You could not have known, from anything broadcast that night or printed the following day, that anyone was unhappy with these events. But they were.
So, above all things this week, I would like to thank all the kind, perplexed people who have got in touch with me by so many means, to say they share my doubts about the Government’s handling of Covid-19.
Many will have seen the films, pictured, taken by Derbyshire police drones, of lonely walkers on the remote, empty hills, publicly pillorying them for not obeying the regulations. It is genuinely hard to see what damage these walkers have done, writes PETER HITCHENS
There are, in fact, many of us. If you feel this way, you are nothing like as solitary as you think.
Next, I would like to thank all those who disagree with me, who choose to abuse me, often with lies, personal smears and swearwords. Your childish, intolerant reaction has strengthened me in my conviction that mine is the better case. If your policy is so good, why can you not defend it like civilised adults? Do you really think that I regret needless deaths any less than you? Can you not accept that I also have good motives?
I now suspect this dark season might get still worse before we see the clear, calm light of reason again. The greater the mistake we have made, the less willing we are to admit it or correct it. This is why I greatly fear worse developments in the coming few days.
When I predicted roadblocks in my column two weeks ago, which I did, I did so out of an instinct that we were entering on the craziest period of our lives since the death of Princess Diana. And now there are such roadblocks, officious, embarrassing blots on our national reputation.
But even I would not have dared to predict the mass house arrest under which we are all now confined.
I have found the origin of this bizarre Napoleonic decree – a few clauses in the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, which I confess I had not even heard of. It just goes to show how careful you have to be with the wording of the laws you pass.
If the TV this weekend is full of pictures of people sunning themselves in city parks or escaping to the high hills, there will be plenty of zealots and politicians ready to call for yet more restrictions, subjecting all of us to collective punishment.
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.
Read the rest:
PETER HITCHENS: There’s powerful evidence this Great Panic is foolish, yet our freedom is still broken and our economy crippled