A sad day for the public debate about Covid lockdowns
I’ve closely followed Simon Dolan’s legal case against the UK government over the two Covid lockdowns in the UK. Not surprisingly, he had to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court — among the media-induced panic, it was probably too much to ask some judges to make any reasonable decisions and take responsibility. Now the sad day has arrived on which the Supreme Court refused to even hear Dolan’s case, setting a dangerous precedent. I will add Dolan’s full response at the end of this article.
The UK case was partly built around using the UK’s 1984 Public Health (Control of Disease) Act to justify the lockdowns. Many countries have similar Acts and in a majority of cases these Acts would allow for a quarantine of small groups of people or areas, but locking up an entire population would still be very much illegal in most cases on a constitutional basis. It is of course difficult to generalise, but that is the gist of of the constitutional and legal situation in most democracies.
Recently, I’ve read that the UK has approved a Covid vaccine, other countries will follow suite quickly, I am sure. So we might be thinking, life will go back to normal and everything will be okay. But it is important that we keep speaking out against the injustices and incompetencies governments have put upon us this year. And remember, I am not saying this with any political agenda. Especially here in the US, I couldn’t care less which political party says what. The situation is that in most free countries, the lockdowns were very likely illegal and not just that, they will very likely have increased overall death tolls in the long-run due to undiagnosed other diseases and an increase in poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.
There was time to adjust measures
I will continue to remind everyone that this disease was unstoppable and was going to percolate throughout the entire global population anyway. I was always going to become part of our regular seasonal cold viruses (more virulent, but less deadly). The lockdowns were so severe in cases that it looked like the disease was under complete control, I am thinking of New York City, for example. But what really happened was that the spread was just delayed, not erradicated. Originally, the lockdowns were meant to slow the spread, so health care systems could keep up, but then the narrative changed. And in places where the numbers were already manageable, lockdowns persisted. Really we should have kept infections at a steady pace, rather than trying to stop them. Because now the disease is coming back with a vengeance in some parts of the world, because we are now in flu season. The second wave is a tsunami and it could have been avoided with cleverer, more targeted (and legal) measures.
Between first and second lockdowns, there was time to think of more appropriate measures, to re-evaluate data. As Simon Dolan says below, however, many governments have chosen to listen to the media hype and flawed models from March, rather than to re-assess and come up with plans that are constitutional and don’t wreck the livelihoods of the entire population. Instead, some governments got more radical. Shockingly to me, among them the UK, a pioneer of democracy, a country that has put personal freedom very highly on their agenda (and has not been afraid to brag about it ever since WW2). And whatever happened to Keep Calm and Carry On? The UK, for its mentality, was one of the few countries uniquely positioned to deal with the coronavirus in a reasonable manner.
But the UK, of all places, has gone so far as to arrest people for anti-lockdown demonstrations and they were one of the first countries to hand out fines (including “super fines” of £10,000) and arrest people for breaking the rules, even when someone broke the rules far, far away from anyone else (thus applying common sense, which police and the government seem to lack utterly). And apparently, even the discussion about a potential vaccine didn’t go down without controversy, nor transparency for that matter.
While arrests, fines, and censorship seem to be the common response now to anyone who simply asks questions, may I just remind everyone that the only rules that were ever proven to actually control the spread of a virus were: stay home if you’re sick, sneeze into a tissue and discard, wash hands often, don’t touch your face. And look where that got us!
This is Simon Dolan’s newsletter with regards to the Supreme Court refusing to hear his case:
This week the Supreme Court has decided to refuse to hear our appeal relating to a Judicial Review into lockdown.
The Supreme Court decision to refuse to hear an appeal relating to a Judicial Review into lockdown, means that unelected Judges have set a precedent which now makes it impossible to challenge the Government’s use of the Public Health Act 1984 to trample over Civil Liberties and to emasculate Parliament in the process.
By not allowing the Appeal to go ahead, this puts a protective shield around Ministers and gives them a free run to lock up people in their homes using the Act, without having to worry any more that their actions in using the Act like this are illegal. This is a chilling development which should not be underestimated.
The Government’s ruthless use of the 1984 Act is an effective destruction of democratic process on behalf of the public around the lockdowns we have suffered and any that may happen again in the future. Although lately there has been some pushback from MPs, the decision of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal gives the Government more power than it should rightfully have.
It threatens even to rip up the rights protected by the Magna Carta — the basic premise of you being free unless it is specifically unlawful has now effectively been changed, meaning that you now have to have the Govt’s permission to do literally anything. This goes against 800+ years of legal principle.
“By criticising us for having a ‘Rolling Judicial Review’ case, it means that when a Government in future uses these emergency powers, provided that they change the regulations every time they are challenged, they can keep avoiding the very mechanism — Judicial Review — that is there to provide a vital check and balance under the UK’s unwritten constitution. It is ironic that in July of this year, the Government launched a wide ranging review into the scope of judicial review chaired by Lord Faulks QC which has yet to publish its recommendations.
Equally disturbing is how the lockdown Judicial Review cases have found a lack of willingness from the Courts to challenge Government; Judges have said all along “It isn’t the place of the Court to get involved in politics”. They didn’t make that claim when the Brexit case was going.
From the first directions order made in the Judicial Review claim, it was clear that our unelected judges were entirely dismissive of the notion that we should be able to protect rights in the midst of a Pandemic, or that the Government’s actions could in any way be disproportionate or illegal in terms of the real situation being faced.
No one is disputing the impact on public health as a result of the novel Coronavirus, but far more so the Government’s handling of it, however, I do not feel the judges engaged at all with the key points or the 1,200 pages of evidence that was submitted as part of the case. The judgments and judicial comments made throughout are strongly suggestive of an unwillingness to look at the evidence and to depart from a high level “media” view of the pandemic. This suggests the Courts have not taken the opportunity to scrutinise key statistics and facts around the case, effectively waving away vital points around misleading data being used to justify lockdowns and impose further restrictions.
While scrutinising this type of data was seen as almost being unholy in March, April and May of 2020, this case, the Dodgy Dossier and the recently and very quietly amended ONS stats used to impose Lockdown 2 on the nation, has shown that, as a seemingly democratic society, it is vital that we do scrutinise what we are being told and that we continue to do so. The Government has used data to terrify the nation into compliance over a virus from which, in the words of the Government’s own medical officers, the vast majority people recover from and many do not even show symptoms of having.
I also feel strongly that our case has been treated with a far different approach to the Brexit case brought by Gina Miller, who twice defeated the Government in the Supreme Court, once over the right of MPs in triggering Article 50 and then again over the Prorogation of Parliament — arguably far less significant to the nation than the greatest economic contraction in peacetime history and the unprecedented restriction of rights, including access to healthcare — that we have seen as a result of Government measures.
The Supreme Court route is one we took as we fully believed in the case. It returned its decision in rapid time in an email of just a few lines long. This is a kick in the face for the thousands of people who have supported this case.
It must be accepted that the path to the Supreme Court is notoriously difficult. Of the many applications for permission to the Supreme Court each year, very few are granted. From July to September of this year, there were 21 applications. Five applications granted but three of them were for cases arising from 1971 shootings in N Ireland. Among them, and one of the most recent cases to be given permission to appeal, were the Government’s own appeal against the appeal court’s decision to let ISIS bride Shamina Begum back into the country pending her appeal. The massive health, civil liberties, parliamentary and economic implications of the use of the 1984 Act, was not, however, deemed worthy of consideration by the Court.
While the Supreme Court decision is a bitter blow, we have scored many victories and helped give a platform to tens of thousands of people who felt their voices were unheard. We forced SAGE to produce its minutes, got the Government to concede it had not lawfully shut schools, and lit the fire on scrutinizing data and information.
What started for me as a personal crusade against this Government and their shocking ineptitude quickly turned into a campaign for everyone whose lives have been wrecked by lockdown polices which were implemented in haste and without proper consideration.
We started Keep Britain Free to protect the basic freedoms of everyone living in the UK and it has become one of the fastest growing pressure groups in the UK, with thousands of you joining together to fight creeping totalitarianism. Our legal challenge has become one of the biggest crowdfunded legal cases in British history. We have raised over £416,000 from 14,000 pledges — people from all different walks of life from every corner of the UK. This shows the strength of feeling out there for this ongoing battle.
Whilst the Supreme Court decision is far from the outcome we were fighting for, our campaign has been vital in giving individuals up and down the country hope during an unprecedented time and in challenging a Government that was simply ruling by decree without any scrutiny. We also believe our findings and evidence, while not considered properly by the judges, will be of use in the inevitable public inquires which will follow and will help history judge the PM, Matt Hancock and their advisers in the light that they deserve.
Our fight continues and as ever, I will keep you posted on developments!