Maurice Snelling is a man who has survived seventy-two summers and several heart attacks, only to be cast into gaol in 2022 for the heinous crime of selling some mince pies and wine two years ago. If he had provided these comestibles and potables to the inhabitants of 10 Downing Street he would, presumably, have been permitted to do so unmolested, secure in the knowledge that the law-makers and those adjacent to them were exempt from obeying the laws they had so hastily made. However, since he had the effrontery to sell them at the Cloudside Shooting and Sporting Club in Staffordshire, a place which I understand is not in Westminster, perhaps not even in London, Mr. Snelling was quite rightly clapped in irons and thrown upon a pallet of straw. The good people of Staffordshire, a county, as it turns out, some distance north of Potter’s Bar, can rest easy in their beds, liberated from a horror that they might, at any moment, be offered a mince pie and a glass of wine by an elderly gentleman if they happen to step inside his licenced premises.
Less than two week’s before Mr. Snelling’s conviction for possessing and purveying prohibited pastry, an opinion piece by the American academic Emily Oster appeared in The Atlantic. Oster chose Halloween as the appropriate time to call for an amnesty over the mistakes made during the pandemic, saying that there was great uncertainty over the various measures ostensibly taken to prevent the spread of the virus. If the covid zealots are serious about an amnesty, they might well start with Mr. Snelling and his ilk. How about calling for cancelation of all the fines and prison sentences handed down during that period of mass hysteria to those not fortunate enough to have political connections? How about apologising to and reinstating in their jobs all those who were fired from care homes for refusing to be coerced into vaccination? How about making some moves to compensate students for destroying their education, or children for poisoning their childhood?
The dimwitted circuit judge who sentenced Mr. Snelling to six months in prison made a curious statement, which may or may not have been part of the ratio in the case (the ratio, for those fortunate enough never to have studied law, is the sentence or two of legal reasoning, buried like a silver coin in a Christmas pudding amidst the obiter dicta, which is all the other mad nonsense the judge comes out with because he is bored and lonely and has a captive audience). It was the only thing he said which was reported in most of the papers that carried the story:
"[Mr. Snelling] is anti-establishment, especially to the police. He doesn't like being told what to do. He treated police with resentment."
This is an astonishing statement for a judge in a free country to make. It is not a crime to be anti-establishment. It is not a crime to show one’s resentment when one is mistreated. It is the mark of an independent adult that one does not like being told what to do We have a name for people who like being told what to do: they are called perverts. They like being flogged and spanked as well and, though they may well number many judges and parliamentarians amongst their debauched ranks, it is not yet a crime not to be one of them.
Some commentators have noted that Mr. Snelling attempted to destroy closed circuit television footage of the incident, and that this shows he is not a saint. This is victim-blaming, pure and simple. It is on the same moral level as enquiring into the sexual history of a rape victim, or asking whether she was wearing a short skirt on the evening in question. I do not even regard this comparison as hyperbole, since imposing a custodial sentence on a man of Mr. Snelling’s age and in his state of health may well amount to judicially-sanctioned murder. If he attempted to destroy evidence, this suggests that he was frightened of being punished for something which, in any sane country, would not have been a crime. Victims do not have to be perfect in order to deserve society’s protection from evil.
There is no point in looking to the letter of the law in times when legislators, judiciary, and police are morally corrupt. Sine I have already raised the horrible subjects of rape and murder, I make no apology for mentioning once again the atrocious case of Sarah Everard, which cannot be recalled too frequently, and which must never be forgotten. One serving police officer murdered Ms. Everard, but every police officer who supported and enforced the insane restrictions that prevailed at the time colluded in her murder. They created an atmosphere of terror and uncertainty in which it was possible for Ms. Everard to think that she was breaking the law by walking peacefully home. The police protected and nurtured a psychopath in their ranks for years, turned a blind eye to his crimes and misdemeanours, helped him to rape and murder an innocent young woman, and brutally attacked the other women who attempted to mourn her. They have shown no repentance for their villainy, and the woman who sanctioned it will soon, no doubt, be known by the appropriate title of Lady Dick. In these circumstances, it seems reasonable to say that an amnesty is not due quite yet.
Before there can be any amnesty, it is necessary to understand and admit what happened. This, as far as I can see, is the situation in Britain, with similar things having happened in most other countries in the West, and considerably greater atrocities occurring in some. There may have been conspiracy and collusion on an international scale, but it is also possible that politicians all over the world acted independently as they saw an opportunity to increase their wealth and power, just as bank robbers the world over rob banks without conferring.
Far from being unprepared, the government had long understood that a pandemic was by far the most probable form of national and global emergency, and had a longstanding plan for such an eventuality, carefully worked out years in advance by distinguished epidemiologists. This plan they jettisoned almost immediately. They then rushed to increase their powers, in a way that may well have been unconstitutional, imposing a form of tyranny called “lockdown,” which has nothing whatsoever to do with public health, and had only ever been used before inside prisons as a means of controlling riots. At the same time, they used the medical emergency as a pretext to transfer vast sums of taxpayers’ money to their friends and party donors, who were said to be providing protective equipment for medical staff. The fact that nurses at the time were photographed wearing plastic refuse sacks in place of protective equipment suggests that this was not where the money really went.
The government assumed tyrannical powers, killed tens of thousands of people, and robbed the exchequer of billions not in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but instead of preventing it. This is the point the zealots who are calling for an amnesty still appear not to have grasped. There was a plan to deal with a pandemic. The government did not implement that plan. Instead, they concentrated on tyranny, theft, and murder, backed up by a vicious and enormously expensive propaganda campaign designed to instill terror in the masses. The success of this propaganda can be seen from the enduring confusion of so many.
The plunder and the murder have not ceased. They have merely changed their form somewhat. The infliction of fuel poverty on millions of Britons over this winter will kill more people, and further increase the gap between rich and poor. The tyranny, too, has only paused awhile. The climate crisis will presumably be used as a way to impose further restrictions on our liberties, while those who impose them continue to fly around the world in private jets. Central bank digital currencies will create new forms of poverty along with new opportunities for coercion, limiting how and when people can spend money.
As James Baldwin wrote, not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. Perhaps the fascists will win this time. Their resources are vast, and they will be altogether unscrupulous in the lies they tell and the lives they destroy. If we are to prevail against them, however, we must face the awful truth, and stop talking about amnesties for those who remain as determined as ever to take away our freedom, steal our wealth, destroy the essence of our civilisation, and murder as many old-age pensioners as they can.