The state is flexing its muscles against the weak
Only Parliament can now reverse this dangerous trajectory
As a vignette for future historians, the sight of a member of an embattled royal family laying flowers at a vigil later broken up by the forces of the state may be hard to resist. By visiting Clapham Common, the Duchess of Cambridge unwittingly reminded us of an organic form of government which exists to serve and protect its subjects’ liberty, rationing its monopoly of force accordingly.
The truncheons of the Metropolitan Police embodied the opposite: a self-serving state apparatus seeking to complete the syllogism between public order and its own power. On one side, we find Common Law; on the other, the increasingly draconian statutes developed by commission and rubber-stamped by Parliament — including the ‘Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court‘ Bill being debated today.
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The internal logic of authoritarianism — that any relaxation of state power is an unacceptable threat to public order — risks being perfectly served by the present moment. The authorities are transfixed with the unpredictable social consequences of lifting a series of unprecedented lockdowns. Doing this ‘safely’ means police authority must be preserved at all costs. Hence why Cressida Dick has resisted calls for her to resign, which would be the normal political safety-valve in such a situation.
Responsibility for Saturday’s crackdown will instead remain safely diffused through the organisations involved, allowing the repressive precedent to remain quietly in place. The only glimmer of light has come from the rank and file, reported by the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation as being unwilling enforcers. But the more unpopular they become, the more they will be forced to embrace this new role to both justify and protect themselves. This wedge is both the diametrical opposite of Robert Peel’s vision of ‘citizens in uniform’ and a key component of all police states.
The state flexing its muscles against the weak has been the turning point in every slide into dictatorship in history. But instead of owning to this Mephistophelian transformation, the government is pushing ahead with its public-order bill while distracting us with a range of other proposed measures for women. While many are undoubtedly needed, the government is also violently suppressing women’s freedoms with the other hand. The juxtaposition brings to mind Homer-Simpson’s pithy summation of his parenting philosophy: “Don’t you hit my kid: that’s my job
The endpoint of the authoritarian ratchet is that freedom must be withheld from people for their own good. Its waymarker has always been the type of scene we saw on Clapham Common this weekend: the state turning its monopoly of violence on those who cannot defend themselves, for what it considers to be the best possible reasons. But the lesson of history is that such violent means always become an end in themselves.
Now it is Parliament’s turn to respond. It must vote down the new Bill and respond to the mounting public-order risk by bringing forward the lifting of lockdowns as infections fall — not turning the ratchet further by pushing them back. We have already seen the power of linguistic creep as ‘Denier’ has migrated from the Holocaust to Climate to Covid. The word ‘Lockdown’ has already started the same insidious journey. Under such circumstances — and with evidence before us from Saturday — what credence can voters possibly give to reassurances that the new public-order bill will only be used for ‘certain sorts’ of protest? If the agencies of the state cannot be trusted to evenly and justly exercise its current powers, they cannot possibly be rewarded with more.
If the British body politic does not rise to this moment, then it will have failed in its historical purpose. The fundamental relationship between the state and its citizens is at stake, and Britain stands closer to the brink than it realises.
If you cheered on lockdown policies, then you’d better think carefully about how you respond to this.
Excessive police force can never be acceptable and that needs to be investigated. But as far as placing this event in a wider narrative of creeping authoritarianism is concerned – I think a lot of people need to stop and ask themselves whether they have also been complicit in calling on those evil spirits.
What is wrong with the Metropolitan Commissioner? She hasn’t it seems even heard of ‘deed poll’, which would be a start.
What’s wrong with her? There has never been anything ‘right’ with her. She embodies all the ignorance and stupidity that has come to characterise every member of every layer of authority across the UK and most of the West.
I find her to be just like Biden’s way of selecting the top Military leadership to be females. Military, fighting, and war, even policing, just are Not the province of women, and so selecting them shows pure SJWism on a huge scale (ha, ha)
Cressida Richard (spelling her name gets your post forced to moderation!) being in charge is everything wrong and crazy about the modern times. Academia hating the culture and system which produced them, Policing being political rather than law and order, Government spending and immigration being mainly Social Engineering, and on and on, are all exemplified in Ms D being selected.
Not much to think about, is there?
I ‘cheered lockdown polkcies’, and I fully support the police in breaking up a demonstration that is against the law – a law passed to keep us safe from a pandemic. You may or may not agree that the ban on gatherings was sensible or justified. But as long as it is the law of the land, surely the police should enforce it?
That would be a very logical argument and you are justified in making it. The only question is then whether the force applied by the police was proportionate.
The water would get considerably muddier if – as I indicated – you’d consistently argued for lockdown (and have perhaps criticised other protests) but now think that dispersing this protest per se is wrong.
<Salutes you back>
Those at greatest risk of death of Covid 19 should have been offered support. GPs should have created a at risk list of those on their books which would be over 75 years of age , diabetic, overweight, with breathing, heart, blood pressure and stroke problems. These people would have been advised of the risks and shopping and other services offered free of charge. The elderly would decide for themselves whom they met and how. Covid has largely killed those over eighty years of age and taken 6 to 12 months off their lives. Masks, staggering working hours and washing of hands would have enabled life to continue. 2m social distancing rule used.Britain was closed down in the 1919, 1957 and 1968 flu outbreaks.
The Government should have provided Vit C, Vit D, Zinc ,HQC and Quercetin to doctors and pharmacists for free distribution. Regular deep clean of buildings, especially of care homes would have been taken place. Hospitals and care homes provided with additional breathing equipment and whatever protective gear needed.
Look at how Britain continued working during the Blitz. The major problem is that we no longer have many people who have had to take life and death and decisions as junior officers and NCOs in their teens and early twenties and so panic.
Yes, but would have been sensible. And it is has been some decades since any of our various governments or public bodies did anything sensible.
The Government should have provided Vit C, Vit D, Zinc ,
Any reason why we couldn’t have got these ourselves? Why does the Govt have to provide these simple inexpensive things?
Save your money, as there’s no evidence these things will protect anyone from covid or aid their recovery if they catch it. I say that as someone who has started taking vitamin D supplements, but this is for general health and in case I have a deficiency (which I doubt), not as a covid prevention measure.
Because its expected of course
Excellent points however can you imagine generation snowflake these days tasked with life and death decisions? They’d have to check on the diversity of the vulnerable, were there any non binary gendered or trans people involved and the potential impact on the environment and climate change before retiring to a safe space to consult their councillor first.
a law passed to keep us safe from a pandemic.
an actual law that followed debate among lawmakers who then held a vote on the matter? Because that’s how laws are supposed to happen in a democratic society. And if this law was the ticket to safety, it seems that anyone who has violated it would have gotten sick, yet that hasn’t happened. Your appeal to authority is noted, but there is a reason this is known as a rhetorical fallacy.
I am a woman and I agree. Like many I thought the Clapham Common so called vigil was apalling…..but NOT against the police! Firstly most of us have spent months locked up because of covid and presumably everyone’s desire to protect each other from this deadly virus. Obviously not so the many young women who lets face it are less vulnerable,. The protesters primarily wanting action /laws to protect them from men with evil intentions, which of course is everyones right, however when it suits they have no compunction about breaking the law themselves. The other reason I was appalled, was I knew how I would feel if my daughter had just died and in this most despicable way. The last thing I would want, would be to see everywhere, hear everywhere, about the death of my daughter which because of the dreadful scenes is being covered by ALL types of media, even politicians giving their opinions. I watched BBC question time last week where most of the programme was taken up with this, even before we knew whether Sarah had been murdered or not. I do not think any gathering, vigil, protest should have taken place during the last 12 months. There are still many people, probably in London and elsewhere who are still vulnerable haven’t yet been vaccinated so could now see another rise in cases. So my message is yes show your support in other ways, don’t let the other numerous groups of activists and indeed some politicians, hijack this very sad and traumatic event for Sarah’s family,
At last, some clarity. Thank you.
“a law passed to keep us safe from a pandemic.” A law passed to enforce a Plandemic to bring about the ‘Great Reset’. You covid-bovines have forged your own chains, which is fair enough as you wish to wear them, the issue is you also wish us free people to be forced to wear your chains.
Baaaa, Lockdown Good, Freedom Bad, sometimes, according to Orwell, one sheep would call it out, and the others all would take it up, and for hours all would chant it back and fourth…..
I have been beaten up and very roughly arrested by police and went around all outraged for a wile, back when I was young. It is really not that big a deal once you get over the whole bit of being outraged, it happens sometimes just because – and is really not a problem as that is not a policy of the police, just circumstances and situations happen.
“Hard cases make bad law is an adage or legal maxim. The phrase means that an extreme case is a poor basis for a general law that would cover a wider range of less extreme cases.”
Because I was handled violently was because I was stupid and needed a bit of an attitude adjustment, and so go it, and hold no ill will about it. But even if I did, it is an exception, not a norm, so should not be how policy is formed.
This outrage on individual cases where a very unusual situation happens just ends up emasculating the police.
No, unless you are Hancock or Fauci or Ferguson, but for them I think censured, not a trial. Now, China with its 3 deaths mer million, as UK with its 1843 deaths per million, all the West in fact, high like that, as all the East Asia, West Pacific nations had essentially no deaths (look at worldometers for real time statistic), well maybe some case for a possible trial needs to be looked at regarding the cause and response, $ Trillions are possibly involved in a case. The WHO need to be very much examined!
Seriously – you think lockdown supporters are complicit in the use of excessive police force? Painting a whole group of people with one brush, sounds like Leave vs Remain all over again.
I think you need to stop and ask yourself whether you might be complicit in spreading fear and division among the British public.
Your assertion is amoral and dangerous.
Absolutely. Lockdown supporters with their ignorant myopia and selfish fear have not merely acquiesced in this tyranny, they have by and large cheered it on.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famously said that one of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming totalitarianism can’t happen in their country. It is happening in the UK right now. Everybody says that they have no choice but to conform, says Solzhenitsyn, and to accept powerlessness. But that is the lie that gives all the other lies their malign force. The ordinary man may not be able to overturn the kingdom of lies, but he can at least say that he is not going to be its loyal subject.
You have completely misunderstood my comment. I said very clearly that excessive police force was never acceptable.
My point was that if you cheered on lockdowns but now see what happened on Clapham Common as part of a general authoritarian creep in Britain (which, in itself is a bit of an exaggeration in my view) then you have also played your part in that. You can’t plead for your freedom to be taken away to be protected from covid and then be surprised that the state takes a more hands-on approach in other matters.
British people seem to be very unsure about what the basis for their social contract is. Is it individual freedom with a smaller, restrained state where people are allowed to take (and must also bear the consequences of) risks? Or is it a more powerful and proactive nanny state whose role it is to protect citizens from as many harms as possible?
Unfortunately, I can only give you one uptick.
Very well said.
Whilst I have my concerns about the new policing bill I do believe that groups such as, Extinction Rebellion, BLM, and militant trans rights groups, have been abusing the right to protest.
Blocking roads, shutting off access to buildings where events are taking place and screaming abuse at people outside their places of work and homes isn’t legitimate protest but seems to be treated as such.
We need a large, open space such as de Malieveld in The Hague, where protests can take place. There could be other such spaces in various parts of the country. That said, the Dutch police fired a warning shot at a relatively small group of anti-lockdown protestors on de Malieveld yesterday, so they are clearly intent on banning all protest.
The large open place for free speech is, and must be, the ‘Town Square’, just as it needs to be allowed in the ‘Virtual Town Square’ of the monopolistic Social Media.
Welcome to UK , China sister state . We have followed lockdown and hit hard on gatherings and any dissent except one or two that suit our narrative. We will now ban sexual expression or and sexually explicit material because it is not safe for women . We don’t want any responsibility, so we will not accept that sometimes bad things happen and the results are tragic . So we will ban everyone and everything dangerous for you. If an incident does happen, instead of allowing a vigil to take place to express grief we will come down hard and show our power. We are considering, in order to protect everyone, not only don’t leave your home, if you must, everyone wear a burka and a mask over it( for further safety) . More rules to follow to keep you SAFE.
The endpoint of total safetyism is a complete surveillance state, complete with facial recognition, all of us tracked at every moment, and a social credit score. I do wish that people thought through what they are asking for.
The UK is already one of the most surveilled states in the world. I dread to think about what more surveillance will look like.
“China sister state “
How correct you are.
As one travels across England, one occasionally comes across a town signposted as:
“Dogsbollocks-on-Sea twined with Escargot-sur-Loire or some such.
Every Port of Entry should now be signed
‘UK twinned with China’.
Look at the Hem of a Union Jack, it almost certainly will say ‘made in China’ as your passport will eventually say ‘Property of China’.
Society is too sick and degenerate to ban sexual expression of even the most destructive kind. The new day is here, and it is out to destroy the family, and this is the best tool to use as excessive promiscuity is the antithesis of marriage, and deviancy the antithesis of healthy male/female relations.
When a Police state is created, with support from both sides of Parliament and a good deal of public approval, it’s ridiculous and hypocritical to start complaining when the Police state exercises the authority it has been empowered with and encouraged to use; it doesn’t matter who the victims are.
The lockdown dictatorship must be brought to an end immediately; we sink ever further into totalitarianism with each passing day.
True. But the events of Clapham Common might awake some awareness among the chattering classes of how the supporters of other causes might feel when faced with the might of our ignorant and evil police and their masters.
I don’t find the final sentence to be remotely alarmist. Are you not aware of the way in which the police, over the last year have, on more than one occasion, threatened to put people in custody for no reason whatsoever? Fortunately a judge ruled last week that the police do not have the power to do this.
Yes, the quangos, NGOs, media, corporates etc are or mostly self-interested at best, and evil at worst. But at least they don’t fine or arrest you for visiting an elderly relative or walking on a beach with your daughter.
Our government and police are now no better than those in place like China.
I think you should revisit that last sentence. This country is the most liberal in the world, too much in my opinion, but that’s what democracy is. Albeit it’s being eradicated on a daily basis now.
One issue here is consistency . If the police broke up all demonstrations equally under covid laws there could be less complaint.
An excellent summation of the situation we find ourselves in. I really hope that MPs of all parties will vote down this appalling Bill
There is more chance of me scoring the winning goal for Derby County in a Champions League final than there is of our appalling, ignorant and power-crazed MPs voting down this bill.
…or indeed of anyone scoring the winning goal for Derby County in a Champions League final! 😉
I suggest that you sleep with one eye open from now on
Parliament is no protection, as presently constituted. Reason – it is controlled by the Executive. Very hard for public opinion to filter through MPs to the people who make the rules. I’d suggest the UK adopt separation of powers and something like the US Constitution, but for one thing. Any system is only as good as the people elected, and the standard is desperately low and needs to be improved – this is the only real answer
This article ignores the fact that, last summer, the police conspicuously failed to enforce the regulations for what appeared to be partisan reasons.
None of the activist rent-a-mob who hijacked the vigil turned out to protect Piers Corbyn and his protesting pensioners from arrest.
So it seems both the forces of law and order and the anarchists are very selective about to whom they apply their respective doctrines.
Great piece, every word true. We live in frightening times under a tyrannical governing class. It’s the same across the West. Yesterday in The Hague, the police fired a warning shot against their own people, and it’s not the first time they’ve done this in recent years.
It is the lack of consistency that perturbs me, BLM protests (riots) allowed to flourish unimpeded, a peaceful gathering with a valid cause brutally broken up. At the least it shows a certain tone deafness, if not some dubious agenda.
Given the apparent preference of the police to go after the soft target whenever possible, perhaps it’s just plain old-fashioned cowardice?
Why would anyone trust the police now? The odd individual one perhaps but as a whole certainly not. Growing up and being not always the best behaved I remember the police would cut us some welcome slack at times. The other side of that was that one policeman could command authority because we knew what he represented. Which was this old fashioned concept of the Law. Those days have gone. Now it is strictly by the book . They genuinely seemed to be citizens in uniform then not a paramilitary force. Turning up mob handed in Clapham was a huge mistake and the bosses should go.
Consider this for a minute:
Sarah may not have been a victim if not for lockdown! There would have been many more people out & about. The murderer may have been affected by lockdown himself ! He may have been stressed & deranged by the weird circumstances nowadays. These are the unintended consequences that will never be shown on epidemiology predictions! There are ALWAYS consequences!
Another thing – both the culprits in case of George Floyd & Sarah happened to be police officers! One was on duty but the other off duty. There should be more done to ensure that the officers mental health is being monitored frequently! In the former case the police decided with a soft touch towards the demonstrators because of perceived eruption of violence, in the other it was rough and insensitive because it was only/ mostly women .
Police and politicians must realise the role they play in creating tension in society and the escalating impact of their actions !
I think the article is way over the top, jut like the response to the ‘vigil’ and the police actions. The reactions of politicians are especially nauseating, given they passed the laws that the police were put in the invidious position of having to enforce. Given there is lots of evidence the the spread of the virus outdoors is much, much harder than in confined spaces, this element of the lockdown should have been eased already, whatever one’s views on other parts of it.
The kind of aggressive policing used against the demonstrators at Clapham Common has been used for months against anti lockdown protestors, many of them women, many of them elderly, without much if any concern from the media. These people have been easily demonised Morgan style as ‘Covidiots’ deserving perhaps of even worse. Now however the cost to all our freedoms is becoming clear.
I seriously can’t take this article with any degree of seriousnesss.
now you mention it, I had a vit C ration after the war(orange juice concentrate) , and cod liver oil too.
cant sell it to wokes, but it could add some taste and nutrition to keenwah
The Rule of Law, Democracy and Freedom….
Too much of political activism and civil disobedience these days is increasingly based on emotive stereotyping and emotive profiling.
When of course, stereotyping and profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, colour, sex, gender or beliefs is wrong.
Consequently, this Freedom of stereotyping and profiling is legitimising the breakdown of the Rule of Law and the breakdown of Democracy in order to promote the Freedom to pursue Inequality before the Law and the Freedom to promote emotive prejudism and emotive sophistry.
As such, enforcing the Rule of Law is typically met with emotive stereotyping and emotive profiling and framed as anti-authoritarianism.
This emotive stereotyping and emotive profiling legitimises the derogation of Democratic Consent.
How is this type of Freedom preserved whilst also maintaining the integrity of Democracy and the Rule of Law?
It isn’t because it will simply lead to the Unrestricted Freedom to create a Hobbesian War of All against All especially within an environment of emotive stereotyping and emotive profiling.
Unrestricted Freedom overrides Democracy which requires adherence to the Rule of Law and Losers Consent.
Therefore, the Rule of Law ensures Equality before the Law and protects Restrained Freedom.
By Restraining Freedom, the Rule of Law is open to democratic adaptation and restricts the possibility of a Hobbesian War of All against All especially under conditions of emotive stereotyping and emotive profiling.
The Rule of Law and the Restraining of Freedom also safeguards Democracy.
Therefore, the Rule of Law is foundational to both Democracy and Freedom and without it, there is only Unrestrained Freedom and the erosion of Democracy which will result in a Hobbesian War of All against All especially under conditions of emotive stereotyping and emotive profiling.
Thus, the Rule of Law must be protected over and above Freedom since it is the Rule of Law that ensures Democracy and the Freedom to adapt peacefully.
Only riots will set us free.
And yet this increasing authoritarianism exists side by side with an abdication of responsibilities to maintain order and enforce the laws. The frontiers are open and people traffickers operating, Rotherham and all those other towns had (or presumably have) their rape culture, there were BLM demos and vandalism of statues etc.
I came across the phrase anarcho-tyranny recently and that seems quite apt.
They were all hiding in shop doorways last summer when the statues tumbled. A load of woman meeting in the park and its truncations at dawn.
Do you believe in our free, Common-law right to infect each other with COVID? Or to ignore the law if our own sense of self-rightousness s strong enough? Would you extend the same freedom to ‘peaceful protests’ of, say Incels, or the English Defense League?
My answer to your four questions would be
- Not applicable
I’d agree with those replies.
Even Sir Patrick Vallance, one of the government’s scientific goons, has said there is very little chance of Covid being transmitted outdoors. (Most of us have known that for a year). Moreover, most of the people at Clapham Common were wearing masks.
Even the Police!
where is this law you cite enshrined? And how come it’s only applicable to covid, and not to the flu or HIV or a host of other communicable diseases?
Life comes with risk. It is up to us to mitigate the risks in our lives, not to outsource that task to some third party.
Very well said.
Seat belts? Speed limits? Fire safety regulations? Smoke-free zones? It is part of the government’s (third party) remit to legislate to minmise risks so why is Covid any different from the the examples I have given. You might disagree with their policies but it is hard to argue that they don’t have the right to legislate in these matters.
You did a fine job of tap dancing around the question, which asked why this virus and not others that can also be transmitted among people.
it is hard to argue that they don’t have the right to legislate in these matters.
It’s not hard at all. When you start justifying the right of a third party to manage more and more your life, eventually you run out of things to manage yourself. As it is, smoking remains legal, speed limits are ignored all the time, and seat belt laws have nothing to do with people outside of your vehicle. Belts are a good idea and I choose to wear one, which is the entire point – I am choosing to reduce potential risk.
No, it is I think it’s difficult to argue their right to regulate personal freedoms. It is easy however to see that regardless, they do.
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