Lives & Liberties Lost, the UK Government’s Response to the Pandemic has been Awful

Going on current figures, if approximately 24% of the deaths recorded in the UK as deaths *from* coronavirus are found to be actually deaths *with* coronavirus (a meaningful medical distinction), then this would lower the coronavirus death toll to around the same number of deaths caused by the lock-down itself – i.e. deaths resulting from people not going to hospital because they were told the NHS would be overrun or deaths resulting from long-term patients having their treatments deliberately delayed by months. Just let that sink in for a minute.

This might seem unlikely, but consider that a re-evaluation conducted by the Institute of Health in Italy revealed that 88% of death certificates there were deaths *with* coronavirus – only 12% showed a direct causality from coronavirus. Even if we ignore the distinction between dying with and from and stick with the official coronavirus death toll, the lock-down likely accounts for anything from 15,000 to 25,000 of the 50,000 excess deaths. Prof Neil Ferguson himself has admitted 30-50% of excess deaths will be the result of reluctance to go to hospital or lack of hospital space. (We can rule out there being any deaths from the latter because hospitals in the UK were certainly not overrun. The temporary hospital erected in London with a capacity of 4,000 only ever received 12 patients and was closed recently.)

Nearly two months ago, government officials either implied or explicitly stated the lock-down would ‘save hundreds of thousands of lives’. Certainly, this is what the public believed. If it wasn’t for Sweden (see graphic below), we wouldn’t have solid evidence to refute this claim, which is still being used to justify the lock-down and the continuation of some restrictions.

There is simply no evidence to support the claim that hundreds of thousands would have died if we had continued to do social distancing and kept society open in a similar fashion to Sweden. The only ‘evidence’ being used to support this claim was the predictions of the now discredited Imperial College COVID-19 model, which places like Sweden have proven to be not just wrong but wildly inaccurate.

The current coronavirus death toll in the UK stands at approximately 33,000 and the pandemic peaked at least a few weeks ago. Deaths resulting from the government imposed lock-down could be as high as 25,000 and potentially even higher than the number of deaths from the virus itself. This is the sobering truth that every supporter of the lock-down will need to face sooner or later.

The UK government’s response to the pandemic, in terms of lives lost and liberties lost, has been one of the worst in the world and nothing short of disastrous. For the nation where the very idea of civil liberties was born and which sparked the industrial revolution, it is nothing short of shameful.

As a typically British way of coping during traumatic times, we laugh at how our lives are now being micromanaged by the government on a daily basis. Sure, sometimes it’s farcical, but in all seriousness we must grasp the magnitude of what is happening. We are being abused. We are suffering the greatest restriction of personal liberty in our nation’s history.

Britain has the greatest tradition of liberty in the world and yet, without question, the British people’s human rights have been violated and their freedoms curtailed by the government to an extent you would expect from the despotic North Korean or Chinese governments. If the British state is behaving like them, that’s a sign it’s crawling with authoritarians with dangerous delusions about the social good they can do with centralised control over people’s lives and the economy.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience … To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

– C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

It’s extraordinary, but our freedom to live, work and travel is currently subject to the approval of committees of unelected and unaccountable government bureaucrats and expert advisers who do not meet in public but behind closed doors. This is not democratic governance. What is happening right now, what people in government are doing now, is not compatible with free society. The British public shouldn’t be tolerating it, they should be resisting it, but they aren’t. Not yet, anyway.

Human rights are inalienable and freedom is non-negotiable. There are things that the government should never have the power to do to people. Full stop. This is the ethical foundation from which the British people can push back against the creation of a medical surveillance state and the establishing of a ‘new normal’. But first they need to get angry. If people’s lives and plans continue to be seriously impeded by the government for the rest of the year or longer, alongside having to cope with a severe economic recession, then it probably won’t be too long before they do.

In terms of avoidable deaths, liberties lost, economic damage and respect for human rights and dignity, the UK government’s managing of the pandemic has been awful. God help us if what was done over the past two months is used as a blue print for the future. It should never be done this way again.

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