'The trolley problem'
Everyone has their own personal Covid-19 story, so I accept not everyone will agree with what I'm about to say.
How democracy works is that different ideas and ways of doing things are analysed and tested at the ballot box every four years. It's the only way the silent majority can have their say without anyone having to know how they voted - and it's still the best barometer of public opinion we've got. The Covid-19 debate (just like Brexit) has put the population into two camps, where one agrees with the policy of suppression (lockdown) and the other doesn't.
In fairness to Boris Johnson and his team of advisers at the start of the crisis, if an academic puts a scientific paper and conceptual framework in front of you that says 500,000 people will die if you don't take a particular course of action, it's impossible to ignore. After all, if their predictions had come true and you hadn't acted as advised, the blame would be pointed firmly at you. We now have the phrase 'following the science' firmly engrained into all our minds. But we also have esteemed epidemiology experts at the Universities of Oxford, Harvard and Stamford who've been politically silenced because their opinions don't fit with the 'narrative of western democracies'.
Please read the below report which took the UK into lockdown, by Professor Neil H Ferguson of Imperial College, London, and form your own opinion before you read mine.
Click here to view Report
The decisions our Prime Minister had to make can be explained by the 'trolley problem,' where a runaway train (the virus) is heading towards the old and vulnerable members of society and something must be done to avert the catastrophe. The choices were between 'bad and worse' and 'lives versus lives' - and I think we have to accept it was an almost impossible situation to navigate. What's done is done and talking about what could have, should have or would have been done instead is unhelpful, as we look to move forward and regain control of our lives.
There's a huge debate around personal freedom at the moment, but the best way to defend any opinion on Covid-19 is through the concept of defamation law. There are three main defences:
- 1. What you're saying is the truth.
- 2. What you're saying is an honest opinion, at which any reasonable person might arrive given the same circumstances and information.
- 3. What you're saying is in the public interest.
In this instance, what I'm saying isn't necessarily the truth. But as long as I stick to undisputed information using the concept of critical and analytical thinking, it's perfectly reasonable to reach a conclusion which is the perceived truth to me. If information then becomes readily available that contradicts that conclusion, it's also perfectly reasonable for me to change my opinion. I'd argue that what I've arrived at is an honest opinion, at which any reasonable person might arrive given the same circumstances and personal observational evidence.
By standing at an election and raising these issues, I'm working with my own subjective reality in what I believe to be the public interest, and where the electorate is the judge and jury.
Ending lockdown with a peaceful Hungarian picnic
If you disagree with a current policy that's seen a vaccine administered to over 35 million people, including most of the vulnerable and elderly members of our society, the only way for you (as an individual) to challenge that policy is to take your first opportunity to stand in protest at an election. It's only right and proper that dissent is heard in an open debate, where people can decide democratically whether or not they agree with the protest. If this process isn't upheld, we cease to be a civilised democracy - which means we ultimately concede the principle of freedom.
The government policy of locking down the entire population, which has never before been attempted in human history, is incompatible with defending jobs, guaranteeing peace and enabling freedom of speech, thought and enquiry. Lockdown as a policy is NOT advocated by the United Nations' World Health Organisation (WHO), which clearly states that lockdowns should NOT be used as a primary control method during a pandemic.
We all now live in a world where we don't have to leave our houses because we can work from home, have food delivered, get parcels delivered and collected, and - most dangerous of all - 'choose the news' we listen to on social media. Arguably, we're all now experiencing a form of 'Plato's Cave' (please see the video above), where it's difficult to know what to believe anymore. It's therefore essential to be free to think for ourselves once again, before it's too late.
Lockdown policy was put in place in a way that's insulted the scientific community to the point where esteemed professors of epidemiology, such as Sunetra Gupta from the University of Oxford, who don't agree with it are branded 'sceptics' or, even worse, 'conspiracy theorists'. It's equally outrageous that the same political and scientific community hasn't protected and defended these academics from vicious personal attacks on social media for the crime of having a different opinion based on the same empirical evidence. Observational evidence and subjective reality have been cancelled from the debate because, according to science, 'We're all in this together'. As a so-called civilised society, how can we have arrived at this position?
Lockdown is ultimately an example of the government acting without legal authority ('ultra vires') and without adhering to established ethical principles. Throughout this whole emotional, social, cultural, health and economic crisis, it must be noted that the Labour Party has abstained from all key votes at a national level, with the only opposition coming from Conservative backbenchers.
The adopted policy of suppression/lockdown, advocated as the only viable strategy by Professor Neil M Ferguson of Imperial College, London, has seen in no particular order:
- A last minute change in accepted government policy around pandemic contingency planning, which caused a political tailspin and panic
- People becoming armchair epidemiologists in a one-sided academic debate
- Old people dying alone in care homes
- A total disregard for the concept of youth
- Terminally ill patients locked in care homes for a year with no visitors (including my own father)
- Teenagers contemplating suicide and self-harm
- Perfectly healthy people becoming vulnerable
- The acceleration of Alzheimer's Disease and dementia, due to loss of routine
- A toxic marriage of politics and science
- The rise in influence of people who like being controlled
- No evidence that lockdowns work
- Spiralling debt and millions of lost livelihoods
- A decimated future job market for young people
- Addiction to social media echo chambers
- An epidemic of child abuse, domestic abuse and tension
- An abusive relationship with our government
- A contentious newsfeed where we can only agree on the weather forecast and the football results
- Nationalism with regards to international borders
- Loss of ethics regarding the developing world
- A time where all days and weekends blend into one, with nothing to look forward to
- Students losing hope
- Cancellation of the right to protest
- Loss of clarity amongst tired decision-makers in all sectors
- Increased homelessness
- The closing down of arts and culture
- Stress, anxiety and psychological breakdown
- The apparent eradication of flu and pneumonia for 2021
- Increasingly dysfunctional coping strategies
- Prolonged fear and desperation
- Loss of individual confidence
- Widening social inequality
- Patronising and condescending government messages
- An inner circle of journalists allowed to question our leaders
- Dating made 'illegal'
- A decimated hospitality industry
- Social segregation and accepted loneliness
- An obesity crisis due to lack of movement and poor diet
- People dying 'with' Covid-19 rather than 'from' Covid-19
- Murder accusations if you break the rules
- The closure of education
- Increased selfishness
- Reduced physical contact
- Cognitive dissonance
- The criminalisation of seeing close family and friends in your home, whilst workmen are allowed
- Undiagnosed cancers leading to early death
- The disbanding of institutions
- The cancellation of artistic expression
- The closure of recreational facilities
- The accelerated decline of the fit elderly population
- Young, fit and healthy people being denied a life
- A cancelled Christmas
- Two cancelled Easters
- Loss of economic confidence
- Grandparents not seeing their grandchildren
- A police state encouraging 'neighbour snitching' and 'curtain twitching'
- Innocent prisoners locked up on remand without a trial date
- A death toll figure of which questioning and analysis are deemed immoral
- Rising inflation
- A teenage mental health crisis
- The cultural genocide of pubs
- A Magic Money Tree that wasn't there in 10 years of austerity policy
- No striving to get the nation fitter despite evidence we should
- Gyms shutting but takeaway food outlets staying open
- A virus that doesn't know its way into a supermarket
- The criminalisation of going to a funeral to pay respects
- The closure of dissenting scientific debate
- Addiction to social media and self-fulfilling prophecy
- Propaganda by force
- A recently-elected libertarian government turning totalitarian
- Abstention by Her Majesty's Opposition
- Young adults being fined £10,000 for having a snowball fight
- The apparent 'curing' of old age
- People on furlough doing cash jobs on the side
- Jobs transferred into the home with no employment law protection
- Non-reporting of key worldwide issues, such as the plight of the Uighur Muslims
- An unsubstantiated moral high ground for the pro-lockdown camp
- Celebrity influencers who have no idea what they're talking about
- Any questioning of our Prime Minister being branded as 'right wing'
- The silencing of dogmatic environmentalists
- Corporate fraud on government-secured Bounce Back Loans
- Silenced Remain voters turning Nationalistic about the closure of borders
- Food banks becoming a necessity for many
- Illiterate parents being asked to home school their children
- The cancellation of tourism and travel
- Children starving in their homes
- A risk averse culture developing
- £22,000,000,000 spent on a Track & Trace system that most people avoid
- A workforce institutionalised by furlough
- Charities losing £billions in donations
- Sceptical people being bullied into taking a vaccine and forgetting the Nuremburg Code
- 'Technology poverty' based on postcode
- The endemic equilibrium of a new disease being ruled out
- Scientific modelling based on unknown assumptions
- The University of Oxford's Epidemiology Department being rendered conspiracy theorists
- A common denominator of decision-makers being paid throughout
- Vulnerable people being excluded from the job market
- Orwellian Newspeak (e.g. changing 'suppression' to 'lockdown')
- Loss of freedom of movement
- Insecurity of employment
- The rise of 'garden status', 'garden size status', 'south facing garden status' etc
- The appearance of 'spare room status', 'spare room size status,' 'converted office room status' etc
- Internet and online censorship
- Social lives being cancelled
- The shutdown of the aviation industry
- The death of the high street
- Broken marriages
- Special occasions being cancelled
- Job insecurity
- The end of liberalism
- Forced prostitution and other sex work
- Senior government ministers and decision-makers out of their depth
- Dubious government polling to sway public opinion
- Questionable death certificates with no post-mortem
- Vaccine companies being indemnified
- Vaccine Passports preventing vaccine-sceptical people travelling
- No evidence that masks work and 11,000 containers full of paid-for PPE on UK docks
- No discussion on how different cultures look after their elderly
- The inequality of online education
- People being vaccinated against their will
- The inability to plan anything
- Risk averse social workers leaving vulnerable people helpless
- A lack of humility and acknowledgement of mistakes made
- A possibility that smug countries like Australia and New Zealand could be making a drastic error by avoiding herd immunity
- The fabric of society under threat
- A brainwashed population
- A bankrupt nation…
But to question this policy of 'suppression/lockdown' is to be called out by many as 'unscrupulous'. This is insane...unless, of course, we no longer live in a free-thinking progressive democracy.
It quickly becomes clear to anyone who takes the time to go into the less affluent parts of our region that lockdown policy has had the biggest impact on those who can least afford it. Without doubt, it's a luxury policy only affordable to the affluent and middle classes here in Greater Manchester. For some reason, the left wing politicians have chosen to ignore this fundamental point and there are a huge number of people in our region whose opinions and experiences are being ignored. Throughout the UK, this adds up to millions of lost sheep.
Going back to 16th March 2020, Professor Ferguson's report to Boris Johnson clearly states on page 16 that the policy of 'suppression' (the original name for lockdown) over 'mitigation' (herd immunity) would have 'profound social and economic effects,' but it didn't state who'd be the likely victims. We now know the answer to that question.
What’s more, the report offered no cost/benefit analysis whatsoever, which is embarrassing for the scientific community given the importance of the issue in question. With millions of jobs at risk throughout the country, it now looks like this policy could actually spell the end of the religion also known as the NHS, as it moves quickly towards a privatised model based on the individual’s ability to pay for healthcare.
Surely then, it's perfectly reasonable to let the population of this region decide via the voting system whether or not they want to end the lockdown policy for good on Thursday 6th May 2021? After Brexit, it seems 'the vote' is ultimately the only language this government understands.
For what it's worth, my personal view is that: 'What's done is done.' Covid-19 is now sadly part of our lives - but it’s time to turn the lights back on, let our young people live their lives and let freedom ring true.