Perhaps we will emulate the French or Italian states, which have returned to their despotic origins and reduced their populations to a sort of cowering serfdom, barely able to step into the street.
I wonder whether there might also be restrictions on what can be said and published. I can see no necessary bar to this in the law involved.
Section 45 C (3) (c) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (appropriately enough) is the bit that does it. Once the Health Secretary believes there is a threat to public health, he has – or claims to have – limitless powers to do what he likes, ‘imposing or enabling the imposition of restrictions or requirements on or in relation to persons, things or premises in the event of, or in response to, a threat to public health’.
The former Supreme Court Judge Lord Sumption doubts that the Act can be used in this way and warns: ‘There is a difference between law and official instructions. It is the difference between a democracy and a police state. Liberty and the rule of law are surely worth something, even in the face of a pandemic.’
It’s Public Health Above Everything.
Nothing else matters.
Might this be an occasion when people start to question the supremacy of Public Health?