There’s a good piece in the Telegraph today by Laura Dodsworth who argues that the fact the Government is holding off on imposing ‘Plan B’ restrictions “at this point” paints only one side of the picture. While new measures haven’t yet been introduced (or, rather, old, failed measures haven’t yet been reintroduced), “the threat of lockdown hangs like a Sword of Damocles”, ‘nudging’ us into courses of action we wouldn’t otherwise take. To put it simply: “Eat your vegetables, kids, or you’ll lose your right to dessert.”
There’s a chill in the air. Not from the changing seasons – it’s still fairly balmy – but from the latest attempts to orchestrate a subtle psychological manipulation of us all.
About 18 months ago, in the lockdown summer of 2020, I started to argue that the Government’s response to Covid is driven not so much by medical science or epidemiology, but instead by the psychological insights of behavioural scientists. In my book, A State of Fear: How the UK Government Weaponised Fear During the Covid Pandemic, I argue that controversial ‘nudge theory’ lies at the heart of Westminster’s response. It refers to sneaky attempts to prime, prepare and prod us into their desired mindset and course of action, without us ever realising we are being coerced.
If [When] Another Lockdown is Imposed, or Vaccine Passports are Introduced, the Government Will Use the Almost Unlimited Powers Granted to it by the Public Health Act
We’re publishing a guest post today by Daily Sceptic regular Dr. David McGrogan, as Associate Professor in Northumbria Law School, about the Government’s reliance on the Public Health Act 1984 to railroad through all the Covid restrictions of the past 18 months and which will almost certainly be invoked to justify vaccine passports if and when they’re introduced. He applauds the Covid Recovery Group’s efforts to reform the PHA, but thinks they’re unlikely to succeed because our supine MPs quite like the current arrangement for self-interested reasons.
In a recent piece, Toby accurately laid out the basic legal position with regard to almost all of the various Covid-related restrictions brought in since March 2020. That is, although there is such a thing as the Coronavirus Act 2020, and although some of its original contents permitted the Government to do things that were quite draconian, it has not been the source of any of the restrictions that have been imposed. These have more or less all come through secondary or delegated legislation under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, making the Coronavirus Act 2020 a bit of a red herring. I thought it would be useful for readers of the Daily Sceptic to understand what this is all about, why it is, frankly, an outrage, and why the Covid Recovery Group of MPs are focused on repeal of the 1984 Act rather than the 2020 one.
It is important to provide a bit of background on this for readers without a background in law or politics. In U.K. constitutional arrangements, only Parliament can create law, which it does through primary legislation: an Act of Parliament. Only Parliament can create law, because only it comprises (in the form of the House of Commons) the elected representatives of the people, who are sovereign. In practical terms, of course, most Acts originate as bills put forward by the government, but governments cannot simply make laws by decree – they must pass through the legislature.
Anti-Lockdown Protester Facing Multiple Prosecutions Needs Money to Pay For Legal Defence
Debbie Hicks, the anti-lockdown protestor who was arrested after filming an apparently empty ward in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital at the end of last year, is facing four separate prosecutions in Magistrates’ Court – mainly for participating in anti-lockdown protests – and she needs to raise more funds to pay for her legal defence. The first case is due to be heard on November 16th and all four will be heard this winter. She has set up a CrowdJusice fundraiser that you can contribute to here.
Debbie’s solicitor plans to move on to the High Court if she loses in the Magistrates’ Court, or if the Magistrates’ Court says it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to consider her cases. That could be expensive, but the cause at stake could not be more important. Here is an extract from a note her solicitor sent to me:
These really are important cases in respect of Freedom of speech and Freedom to protest as:
- Success at the High Court will set a precedent that protest is not, and never has been, completely illegal during the pandemic – even under lockdown.
- Debbie suspects that the prosecution’s ultimate aim is to obtain a criminal behaviour order against her thereby chillingly curbing her ability to protest in the future.
- There are still a large number of other citizens across the country who are being ‘unlawfully’ prosecuted or have been convicted – a successful outcome at the High Court will lead to a landslide of other cases crumbling and open avenues of appeal to others already convicted.
- While the Crown Prosecution Service may try and quietly drop the odd case here and there after defence representations and arguments are filed, this will only occur when a prosecution lawyer reviews the case reasonably and objectively and properly analyses the law which is confusing and opaque – and, as Debbie has found, this is not easy to achieve. Success at the High Court will mean the CPS will have to blanket review all such cases and, with a legal precedent set, this will force the CPS to discontinue all remaining prosecutions.
- Many ordinary citizens without a previous blemish on their record will currently have criminal records because they’ve been convicted of these types of offences. Success in the High Court could lead to an avalanche of appeals and convictions being overturned.
- Success at the High Court will add clarity to the law that protesters have a reasonable excuse to gather and are not therefore committing an offence and cannot be directed to disperse or leave by the police.