Come with me back in time to 17th May 2021. The government was already laying the groundwork for wriggling out of its commitment to Freedom Day on 21st June. They were looking for scapegoats. From that day’s Telegraph: Vaccine refusers are the “principal threat” to the final lifting of lockdown restrictions on June 21, ministers have warned.
I realized they were talking about me. I refused the ‘vaccine’ when it was offered to me – I’m slim, fit, healthy as far as I know, I take Vitamin D, and I’ve weighed up the odds. I believe that the risk to me of an experimental gene therapy is greater than the risk of Covid. I won’t be shamed, badgered or bullied into changing my mind. My decision is final.
And I wondered how I got to be a Principal Threat.
I look back over my life and it’s been boringly law-abiding. I wasn’t a rebellious teenager. Though I spent seven years in art college, I never took an illegal drug or went on a demo. I’ve never been arrested, never stolen anything. I don’t exceed speed limits when driving. For most of my life I’ve trusted the BBC and the police, and believed that politicians were doing their best according to their lights, however disastrously their efforts turned out.
So what happened? I think it started with Brexit. In the run up to the referendum, I avoided the news. I was sure Remain would win, and I couldn’t bear to read about it, it was too painful. I woke the day after the vote to the amazing and fantastic news that we would be leaving the EU – we’d won. The first thing I did was to subscribe to the online Telegraph, enjoying the prospect of reading about the whole joyous process as it unfolded.
Hmm. We all know how that worked out. Theresa May’s abject trips across the Channel to grovel in front of EU apparatchiks, the concessions, the insistence on getting a ‘deal’ – not something I’d voted for. I voted to leave, no deal required. As the negotiations dragged on, and Remainers got more aggressive, and every BBC comedy programme included sneers at Brexiteers, I did something I’d never done before. I made myself a placard with an unflattering shot of Mrs May and the legend, DOORMAT IN BRUSSELS, DICTATOR AT HOME and went on a protest march, the one with Tommy Robinson. My placard amused the bluff Northerners who’d come with him.
Then came the pandemic, which turned out to be the feeblest pandemic in history. On 10th March 2020 I wrote in my journal, Covid-19 stalks the land. Maybe. Who knows? Five days later I wrote, If we didn’t know about Covid-19, we’d just think it was a nasty flu epidemic and we’d carry on as normal; herd immunity would set in, and the economy survive unscathed. As we all know, the government chose a different course, abandoning the pandemic plans already in place. The lockdown started: ‘three weeks to flatten the curve and save the NHS’.
I broke the lockdown rules for the first time 29th March 2020. I drove across an astonishingly deserted London to collect the workmate I’d lent the offspring, a little anxious I’d encounter one of the police roadblocks I’d seen reports of the day before. I stopped for an illicit cup of tea and a chat before returning home. It felt good.
Cycling in to my workshop each day along sunny roads empty of traffic and pedestrians, to my surprise I found myself jumping red lights. My respect for the law seemed to have taken a body blow.
Fast forward to the mask edict. Masks worn by the public serve no medical purpose; their only function is as an outward sign of submission to a rogue government. I read the official guidelines and decided I’d be exempt. I printed off a card to keep in my handbag just in case. I discovered that on a depressing day (and there have been many such over the past year) just walking proudly into a shop without a mask cheered me up. It was a tiny gesture of protest. It made me feel free.
What else could I do? I designed and printed stickers saying TAKE OFF YOUR MASK AND BREATHE FREE, and stuck them on lampposts near my workshop. They were taken down within days. I may, or may not – I’m admitting nothing – have removed the odd official scaremongering notice. I’ve been on three or four anti-lockdown marches, and enjoyed them; those motley good-natured crowds are my people. I make a small monthly payment to The Conservative Woman, and am a paid-up subscriber to the Free Speech Union. I can’t think of anything else to do, though if things get worse I may reluctantly feel obliged to riot.
Now it’s fifteen months since the lockdowns started, and a lot of good people are getting restive over the restrictions. They feel they have done their bit, obeyed the rules even when they made no sense, worn masks, got their jabs, stayed at home, observed social distancing, not hugged their loved ones. They did all this in the hope that eventually normality would return. That is what the government promised. They have been conned. It looks as though the goalposts are on the move and freedom is to be deferred yet again.
I have a suggestion to make. On 21st June, we can all send a message to the government. If like most people you’ve been wearing a mask, take it off and bin it. Print off a badge and claim exemption. Strike a blow for freedom.
Do it – take off your mask. It feels good. I promise you won’t regret it.