THE House of Commons has, through its history, been home to great prose, stunning intellect and convincing logic. Today, it is the place of cheap comedy.
‘There has [not]’, the House’s current leader Jacob Rees-Mogg tells us, ‘been a more freedom-loving Prime Minister of this nation in decades, if not in over a century. The most freedom-loving leader we could think of having . . .’
The punchline? There isn’t one.
This could not be more wrong. A Prime Minister who separates loved ones at funerals; who forces mothers to die alone, without the comfort of their children; and who is set to embark on new, hideously restrictive and disproportionate lockdown measures cannot be a lover of liberty, but an enemy of it.
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s analysis is nothing but party spin. It is lazy and untrue. He goes on to say that the Prime Minister’s decision to lock down again is based on ‘the best information’. Yet, again, we know that throughout the whole lockdown period this has not been the case. David Livermore, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of East Anglia, has dismissed the recent claim by Sir Patrick Vallance that Covid deaths could possibly reach 4,000 a day. This is just one example of the inaccurate predictions that have driven the Government’s decision-making.
If the Prime Minister was a lover of liberty – never mind ‘the most freedom-loving leader we could think of having’ – he would surely have included the cost of lockdown on the freedom of Britons to go about their daily lives (and, of course, the cost on mental and physical health, the treatment of cancer and other deadly diseases and the cost on the economy) in his deliberations. But we can be sure that he did not consider these factors, or else we wouldn’t be entering into another lockdown.
I should note, since I have brought the seriousness of our current Parliament into question, that some figures have stood up to the Government’s increasing authoritarianism. Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 committee of Conservative Party backbenchers, is a notable example.
Unfortunately, such figures represent the exception, not the rule.
This supine Parliament is failing in its duties. Reject the spin of its members at the next election.
This article first appeared in Bournbrook on November 3, 2020, and is republished by kind permission.