England Set To Extend ‘Police State’ Powers… Staying Safe or Staying Scared?

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has defended plans to extend COVID lockdown powers in England, measures that one former Tory minister has branded “excessive and disproportionate”.

The government is facing a severe backlash over plans to extend draconian restrictions under the Coronavirus Act for another six months.

But speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Wallace said the government was “taking assessments from the science” to make decisions on lockdown policy.

He said: “The final mile is the most important thing for us all, make sure we buckle down, get through the different stages the prime minister set out.”

Asked whether the government could be extending the powers for longer than necessary, Wallace said: “Parliament can always remove powers if it needs to.”

He added: “None of us want to have draconian measures but this is an unprecedented global pandemic that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace arriving at BBC Broadcasting House in central London to appear on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in central London on Sunday. (PA)

“At each stage we will be taking assessments from the science, from where we are in the pandemic, and take the steps required,” he said.

“It is not a one-way street. Just because we are seeking to extend the powers doesn’t mean we are deaf to how facts change on the ground.”

Read: Laurence Fox criticises ‘despicable’ police at lockdown protest

However, former Conservative minister Steve Baker described the Coronavirus Act as “excessive and disproportionate”, adding that it “should now go”.

He said: “The government really does need to start taking advantage of their own great success on the vaccination programme.”  Source

Note…

The two interviews relevant to this discussion in the Sophy Ridge show are the first two:  Ben Wallace MP and Steve Baker MP.

Comment: 

Nobody can even pretend surprise now at the predictable call to further extend the tyranny being imposed upon the peoples of the UK in the name of protecting us from a virus from which the majority of people who become infected including the elderly recover. Only those elderly with serious underlying conditions are at any risk, as they are always at risk from any other flu virus.   

I say “the peoples of the UK” because – just as predictably – what happens in England today comes to Scotland tomorrow.  How long is this “stay  safe” baloney going to last?  With every promise of the easing of restrictions comes a cautionary warning; keep washing your hands, wearing masks, [anti]social distancing OR we will imprison you again.   In other words, the “stay safe” message is merely a rather unsubtle form of a quite different, if highly effective, message; stay scared.  

So, again, I ask – how long is this tyranny going to last?  Some think another year.  Others think two years.   Others even longer – I read one estimate of eight years recently.  Meanwhile, people are forgetting what it’s like to be free – and many young people have never known what it is like to live as a free person.   Will we continue (as a population) to accept the kind of arrogance displayed by Ben Wallace MP during the above Sophy Ridge interview?  One thing is a dead cert – if the Westminster Parliament (and the other devolved assemblies) extend police state powers allegedly for another six months, there is no guarantee that we will be free in six months. The more we go along with this authoritarian abuse of power, the longer it will last. Contrary to what Ben Wallace MP said, Governments do not give up powers they’ve taken in alleged emergencies.  Doesn’t happen. 

People drift into situations and we have already drifted into totalitarian governance. Have we no option but to accept this “new normal”?  Some people ignore the rules and live as we did prior to lockdowns.  I sympathise, especially for two people I’ve been reading about: one said  “I’ve been in more lockdowns than relationships” and  another who, in future job interviews, can only explain the gap, the missing year, in his Curriculum Vitae, by saying that he was washing his hands 😀

This is all serious stuff folks so think carefully before you shrug off this latest extension of police state powers with a casual: “what’s six more months…”   

Scotland – One of the Authoritarian Outriders in the Western World? 

Extracts below from article published on ThinkScotland.org

Will Sturgeon’s totalitarian waltz speed up in 2021?

by Tom Gallagher

THE NICOLA STURGEON of 2021 is no Adolf Hitler.

But she is in the vanguard of an attempt to weaken and discredit democracy that is being rolled out across the  world.  Democracy has arguably never been weaker since the German Fuhrer took his own life in May 1945 after almost beating Europe into insensibility…  

There is mounting evidence that (in the words of Craig Murray) Sturgeon went to great lengths to try and ‘fit up’ her predecessor Alex Salmond. At least one powerful person at the top of the civil service seems to have been amongst accessories in this seeming act of personal vengeance, the police were less willing participants, and lately senior law officials have appeared ready to cast aside their neutrality to try and protect the First Minister’s flank after her operation effectively backfires.

Due to its position within the democratic United Kingdom, Scotland is constrained from gravitating towards outright authoritarian rule. But the standardisation and synchronisation of political control – resembling the gleichshaltung which emerged in Nazi Germany – has made fearful advances. Party and state are increasingly fused, the opposition fears to oppose, much of civil society has been absorbed into the ruling power structure, local government is suborned, and private institutions are coerced into hailing the new political order.

The pandemic has been used to impose sweeping restrictions on public life that make Scotland one of the authoritarian outriders in the Western world. At the moment churches are closed, outdoor activities by citizens are subject to police swoops, and increasingly the life is being choked out of thousands of small businesses by ever-tightening restrictions on what they are permitted to do.

The impact of the pandemic on the normal workings of society has been felt far and wide.  But in Scotland it has given a mighty push to normalise the abnormal in both daily life and politics. Hitler was able to do this thanks to the violent shocks Germany had endured in the twenty years before he came to power. Mobilisation of society for war, defeat and loss of territory, the rise of communism, endless economic troubles from runaway inflation to mass unemployment, weakened the hold of those old institutions promoting civility and restraint.

An ‘anything goes mentality’ increasingly took hold because given what it seemed the nation had already suffered, there wasn’t much else to lose. It all meant Hitler could be portrayed as a providential figure; his ways were harsh and often extreme but many were persuaded that the times warranted them.  A cult of resentment and grievance was spread through society by the latest mediums of communications even when Germany’s traditional rivals were proving accommodating to the new order…

I hope I will be proven wrong but I am increasingly convinced that Nicola Sturgeon is creating a pre-insurrectionary mood by brazenly exceeding her powers, encouraging MPs to act as ruffians at Westminster, and above all diverting large amounts of UK pandemic business relief funding.

How keen the British government is to face up to the challenge of the separatists who have used the devolved institutions to entrench themselves in power, will probably determine whether Scotland can avoid  becoming a new European trouble-spot in which political fanatics use old hatreds and gangster methods to get their way. 

Most of the British governing classes eventually saw through Hitler and prepared Britain to resist his onslaught.  There is insufficient evidence that decision-makers in London properly appreciate the gravity of the situation in Scotland. Unless this changes, Britain could face upheaval and tragedy as a result of territorial politics being cold-bloodedly harnessed behind an extremist purpose. Click here to read entire article.

Tom Gallagher is Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Bradford. He is the author of Scotland Now, a Warning to the World (2016). His latest book is Salazar, the Dictator Who Refused to Die, Hurst Publishers 2020 (available here) and his twitter account is @cultfree54 

Comment: 

There is plenty of food for thought in the above article.  However, the idea that the opposition is afraid to oppose, puzzles me.  It seems clear, all the way from the beginning of the ongoing totalitarian drive to rule by diktat, that all politicians are aiding and abetting the removal of our liberties, with the exception of an occasional intervention in London by – for example – Sir Desmond Swayne MP.  The majority of parliamentarians, however, have supported the Government’s restrictions on our personal and religious freedoms. To their eternal (not kidding) shame. 

The leaders in Westminster and in the devolved institutions seem, self-evidently, to be of one mind – that we have a deadly virus which must be suppressed and until that (impossible) day, we must sacrifice our liberty, even to the point where God is counted among the “non-essential items”.  At least, that’s been the cover story. 

Personally, I believe that the virus is a means of introducing us to permanent totalitarian Communist rule – and God is always “non-essential” in Communist countries; just ask the underground Catholics in China. So, share your thoughts – are we blessed to have Nicola Sturgeon, such a caring leader who is simply trying to make sure we “stay safe” (she said sarcastically), or IS Scotland “one of the authoritarian outriders in the Western world” as Tom Gallagher suggests?   

Lord Sumption: Only Permanent Lockdown Will Work (That’s The Plan)…

Former Supreme Court judge Lord Jonathan Sumption has criticised the government’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic, saying it has employed fear as a means to justify its actions. Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, he warned that Downing Street could hold on to its emergency powers after there is no need for them: “The problem is that fear is the main pillar of every authoritarian government. Fear has been skilfully and I fear deliberately employed throughout this crisis.” (From the Introduction to the above video on talkRadio’s YouTube Platform). 

__________________________________________________

Comment:

I really can’t improve on some of the comments posted over at YouTube, underneath the above video… Which of the following points do you find most compelling? 

Banned from, going out, protesting, freedom of speech, seeing family, living our lives…. This is Tyranny…

The cases are fake and so are the polls. Absolutely treasonous government. Covid 1984. Dystopian future becoming a dystopian present

The soldiers of the past must be spinning in their graves at how easily the British public have rolled over and surrendered their hard-fought freedom, we’re a disgrace to these brave men and women.

Lockdown Boris and co in prison. No to forced tests and vaccines.

When you takeaway people’s jobs and you leave them with no money to pay their bills and feed their children and then they lose their homes trust me COVID-19 will be the least of your worries. 

“Tyranny” strikes me as being a compelling  summary of what is going on, but then so does “Dystopia” – what we are experiencing is the very opposite of “Utopia”, that’s for sure;  the commentator who makes the point about the British solders also resonates – I’ve even seen Government ministers having the sheer nerve to wear a poppy this month despite betraying everything that it is meant to represent. 

Share your own thoughts about the interview. Especially say (1) whether or not you agree with Lord Sumption’s answer to that key question: will we ever get our freedoms back?  And (2) answer this question: where is the religious equivalent of Lord Sumption? Obviously, and scandalously, Pope Francis is never going to fight for our personal and religious freedoms but is there no bishop anywhere in the UK who shares Lord Sumption’s concerns? If not, we need to explore why not… again!   

Scottish Government dragging its feet on easing lockdown is an abuse of power…

From Spiked Online

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.

Comment: 

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…