Whether you agree or disagree with the unprecedented Covid 19 legislation, the need for dissent is vital. Even if the Government is ‘right’ on this occasion, they may be ‘wrong’ on other occasions, and thus dissent should not be discouraged.
The dissenting opinions are not dangerous if they can be refuted with reason and evidence, whereas the suppression of dissent is dangerous. The idea that one cannot question and debate such unprecedented measures, that may shrink the economy by as much as 15% and do not allow any UK citizen to leave their homes without ‘a reasonable excuse’, is foolish and pernicious, even if one ultimately agrees with the legislation.
With the above in mind, I was concerned to read the following STORY in the Manchester Evening News. Apparently, independent Councilor for Clayton & Openshaw, Kenneth Dobson has been reported to the Police by rival Labour Councilors. It may be that he was reported for breaching the legislation or inciting others to do so, but the article suggested he has been reported to the Police merely for expressing his opinions.
If he has been reported for merely challenging the premise of the Covid 19 legislation and the seriousness of the virus, this would be highly concerning. Irrespective of why he was reported, the less discerning reader may believe he has been reported for merely expressing views and take the view that such views are effectively unlawful.
From a brief review of his Twitter account, I could not see any evidence of incitement to breach the Covid 19 legislation.
The vitriol being directed towards the journalist Peter Hitchens, should also be a matter of concern, even if one disagrees with him. Below is a video of his appearance on Good Morning Britain. When I saw the original program, there was a purported expert (‘Dr Hilary’), who seemed to be highly emotional and prone to resorting to invective (conduct which one would not expect to see, displayed by a scientist), in response to Mr Hitchens. I have not watched the full circa 9 minute clip below, but his contribution seems to have been omitted.
The reason that I put the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in inverted commas, is because epidemiologists will express opinions (and will inevitably disagree) about the virulence and severity of the virus, but it is for politicians to make independent judgements, guided by such experts, and the general public should scrutinise such decisions. The economic, political, legal and sociological consequences of the Covid 19 legislation should be considered carefully, and hysteria should be avoided.
For balance, the views of Lord Sumpton and dissenting micro biologists can be found on the Peter Hitchens blog, see HERE.