John Harris

Journalist & Author

You don’t have to be a lockdown sceptic to worry about how Covid is being policed | John Harris

All the ‘tough’ talk ignores who is always targeted in such crackdowns, and those who still need help

The lockdown sceptics, it seems, are in abeyance. Opportunistic media voices who made a habit of denying the necessity of restrictions and the severity of the pandemic are still here, but noticeably quieter. Only 16 MPs, split between the Tories and the Democratic Unionist party, voted against the government’s latest measures. Bursts of dissent about restrictions and the truth of the virus itself will doubtless continue, as proved by the awful spectacle of those people outside London hospitals, seemingly dragged from the subterranean depths of social media into the everyday world, chanting “Covid is a hoax!” But with the crisis entering this new, frightening stage, the mood has inevitably changed.

At the same time, many things that ought to jangle our nerves are as clear now as they were in 2020. The Johnson government has an awful attitude to basic parliamentary scrutiny – and, in Priti Patel, a home secretary who draws on a deep well of authoritarianism and nastiness. Its current Covid regulations are so complicated that they are reckoned to stretch to just under 50,000 words, which makes any coherent understanding of them, let alone questions of enforcement, much more difficult than many people realise.

Related: How the British government is trying to crush our right to protest | Gracie Mae Bradley

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

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This entry was posted on Sunday, January 10th, 2021 at 5:53 pm and is filed under Guardian RSS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « ‘Open all schools!’ ‘Close all schools!’ What England really needs is creative thinking | John Harris | The British public are careful and calm – the problem is that the government isn’t | John Harris »
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