Twitter was aflame last night with prominent politicians and journalists condemning the Metropolitan Police’s heavy-handed treatment of women gathering on Clapham Common at a vigil to mourn the death of Sarah Everard and calling for the resignation of Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. The irony, of course, is that these are the very same people who’ve enthusiastically supported the lockdowns, including the suspension of the right to protest, and who’ve condemned anti-lockdown protestors for being “selfish” and “irresponsible”.
I’m sorry, but if you didn’t object to the Metropolitan Police’s brutal tactics in dispersing anti-lockdown protestors in Trafalgar Square last September, you cannot condemn their employment of identical tactics last night. Either you defend the right to protest for everyone, or you defend it for no one. You cannot just get worked up about it when it affects those whose cause you approve of.
You cheered when our Government suspended our civil liberties, claiming it was “necessary” to contain a virus that kills 0.25% of those who catch it and which, if you’re under-65, is less deadly than an average bout of seasonal flu. You cheered when our Government continued to pursue its reckless lockdown policy in the face of mounting evidence that it causes more harm than it prevents, destroying hospitality and retail businesses, wreaking havoc with children’s mental health and separating people from their loved ones. You cheered when the tiny handful of people who took to our streets to demonstrate against the suspension of our liberties were led away in handcuffs, branding them “Covid deniers” and “conspiracy theorists”.
This is on you.
This is what an authoritarian state looks like.