Once again, the public has had a royal telling-off by Boris Johnson and his motley crew. With gatherings of more than six banned from Monday, it almost feels like Groundhog Day – but there is one crucial difference. This time, we have six months of lockdown under our belts and with this, reams of repugnant evidence that lockdown was the most catastrophic mistake by a government in living memory. Matt Hancock warns “Don’t kill your Gran!”, but it's not just granny at risk.
Since launching a judicial review with my legal team back in May, I have argued that lockdown was a disproportionate risk to the public versus Covid-19 – and a threat to the economy and wellbeing. One of the government’s key lines of defence has been that the challenges are merely “academic”. By the time my case was first heard in court, the measures had started to be relaxed.
Yet here we are, months down the line, and the British public has once again had its liberties stomped on. Yesterday, Johnson announced that "Covid-19 secure marshals" will enforce social distancing measures as of Monday and warned that if we don’t toe the line, Christmas will be cancelled. Rumour has it that curfews of 10pm might be imposed too.
Once again, our leaders are using fear as a tactic to restrict our personal freedoms, without any real consideration, or even scrutiny in parliament, over what the effects might be. Well let me tell you – the continuation of measures like these will mean only one thing: more unnecessary deaths.
A study by economists and academics from Sheffield and Loughborough universities suggests that lockdown itself caused up to 2,700 deaths a week during the first eight weeks of confinement – that’s made up of suicides, as a result of suffering from mental health problems, domestic violence, missed medical appointments and the removal of resources from other health problems, which the NHS cannot deal with effectively.
The damage to the UK economy and the magnitude of the recession caused by the coronavirus outbreak is unprecedented in modern times, while employment saw the largest fall in a decade, with the number of employees on UK payrolls falling by 730,000 from March to July. This means hundreds of thousands of people are on the brink of plunging into poverty. The Office for National Statistics warns this could cause as many as 12,000 avoidable deaths each year. What’s more, lockdown has ravaged the education of millions of children and goodness knows what long-term mental health effects they will suffer from this farce.
All this, despite 80 per cent of cases producing little to no symptoms. For the tenth consecutive week, more people have died of the flu than Covid-19 in England and Wales. On 7 September, only four people died on account of the virus. How can anyone reading these figures agree with the continuation of these measures?
What has happened to the fighting Britain we once knew? These days, the public sits and quivers with fear, accepting the notion of Christmas Day with only half the family in attendance. This is something I cannot stand for.
The government is legislating as it likes and governing by decree, all without restraint or challenge from parliament. Lockdown is a tool, which our leaders claim is imperative to protect those who are vulnerable to the disease. But what about those who are vulnerable to lockdown too? There need to be conversations around what strategies can be taken to protect the small minority which is truly vulnerable, whilst allowing society to function as normal again.
Action must be taken now, to bring our leaders to account for the unforgivable damage done and to ensure that, going forward, legislation is adequately scrutinised and challenged. The only way this can be achieved, is through the courts.
The worst part? That much of this could have been avoided, if Whitehall had placed some faith in Britons, to do what was right for themselves, their families and their livelihoods. Whether it’s through my judicial review, or through a social groundswell movement like Keep Britain Free, this autonomy of thought is something I will continue to fight for, until it is rightfully returned.
Simon Dolan in a business leader based in Monaco
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