Scroll Top

What Price Civil Liberties?

Parliament fs

During the Covid pandemic the citizens of Britain fell broadly into two camps: those who considered their safety more important than any other consideration and those for whom liberty is paramount.

The split between Camp S and Camp L may never be known, and as Covid sinks into history it’s all a bit academic: the Government concluded that the virus could only be defeated by locking down society; by suspending the ancient and hard-won liberties of the British people. Their actions demonstrated that, for them, Liberty was a luxury that in time of crisis could not be afforded.

The words of then Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 23 March 2020 in his Downing Street address were – and still are – chilling: “I am giving the British people a very simple instruction: you must stay at home”. This edict was obeyed by most; enforced with great zeal by agencies such as the Police and local authorities. A protest gathering on Llandudno Promenade was surrounded by masked Police officers; lonely footpaths in Snowdonia National Park were taped off in red-and-white – suggestive of crime scenes; Tesco Llandudno Junction festooned with adhesive footprints and warning signs; a Llanrwst six-year-old sent home from school for daring to cross the playground to join his pal. The same regulatory tsunami struck the length and breadth of the land.

Never before had such oppression been visited upon the people – not in the 1919 Spanish Flu disaster – not in the 1968 Hong Kong Flu outbreak – not in either of the World Wars.

With precedent thus set, how much easier will it be for a future Government to suspend our freedoms – whether sincerely (it’s for your own good) or callously by power junkies who whoop it up whilst the populace cower under house arrest.

Every other virtue which graces our great nation stands on the granite foundation of Liberty. Let not the chisellers chisel it away.