Unprecedented Autocracy in Unprecedented Times
The potential for martial law is not something that anyone could have fathomed when at the ballot box last autumn. The world has changed a lot since then, but Boris Johnson has truly forgotten what it is to be a Conservative - there is no semblance of the pragmatic realism offering up evidence based solutions that for decades has defined the centre-right anywhere near Number 10 at the moment. Instead, we are offered a Covid response featuring curfews, restrictions on private property, crippling inconsistency and, most worrying of all, potential military enforcement. The Opposition has for months been criticising the Government for “dithering” and lack of action. They have their wish.
It is vitally important to understand that opposition to the Government’s latest round of poorly researched policy is not in any way a downplaying of the risks that COVID-19 represents. In fact, it is about understanding, both the fundamental tenet of freedom that is the bedrock of British society and the far greater risks to livelihoods that the new restrictions present. Furlough cannot go on for much longer, there is no “magic money tree”. A continuation of the furlough scheme may save jobs in the immediate term, but will plunge the country into an even deeper recession in 6 months time, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest for the foreseeable future. The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme was a temporary fix but this week, Johnson has condemned the Hospitality industry to a quick, yet excruciating death... Luckily 30 people will be able to go to the funeral.
Many Conservatives have given this Government the benefit of the doubt for the vast majority of the pandemic thus far - “unprecedented times” requiring unprecedented amounts of faith in our democratically elected representatives; but this morning, that likely changed for good. A party filled with a mixture of Libertarians and One Nation Conservatives have abandoned their base - virtually overnight, the UK Government has seemingly forgotten the ideals of limited government with the occasional hint of paternalism and morphed into a thinly veiled autocracy. Distressingly, even Sir Keir Starmer: arch-critic of every Government policy, seemingly bought into the UK’s new authoritarian rule in the Commons. It was as if there was virtually no opposition, simply 650 MPs performing their best CCP impersonation.
The very concept of the Military patrolling Britain’s streets in search for groups of 7 people on private property should terrify every single person living in the UK today. Back in March, the vast majority of us scoffed at the suggestion from many in Libertarian circles that Martial Law was the likely end result of a lockdown that failed to extinguish the threat of COVID-19, we are a hair’s breadth from that reality.
Simply put, Boris Johnson’s support amongst the party membership is rapidly fading. Yesterday’s announcement has damaged the cabinet, public confidence, already frail industries and the viability of an intrinsically impressionable constitution. The Government must reconsider its position.