“We should not need the government to tell us when we can go to the pub or out for a meal.” Rod Liddle in the “Sunday Times”
But we do Rod, that’s exactly what we need. One of the roles of Government is to protect us from others, and from ourselves. As long as I can remember people have railed against “Health and Safety” as some sort of infringement of our personal liberty. Which of course it is. Our liberty to kill ourselves or others accidentally.
I remember my Dad back in the 1960s exploding against Barbara Castle over the breathalyser and seat belts. He and his golfing friends were outraged at this restriction of our freedom – our freedom to be arrogant tosspots actually.
As citizens we have to accept that government and the law curbs what we do.— that a civilised society has to have rules. We must hope that Government acts rationally – which means that it takes due regard of expert advice. A good test is to look at what others are doing. Across Europe countries, taking expert advice, are responding to the Second Wave with a Second Lockdown. It’s not just us.
A driver of populist politics is libertarianism. The idea that we, especially we English, must have the right to do what we like. Whatever the experts say. All of those who truly understood economics knew that Brexit was a very bad idea indeed. But Michael Gove told us that it was alright to stop listening to experts. The same with lockdown. We responded far too late to impose the first lockdown and lifted it too soon. Plus ça change.
Getting the balance between authoritarianism and freedom right isn’t easy. But when increasing numbers of our fellow citizens are dying horrible deaths caused by a virulent and hugely contagious disease to restrict freedoms to prevent its spread ought to be uncontentious. But then you know Rod – he knows best…