We’re publishing today a new piece by Dr. Gary Sidley, a retired NHS Consultant Clinical Psychologist and co-founder of the Smile Free campaign. Dr. Sidley is glad to see the mask mandates being lifted, but worries that without a clear admission from leaders that imposing face masks was unethical, ineffective and harmful, and ought never to be done again, the measure will quickly resurface next time a threat from a similar contagious disease is perceived. Here’s the introduction:
For those of us at the Smile Free campaign – and the many other people campaigning to remove all mask mandates – it has been a positive few weeks. On January 20th, secondary school children in England were liberated from the requirement to wear face coverings in the classroom, followed, a week later, by the removal of all mask mandates in England. A similar easing of mask restrictions was announced by Nicola Sturgeon on February 22nd (although this reprieve for the Scottish people will not happen until March 21st). And even London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has conceded that masks will no longer be a condition of carriage on the capital’s transport system. Although this news is all very welcome, it is not good enough for our politicians to claim that these measures are being relaxed solely because of the currently reduced risk of harm associated with the Omicron variant; such a rationale means that masking the healthy, the most insidious of all the COVID-19 restrictions, will be imposed again at the first hint of another viral threat. What we require is a clear and unambiguous acknowledgement that our political leaders, with support of Government scientists, inflicted an intervention on the British people that was unethical, ineffective and harmful and – importantly – their commitment never to do so again.
This is a big ask. Those seeking to retain power over us rarely admit to mistakes. However, the likelihood of such an occurrence would increase if more of us could recognise that mask diktats were introduced for reasons other than viral control. In a previous article, I made the case for masks primarily being imposed as a compliance device, a means of keeping the British public responsive to any restrictions (current or future) the Government might wish to enforce in pursuit of its agenda, whatever that might be. To highlight further the evidence consistent with this assertion, I posed some questions I would like to ask Professor Chris Whitty (England’s Chief Medical Officer) about the reasons for his U-turn in spring 2020 from mask sceptic to mask advocate. The bulk of responses to this article were supportive, but a few of the comments raised objections – three in total – that I will now address.
Worth reading in full.