PETER HITCHENS: The panic-makers long for another shutdown... but it won't do ...

PETER HITCHENS: The panic-makers long for another shutdown... but it won't do ...
PETER HITCHENS: The panic-makers long for another shutdown... but it won't do ...

You can almost hear the BBC presenters drooling at the prospect of yet another of the shutdowns they long for and enjoy so much. 

Reports of a new variant of Covid, combined with the frenzy of medical repression on the Continent, have filled them with hope that England can once again be closed down for Christmas.

Once again, they have begun moving the supposedly menacing figures of ‘cases’ (positive tests resulting from endless state-sponsored testing) back up their bulletins.

Well, that is the BBC. But almost as bad are the others who still believe that there were only two options – shutting the country and ‘letting it rip’. 

Sweden did not in fact follow the closedown route. It took many measures, but it did not engage in mass forced quarantine of healthy people or the strangling of its economy

Sweden did not in fact follow the closedown route. It took many measures, but it did not engage in mass forced quarantine of healthy people or the strangling of its economy

Only last week, a rather intelligent person wrote, as if to excuse the devastation of the NHS by months of near-closure: ‘If we’d let Covid rip, if we hadn’t locked down, I’m not sure there’d have been a functioning hospital to go to.’ I am sure she really believes this, alas.

And among those who howled for yet more damaging measures back in March 2020, there remains the other baseless belief that ‘we should have locked down faster and harder’. This, I promise you, is the pre-arranged verdict of any official inquiry that takes place.

Yet even at the time, it was obvious that the evidence for this view was thin at best. Sweden did not in fact follow the closedown route. It took many measures, but it did not engage in mass forced quarantine of healthy people or the strangling of its economy.

If closedowns worked, if milder measures more fitted to a free country were ‘letting rip’, then surely Sweden’s figures would be far worse than those of any other country. But they are not.

Sweden’s response was not perfect, especially in care homes, and many died. But the country’s tally of Covid deaths per million has for some months remained on the low side of comparable European figures. Any study of the immense variety of national responses from Japan to Brazil shows no apparent connection between the severity of repression and the level of deaths. Even now, those continental countries praised by liberals for such things as strict masking rules are among those now experiencing apparent surges of Covid.

I have no doubt that in March 2020, this country’s Government went into a spasm of panic. It was egged on by many of its advisers, using naked fear. It distilled that fear into raw power.

If closedowns worked, if milder measures more fitted to a free country were ‘letting rip’, then surely Sweden’s figures would be far worse than those of any other country. But they are not

If closedowns worked, if milder measures more fitted to a free country were ‘letting rip’, then surely Sweden’s figures would be far worse than those of any other country. But they are not

Some of the panic-makers, being supporters of the far Left, may actually have believed that this was an ideal moment to increase the power of the state in the name of health. Who can say? They certainly achieved it.

But the response showed that the British people would in fact have behaved with great caution and care, and consideration for each other, without the fear or the bossiness.

The Government has had a long time to digest these facts. While it will never admit publicly that it went bananas in March 2020, let us hope that enough MPs privately grasp this, and that we will be spared another future self- damaging, state-sponsored panic in the coming winter. Above all, it will not actually do any good.

For years here, I have pointed out the scientific fact that the evidence for the effectiveness of ‘antidepressants’ is extremely weak and their side effects are very worrying. As you might expect, official opinion is beginning to catch up with me, many

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