The government put proposals to Parliament yesterday, which bring Britain closer to being a Police State; this is unprecedented in the peacetime history of the nation. These proposals were ostensibly to help in the fight against the coronavirus, but in reality, they are powers they do not need in that fight.
There has never been a proper debate about the powers the government needs to fight a virus like this one, and that is because if there was one, there would be found to be no case to need such powers. Britain has always been a country prepared to fight to defend its liberties and freedoms, and did so as recently as the Second World War.
Today the government and the opposition parties are as one in not upholding the value of the liberties the country holds dear. The government has passed draconian legislation which will give them dramatic powers to curb individual liberties. They originally wanted them to last for two years and this very fact creates suspicions as to why they really want the powers. The opposition can at least be thanked for pressing the government to reduce the period to six months, but they will simply be due for review, not necessarily coming to an end.
Do countries need dictatorial powers to fight a disease?
However, if we look at Australia, who are introducing similar powers, theirs are for a fixed period of two months. If, as the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, recently said that he hoped the crisis would be over in twelve weeks, why did his government want these extensive powers for two years?
In fact, why have them at all, because many countries are dealing with this coronavirus without any changes in their laws at all? The problem with governments obtaining more powers, is that often the powers are even more extensive once the small print is revealed. There is even more concerning when the legislation is rushed through and there is little chance of scrutiny.
What do the proposals mean?
What we do know about the proposals is that amongst other things, they will give the government and its agencies the power to do the following:
- To shut down premises, and those used for gatherings
- To ban meetings
- To postpone elections
- To lock people up without trial and to fine people without trial.
- To force quarantine and treatment
- To section people with only one doctor’s signature
- To restrict peoples’ individual liberties in a broad range of areas
- To give the government a whole range of sweeping new powers
With a lot of these powers, the scope to use them in an indiscriminate and unjust way is extensive. If these powers were being proposed without there being an excuse such as the coronavirus, they would get nowhere. However, Parliament and the public have been hoodwinked into thinking such powers are necessary to defeat the coronavirus, and their guard has foolishly gone down.
As Thomas Jefferson is reputed to have said .. “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” and Desmond Tutu also gave a speech on the subject.
We have not had vigilance by our politicians and in this regard, they have let us down immensely.
What did the Prime Minister say?
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s statement on the evening of Monday 23rd March, was a huge curb on our liberties. There can be no questioning it, the government has given itself dictatorial powers. The reasons he gave were to defeat the coronavirus because the NHS cannot cope with increased demand. With no other disease in history has the government given itself such powers.
Having yesterday decided on what appeared to be a sensible “Shield “ policy of targeting the vulnerable, he has now decided to target everyone. He has decided to copy the countries which have gone for extensive restrictions rather than those who have been successful with having no restrictions on individual liberties.
It begs the question, would we defeat this virus anyway, without such restrictions?
This policy appears to have been made on speculation, rather than proven facts, and especially due to irresponsible media pressure, who have hyped up and distorted the true facts.
The government is now telling people how to live their daily lives
This government is now instructing the people how they should live their daily lives.
- The Prime Minister is ordering people to stay at home, that they are only allowed out for shopping, medical reasons and essential care of others.
- All non-essential shops will be closed.
- Only travel to and from work will be allowed.
- We are instructed not to meet our friends.
- We are permitted one form of exercise a day so parks remain open
- All social events will be banned
- No gatherings permitted.
- No weddings allowed, only funerals.
- No meeting with more than one person
- Police have draconian enforcement powers
The Prime Minister made it clear the government has given the police the powers to enforce the instructions by the use of fines and imprisonment. What is also concerning is that these regulations will not be reviewed for three weeks.
If the government has a health system which apparently cannot cope with having 6000 to 20,000 deaths caused by one virus ( and also has to cancel the majority of other operations), it clearly is the poor provision of NHS resources by the government rather than the virus itself which is the problem. We already know the deaths from this virus are still way below those for other diseases, so why cannot the 1300 hospitals in the country cope with this?
The government has a lot of questions to answer for making us lose our cherished freedoms because they failed to provide for the health protection of its own citizens.