Richard Fuller MP “do we fully appreciate the scale of what we have done?”
22nd Feb 2021
by Sceptic Nurse [for many more video from the Sceptic Nurse, click here]
I missed this one last week – its a fantastic speech by Richard Fuller, in the House of Commons on 22nd February 2021
“The most telling aspect of today’s debate is the focus on specifics rather than on principle, on trends in data and details of subsidy rather than the eager pursuit of freedom, on continuing comfort with the state making choices for us rather than a clamour by us for the freedom to be responsible for ourselves.
As Oxford University ranks the stringency of the UK’s response the fourth most restrictive in the world after Cuba, Eritrea and Ireland, this absence is telling.
One year ago, few of us would have suggested that the state could ban people from leaving their home, from leaving the country, from getting married, or from touching a loved one in their final moment, or that it could stop a child receiving education or keep an elderly person living alone from the comfort of a neighbourly chat over a cup of tea. Do we fully appreciate the scale of what we have done?
This has been a year of ambiguous choices, when each of us in Parliament has had to wrestle with our conscience to render judgments with many unknowns, yet each of us, rightly or wrongly, has allowed essential freedoms to lapse and thus been party to the creation of a new illiberal precedent that may imperil the meaning of liberty for decades to come.
We should each reflect on our judgments to determine how we can repair our common heritage of freedom. The House should reflect on whether it has provided effective legislative scrutiny and whether casting Members away gave too much allowance for Executive decree.
We should reflect on whether the experiment of remote technology has substituted a pretence for the substance of scrutiny, parading a Potemkin Parliament as the real thing.
Ministers should reflect on whether speed of response became an excuse, rather than a genuine requirement for presumptive Executive action and whether the drift towards lawmaking without the sharing of adequate data and without questioning or accountability with Parliament became a lazy path routinely chosen for convenience, rather than need.
The Opposition should consider why their response to the greatest power grab by the state has been to demand more state, more restriction and more control.
They made a series of cynical, tactical moves designed to wrongfoot Government mid-crisis, at best setting out a vision of even greater repression and control while heightening public fears and worry.
I and my colleagues on the Government Back Benches should reflect on whether a more vigorous defence of our liberties was called for, and if so, why we did not heed that call.
For our citizens, we should ask to what purpose we removed those liberties a year ago and for what purpose we are withholding those liberties yet further today.
The decision has not been so much one of medical necessity, but rather of a presumed political necessity.
We should reflect candidly and fearlessly on whether the accumulated costs in diminished livelihoods, debts, school closures, misdiagnoses, loneliness and lives lost as a result of these measures have been worth the reduction in covid deaths and the avoidance of an annual rate of death for our population that was commonplace and went unremarked barely two decades ago.
Whatever the conclusions of our reflections, we must now resolve together to lead the recovery of these liberties with every moment and every strength we have”
Richard Fuller is MP for North East Bedfordshire.
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