Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the pub, the government has decided to effectively extend the lockdown that Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised faithfully would end on December 2nd.
To escape any charges that he might have been lying through his teeth — Boris? A fat mendacious tosser? Surely not…? — the PM has cunningly arranged it so it’s not called a “lockdown” any more. Instead, Britain has been put under a series of regional lockdowns of differing severity known as “tiers”. Some of the restrictions are so draconian that they are actually even worse than the national lockdown.
The inconsistencies and stupidities of this have not gone unnoticed:
Question from a constituent that I'm struggling to answer: how can you end a 4 week lockdown in a worse place in terms of restrictions than before it?
— Conor Burns (@ConorBurnsUK) November 26, 2020
Kent has gone from Tier 1 to Tier 3 because of a single Borough. Insane, people are really angry.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 26, 2020
Like others living in rural Lincolnshire where infection is low, I am wondering why we entered lockdown in Tier One and are leaving it in Tier 3.
These county-wide lockdowns just aren't equitable.
— Sir Edward Leigh MP (@EdwardLeighMP) November 27, 2020
Their criticisms are well-made. Rural areas with sparse populations and low risk of infection are bracketed in the same category as teeming metropolises. Areas that before the lockdown were low risk have suddenly, inexplicably, risen to high risk. And how, honestly does any of this count as an end to ‘lockdown’ when in fact in the higher tiers you either won’t be allowed to go to the pub, or the restrictions will be so onerous that most pubs won’t find it financially viable to open anyway?
Also, here’s the $64,000 question: if lockdowns are so necessary and effective, how come after four weeks of lockdown Britain remains in such a state of extreme viral threat that the only solution — allegedly — is still more lockdown?
It is absurd. And increasingly, outside the Westminster bubble, everyone seems to realise this.
The problem lies inside the Westminster bubble. If you want an example of how blinkered and useless these people are, do check out this debate I had recently with Andrew Bridgen MP:
#WhatNext – COVID DEBATE!
— Open Dialogus (@OpenDialogus) November 26, 2020
Up until this year I was a great admirer of Andrew Bridgen. I’ve interviewed him quite often on video for Breitbart, in large part because he’s one of the few genuinely conservative MPs in the government, because he’s robust on Brexit, and because he’s fearless and uncompromised.
Or so I thought until his car crash appearance in this debate (in which he was robustly challenged both by me and my fellow panellists David Vance and Godfrey Bloom.)
Bridgen bought into every official shibboleth on coronavirus. He was so excruciatingly on-message that he might just as well have been Health Secretary Matt Hancock himself.
This is so disappointing. Of course one expects lies, ignorance and propaganda from the Cabinet ministers responsible for the government’s cruel and financially ruinous coronavirus policies. But backbenchers, traditionally, are there to hold their government to account, check its excesses, and represent the interests of the electorate rather than the narrow elite.
Sadly, it seems fellow backbencher Sir Charles Walker MP is the exception, not the rule.
Walker, you’ll recall, is the MP who quite magnificently rose to the occasion when he saw police overreacting outrageously to an anti-lockdown protest by hauling an elderly woman, spreadeagled, into their van.
“You don’t need to obey an illegal order,” Walker called to the police — who ignored him.
What Walker realised in this epiphanic moment was something most of his parliamentary colleagues have yet to twig: that what is happening to the country right now is un-British, unconstitutional, undemocratic — the crazed flailings of an increasingly totalitarian regime so drunk with power that it has completely forgotten that its job is to act was the people’s servant, not its bullying master.
It’s truly extraordinary that with Britain just having experienced its biggest economic slump in 300 years — with an 11 per cent collapse in GDP — the government is still proposing to keep it under lockdowns which will undoubtedly kill still more jobs and businesses.
More extraordinary still is that so many MPs on the Conservative benches are supporting it, oblivious to the suffering of all those constituents whose livelihoods are being strangled and freedoms radically curtailed to no obviously useful purpose whatsoever.
MP Charles Walker fuming as elderly protester bundled into the back of a police van outside Parliament pic.twitter.com/kkXl2gkCcv
— Tom Ridgway (@Tridg98) November 24, 2020
Visibly angry Charles Walker in House of Commons pic.twitter.com/jb8kcbQK8W
— Tom Ridgway (@Tridg98) November 24, 2020