The official blog of The Social Democratic Party.

Why I am against a second lockdown

As communitarians we must recognise the damage we are doing to the economy and our communities through Covid lockdowns.

By: Paula Watson

That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.

                                                                        Marcus Aurelius.

 

On Friday 11th September, the SDP put out a press release opposing new government restrictions. Some disagreed, while others were surprised at what seemed like a libertarian stance from a communitarian party.

Let me explain why I think it’s not that and why I think further lockdowns will damage our communities, perhaps irrevocably.

When the first lockdown began, support for the Government’s actions was widespread, the virus was an unknown quantity and the lockdown was sold as a delay tactic whilst NHS capacity was improved and we got to know our enemy.

I was heartened to see communities come together, neighbours shopping for each other and street WhatsApp groups formed. In our street we grew sunflowers together with varying success and I know the names of far more of my neighbours than I did before.

As we fought to maintain human contact over Easter, pictures of cups of tea, pints of beer and glasses of wine in our respective living rooms appeared on the WhatsApp group.

However as the lockdown went on, longer than most of us has expected, things began to change.

On Twitter, previously a battleground of Brexit, arguments began to emerge between pro- and anti-maskers (largely statists versus libertarians), with talk of ‘muzzles’ and those who ‘put money before lives’. Soon mothers who complained about the damage to their children’s education were being shouted down as selfish, while the self-employed and business owners who worried about their future were labelled as greedy, in tweets full of erroneous statistics about death rates.

Is it selfish to care as local businesses collapse and the local pub closes down? No.

Communities are built around people, but they need local amenities such as shops, pubs and restaurants. The local café, whether it serves posh coffee and cake or a fry-up, is a meeting place, a refuge for the lonely and a source of employment. Local shops provide a source of local information, conversation for the elderly and the money spent in them circulates back into the local community.

However the lockdown brought a reliance on Amazon, a company as far removed from community as it’s possible to be, moving money out of our communities and its tax-paying businesses.

As further restrictions were announced in the North East on Thursday, a Newcastle restaurant tweeted that two thirds of its bookings for Friday night had been cancelled. How can any business operate in such circumstances? How can they continue to employ local people? How will those people pay their rent? And when small businesses collapse and tax receipts fall, how will we fund our already depleted public services?

We set out to protect the NHS, but what an irony if our actions end up destroying it.

As communitarians we should also consider the damage we are causing to children’s education and development. Masked people in shops, an obsession with disease and hand-washing, bans on hugging grandparents and playing with friends: it’s difficult to measure the scale of mental health problems we are storing up for these children, our future citizens, along with the mountain of debt we’ve left them to pay back.

Enough is enough. At some point we must learn to live with this, to face down an enemy I suspect is not as strong and mighty as we have imagined it to be.

Perhaps there will be other viruses, perhaps they will be more deadly, and perhaps then staying away from each other might be the communitarian thing to do. But at this point, balancing the current evidence against the damage to the economy and our communities, locking down again surely isn’t good for our hive.

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All Comments (14)

  • “At some point we must learn to live with this . . . “.
    Absolutely right. This country has had to live with dangers of all kinds before so, we might as well start learning to live with Covd-19 right now.
    The government was right to be cautious in case the NHS was overwhelmed, but now we have to take responsibility for ourselves.

  • Seeking a voice that will challenge this strange new orthodoxy surrounding covid. Wondering if I have found it. Looking to becoming politically active given my concerns over the governance of this country and politics having supremacy over the welfare of the nation and truth.

  • Well said. I was a Conservative all my life but the over-reaction and subsequent dictatorial measures put in place have turned me against a party I trusted. The fear generated in the public is a measure of how far government overreach can go. People I know who I thought were pretty stoic have turned into mental wrecks. Never going out, paranoid about others visiting neighbours. The Conservatives and Labour have managed to turn normal life into a crime. We are in all intents and purposes living in an oligarchy.

  • I live in Northern Ireland and know little or nothing about the SDP, to be honest, but came across this on twitter and it is a welcome voice of reason in a cacophony of hysteria. Please use your influence as widely as you can on this issue. Sanity is urgently needed.

  • On this issue I find myself out of step with the SDP. Without a vaccine I find it difficult to believe that the government has any alternative to the partial lockdown. The country is facing its worse health crisis and if we can’t get on top of it then thousands will die unnecessarily and where will the economy be then?

  • My mother is a relatively new resident at our local care home literally 7 doors away from me. During the first lockdown I frequently visited her and did her shopping and walked her dog, the care home is now banning all visitors, previously to that one of the residents had a false positive covid test result, the resident was treated with antibiotics for a urinary infection and was eating and drinking normally within a couple of days. All residents were confined to their rooms, my mother became totally disorientated during this time and now she cannot meet with me, she has been in for 51/2 weeks but I have only seen her twice. This is really bad news, when she went in I promised her that she could still come and see me and that I would take her out. This is very distressing for both of us and all the other residents. Is it really worth it? The suffering it causes seems to be to be worse than the fear of Covid. I will just add that we live in Coastal Suffolk, having one of the lowest number of cases in the country.

  • A virus is not something you can get on top of. It’s like trying to stop the tide coming in like King Canut. It cannot be controlled.
    The vaccine is a long way off and we cannot shut down our society and economy indefinitely. The consequences to public health and people’s livelihoods would be far more catastrophic than this disease.
    This weak spineless government needs to take heed of the scientists who say there is a way out of this situation which will protect lives and allow people to live their lives again instead of just existing as we are now.

  • In total agreement. The government’s chief concern seems to be managing a ‘slow burn’ in order that our under resourced NHS isn’t overwhelmed. However, this is crippling the economy and leading to more indirect deaths. If we had more beds per capita the government could have been less stringent and targeted only the vulnerable.

  • When the UK’s leading cancer specialist, arguably the world’s, a clearly exasperated Professor Karol Sikora puts his head above the parapet to say that the measures to combat covid in the UK have been an ‘overreaction’, then, surely, it’s time to sit up and listen?

    https://youtu.be/jFRR58D1oW0

  • Very well put. I have decided to join the SDP now it has come out as an ani-lockdown party. Please keep up the good work. It could be right moment for the SDP to rise again!

  • I have voted Conservative most of my life, but conservatism o longer exists. Instead we have totalitarian neo-Fascism, backed by the traitor Labour Party.
    It’s wonderful that the SDP. are making a stand.
    I’ll stand with you.

  • Fantastic article Paula, which I wholeheartedly agree with ( and I ‘m sure I will be using that Marcus Aurelius quote elsewhere!).
    I too see no contradiction between opposing further lockdowns and our communitarian values. I make this comment as Wales is about to be plunged into deep lockdown for two weeks. I fear this stop-go-stop policy will be the last straw for many local businesses. The other day I talked to the owner of my popular local coffee shop (posh coffee and cake!) and he said the government help and support was no where near enough; he was unsure how they will keep the business going. This is all very worrying.
    The Great Barington Declaration and even the latest WHO advice gives us scientific cover for the SDP to strongly side with the growing anti lockdown movement.

Family, Community, Nation.