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.
In the tweet below you can see them peering through a letterbox, looking for an illegal gathering of more than six people. No doubt they will be assisted by more curtain twitching busybodies snitching on their neighbours and local businesses.
It genuinely is reminiscent of East Germany where the Stasi and its army of informants made sure that there wasn’t any dissent.
I never thought that I would see the day when the UK Government would encourage neighbours to inform on each other and employ such heavy-handed tactics (including draconian fines) to enforce laws which have not had any Parliamentary scrutiny whatsoever. It sows seeds of division and mistrust. It pits neighbour against neighbour. Big Brother is watching you at all times. There is no escape.
This is not a country that I want to live in.