YB WEB DESK. Dated: 10/17/2020 11:00:00 AM

ALLISTER HEATH The pandemic will accelerate the fall of the West unless we abandon our irrational approach to the virus Please, please, Prime Minister, do not lock the UK down again. Do not listen to the unidimensional, anti-economic, risk-averse groupthink from Sage. Ignore Sir Keir Starmer and Sadiq Khan’s shameless politicking. A “circuit-breaker” is doublespeak for another lockdown, and cannot be a sustainable answer: The virus would only be temporarily suppressed, with transmission bouncing back as soon as the restrictions were lifted again. A vicious circle of stop-go lockdowns would be a catastrophic indictment of Government policy, an admission of total defeat, a victory of fear and emotion over reason. We would no longer be a free society tolerating an exceptional, temporary shutdown to allow our scandalously unprepared establishment to learn to manage a terrible situation. Instead, we would have transitioned to a world of permanent emergency, a wartime society whereby individual rights and lives were permanently suppressed for an ill-defined, ever-shifting “national interest.” A new principle would have become established: That the Government has the right and even the obligation to lock us down at the first sign of any new epidemic, even one that doesn’t truly threaten the survival of our society. The main rationale for a “circuit-breaker” — that it would buy yet more time for “one last push” on testing, the app, tracing and a vaccine — is tragically delusional. Even the French and Germans have failed to introduce effective testing and tracing, suggesting that the endeavour may be an elusive El Dorado, at least for now. Yes, a few deaths might be avoided by spreading out ICU admissions to our hopelessly ineffectual National Health Service. Yes, a few others — maybe even up to 20,000 in a best-case scenario — might be saved as a result of multiple lockdowns if an effective vaccine suddenly, miraculously materialises by April 2021. But, in reality, most deaths would not be avoided, merely delayed, and there will be plenty of additional fatalities caused by the lockdown itself — including out of despair — to set against that. Unemployment would have surged, tens of thousands more businesses ruined, family and community life laid to waste, and immense misery created. What kind of society is ready to destroy so much to save so little? If he agrees to the lockdown fanatics’ every demand, Boris Johnson’s legacy would have been to sweep away the Eurocrats, and cut back on the juristocrats, just to replace them with a new medicocracy. A gang of well-meaning scientists and doctors would be empowered to impose their narrow vision of the good on the rest of us, the first therapeutic, zero-risk State in world history.


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