Whatever the truth of the threat we face from coronavirus, it is always worth bearing in mind that the way science is understood and used is often determined by the prevailing political and cultural norms. For example, one of the key political trends of the past two decades has been the rise and rise of what is called the ‘politics of behaviour’.
The politics of behaviour is a New Labour invention. It has been adopted by all the political parties but is most wholeheartedly embraced by self-proclaimed ‘progressives’. Developed as a form of micro-politics that obsesses about little things, it is also a form of politics that has infected the regional assemblies most of all. If you want to know what will be banned next, it is always advisable to check out what’s going on in the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament. This helps to explain why up here in Scotland, the baby steps we are taking out of the lockdown are even more babyish than in England.
One could argue that Scotland has had a ‘lockdown’ culture for some time. When it comes to locking or clamping down on what we can say and do, Scotland leads the way. Whether it is criminalising words, trying to stop people from smoking or drinking, or attempting to make us eat ‘correctly’, the Scottish government has been at the forefront of attempts to limit the freedom of the public and to ensure that we all ‘behave responsibly’.
Take the recently proposed hate-crime bill – a bill that goes much further than England’s counterpart in attempting to criminalise words. Indeed, if passed in its current form, it could lead to preachers being arrested in churches for reading ‘incorrect’ sections from the Bible. Scotland was also first to criminalise even the lightest smack. It also notoriously attempted to give every child in the country a Named Person – essentially a state guardian, to oversee their every need – until the Supreme Court ruled this to be illegal.
With such an attachment to the politics of behaviour, it is no surprise to find that the Scottish government is dragging its feet on easing the lockdown. Underpinning this form of politics is a patronising distrust of the public and a tendency to want to over-regulate what we do in our daily lives…
The emergence of the politics of behaviour, nudge policies, awareness raising and so on represents a change in the way that a key section of the modern elite engages with the public. It helps, in part, to explain the relentless way in which the ‘Stay Home’ message has been used and abused over the past two months. It also helps to explain why Scotland is clinging on to this mantra while England tries to move on.
At a time when the spirit, the will and the initiative of the Scottish people are needed like never before, it is time to demand that the government stops telling us how to behave and allows us to start acting. Click here to read the entire article at source… Author: Stuart Waiton, who is a sociology and criminology lecturer at Abertay University in Dundee.
There is no doubt at all that the Scottish Government under Nicola Sturgeon is determined to keep us in lockdown as long as possible. The question is, what can the public do, in practical terms, because the majority of Scots are not, by nature, given to rioting – at least not without a good few drams of “the hard stuff” – and I, for one, don’t drink! So, how to get out of this false imprisonment? There is absolutely no evidence that the lockdown is necessary – it wasn’t necessary, in the first place. But now? Not remotely.
Is just ignoring the restrictions the right thing to do, live our lives as fully as possible, and not allow ourselves to be turned into little obedient servants of the State? Or would that be the wrong thing to do? Writing to MPs isn’t achieving anything – my letter received the usual automatic acknowledgment but nothing more. We’re being played for fools. How should we to react? Or is there no “should” or “ought” – is it more a case of we “may” or we “might” do this or that? Or, back to square one, should we simply wait until the Government gives us more permissions, and be thankful for them, no matter how limited, how “babyish” the steps to the new normal – which is really a future with very limited freedom.
Is the Scottish Government abusing its power? I definitely think so – but do you? Share your thoughts – while you are still free to do so…