Updated: Apr 14
Among the many failures of the media during the course of the pandemic, perhaps the most striking has been the astonishingly easy ride they have given to Boris Johnson personally. Again and again we have been told that the Prime Minister is a free spirit and a lover of freedom who has reluctantly imposed a few temporary constraints on the nation for its own good. Spectator journalists are wont to illustrate this point with a rather feeble anecdote about Johnson’s time at the Spectator. There was a sign on the railings outside the building stipulating that no bicycles were to be chained up there, but Johnson (they, of course, call him Boris) used to show his commitment to freedom by delightedly chaining his bike up right beside the sign. What these former associates of the Dear Leader have failed to note is that there is a difference between an intellectual commitment to liberty and a personal dislike of obeying rules. Stalin, it is well known, used to chain his bike up at random all over Moscow.
A long list of Johnsonian lies and blunders that make Donald Trump look like the man Donald Trump imagines he is have not altered the fawning attitude of the media, or stopped Laura Kuenssberg from approaching every interview with Johnson like a first date. His statements on the twelfth and thirteenth of April about the reopening of some sections of the economy will probably not make any difference to this. The Prime Minister’s latest bloviations are, however, astonishingly mendacious and vicious, even by his own low standards, and the worst of them are his words in defence of lockdown:
"People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing."
I have missed out the umming and erring, of course. Johnson has never managed a sentence that long without a fair amount of prevarication and hesitation. He’d be a disaster on Just a Minute. It is to be hoped that there is at least one unintentional element of truth in this statement: people in general are perhaps beginning to understand that lockdowns are a stupid policy as well as an evil one. A huge weight of evidence has accumulated over the last year that lockdowns cost many lives and do nothing to save them. What makes this particular statement of Johnson’s truly mind-boggling is that he downplays the usefulness of the vaccine, about which he has been crowing for months, stating that lockdowns, not vaccines, are the way to save lives:
"Yes, the vaccination program has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown."
This is flagrantly unscientific, terribly evil, and mad. The government has, for months, been engaged in a strange form of psychological warfare in which it has simultaneously tried to persuade the public that everyone must take the vaccine, and you would have to be selfishly irresponsible not to do so, and that once they have taken the vaccine, it will make no difference at all to the freedom they are able to exercise. Now Johnson says that vaccines, which, whatever one thinks of this particular instance, are generally a great benefit to mankind, have been less useful than lockdown, which is always a detriment and an imposition.
Everyone knows that Boris Johnson is a liar, but these lies about lockdown tell you something more sinister. Politicians lie to achieve particular objectives, and Johnson is showing by the direction of these lies that he wants a future of coercion, imprisonment, and constant government bullying. His praise for the purported effects of lockdown, for which he has not a shred of evidence, shows that he wants to keep using this unscientific, coercive measure as part of the permanent armoury of government. This hispid Hitler has not a freedom-loving bone in his body (actually, he doesn’t appear to have any bones at all in his body). He is Johnson the Jailer, the lockdown liar.
This is a battle that the forces of scepticism and sanity must win. A little more than a year ago, everyone understood that a lockdown is not a public health measure. It is a way of controlling rioting prisoners. On the pretext of a virus (yes, yes, it’s a real virus, but it should be patently obvious that the virus is not the issue now), corrupt governments around the world have applied measures usually reserved for a few violent criminals to the entire populations of their countries. They have done this for two principal reasons: to increase state power and to steal huge sums of money from taxpayers. There may be some sort of global arrangement underlying this coordination, I really have no idea. However, no such conspiracy is necessary to explain the corruption and brutality of national politicians such as our own Dear Leader.
If lockdown comes to be accepted as a legitimate public health strategy, rather than the brutal, murderous tool of social control it really is, then there will be no end to this evil. Every time a new disease or a new strain appears, the zealots will be baying for incarceration again, and politicians will be only too happy to oblige. The fact that Johnson has said something is always a good start in identifying that it must be a lie, but these latest comments about lockdown must be denounced particularly strongly, and as widely as possible, for the poisonous rubbish they are. At the same time, those of us on the enlightened side of the argument have to take every opportunity to make it clear that Johnson is no friend to freedom and never has been. Writing a few tedious articles in which he whines that he should be allowed to do whatever he wants does not exactly make the Prime Minister a Patrick Henry for our times. He is presiding over something worse than a nanny state. He has turned this country into a bully state, a gaslighting state, a wife-beating state, a child-abusing state, a state of subjugation and fear in which lies ineffectively cover murder. No one hates liberty more than Johnson the Jailer. And for heaven’s sake, stop calling him Boris.