Friday, October 30, 2020
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Keep campaigning in the Lords, Claire

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ALTHOUGH Claire Fox is no longer a mouthpiece for the Revolutionary Communist Party, she is still far from being a social conservative. Nonetheless, throughout the political upheavals of the past few years, she has been on the side of the angels when battling for Brexit, fighting for free speech and doughtily defending civil liberties.

Here is the former Brexit Party MEP speaking out in Strasbourg against the EU’s attempt to criminalise as hate speech the principled opposition to ‘intolerant transgender activists and their orthodoxies’:

More recently, Fox has been prominently anti-lockdown. Although she grudgingly accepted the initial prospectus of ‘three weeks to flatten the curve’ – remember that? – Claire soon became a conspicuous campaigner against the ongoing, and seemingly unending, social restrictions.

Describing herself as ‘agnostic’ at the outset, she soon was appalled by the nation’s rapid and complacent conformism. By April, the scornful message from the fabulous Ms Fox to smug stay-at-homes was: ‘Being in lockdown is not a virtuous act equivalent to joining the resistance in Second World War.’

This week she is being introduced into the House of Lords as Baroness Fox of Buckley (her home town in north-east Wales). Her ennoblement will curtail her political punditry and no longer will she be one of the regular newspaper reviewers on Sky News. Making her final appearance on Monday evening, Claire bowed out in fine style with a pugnacious performance.

The late-night broadcast coincided with The Donald’s theatrical return to the White House. The stories under discussion therefore were typified by the Telegraph headline ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid, says Trump’.

‘If that’s his message it’s a dangerous one,’ sniffed Fox’s fellow reviewer Steve Richards, the lofty Left-leaning journalist who clearly was pained by having to discuss the antics of the Yankee yahoo. Supercilious Steve subsequently decried the President’s ‘upbeat message about this wretched virus’ as ‘completely irresponsible’ and ‘really dangerous’.

Richards provided the requisite response after partisan presenter Anna Botting had ascribed the Covid outbreak at the White House to ‘Trump and his team not taking [the virus] seriously’. The host also hinted that the ‘plan to get him back on the campaign trail’ is born of cynical desperation.

Contrarian Claire countered: ‘I’m struck by a lack of generosity in this conversation, which is a bit peculiar. I don’t wish the President of the United States to have a terrible bout of Covid,’ pointedly adding, ‘I don’t know about you.’

Not that she is a cheerleader for the President: ‘I have all sorts of problems with him politically’ was her obligatory disclaimer. Nonetheless, she commended Trump for ‘trying to have a sense of positivity in the midst of a gloomy scenario for the world . . . an upbeat message after you’ve been ill is what you’d want’.

The conspiratorial coverage of Trump’s rapid re-emergence left Fox bemused: ‘It’s like, do we really trust American doctors to be telling the truth? Unlike our NHS doctors, of course, who we are all supposed to believe.’

Claire candidly disagreed with the fearful and suspicious Steve Richards – ‘I don’t want to relish this as a dangerous moment’ – and she made the broader point: ‘It’s important we don’t alter every single aspect of our lives to be dominated by a highly infectious virus. Highly infectious it might be, but lethal it is not for large numbers. I don’t want it to be lethal for anyone, including President Trump. If he recovers, that’s a positive side for me.’

Given the British media’s blinkered bitterness towards Trump, Fox’s fair-mindedness stood out as both unusual and noteworthy.

A report headlined ‘Only 50 per cent to get vaccine’ provided her with the opportunity to deride the so-called strategy being pursued by mad Matt Hancock: ‘If the only panacea is a vaccine, we’re in this for perpetuity. It’s a hopeless strategy to wait for a vaccine that’s not even been developed yet. A vaccine is not going to solve the problem . . . we’ve got a flu vaccine and, as we speak, ten times more people are dying of flu than of Covid; we just don’t talk about it.’

Being one of the few who does publicly oppose the orthodoxy, as Baroness Fox of Buckley Claire must continue to campaign against Covid clampdowns and lockdown lunacies.

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Gary Oliver
Gary Oliver is an accountant who lives in East Lothian.

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