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The vital questions on Covid policy the Tory leadership candidates should be asked


I FEEL rather like Mark Steyn when he said last week (I think, unless I was dreaming) that he’d rather have pencils drilled into his eyeballs than watch the Sunak and Truss debates. But the danger of ignoring what Iain Martin accurately describes as the Tory party’s fairy tale leadership election (happening in another universe rather than reality) is that the two hopefuls are never confronted with the insane Covid policy responses of the government they were part of, which are responsible for the country’s acute economic and health crisis. Unless we confront them with key questions and demands for clear commitment to halt these policies in their entirety and to never repeat them, the risk is that they will blithely continue, neither facing up to their own responsibility for this unmitigated catastrophe, nor that the government’s ‘cures’ were infinitely worse than the disease.

The next and penultimate of their ‘face-offs’, as the Telegraph describes them, takes place in Birmingham tonight. However the face-off should not be between each other, it should be between audience and interviewer on the one hand and the two of them.

Here are the questions we think should be put to them. The first six are inspired by those suggested by the Time for Recovery campaign earlier in the month. The second set relate to vaccine policy, the second (and totally ignored by virtually everyone else) dimension of the government’s destructive Covid policy response.

Lockdown policy

1) Given the huge damage caused by your government’s Covid policy responses – lockdowns and far-reaching restrictions devastating the country’s health and economy – do you accept that lockdowns were a terrible mistake and have created larger problems than any limited gains they provided?

2) With the NHS already in crisis through a massive lockdown backlog and calls for further restrictions a certainty this autumn, will you commit to a rigorous and transparent cost-benefit assessment of any proposed restriction before decisions are made?

3) The Covid Inquiry has in effect junked its own terms of reference from the Government to reconstitute itself as a series of mini-inquiries, writing its own brief for each in a way which will mean it focuses for years solely on the case for restrictions. If elected, will you revisit the inquiry and ensure it follows a balanced approach so that costs and benefits of restrictions are assessed concurrently, as they should be?

4) In March 2020, Ofcom told broadcasters that they could not criticise Government Covid restrictions without facing statutory sanction, ensuring that key criticisms of restrictions were rarely heard. We can now see in hindsight much of the censored criticism to be both accurate and important. This guidance has never been officially rescinded and now the Online Harms Bill proposes to give broadcasters additional powers to restrict online debate should a pandemic occur again. Would you instruct Ofcom to rescind this guidance and institute an independent review into whether Ofcom adequately performed its statutory duty of upholding free speech during the Covid years of 2020-22? 

5) Overall, do you believe the Government did too much or too little in terms of restrictions during 2020-22? 

6) Members of the public, commentators as well as several MPs and peers have raised concerns about how pandemic response decisions were taken over the past two years and that they were driven by unelected advisers with significant conflicts of interests, notably the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Sage and its appointees. Will you commit to changing the Government’s scientific advisers and appointing those who consistently and correctly warned against the advice and the basis of it? Will you commit to full cost-benefit analyses rather than relying on a narrow field of specialists who are not asked to consider the wider impact of what they are proposing and whose advice is based on dubious modelling?

If you are wondering why these questions matter since Liz Truss has already ruled out lockdowns, the reasons are:

·          Pressure is already being building that the NHS should bring in new restrictions this autumn on almost any excuse. In addition it is not enough to rule out lockdowns – there are plenty of other hugely damaging options, such as the tier system, schools closures, curfews, bans on indoor meeting and so on.

·         The Covid Inquiry has cast itself in such a way that means it will spend the next three years on mini-inquiries all around questions of whether we restricted enough, but without looking at collateral damage. That is very likely to mean it recommends more and earlier restrictions. The candidates need to rule out this intrusive and destructive management of lives. 

·         Whatever the candidates say now, when the media is full of pictures of an overwhelmed NHS with patients queueing on trolleys in hospitals etc this autumn, they’ll come under huge media pressure to restrict and lock down again with the full support of Labour, the public sector unions and the WEF global elite technocrats who want in all under their total digital embrace as soon as possible. We need to get the clearest possible commitment to avoid that while we can. 

Covid Vaccine policy

1) Given the national and worldwide statistics of vaccine injury and death, and given the proven limited if not negative efficacy, do the candidates still believe that the Covid vaccines and safe and effective? If yes, on exactly what basis, given there is so much national and international scientific evidence that shows they are not?

2) Given that the vaccines are of no proven benefit or need for children yet of significant risk to them, will they commit to halting the child vaccination programme immediately?  Do they think exposing children to a possible three in ten risk of immediate cardiovascular effects (demonstrated in a recent Thai schools study) is acceptable?

3) Are they aware that the risk-benefit analysis for an 80-year-old woman in 2021 is very different from a young adolescent man in 2022? Do they care?

4) Now that many senior doctors and scientists are calling for an urgent review / halt of the vaccine programme including the inadequately trialled and ineffective boosters, will the candidates commit to that on their first day in office and halt the programme until a full and open review – by independent non-government scientists – has been undertaken? Will they include in this review the MHRA’s role in enabling the authorisation of inadequately tested novel mNRA vaccines?

5) Will they end the Pharma vaccine indemnity agreements?

6) Will they reinstate care workers unfairly dismissed because of their vaccination status?

7) Will they commit to never introducing or allowing any mandated vaccines?

8) Will they commit to never introducing any vaccine identification requirements (ie Covid passes and passports)?

9) Can they explain why the UK has not conducted any prospective studies – a type of cohort study, or group study, where participants are enrolled into the study before they develop the disease or outcome in question? (Especially on children who were never at risk – given the unprecedentedly short vaccine trials, the paucity of child trials and the loss of all the non vaxx/placebo controls.) Will they commit to this for the future – but not to be conducted or funded directly or indirectly by vaccine interested parties like Bill Gates and the Wellcome Trust?

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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