Never mind Brexit. The bitter enmity we saw recently between Leavers and Remainers will be as nothing to the mutual distrust, loathing and contempt we’re going to experience in Britain over the next weeks and months as a consequence of Boris Johnson’s new compulsory masks policy.
Masks are dehumanising, they impede communication, they’re unpleasant and restrictive to wear, they aid and abet criminals, and — unless they’re medical-grade, which most aren’t — and there is no proof, as of yet, that they significantly prevent the spread of Chinese coronavirus, or even prevent spread at all. To make them compulsory, without offering a scientific justification is the biggest assault by government on civil liberty in centuries.
These were some of the arguments I heard against masks at the Keep Britain Free protest rally in London last weekend. Though the crowd was small — in the low hundreds — this protest movement is going to grow and grow.
— Simon Dolan #KBF (@simondolan) July 23, 2020
All right – so the audience for a poll by Simon Dolan (the entrepreneur who launched the attempted judicial review against the government’s lockdown policy and who is now fighting compulsory masks with similar vigour) is going to be self-selecting and biased.
Even so, the poll does give an indication that for a significant proportion of the British population, compulsory masks are the hill on which they are prepared to die.
Certainly, I know of several otherwise law-abiding friends who have announced their intention of either defying the mask rule altogether — or of refusing to shop in any stores that insist on policing it. (Some supermarkets, such as Lidl, have already indicated that they are not going to enforce the mask rule themselves. I expect they will attract more customers than they lose, as a result).
But the worst conflict, I suspect, won’t be between shops and patrons; rather it will between the two types of customer — the Covid bedwetters who will now feel legally empowered to kick up a huge fuss and screech ‘reeeeeeeee’ and point the finger whenever they see anyone not wearing a mask; and the Covid sceptics who will be irritated beyond measure at being told what to do by people they consider to be precisely the kind of cowardly, hysterical, ill-informed, bossy, gullible tinpot fascists who are steering Britain’s economy and culture towards utter ruination.
As you may infer from my summary, there is no love lost between these two groups. The people in the middle are going to be caught in the crossfire. I predict endless confrontations between Covid bedwetters and Covid sceptics, some of them violent. (Though not, let’s hope, as violent as the recent one in Canada where a man ended up shot dead because he wasn’t wearing a mask).
Boris Johnson likes to describe himself as a One Nation Conservative. But he could scarcely have dreamed up a way of creating a more viciously divided Two Nations than with this silly, iniquitous masks policy.
I’m sure it will come back to bite him. Note, for example, that the most Machiavellian player in his government – and effective second-in-command – Michael Gove has let it be known that he himself did not want masks to be made compulsory. Perhaps Gove is positioning himself to take advantage of the inevitable backlash which will occur when a) people finally wake up to how much permanent damage has been done by lockdown and mask hysteria to jobs and the economy and b) as the evidence begins to emerge of just how unnecessary the government’s draconian overreaction has been.
The latest study in the Lancet offers a taste of the embarrassments to come. It’s titled “A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes”.
Here is the killer sentence:
However, in our analysis, full lockdowns and wide-spread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.
Yes, that’s right. According to this study, there is still no evidence that the radical measures taken by various governments to combat coronavirus made a difference in the mortality rate. Boris Johnson’s lockdown was a massive waste of time, money and possibly of lives too. His compulsory masks policy looks like a desperate attempt to prolong the scare in order to make the government’s earlier overreaction look less culpably stupid.
This is low, cynical, dirty politics. I hope he is not allowed to get away with it.