By Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns
During a general Covid debate in the House of Commons yesterday, Chris Green, the Conservative MP for Bolton West who resigned as a ministerial aide last week, said:
"...I do have an answer to my written question about what action has been taken in relation to the 20,000 fewer referrals from GPs to hospitals this year than last. The answer that came back was: 'No specific assessment has been made.'
"That is 20,000 people in Bolton as a whole whom GPs think should have a hospital appointment of one form or another. I do not know how many of that 20,000 would be in the category of life or death, but I suspect a very significant number. I suspect that this would be replicated right across the country. To get a six word answer —“No specific assessment has been made”—to cover that 20,000 is disappointing to say the least. It is also covering a health time bomb that will explode. That is already happening at the moment. Far more needs to be done so. Will my hon. Friend commit to delivering a covid lockdown health impact assessment for every constituency around the country?"Read more
By Andrew Allison
When Boris Johnson announced that there would be a new army of Covid Marshals patrolling our streets, I immediately thought of Warden Hodges from Dad’s Army. Hodges was a figure of fun in the well-loved television series, but there is nothing remotely funny about the marshals patrolling our streets waiting to leap on anyone breaking Covid rules.
If you are in the City of Westminster, you may just spot the council’s “City Inspectors”. They are easy to find in their blue fluorescent waistcoats. According to Westminster City Council, the inspectors "perform a variety of roles throughout the City of Westminster, providing a 24/7 service across all wards in the borough. They deal with concerns around anti-social behaviour, irresponsible business practices and licensing issues." Now they are Covid Marshals, too.Read more
The assaults on our basic freedoms have to stop. We didn’t take back control from Brussels to hand it over to ministers who can arbitrarily dictate how we lead our lives
By Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns
To a certain extent the Government has had no option but to make it up as it goes along. None of us have experience of a virus like Covid-19. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But the Government’s latest assaults on our liberties and freedoms must be challenged.
We are no longer a Parliamentary Democracy. That stopped months ago. But we were told that it wouldn’t be for long. All we had to do was stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We did that in the tens of millions. Roads were deserted. All but essential shops were closed. Pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, and bowling alleys were closed. We could only leave our homes to buy essential goods. We could exercise for an hour a day, but at least the weather was getting better, although for those of us with gardens, lockdown was far more tolerable than for those who live in blocks of flats.Read more
The following is a guest post by Tony Brown. Tony was a Political Advisor to the former Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy and its predecessor, Europe of Freedom and Democracy.
I have been a trenchant critic of Government about Covid in recent weeks, provoking a number of my friends to ask 'ok, what would you do?' This 8 point plan is my answer to that important, valid question:
1. Publicly sack discredited advisors who have exaggerated the threat and provided massively inaccurate forecasts of deaths and serious illness; for example, forecasters at Imperial College. Instead start listening only to those whose more optimistic forecasts are borne out by the data;
2. State unequivocally that it is deaths and serious illness which matter and not incidence when so many cases are asymptomatic and cause no problems to those catching Covid;
Commenting on the Government's proposals to ban junk food advertising, Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns of The Freedom Association, said:
"It is disappointing that Boris Johnson, who has always been regarded as a libertarian on these issues, is proposing banning adverts for what the Government regards as unhealthy food.
"These measures will not work. Government interventions like this never do, but they will have unintended consequences. Those who work in the advertising industry and work for commercial broadcasters could lose their jobs as a result of reduced revenue.
"The Government should ditch these proposals before it's too late."
Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has horrified the world. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who pinned him down with his knee on his neck, despite Floyd clearly telling him that he could not breathe, cannot be justified, and it is correct that Chauvin and his three former colleagues are prosecuted. But that did not justify the scenes we witnessed in central London yesterday.
I was genuinely shocked when I saw a picture of the protest in Hyde Park yesterday afternoon. We still have a right to protest; of course we do, but during the current restrictions we have to protest in a way that does not spread COVID-19. This begs the question: why were so many people allowed to congregate breaking social distancing guidelines?Read more
From Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns
The number of deaths from COVID-19 in South Korea, at the time of writing, is 246. Compare that with over 21,000 deaths in U.K. hospitals alone. And although it is thought that we have reached the peak of the current outbreak, there are still over 500 people a day dying in our hospitals, with additional deaths in care homes. So how did South Korea do it? This article in The Guardian gives us an explanation:
“By the time the World Health Organization issued its plea in mid-March for countries to “test, test, test”, South Korea had spent weeks doing just that, quickly developing the capability to test an average of 12,000 people – and sometimes as many as 20,000 – a day at hundreds of drive-through and walk-in testing centres. The mobile centres conducted the tests free of charge within 10 minutes, with the results were [sic] sent to people’s phones within 24 hours. By mid-March more than 270,000 people had been tested.”Read more
The Government will today start to rush through emergency measures in the Coronavirus Bill. It is expected to pass all stages in the House of Commons today. The House of Lords will debate the Bill tomorrow and Wednesday.
COVID-19 is a national and international crisis. In these extreme times, extreme measures can be justified. It is clear from reports over the weekend that many people are ignoring medical advice to stay indoors, or, if they leave home, distance themselves from others. Those who are acting selfishly and irresponsibly are making it easy for those who advocate draconian measures to get their way.Read more
Boris Johnson is about to give HS2 the green light. This is despite ballooning costs (over £100 billion and counting); despite evidence from France and Spain that the major city hubs (Paris and Madrid respectively) benefit far more from high speed rail, which in turn means that London will suck in more investment and regional English cities will not benefit by as much as some would have you believe; despite the fact that most people will not benefit; despite the environmental damage that will be inflicted on those areas which will not benefit. I could go on.
In a recent article in the Sunday Telegraph, Simon Heffer observed:Read more