Quamquam animus meminisse horret – Although my mind shudders to remember. So says Aeneas in Book 2 of Virgil’s Aeneid when he embarks on telling Dido the terrible story of the fall of Troy.
And that’s exactly how I feel every time I think back to the dark days of 2020 and 2021. Not because of the virus but the dizzying and reckless speed with which this country plunged into authoritarianism.
The revelations of Hancockgate are all over the news and on this website. There’s no need for me to recount them here. Toby has already pointed out it was the usual political clown show. No doubt there are plenty more revelations to come.
One of the common threads filtering through now though is the disgust with which the government presided over the creation of a totalitarian state. Rod Liddle is one, with his ‘Unmasking the truth about Covid’ telling us:
It was the authoritarian mindset which demanded that countervailing opinions should not even be heard and that the people voicing them should be silenced as ‘Covid deniers’. This totalitarianism was quite explicit, such as when the BBC ran a debate on herd immunity and agreed with one of the participants – [Susan] Michie, natch – that it should not be ‘even-handed’. As she said: “I’d got prior agreement from R[adio] 4 about the framing of the item. I was assured that this would not be held as an even-handed debate.”
Read more: Britain’s Descent Into Authoritarianism