Has the Government Granted Itself Too Many Draconian New Powers?

4 April 2020. Updated 21 April 2020.
Steve Baker’s emotional defence of liberty

Further Reading

Is shutting down Britain – with unprecedented curbs on ancient liberties – REALLY the best answer?‘ by Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, March 21st 2020

Are the government’s lockdown measures proportionate and lawful?‘ by Francis Hoar, The Telegraph, March 29th 2020

Parliament must return to defend our liberties‘ by David Green, The Spectator, April 3rd 2020

Outdoor exercise could be banned if Britons continue to flout social distancing rules‘ by Amy Jones and Christopher Hope, The Telegraph, April 6th 2020

A disproportionate interference: the Coronavirus Regulations and the ECHR‘ by Francis Hoar, UK Human Rights Blog, April 21st 2020

Further Listening

Peter Hitchens: Liberty in the age of Covid-19‘, Podcast with James Delingpole, Ricochet, March 26th 2020

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Barney McGrew
Barney McGrew
1 month ago

What is clear is that the notion of unalienable civil liberties has been shown to be a fiction. It is obvious that a threat such as a virus would not have to be real in order for the government to give itself total powers and for the individual to find themselves in a dystopian nightmare. In fact, the distinction between real and not real need never be tested: we are in the nightmare now, and once triggered looks like being permanent. The government uses public opinion – that it manipulates through its position of authority – in order to maintain its total power with a fig leaf of ‘consent’. The ‘culture wars’ of the last few years have also contributed to the media’s collusion in this, and to the government’s confidence that the ruthless suppression of civil liberties is ‘the right thing to do’ – with the PM taking the opposite side to the one everyone assumed he was on. Those people who thought Johnson was a man of straw from the start seem to be being proven right. The rest of us were just fantasising.

I am not a student of dystopian fiction particularly, but I am aware that what our government seems to be contemplating is about as fine an example of the dystopian nightmare as anyone could have dreamed up. It might just be tolerable as a temporary measure if the government seemed really reluctant to do it; if there were MPs standing up to demand that it had time limits and so on. But ‘dissent’ is not popular with the manipulated public, and can be portrayed as ‘dangerous misinformation’. Again, straight out of the dystopian playbook.

I saw a headline that a teenager had committed suicide because they feared the lockdown was going to turn out to be permanent. I wonder how many more will do that as the realisation dawns, and that there’s no one influential with any intention of stopping it.

Michael Coulson
Michael Coulson
1 month ago
Reply to  Barney McGrew

Is this an issue where veteran civil rights MP David Davis should take a prominent stand as he has done in the past on other issues regarding civil liberties? A leading Conservative politician is needed to take the Government to task on its current restrictions and how long they will last. To see yesterday unelected medical bureaucrat, Chris Whitty, making what was a very political statement on the lockdown was a bit of a spine chiller. The Government seems on the point of abrogating responsibility to these experts who are not always in agreement with each other over strategy.

Barney McGrew
Barney McGrew
1 month ago

Boris Johnson in 2004:

“If I am ever asked, on the streets of London, or in any other venue, public or private, to produce my ID card as evidence that I am who I say I am, when I have done nothing wrong and when I am simply ambling along and breathing God’s fresh air like any other freeborn Englishman, then I will take that card out of my wallet and physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded that I produce it.”

What a joke! With Boris as PM we’ll not only need to pay for our own tracking device, but if stopped by the police prove why we’re even out of our hovel.


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