It was the sort of goal post shifting we have become very used to over the course of this pandemic. After getting vaccinated in our droves, delaying our lives and denying ourselves God given freedoms all on the promise that a great British summer and total freedom was coming on June 21, Boris Johnson this evening pulled the rug out from under us.
Just another four weeks, the Prime Minister assured a worn-out nation. Do you believe him? Our entire approach to risk seems to have morphed in a spectacularly weird direction these past 15 months. Even though I’m personally opposed to lockdowns, given the collateral damage they wreak, at least I could see the logic in the middle of winter of wanting to vaccinate those vulnerable of dying from Covid-19.
All of the folk who want to be vaccinated have now received two jabs. They’re as protected as they are ever going to be. As gloomy Chris Whitty said himself, the rates of hospitalisation are low throughout the country, even though case rates are rising. So none of it makes sense to me. Now it’s time to see if there is any political opposition in this country.
Of course, the limp Labour party and its destitute leader Keir Starmer immediately indicated he would back the Prime Minister’s decision. Now the only hope is a genuine Tory rebellion thanks to the Covid Recovery Group of MPs who are rightly sceptical about the effectiveness of lockdowns. Its leader Mark Harper will be with me later in the show.
The heroic freedom fighter Steve Baker – who just appeared with Andrew Neil – texted this group of MPs last night, quoting Ramsey in The Great Escape, saying: “It is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.” That’s the spirit. I hope other MPs who know continued lockdowns are wrong speak up this time. That is their sworn duty. Enough is enough.
Too much economic and social damage is being caused. If this is how we behave in the middle of summer, then what the hell is the situation going to look like in December as we head into another flu season. 79% of UK adults have now had their first jab, with 57% having had their second too.
Numbers beyond our wildest dreams just a few months ago. Lockdowns and legally enforced restrictions are not the answer anymore. The answer is learning to live with Covid-19. And by the way, it’s not just me saying this. A Cabinet minister anonymously told The Times newspaper today: “It’s a very odd decision. Why are we maintaining more restrictions this year when we have the vaccine than we did last year without? If new variants emerge we are coming to the point when we just have to live with them.”
Well, that Cabinet minister should also do their duty. Speak up against this madness and resign. Forget about your career for one moment and make a decision to be on the right side of history. I’m done.