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Chris Mendes

Chris Mendes

Party Leader

September 24, 2020

A cure worse than the disease – the blanket lockdown must end

This article was published while the lockdown was in effect in September 2020.
September 24, 2020
Chris Mendes

Chris Mendes

Party Leader

This destructive nationwide blanket lockdown is doing more harm than good and it must immediately come to an end.

While lockdowns have shown to be ineffective in tackling viruses, they are extremely effective in destroying businesses, people’s jobs, children’s education, the national economy, future healthcare funding, and the livelihoods and mental health of millions of struggling individuals and families who neither asked for or endorsed this action.

This tunnel-visioned and short-sighted government lacks the courage to change course in the face of a broadening reality.

Shutting down the economy has never been either a necessary or a good idea in responding to COVID-19

We must never lose sight of the simple fact that COVID-19 is a virus from which the overwhelming majority of the population will suffer either minor symptoms or no symptoms at all.

The serious danger does not apply to everybody equally. It revolves specifically around the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. These are our vulnerable citizens at this time and we must protect them.

Given this factual distinction, the adoption of such an untargeted and unsophisticated blanket lockdown, restricting the social and economic activity of every single person in the land regardless, including children who are statistically more likely to die from a bolt of lightning, will be regarded as one of the most crass, irrational and irresponsible policy decisions in modern history.

The suggestion that a strict nationwide lockdown like we have experienced is the only way through this crisis is a lie, and it is a lie with consequences. While the government maintains the lockdown and subjects us, just yesterday, to a chart forecasting a doubling of deaths without any scientific basis whatsoever, as a justification for continuing the lockdown, the devastation on the ground continues to unfold.

Businesses are being destroyed that have taken years to build, jobs vanishing with little or no sign of returning, and personal debt, poverty, depression and suicides have wildly increased. Do we think the government will present a chart that represents any of these statistics at their next press conference?

Social distancing and increased hygiene measures are among the very sensible common sense measures necessary at this time. But the panic measures of blanket restrictions and shutdowns affecting everyone throughout the country will in the end prove to be an (ineffective) cure worse than the disease.

Government lacks a clear objective

And what precisely is the government’s objective today? The original objective was to prevent demand for medical treatment exceeding the capacity of the NHS. We were told we had dangerously too few ventilators and so it made good sense to briefly pause some aspects of society to allow the NHS to quickly expand.

This objective was well and truly met by April and was plainly demonstrated when the government wasted £220 million constructing several NHS “Nightingale” hospitals in major cities that treated very few patients if any at all. The new Nightingale hospital in London for example, a city with a population of around 9 million people, before shutting down treated a total of 54 patients.

Our approach should not be a blanket lockdown, but a targeted one that protects those who are vulnerable

The objective then changed from “protecting the NHS” to “flattening the curve”. This has also been met as the curve has been flat since the middle of June. In a country with a population of around 66.8 million people, the total COVID-19 deaths recorded at the beginning of this month on 1st September was 8.

Today however, without a clear objective, it seems that the government wishes to prolong the lockdown as a long-term solution until a vaccine arrives or until the virus chooses to emigrate on its own accord. This is unquestionably the worst strategy that we could possibly adopt.

The Foundation Party opposes the continued nationwide lockdown due to the following reasons:

  • the lack of scientific evidence justifying the majority of its measures
  • the long-lasting and even permanent economic and social destruction it is causing
  • the lack of a clearly defined objective and criteria for its expiration
  • the complete absence of any meaningful parliamentary debate or scrutiny of the policy
  • the relentless fear-mongering and threats to elicit compliance as opposed to genuine leadership and the truth
  • and the grotesque violations of some of the most basic principles we have, namely freedom and liberty, as an enthusiastic first resort rather than a distant last.

Parliament has yet again failed in its duty

We must draw attention to the other party who is also responsible for our self-inflicted deterioration.

This panic-stricken government, led by an unprincipled Prime Minister, dominated by unelected civil servants, is being held to account by an uninterested Parliament.

When Parliament’s imaginary utopia of the European Union is spoiled by a popular vote to leave it, the oratory skills of MPs seeking to reverse it have never been louder. But when the liberty and livelihood of millions of people is decimated, not hypothetically in the future but in the real world today, MPs disgracefully have nothing to say and no alternative action to propose.

This Parliament joins the previous one as one of the most unempathetic and useless Parliaments we have ever had.

The consequence? Leave an unopposed government to its own devices and it will do, no differently to the European Union, what unopposed governments do – reach for more power and more control than it really needs in order to make its own life easier.

And herein lies the underlying misguided principle that drives the prolonged lockdown and the institutional consensus around it – namely, that the Establishment can do no wrong and the more power and money it has, the more good it will do.

This presumption is not only demonstrably false, but it is also harmful, and it goes to the heart as to why the Foundation Party was formed.

Not every problem, nor many problems we would argue, can be solved exclusively from the top looking down. It is very possible, and indeed it happens all the time, that politicians well-meaning or not can make matters worse.

Parliament has failed to provide any meaningful scrutiny or opposition to the destructive policy of lockdown

The plain truth is that there is very little a national government can do to battle a virus once it has arrived, other than to slow the spread and protect the vulnerable. Short of a vaccine, the strategy of herd immunity – relying on widespread contact with the virus and the subsequent widespread immunity – is most likely the eventual resolution as many experts have submitted. 

The government, as with most governments, simply cannot accept the notion that they are not particularly useful in this situation. Ministers will continue to restrict our movements, shut down businesses and spend a fortune of borrowed money on job schemes to distract us from the economic destruction that they created in the first place.

We should switch from national lockdown to individual lockdowns

To completely lockdown or to completely open up is a false choice. There is a middle option. In light of what we now know and given the examples of other nations following different strategies, the more suitable policy is clear.

First we should immediately end the disastrous national lockdown inflicting limitless unjustified damage, in favour of individual lockdowns on the basis of well-informed free choice.

We should do everything we possibly can to shield the vulnerable, especially around care homes (which should have happened from day one), and prioritise them for a later vaccine, but everybody else ought to be free to choose to either self-isolate and shield themselves, or resume normality and take the risk on a well-informed basis.

In short, lockdowns should now occur on a voluntary individual basis rather than an enforced national basis.

Secondly, social distancing rules and additional hygiene measures should continue in order to slow the spread.

Change of leadership required

Finally, the Foundation Party is calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

It is clear that this government is not going to listen to the growing expert voices asserting their opposition, or the people on the ground who are feeling the pain and rightly questioning the strategy.

The so-called “Conservative Party” today will only consider a truly conservative action, such as withdrawing harmful government intervention, under the usual circumstances – when they feel electorally threatened and need to worry about their own preservation.

The Conservative Party must now be threatened electorally by a multitude of political actors in order to encourage a change of leadership and a change of direction.

The Foundation Party is a young party, but as the party of first principles seeking to defend the people’s freedom and liberty, we feel duty bound to do all we can to help.