Monday, April 22, 2024
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The ever-moving goalposts of lockdown


IT is nearly a year since the suspension of our civil liberties started. I agreed, as the vast majority of us did, because we were told that life would return to normal within a few weeks. I wish I had known then what I know now.

How does the government persuade the populace to give up their centuries-old civil liberties without the slightest of protests? Firstly, you take the remnants of Project Fear from the 2016 referendum, and pump them full of steroids. Playing on people’s fears, turning them into government propaganda machines. ‘Stay at home’, ‘Protect the NHS’, ‘Wear a face mask’, ‘SAVE LIVES’. The fearmongering and emotional blackmail are summed up perfectly by the government’s latest propaganda campaign: ‘Can you look them in the eyes?’ My answer is a resounding Yes. I have nothing for which to feel guilty. There is now no greater sin than refusing to toe the line of the Great Covid Con.     

The Prime Minister relinquishes the levers of power to the unaccountable experts of the technocratic elite. Being ‘led by the science’ is simply an abdication of accountability. What we were not told, however, was that there was no such thing as ‘the science’, only the ‘acceptable science’ of the Overton window. Under no circumstances were the public to countenance abhorrent alternative policies or views.      

Any possible doubts must be assuaged by giving a reasonable timeframe, hence the lie of ‘three weeks to flatten the curve’, and every delay that we have had since. For how long have we been awaiting the Prime Minister’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown? And what is the point of a roadmap when the driver has already driven the car off the cliff? Consequently, entrepreneurship will indeed decline given the threats of future lockdowns if the Wuhan virus returns, or another disease arrives at these shores. All this will lead to greater interference from the State, and diminished liberty of the individual.   

Anyone who has the audacity to question, criticise, or debunk government policy must be demonised – ‘conspiracy theorist’, ‘Covid denier’, ‘granny killer’ – these are some of the more polite epithets that have been employed. This allows the government to act with impunity as those who oppose lockdown are automatically labelled, at best, as crackpots, at worst, as immoral people who are happy to be responsible for innumerable deaths. Shutting down debate in such a way is not new. Remember when then Prime Minister David Cameron labelled Ukip supporters ‘swivel-eyed loons’ and ‘closet racists’? Such linguistic manipulation is used to bolster one’s side, and to pretend that the side of the deplorables is not worth countenancing, especially if you are someone who wishes to be thought a ‘good’ person.      

We were told that with the arrival of the miracle vaccine, we would return to normal once the over-70s were vaccinated. So why are we still in lockdown? It was then changed to the over-60s. Then the idea of booster jabs was announced. Now the government says that all nine ‘vulnerable groups’ must be vaccinated. Even when every man, woman and child is vaccinated, the wearing of face masks and ‘social distancing’ (that most irritating of oxymorons) will very likely remain in place. Not only that, but the idea of ‘vaccine passports’ is now on the cards. According to Boris Johnson, to re-open theatres and nightclubs, passports or tests will be required to ‘crack the toughest nut’. The very idea of this coercion is beyond the pale, but what is worse is the mainstream media’s lack of scrutiny when such an authoritarian policy is touted. It was not that long ago when some in the mainstream media were exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s policy of social credit, i.e. the removal of the most basic of civil liberties if you are deemed to have committed an act detrimental to the State. The parallels are there for all to see, but the truth makes too many people uncomfortable.

The fundamental question ‘Is the government’s response to Covid proportionate?’ needs to be asked repeatedly, but alas, commentators such as Dan Hodges smear it as a slogan. The sneering and contempt of the lockdown zealots is a re-run of how the Remainers conducted themselves during the 2016 referendum. They said Brexit would be economic Armageddon for the country, but shutting down the economy for a year (so far), resulting in the worst economic decline since 1707, is to be embraced.

The ever-moving goalposts of lockdown have allowed the government to keep us in limbo since March last year. The euphemisms of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and ‘trains leaving the station’ have been rolled out time and again to keep us in line. As a teacher, am I expecting to return to the classroom at the beginning of next month? For some unfathomable reason, I am not overly optimistic about such a danger to public health being allowed to resume. Hopefully I am wrong. Only time will tell. 

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Glyn Lewis
Glyn Lewis
Glyn Lewis is a teacher of French, and he lives in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

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