet’s consulting room with your pet. So where exactly are we with regards to […]

Covid-19 vaccinations for 12-15 yr olds: a detailed look at the JCVI decision

Emma Monk

After weeks of speculation on whether or not children aged 12-15 would be offered a Covid-19 vaccination, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) finally released their report on 3 September. As is often the case, the findings widely reported in the press didn’t fully reflect what the report actually said, and this has […]

Lessons to be learnt from the southernmost tip of the British Isles

Emma Monk

The southernmost tip of the British Isles, Jersey, (until recently) had an exemplary track record for its handling of Covid-19. On the tiny island, with a population just shy of 110,000, the authorities started preparing their Covid-19 response before any cases were discovered on the island. They were monitoring their borders, held meetings with commercial, […]

Government’s green travel list – are holidays really back on?

Emma Monk

The weekend before the May election the front pages of certain Conservative-supporting newspapers were excitedly reporting that ‘Boris’ was about to announce that foreign holidays were coming back! What a boost to give people just before an election. Especially when you are hoping that the general public will forget the 128,000+ official Covid-19 deaths caused […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 4 – taking a look at testing

Emma Monk

One of the areas where I keep coming across a lot of misinformation relates to testing ‒polymerase chain reaction (PCR), lateral flow tests (LFT), false positives, false negatives, and whether the inventor of PCR really said PCR shouldn’t be used to test for Covid-19! It is easy to get confused by the different molecular biology […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 3 – taking a look at vaccines

Emma Monk

Much of the misinformation and confusion surrounding Covid-19 relates to whether the vaccines are safe and effective. It is completely understandable to have questions, and no-one should be dismissed for wanting to find the best information out there. I will do my best, using all the available evidence, to cover some of the questions I’ve […]

Misinformation costs lives, David Warburton. Spread facts, not fiction

Emma Monk

On 8 January, MP for Somerton and Frome David Warburton gave an interview to the Somerset County Gazette containing a great deal of misinformation. Short of a small link to a fact-checking website in the middle of the article, his views were printed uncontested. Is it right for an MP to be given a platform […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 1 – Covid-19 is NOT a hoax!

Emma Monk

Along with thousands of others, I have watched with increasing anger, sadness and frustration as misinformation has been allowed to spread so freely in the last year, not just on social media but across mainstream media outlets too. I have found myself repeatedly engaging with Covid-19 deniers and lockdown sceptics on social media, trying to […]