The latest Lockdown Files revelations show that, when Nigel Farage posted photographs of himself online breaking lockdown rules, Matt Hancock contacted the Home Office to see if he could get him in trouble. Farage, now feeling vindicated in his lockdown scepticism, has written in the Telegraph how glad he is that he didn’t follow the idiotic rules – and that “pipsqueak” Hancock couldn’t stop him.
The passing of the Coronavirus Act gave the Government the ability to control our lives in a way that still makes me deeply uncomfortable and Hancock was one of those willing on this march towards authoritarianism. He behaved like a medieval king. Supermarket shelves were sealed off; park benches were taped over to prevent anyone from sitting on them; dyes were poured into lakes to stop people swimming in them; and neighbours were even encouraged to report on each other if they suspected rule breaking. I soon lost trust in the Government but Hancock somehow came to embody the sense that things had gone way too far.
Indeed, when he would appear at the daily press conference in Downing Street, I would shout at the television. It was soon obvious that few, if any politicians, really knew what they were doing, least of all Hancock. Despite this, some of them – together with media figures including Piers Morgan – began pushing for an even harder lockdown.
For months we were subjected to a relentless taxpayer-funded advertising campaign that was designed to scare us into submission. Not even in wartime did the British Government award itself such powers allowing it to restrict freedoms and liberties in this way. Now I’m not sure about you, but I for one don’t want little pipsqueaks like Matt Hancock telling me how I should or shouldn’t live my life.
Free speech was also sacrificed during this nightmare period, as social media platforms closed down the accounts of those who were perceived to be dissenters. Legitimate questions about lockdowns or the vaccine strategy were actively discouraged and in some instances banned.
So the latest revelation that in June 2020 he asked an aide to contact the Home Office to see whether I had breached COVID-19 rules, perhaps in the expectation that this would result in some kind of penalty for me, comes as no surprise. One of his aides even suggested I should be locked up! This attempt – even jokingly – to use the levers of the state in order to target a political opponent bears the hallmark of all undemocratic regimes. The Chinese would be proud of such instincts, frankly.
Unlike the legions of hypocrites and liars in much of our public life, I freely and happily admit that I ignored many of the crazy lockdown rules. Banning us from leaving our homes, from seeing our loved ones, from going to the pub or even from enjoying a long walk in the countryside were gross over-reactions. It was never necessary to enforce these things once it was clear that coronavirus posed little or no threat to the majority. That can never be said too many times.
Worth reading in full.