Independent criticises economic and social costs of government COVID policies as campaign launches

The government would like you to think that today represents the beginning of the restoration of civil liberties and a gradual return to ‘normality’, but the experience of the past year may prove otherwise. From today, the only activities made ‘legal’ one again include the resumption of education for young people, limited care home access, and limited outdoor social contact (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary). Should the government stick to its promises, there is a very long way to go. And let’s remember one more thing – normality does not mean the ‘new normal’. The resumption of our normal lives must never be contingent on us taking the vaccine – that must be and remain a personal choice to be made by individuals without coercion or compulsion. Continued restrictions on our freedoms stemming from vaccine passports, should they be implemented, will be a symbol of the not-normal ‘new normal’ and will be a betrayal of what little trust we have left in our government to do the right thing.

On the current roadmap, it is very clear that measures are being lifted far too slowly. Yesterday, daily deaths attributed to the virus fell to the lowest level since 19 October, the number of active cases fell to the lowest level since 14 November and the number of new cases fell to the lowest level since 23 September (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk). The dates of two of those figures are enough to justify the immediate end to lockdown. By combining the ONS data with basic statistical analysis and modelling, the virus clearly exhibits seasonal and age-related factors; it is most deadly during the winter with the elderly being affected worst of all (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending19february2021). This means that lockdowns, social distancing, and the wearing of masks have not significantly affected the severity of the virus no matter how compliant people have been with the rules. As such, it is impossible for the government to achieve in any practical sense its objective to ‘control the virus’. The dangerous control freak mentality of the government now means that measures removed now will return later. How many people think that the government will reimpose anti-virus measures at the end of this year as cases inevitably rise again? I certainly do.

The level of government management in our everyday lives over the past twelve months has been intolerable. For every extra day under these measures, jobs are being lost, businesses are failing, families are coming under strain, financial pressures are rising, poverty is mounting, mental health and physical wellbeing are worsening, and social isolation is increasing. According to the ONS (https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/governmentpublicsectorandtaxes/publicsectorfinance/timeseries/dzls/pusf), last year the government borrowed £260,662,000,000. The Conservatives borrowed in a single year the same amount that every British government in history had borrowed by mid-1994. They have burdened every man, woman and child living in Britain with an additional £3,800 of debt – and we’ll all be paying for it in higher taxes and lower public spending for many years to come. For too many, particularly those who were already on the breadline and struggling during the 2010s, the experience of the past year has only made a bad situation worse. Their needs and concerns have not been listened to nor acted upon, and they rightly feel as though they don’t have a voice when it comes to political representation.

We’ve now witnessed the extent to which governments all over the world will go to destroy freedom, liberty, free markets, free speech, family values, personal choice, and bodily autonomy. We’ve seen how the British government especially has subverted the rule of law while their own officials have defied it. When the virus goes, the ugly traits of pro-government ideologues will not. We’ll still have Boris Johnson, we’ll still have Matt Hancock, we’ll still have Chris Whitty, and we’ll still have Patrick Valance; they may as well be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse considering the state of the nation today. But the ultimate test of their scorch-the-earth strategy is still to come. The local elections on May 6 will be your chance to express your voice on these matters through your vote, and over the next eight weeks I’ll do everything I can to prove that a local independent representative who is open to responding to your own needs and concerns will serve you better than a candidate who puts their party’s interests first. I will be standing as an independent for both Lichfield City Council and Staffordshire County Council, and I look forward to the campaign to come.

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