Just when you thought Coronafascism had reached peak insanity along comes another politician yelling ‘hold my beer!’. Today it is the turn of Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock with his genius new rule in which lying where you’ve been on holiday has now become an offence punishable with a 10-year jail sentence.
Let’s pause, for a moment, to relish the jack-booted, face-stomping totalitarian cruelty of the crazed dictator Hancock’s outrageous ruling.
What it means is that any Briton who returns to the UK from a holiday anywhere from the Cape Verde islands (a hugely popular winter sun destination) to the Seychelles, from South Africa or Tanzania, or even, ridiculously, from Portugal, must spend 10 days — and £1750 in expenses — in quarantine at some crappy, charmless hotel. And if they try to wriggle out of it by lying to the Border Control officer as to where they’ve been, then they face 10 years in prison.
Ten years in prison is the maximum term normally given for: rioting, making threats to kill, indecent assault, firearm possession, burglary with intent to commit rape; indecency with children under 14.
It is longer than you’d get for some sex offences involving children; carrying a loaded firearm; racially aggravated assault; incest. These carry a maximum seven-year sentence.
So, to spell it out: if you try to grab a cheeky break on the Algarve and don’t tell the UK border authorities where you’ve been, Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary, thinks you deserve a longer prison sentence than if, say, you’d molested your 14-year old niece.
In what possible way is this a just or proportionate addition to Britain’s legal code?
As the distinguished barrister Jonathan Sumption – who sat on the UK’s Supreme Court between 2012 and 2018 – writes in the Telegraph:
Laws like these […] are the work of people who think there is no limit to the misery, oppressive cruelty, economic damage or injustice that we must put up with if it reduces infections.
Lord Sumption goes on:
The main charge to be levelled at the present government is not that they have the balance wrong. It is that they are not interested in balance at all. They are not natural tyrants, but they believe, like every tyrant that ever lived, that the end justifies the means.
A senior Tory once told me that Hancock was widely despised by his fellow Conservative parliamentarians and that he had a ‘Messiah Complex.’ The fact that even his fellow MPs consider Hancock to be a loathsome loon is small consolation when he currently has so much power.
Sure, one day in the future we will be able to laugh at the idea that in 2021 Britain’s response to coronavirus was so bizarrely over the top that illicit foreign travel earned you a stiffer sentence than child sexual abuse. But currently, we are living the nightmare for real. And what’s maybe even more terrifying is that so many drooling lapdogs of this increasingly fascist government are happy to go along with it.
Here, for example, is a Conservative MP lending his support to a Tweet by an influential political gossip columnist by the name of Tom Harwood.
I agree with Tom. The stakes are too high for this not to be an offence with the most serious consequences. https://t.co/uXv1E4IfUo
— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) February 10, 2021
Harwood, you’ll note, is not holding Hancock’s draconian new rule to account but actually applauding it – even hinting that it doesn’t go far enough.
Suppose, like more than a few Britons, you have a holiday home in Portugal – or you’ve even settled there. Well now the only way you can return to your home country – perhaps to visit friends or relatives – is if you first spend ten days in what Lord Sumption accurately describes as ‘solitary confinement’. And if you try to avoid this misery and indignity, then as far as Harwood is concerned, you are a ‘lying jetsetter’ who has exposed Britain to some deadly new horror.
Lord Sumption, more sensibly, notes:
The quarantine rules are a form of solitary confinement. They are brutal, disproportionate, inhumane and economically destructive. They are also of limited value as the virus is already endemic here and spontaneously mutates all the time. Unwelcome mutations are just as likely to originate in the UK. The so-called Kent variant probably did, as did several cases of the South African variant. We are probably a net exporter of mutant viruses.
Quite. It would be nice to think that Sumption speaks here for how most British people feel. And that for those who didn’t feel this way, the gobsmacking excess of Hancock’s deranged regulation will be the final straw – the moment when people finally wake up to the fact that they are now living in a dictatorship.
My fear, though, is that the majority will agree with Harwood.
If that’s the case then Britain is lost.