FREEDOM is a word many of us have had under the mental microscope since last March, belief in the official Covid-19 narrative or not. And for good reason.
Throughout this entire brutalising, parliamentary trick show, many choices have been taken out of our hands. A few have begrudgingly been returned; replaced by others as if by magic.
Many feel that life is returning to normal, evidenced by a slow resumption of some degree of freedom of choice. But they have not yet cottoned on to the fact that the options available to them are now deeply embedded in the politics of exploitative, authoritarian rule, and therefore resemble little the autonomy of old.
We are free to holiday again, but only to particular countries – if they’ll let us in – and only if we can stomach the cost of multiple useless tests and the anxiety of our destination switching categories on us; even if we’re double-stabbed.
Or we could holiday domestically if we like, in Cornwall perhaps, despite the fact the tourist board there is urging us to keep away.
We have the freedom to unmask (we always did). Yet paranoid businesses can still insist on their usage despite the legal mandate having ended, and many simply do not have the courage to withdraw compliance.
And we – and the children over whom we hold sway – are still free to opt out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, if we are content to be progressively excluded from society, or happy to do away with our jobs, education – or lives.
This is not freedom.
In myriad ways it’s not unreasonable to say that the marginally increased choices now afforded us – during this period of relative calm – are more disturbing than those of the hysteria-tempests of last autumn and winter.
This suggests we are in the eye of the storm, and not indeed cheering the retreat of a system of protracted dire weather.
On August 23, the Government updated its guidance on visiting care homes. The revised directives are a stark reminder that life is unfortunately not en route to normality, despite the absence of a pandemic. They are a portent of the misery that could potentially blight the elderly and their relatives this coming winter. Again.
So to those who feel like the good old days are roaring back, with only a few additional QR codes to scan now and again, let’s briefly run through the protocol to be observed if one wishes to visit one’s elderly and infirm mother or father – the real choiceless in this duplicitous, counterfeit emergency.
On the day of every visit, a rapid lateral flow test must be taken, and essential care-givers must also take a weekly PCR test.
Even whilst wearing mandatory, appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), physical contact should be kept to a minimum. Handholding is acceptable – just about.
Hugging is deemed safe only between two fully-vaccinated individuals, but without face-to-face contact and only briefly. Visitors should also limit contact with staff and maintain as much distance as possible from them.
Areas used by visitors should be decontaminated several times throughout the day, and to facilitate this should be kept free of clutter.
If possible, visits should take place outside, in ‘visiting pods.’ If not, then providers must ensure there is a substantial screen between the resident and visitor, or a window.
The use of speakers should also be considered, as communicating from behind a mask, and also screen or window – to a person hard of hearing – necessitates a raised voice, which increases transmission risk apparently.
Any gifts the visitor wishes to bring with them will need to be objects easily cleaned with sanitary wipes.
And finally, anyone wishing to visit a relative at the end-of-life stage, provided they have a negative test, are wearing the appropriate PPE, and are following all other infection control measures, MAY be permitted to have physical contact with their loved one – about to die anyway.
Care home or maximum security penitentiary? The choice is neither yours nor grandma’s.
Such absurd formalities scream inhumanity and control – the antitheses of freedom, and are indicative of a stubborn refusal to engage creatively on the matter of focused protection.
Come November 11 – the deadline for all care home workers to be fully vaccinated – the sector can potentially expect tens of thousands of staff to resign or be sacked. How many care home visits will actually be given clearance by an understaffed facility unable to oversee the hypochondriacal protocols?
Freedom is a word that has been bandied around frivolously by many who had little respect for it in the first place, and perhaps have little notion of its true meaning.
If you feel any of the above represent the return of choice and liberty, then you’re likely the kind of person that deep down, abhors freedom. You don’t have the faintest idea how to solve the conundrum that is free choice, and thus it terrifies you. And consequently, you modify its parameters to suit your cowardice.
It’s easy to champion freedom when you feel the crisis constraining it petering out: You’re no longer required to square up to your feeble sense of right and wrong.
But in the case of the SARS-CoV-2 response, it is clear that our old choices are not being reinstated, at least not for the foreseeable future.
Instead, we’re being taught a new form of freedom: The freedom to choose between arsenic or the gallows – both ultimately designed to kill off our notions of informed choice. As we transition into the uncertainties of autumn and then winter, let us never forget that there still exists a third option – that of deploying our spirited triumvirate of awareness, compassion, and relentless determination in the face of adversity; using all means to express our disapproval of and opposition to this false choice.