The SDP today announces its opposition to the government’s new COVID-19 restrictions. We call on the government to instead adopt a sustainable public response to the pandemic, befitting the long-term challenges it poses.
The newly-unveiled restrictions demonstrate a failure by policymakers to adequately consider the long-term social and economic health of Britain. Alongside the harm inflicted upon the nation’s struggling hospitality industry, the new restrictions on social gatherings are set to indefinitely deprive many people of the collective experiences which are essential to their sense of belonging, purpose, and humanity.
Besides the long-lasting damage inflicted by the restrictions, these measures also threaten to permanently undermine the liberties and freedoms of the British people. The introduction of ‘COVID-19 Secure Marshals’, ostensibly to help local authorities support social distancing, represents a heavy-handed intrusion by the state into the lives of individual citizens.
“A considerate approach is needed in response to COVID-19,” says William Clouston, SDP Leader. “The government should encourage and enable the vulnerable to voluntarily shield themselves, while calling on the rest of the population to behave in a respectful, responsible and tolerant manner. The virus is here and may remain for some time, which means a ‘stop-go’ approach to opening and closing society is unsustainable and inappropriate.
“Furthermore, some restrictions on personal freedom are unacceptable in a free society. The threat of curfews, limits to social gatherings and the compelled wearing of face masks represent an unprecedented encroachment into the dignity and autonomy of Britons, which we fundamentally oppose. The government’s response to COVID-19 must be communitarian, not draconian.”