The cruelty of this government is beyond belief
In my previous post on this blog on 31 December I expressed hope that it would be the last of my 42 articles on the ruination caused by lockdowns as a response to coronavirus. I hoped that the vaccine roll-out would shortly lead to the resumption of some sort of normal life, and that the government would gradually begin to pull back from its draconian, stifling measures. Not for the first time in the past year I was to be disappointed. This repugnant administration has used vaccines to double down on its position, to become ever crueller, ever more thoughtless, ever more totalitarian than before.
This godforsaken prime minister has presided over the most fascistic, inhuman policies ever enacted by a British government. Were these to happen in wartime would be bad enough; that they are happening in peace time is unforgivable. For what? A virus. A nasty virus, to be sure. But whereas smallpox has a mortality rate of 30% and ebola has a mortality rate of 50%, this virus has a mortality rate of much less than 1%. 94% of those who are felled by it have severe co-morbidities; the average victim is 83, above the average life expectancy. Of course measures needed to be taken, but our government’s response has been disproportionate, to put it mildly.
Is it any wonder when we look at who leads us? A serial liar and adulterer, Johnson is a man interested only in himself. That adulterer point is not trivial: think what is required of a man to lie to partner after partner, and to do so on scores of occasions. To lie, lie and lie again to someone who trusted you. This is the measure of the man. And he has done it on the national stage: he said a second lockdown would be the nuclear option, but then went and did it. He said it would be 'inhuman' to cancel Christmas, and then went and did it. He said on January 4 that schools were safe and would re-open; just one day later he did a U-turn. His words are without value. He has lied so much that when he tells the truth Big Ben should chime.
And lies reflect cruelty, for there is none so cruel a person in this land as the one-use (Brexit) prime minister, Johnson. People are clinging on to their sanity by their fingertips - many are desperate, wrecked, ruined (although some of them seem reticent to reveal that to opinion pollsters, perhaps for fear of seeming like they’re ’not doing their bit’). And yet Johnson's government continues to act in the manner of the cruellest of cruel jailers. Hancock, Gove, Patel, Shapps and others are terrorists. For what is a terrorist if not someone who uses terrorising tactics, perhaps promising us that if we’re good then things will improve; punishing us severely for perceived wrongs; pointing us towards an exit and then slamming the door shut on our faces when we get there.
Look at hotel quarantines. Have you ever seen anything more barbaric in a so-called civilised society? These are decent people, and people who have tested NEGATIVE, but even if they hadn’t, to put someone in solitary confinement like that - which is well known by psychologists to be one of the worst experiences a human being can suffer - is simply disgusting. And they have to even pay for it. Where are the human rights groups when all this is happening? Their silence is deafening. (Making millions of others stay in their houses getting flabby, pale and more scared isn't too kind either, especially when they're healthy.)
Human beings need hope. We thought we had it thanks to the vaccines. But every piece of good news is instantly slain by the likes of Matt Hancock saying we’re a “long, long, long way from lifting lockdown”. (Yes, he used ‘long’ three times.) This is totally demoralising. It’s something Hancock in particular specialises in - literally within the space of one week in January he said we will have a “happy and free British summer” and the words above. He is like a cat toying with a mouse, with us as the mouse, and my, how he relishes the power. People can’t even book holidays to look forward to because that would be unwise, we are warned. Even by this government's own figures, hospitality and international air travel each contributed between just 2% and 4% of infections (whereas 40% are picked up in hospitals), and yet they've mostly been shut down. This is mindless cruelty from an administration intent on destroying joy (the Scottish government is just as bad). Led by public health eggheads who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing, this husk of a prime minister enacts their life-loathing diktats oblivious to the enormous harm to mental health - and physical health - that they are causing. Look at how even things like open-air swimming, golf and tennis have been banned - activities that promote health and well-being and do not spread Covid. Again, so cruel.
It really is remarkable how sadistic the public pronouncements of this government are; it’s as if Josef Mengele was the head of communications. Look at the posters they produce - “Look into her eyes” - and ponder how much damage they are doing to the minds of millions. People are made to feel guilt, which is a crushing emotion; they are cowed into skulking around like a diseased leper, and must shun all social contact, which is debilitating and creates its own health problems.
We have to beg for crumbs from the royal table, like peasantry, and yet these are crumbs of things we used to have in abundance. To make us wear masks, to rob us of humanity, is another sign of cruelty - to ‘depersonalise’ us. Years of science have shown that masks do little to protect us from viruses; they have not been mandated for medical reasons, they have been mandated for psychological reasons, to make us aware that there is a ‘threat’ and we’re all in it together, ‘fighting’ it with our masks. The individual comes very far down in considerations when these policies are decided upon - largely through international political discourse - although it is dressed up exactly in those terms: you must not infect other people.
The government has done many enormously cruel things in the past year, ostensibly in the guise of fighting a threat, which is what all bully-boy regimes do. It has stopped families and friends from getting together even if, say, they have already been infected or vaccinated; it has limited mourners at funerals and forbidden them to comfort one another; it has caused great stress by ruining people’s foreign escapes at sometimes literally a few hours’ notice, by changing travel corridors; it has instigated ‘divide and rule’ policies, encouraging people to snoop on their neighbours and report them for any perceived breaking of the rules; it has stopped elderly people in care homes from receiving family for many months on end; it has collapsed the education and social skills of young people even though they are at virtually no risk from this virus; it has crashed thousands of businesses and with them millions of jobs, throwing many thousands of fiftysomethings into despair and depression because they no longer feel like they have any worth or future; it has caused tens of thousands of people waiting for non-Covid treatments to wait for several months more, many in agony every day. Even if you think these things are worth it because it stopped more people dying from the virus - even though evidence for that position is, at best, patchy - you must acknowledge that all of the above are horrible collateral, and so, so cruel. What looks like will be a super-slow dismantling of restrictions is a form of torture in itself.
The government has concentrated on the negatives, not the positives. For example, it never releases statistics showing how many people have been discharged from hospital after recovering from the virus, even though many other countries do. It has never put figures in context - for instance, it will never say: “Of the 1,700 people who died in the UK yesterday, 150 of those people had Covid on the death certificate. There were also, sadly, 250 cancer deaths.” It will never talk about how treatments have got better and better - and one of the reasons that there are still many Covid patients in ICUs is because previously they would already have been dead. Lies are also a form of cruelty: “Three weeks to flatten the curve” stands as one of the greatest porkies a government has ever told its people. Last summer the government started talking about 'cases' more than deaths (which are over-counted in any case), because this number is always higher - but ‘cases’ aren’t even cases as had previously been understood, they are just positive tests, of people who may be ill, or may have mild symptoms, no symptoms at all, or even have recorded a false positive. The government did this to scare people - more cruelty. It has manufactured consent for its authoritarian policies by peddling terror incessantly.
They talk about mutations of the virus - our government is where the real mutations have been. It has mutated into a cruel, authoritarian, senseless regime, lashing out at anyone who dares to cry freedom, or to seek it. It has behaved like the abusive partner in a relationship. The advisers and politicians who make the rules do not suffer under them in anything like the same way that millions do - the family in a flat with no garden, for instance, the person on their own, the person with a violent spouse. Never before has a government paid so little heed to quality of life for millions, and so much to length of life for thousands (though these policies probably don't even do that, as the pandemic is stretched out and people are enervated, making them more vulnerable).
When you see where lockdowns and associated restrictions and tactics came from - the vile, appalling Chinese Communist Party, which were then put into practice in the UK by their useful idiot Boris Johnson, a person who has shown great cruelty throughout his life - it all becomes clear.