One in 20 adults in Britain believe it is definitely true Covid-19 has been intentionally released as part of a depopulation plan orchestrated by the United Nations or New World Order, a poll suggests, as a warning is sounded about “dangerous” conspiracy theories.
In an indication of the extent to which the bogus claim has spread, a further 13 per cent of respondents think it is probably true. Focusing on those aged 25 to 34, nearly one in 10 (nine per cent) believe it is definitely true, and as many as 17 per cent think it is probably true.
The survey was conducted for a report by anti-racist group, Hope Not Hate (HNH), which points out how far-right activists are becoming more involved in anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown movements. The report also highlights the role of leading Covid-related conspiracy theorists in spreading “more extreme antisemitic and traditional far-right tropes and memes”.
A longstanding conspiracy theory known as Agenda 21 – said to have gained renewed popularity in the wake of the pandemic – falsely alleges the United Nations is behind a decades-old global depopulation plot.
Meanwhile, in reference to the New World Order [NWO] conspiracy, HNH explained in a previous report: “The NWO tradition has numerous permutations, but broadly alleges that a secret global elite is controlling world events and intends to enslave humanity, often aiming to institute an authoritarian world government, currency and religion and, in some cases, radically reduce the global population to a more governable size.”
The poll found a majority of people across all adult age groups do not believe the depopulation plan conspiracy, with 44 per cent saying it is definitely false and 22 per cent believing it is probably false, with a further 16 per cent saying they do not know.
The findings are from an online poll conducted by Focaldata – a research data platform – based on a nationally representative sample of 1,500 adults in Great Britain between 24 and 25 January 2022.
Nick Lowles, CEO of HNH, said: “We are particularly worried about the growing numbers of young people being attracted to far right politics and dangerous conspiracy theories. This trend has been happening for several years, but it has been accelerated by Covid conspiracies and the increasingly aggressive anti-lockdown movement.
“The threat is real – the far right is stirring again, but there is still hope. While they have more opportunities to exploit discontent, we can still prevent them from succeeding. By refusing to accept blatant far right rhetoric and conspiracy theories as a part of normal discourse, we can prevent fascists and extremists from dividing our society.”
The State of Hate 2022 report detailed: “Conspiracies are often dismissed as a bit of a harmless joke and viewed with a sense of amusement by many. However, once you start believing in one conspiracy then you are more likely to believe in others, and often these can be far more dangerous and politically extreme.
“It is probably no coincidence that far-right activists and networks are becoming more involved in the anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown movements than they were in 2020, and leading Covid-related conspiracy theorists are voicing and/or sharing more extreme antisemitic and traditional far-right tropes and memes. Disinformation and conspiracies undermine democracy. They deliberately encourage distrust in society and help foster a sense of anger and righteousness that can be destructive and extreme.”
Meanwhile, the poll found that six per cent of respondents believe it is definitely true that “coronavirus is a bio-weapon intentionally spread by the Chinese state”, with a further 23 per cent thinking it is probably true. About one in 13 people (8 per cent) said that it is definitely true that “elites in Hollywood, Governments, media and other powerful positions are secretly engaging in large scale child trafficking and abuse”, with a further 27 per cent thinking it is probably true.
An HNH spokesperson explained: “A number of conspiracy theories revolve around ‘Agenda 21’, a decades-old United Nations sustainability plan, which is alleged to be part of a plot to for world control, global communism and/or the radical depopulation of the globe. The term has gained a renewed popularity in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. An alleged plot to depopulate the globe has also factored into New World Order conspiracy theories."
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