I WILL never forget when Lockdown Two was imposed on us. Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain told us all to ‘suck it up’ as we faced a Christmas without loved ones and festivities. That lockdown was only the second time in my life that my mental illness led me to thoughts of suicide. Countless others also suffered terribly and many didn’t survive. Meanwhile Morgan was sunning himself on a beach in Antigua with his family and partying the nights away.
Twitter, rightly called the modern public square by Elon Musk, has recently been awash with saved screen shots and video clips of lockdown zealotry and discrimination against the unvaccinated. The following tweet from Morgan was a lowlight.
‘Love the idea of Covid vaccine passports everywhere: flights, restaurants, clubs, football, gyms, shops etc. It’s time Covid denying, anti-vaxxer loonies had their bulls**t bluff called and barred themselves from going anywhere responsible citizens go.’
No language was too extreme for Morgan when it came to demanding harsher lockdown or vilifying the unvaccinated. Another example of this extremism was London Evening Standard journalist Anne McElvoy’s article ‘The unvaccinated have become a lethal liability we can ill afford.’ She may as well have gone full Goebbels and called the unvaccinated vermin or cancer. Andrew Neil took up the baton declaring ‘It’s time to punish Britain’s vaccine refuseniks’, because ‘through fear, ignorance, irresponsibility or sheer stupidity’ they would put burden the NHS and ‘cause’ further restrictions.
The list of TV and print journalists who shared these extreme views is long and depressing. There was something especially sinister about hearing them on ‘fluffy’ daytime shows such as This Morning, Lorraine and Loose Women. Even puppy-dog-eyed Dermot O’Leary became a pro-vaccine pit bull. Cuddly West End legend Michael Ball turned into an aggressive attacker of the unvaccinated. Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 programme was a horror show of pro-lockdown and anti-bodily autonomy zeal. At one point Vine asked how feasible it would be to hold people down to be forcibly vaccinated. It was on his show that prominent psychotherapist Lucy Beresford passionately condemned the unvaccinated and argued that their freedoms must be curtailed. This was especially shocking to hear from someone working in the area of mental health. Nearly all the TV medics were champing at the bit to support draconian restrictions, glorify the vaccine and condemn the unvaccinated to miserable segregated existence. A dishonourable mention must made of Dr Hilary Jones, who falsely claimed 90 per cent of people in hospital were unvaccinated and that the Yellow Card adverse vaccine reactions reporting scheme was ‘bogus’.
The overwhelming majority of MPs voted for all lockdown measures and for discrimination against the unvaccinated in terms of travel regulations and working in social care. It is especially important to highlight the shameful words of Tom Tugendhat and Tobias Ellwood because they are now presenting themselves as heroic military experts on Ukraine. Tugendhat told HuffPost UK in November 2020 that he could ‘certainly see the day’ when unvaccinated people would be barred from offices and social venues. Ellwood told Talk Radio in December 2021 that if people voluntarily got vaccinated the Government wouldn’t need to mandate it. Taking away someone’s body autonomy was one of the evils condemned by the Nuremberg trials. That same evil intent has been revealed within many who claim to defend democracy and freedom both in the UK and on the world stage.
Forgiveness is central to Christianity, still the official faith of this nation. As the Lord’s Prayer says, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’ I believe in forgiveness even for Piers Morgan, Andrew Neil and Dr Hilary Jones. However many confuse forgiving with forgetting and going back to how things were. An abused woman may forgive her abusive partner eventually, but their relationship is broken. Forgiveness does not mean freedom from consequences, and lack of trust is often the greatest of those. How can we trust journalists who failed to challenge the Covid narrative to hold those in power to account over other issues? How can we trust those who turned against their fellows due to their medical choices not to turn against others? The masks have slipped and we cannot unsee the ugliness beneath. However, many appear to want the masks back on and to forget.
In Christianity forgiveness requires sincere repentance. The word used for repentance in New Testament Greek is ‘metanoia’, meaning a fundamental change in thinking and behaviour. Few prominent lockdown and vaccine zealots have repented. Some have even doubled down on their views, including our Prime Minister, who refuses to rule out future lockdowns. Others want to wipe the computer hard drive of history and ignore their past words and actions. Bizarrely, some opponents of lockdown and champions of bodily autonomy are willing to collude with this. Two previously narrative-challenging presenters, Mike Graham and Kevin O’Sullivan, recently aggressively lashed out on Twitter at those wanting more discussion on Covid vaccine damage. The latter did apologise but his subsequent on-air discussion of the issue felt like a tick-box exercise with plenty of downplaying. This should evoke concern because there’s a sense that both Covid vaccine damage and lockdown harm disrupt the attempt to ‘move on’ in a way that enables the likes of Piers Morgan and Lucy Beresford to remain comfortably unchallenged.
Ignoring the past is no way to move well into the future. Those bereaved and damaged by both lockdowns and the Covid vaccines live with painful wounds that may never heal. The solution is not to deploy the woke virus of ‘cancellation’ but to confront the lockdown and vaccine fanatics with the damage they caused. The only way forward is to deal with the past and never forget. #NeverForgetThesePeople