SOME think in a dictatorship the secret police are everywhere and visible. Not so. They may be everywhere but they are invisible. Were it not so they would not be secret.
What a newcomer, moving from his native democracy, notices on entering a tyranny is the obedience. Total and utter conformity; docile, brainwashed obedience to laws and instructions. Only the cussed dare to defy, to think for themselves, to swim against the current, to disobey. That is where the secret police come in.
Those who obey have nothing to fear. It is the disobedient who may set a dreadful example and must be prevented from doing so. For that visiting stranger what is truly depressing is the willingness to obey, the hallmark of the brainwashed. That is why when I read that a clear majority of the British still today support total obedience to stupid rules that have no origin in logic or checkable fact, I tremble.
We were not always like that. A hard, but not impossible, people to govern, we kept our freedoms over the centuries because our obedience could only be secured by reasoned argument from our rulers, not by an enforced rulebook. Until Covid. If those poll figures are true something has happened over just five months. We’ve become docile.
The reason is that much of our populace is in the grip of an obsession. An obsession is not a mere concern, which is reasoned and logical. It causes us to take sensible precautions, such as wearing stout boots to trek up Snowdon. Only idiots get halfway up in sandals then beg for help. But an obsession defies reason, logic, researched facts and common sense. In a population it can only be rapidly created by concentrated brainwashing, created by daily, even hourly, propaganda. That is what we have had for 12 unbroken weeks.
The nature of our new national obsession is two linked words: the adjective “safe” and its noun “safety”. In the Cold War, in eastern Europe under communism, I watched the constant drenching of the people in propaganda and lived with the constant relief that I did not come from such a place.
But with horror I see the symptoms in a Britain obsessed with the impossible dream of 100 per cent permanent safety. With absolutely zero risk there is no life at all, at least not one worth living. When this is all over I am daily more convinced it will be revealed the quangocrats and academics got it wrong.
Yes, Covid was and is a vicious virus – rapid, elusive and intimidating. So were swine flu, bird flu, Asian flu, BSE, MERS, SARS. But not invincible.
We beat them and never crumpled into sweaty-palmed fear, let alone panic. This time we have. But why? Because we were ordered to.
Future revelations will show that the fit and youthful, with years of good life yet to come, tragically carried away by Covid, were a very small number in national terms. We know already that for about 93 percent Covid has proved a death-hastener for two categories – the very old and the already very ill. Already our medical profession is convinced that more are dying from treatment neglect caused by Covid.
That is why I truly believe lockdown has to end now before it ends the Britain we once knew, loved and served. The kids have to go back to school, factories and shops reopen, cinemas, pubs and clubs to welcome back their guests. We have to go back to normal or there will never be normal again.
And we have to stop trembling with fear because there might be a passing risk involved. Trembling with fear is not the British way but it is becoming just that. And that is the problem with fear. Either you beat it, or it beats you.