IN December 2019 the Conservative Party won a thumping 80-seat majority, expressly elected on a pledge to ‘Get Brexit Done’, which it duly went on to deliver with the UK finally leaving the EU on January 31, 2020.
Since then, however, anyone unfortunate enough to have been in a coma for more than a year would have been forgiven for assuming on awakening that the occupant of 10 Downing Street was not Boris Johnson, but Jeremy Corbyn.
Far from seeing Conservative measures being implemented we have seen a relentless surge far more in keeping with communism than conservatism. Whether or not he is aware of it, Johnson has presided over one communist measure after another.
When the Covid crisis broke in the UK in March 2020, the initial measures could be understood and accepted as necessary while we desperately sought to find out more about this illness and how it could be alleviated. It was not long, however, before a colossal amount of ‘mission creep’ began. The level of micro-management used in controlling lives reached an unprecedented and previously inconceivable extent. And all on the watch of a supposedly Conservative government.
Amongst the many pernicious measures in force at one time or other during the lockdowns, we have seen:
1) The population prevented from leaving their own homes except for one brief period of exercise per day.
2) A ban on staying anywhere overnight away from your own home.
3) A ban on meeting anyone outside your own household, even close family members such as parents, grandparents, adult children, brothers and sisters.
4) The enforced closure of many retail outlets and other businesses.
5) The shutting down of sports facilities, indoor and outdoor.
6) A ban on overseas travel (remember how we used to feel sorry for people from East Germany or Hungary because they were prevented from leaving the country?)
7) The implementation of a test and trace system which can lead to your being compelled to stay at home and isolate, with daily calls to check that this is being strictly adhered to.
8) A massive media campaign that virtually forced people to stand ostentatiously outside their front door at 8pm every Thursday to applaud the NHS. Whatever the initial fine motives, it quickly degenerated into a ritual more in keeping with what you would once have seen in the Soviet Union or East Germany or might still see today in North Korea or China.
9) The politicisation and indeed racialisation of sporting events and other forms of mass entertainment.
10) A de facto One Party State. True, there are other political parties, but the only thing to distinguish them from the governing party are their strident calls for even stricter, longer and earlier implementation of lockdown measures, tantamount to encouraging the government to be even more severe.
11) The requirement to wear face coverings despite the lack of any definitive evidence that they do anything to reduce the spread of infection. Masks have the added effect of symbolising that the wearer is onboard and complying with the lockdown agenda and that anybody unmasked is looked upon as a potential threat.
The level of overreach during the lockdowns has been astonishing. We have seen walkers arrested in the Peak District and a lake dyed black to deter visitors. People have been moved on by the police when wanting to sit on a bench. We have seen councils gloating at the prosecution of golfers caught daring to have a round and police pushing pensioners into police vans for attending ‘non-approved’ protests, whilst those same police officers and even their chief constables kneel or cavort in the streets with other seemingly approved protests or ones they lacked the backbone to control.
A few of these measures or happenings cannot be laid directly at the door of the Johnson Government, but it cannot be denied that their policies put in place the conditions for these outcomes to occur. An empty sports stadium is far easier to orchestrate propaganda from than one full of independently minded people who might object rather loudly to that propaganda or who just want to be left in peace to enjoy their sport as they had been accustomed to.
Books such as Laura Dodsworth’s excellent A State Of Fear outline the extent of the propaganda used to get the general public’s consent and adherence to lockdown restrictions. They have worked so effectively that even after the mask mandate ended on so-called Freedom Day, many people still insist on wearing these accursed items and welcome the continued widespread adherence to wearing them.
I wonder, had these people been living in East Berlin or some other part of the Warsaw Pact when the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain came down in 1989, far from racing to their freedom would they have scurried to the offices of the KGB and the Stasi to beg for continued protection from the outside world?
I can only conclude that I no longer understand the people of my own country. And all this happened on the watch of a nominally Conservative government, one with an 80-seat parliamentary majority, and a supposedly libertarian Prime Minister. Thank you, Commissar Boris.
This first appeared in Patrick Clarke’s Column on July 21, 2021, and is republished by kind permission.