Vaccine News Ireland.
The government has deliberately stoked fear over coronavirus while behaving like an authoritarian regime relying on police state tactics, according to the former supreme court justice Jonathan Sumption.
In his most forceful critique to date of the government’s handling of the pandemic, the outspoken lawyer condemned the way “the British state exercised coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted”.
Delivering the Cambridge Freshfields annual law lecture, Lord Sumption said: “The ease with which people could be terrorised into surrendering basic freedoms which are fundamental to our existence … came as a shock to me in March 2020.”
In his address Sumption said the emergency measures were “the most significant interference with personal freedom in the history of our country”.
He stated: “I do not doubt the seriousness of the epidemic, but I believe that history will look back on the measures taken to contain it as a monument of collective hysteria and governmental folly.”
The government, he noted, had already tried to avoid parliamentary scrutiny during Brexit by proroguing parliament, a procedure subsequently ruled unlawful by the supreme court last year.
By using “propaganda”, he said, the government had “to some extent been able to create its own public opinion – fear was deliberately stoked up by the government”.
Sumption concluded: “The British public has not even begun to understand the seriousness of what is happening to our country. Many, perhaps most of them don’t care, and won’t care until it is too late. They instinctively feel that the end justifies the means, the motto of every totalitarian government which has ever been … The government has discovered the power of public fear to let it get its way.”
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