The following is a guest post by the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain of The Freedom Association
There are great platefuls of tripe being served up by what is called “the new right.” I don’t know anything about the new right – unless the phrase is a tautologous self-definition by the people who are serving up the platefuls of tripe. Let me be specific…
The flavour of this tripe is that we are sliding into a new totalitarianism. Now, I think there has been an excess of new regulations and bossy restrictions during this long Covid emergency. I might even agree with those who say the government has overdone these. Worse - for me anyway – is that the government has been, and remains, incoherent in its administration of its regulations and restrictions. One minute they say one thing, and the next the opposite.
For example, that we all have to be stricter in our observance of the appropriate precautions. So we can no longer meet – not even in our sixes, nor as the two or three gathered together in church; nor in our distanced two’s on the golf course and the tennis court. But it’s all right to make the children go back to school where they can catch the virus and take it home every evening to their parents and grandparents who are more at risk.
Ditto the students to their “universities.” The government said there would be no second shutdown. A week later they announced the second shutdown, thus admitting that they could not see as far as a week ahead. Then they announced that the shutdown would be for only four weeks. But how do they know what the state of play concerning the virus will be four weeks ahead when they confessed their inability to see one week ahead? Such contradictions multiply, so that one begins to think of mad hatters and rabbit holes.
You can call this unsatisfactory – chaos, if you like. Incompetence on the grand scale. Spectacular ineptitude and government failure. But to describe it as a new totalitarianism is tripe. And worse than the most tasteless tripe, it is an insult to the billions who have actually lived under real totalitarianism. I can’t go to church or have lunch in my fish and chips restaurant. I must wear a mask when I visit my butcher for some pig’s kidneys and black pudding. The contestants on “University” Challenge lurk behind Perspex screens. Choirs may no longer sing together in case they spit on one another. And so on…
All very tedious, I agree. But where are the gulags? Why are there not thousands being lifted off the streets and placed in concentration camps? Why are tens of thousands not simply being “disappeared”? Why is there no little man with a silly moustache, a right arm that makes eccentric gestures and who packs Jews off in cattle trucks for Auschwitz? Or why is not Boris Johnson dispatching critics of lockdown to death camps in Scunthorpe? Why is the ludicrous Peter Hitchens allowed to decry “face nappies” and not get arrested?
Why is a bigger man with a more florid moustache not still sending dissidents to Siberia? Why has the Politburo known as SAGE not poisoned Lord Sumption with Novichok? Why have they not secured Allison Pearson in a dungeon? (Well, I can always hope..) Why does Commissar Gove strut his apocalyptic stuff for only five hours out of the twenty-four? Where is the press censorship? Why are critics of the government’s policy – I should say “policies” – allowed to spout their stuff every day in every newspaper and on every news channel on the Idiot Box? And why are those who claim we are living under a new totalitarian regime not being locked up and tortured by this totalitarian regime? After all, that’s what totalitarian regimes do, innit? Why are those few caught disobeying the emergency regulations merely fined and not lined up against the wall and shot?
Because there isn’t one.
There was totalitarianism in Germany between 1933-1945 and in the USSR from 1917. Perhaps it’s still going on there today only more subtly under Mr Putin. If the extreme right or tripe-mongers – or whatever they are called - want to know what totalitarianism looks like, why don’t they ask the persecuted Muslims in China? Or the Christians in Iran and Pakistan? Why didn’t they ask Maduro in Venezuela while they had the opportunity?
I’m as fed up with the restrictions as you are. But no more tripe, thank you. I’m sick of it.
All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.