TIM NEWARK: I can't vote for a party that won't trust us with freedom

TIM NEWARK: I can't vote for a party that won't trust us with freedom

I can’t vote for any party that won’t trust us with freedom: With a heavy heart, TIM NEWARK says politicians’ obsession with Covid lockdowns and zero carbon targets leaves him no choice

This is, I know, a shocking thing to say because democracy is a hard-won, valued right in our country, but I cannot bring myself to support any mainstream party in local elections on Thursday.

Why? Because all of them appear determined to reduce my freedoms, whether it’s the lingering restrictions of lockdown or new plans to change our very lifestyles thanks to zero carbon targets.

Big government looks set to dominate our lives for possibly decades to come and no one seems to be offering a proper opposition to the rise of this badgering regime.

Even our national ‘day of freedom’ on June 21 now seems imperilled after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called for continued wearing of masks and social distancing — even though latest daily figures reported only one UK Covid death.

‘I think we still need to be careful,’ he said on Sunday, dashing the hopes of pubs and restaurants who want finally to be free of the costly paraphernalia of lockdown. 

This is, I know, a shocking thing to say because democracy is a hard-won, valued right in our country, but I cannot bring myself to support any mainstream party in local elections on Thursday, writes TIM NEWARK

Continued ‘safeguards’, including mask-wearing and plastic screens, could well be around until the autumn, when no doubt a seasonal rise in Covid-19 may see the return of stricter measures.

With Covid cases and deaths plunging across the UK and a triumphant vaccine roll-out already protecting 15 million of those of us most at risk with double-jabs, why on earth is a government minister still urging caution? There has to come an end to the lockdown mentality.

Yet, having got a taste for controlling us during the coronavirus pandemic, it seems that the Government is reluctant to give up on micro-managing our daily lives. And Covid won’t be the end of it.

You can see civil servants itching to intrude yet further into our lives for the next big crisis, whether it’s an obesity epidemic or climate change.

In a recent statement, Philip Dunne MP, chairman of the environmental audit committee, said it might be difficult to expect us to spend thousands on installing new zero carbon heating systems that aren’t as warm as our old gas-fired radiators.

‘It is a problem to persuade people that they can’t necessarily rely on a system which will transform the warmth of the room they’re in, in a matter of minutes,’ he said. ‘And that does require education.’

The same kind of ‘education’ that brow-beat us over the past year with daily bulletins about Covid deaths and terrifying projections of further fatalities if we didn’t curtail our daily freedoms.

After emerging from lockdown, you can foresee MPs and civil servants impatient to press the button on ramping up the talk about climate change in order to ensure we’re all coerced into hitting the PM’s zero carbon target.

Big government looks set to dominate our lives for possibly decades to come and no one seems to be offering a proper opposition to the rise of this badgering regime. Pictured: Ed Davey

Indeed, Philip Dunne has made it clear that the ‘Covid-19 crisis must be treated as a wake-up call. It is a symptom of a growing ecological emergency’. 

Thus, we can see one crisis rolling into another, demanding yet more top-down solutions, badgering us all into submission.

The problem for us is that, apart from some Tory back-benchers, there is no organised political group to oppose this insatiable grab for power over our daily lives.

There appears to be no one I can vote for to halt this growing expansion of government control. 

The Labour Party would be even worse, having called for ever tighter controls throughout the pandemic, and no doubt demanding tougher carbon cuts in the future.

Fewer flights abroad, more expensive driving and home heating, eating less meat, all are favoured by the Conservative Party, Labour, Lib-Dems and Greens. If I dare object to this increasingly authoritarian agenda, who can I vote for?

This coalition of finger-wagging doom-mongers could well trigger the kind of social schism that led to Brexit.

Falling hardest on the people who can least afford it, lockdown economic blows followed by radical climate crisis measures risk pitting working people against an establishment elite.

Having heroically battled against Project Fear to win Brexit, it is the supreme irony that our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has allowed the deployment of new Project Fears to justify both lockdown and escalating measures to tackle climate change. 

Speaking in the House of Lords last month, Lord Hannan compared our current situation to that following World War II, when decisions taken to defend our nation in its darkest hour continued long after the war ended, including identity cards and rationing, which didn’t stop until 1954.

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour will only ever call for even more public expenditure. It appears to have no sense of responsibility to act as a proper Opposition party. Pictured: Starmer

The very idea of a nation pulling together enabled the rise of socialism and a collectivist state that finally came apart only in the 1970s.

It was more than three decades after the end of the war that Margaret Thatcher would come to power on the promise of a smaller, less intrusive state. 

Will it take until 2050 for us to escape the current mania for big government?

It’s also not just the restrictions on our daily lives, but the sudden unleashing of vast amounts of taxpayers’ money on public projects — £37 billion spent on the troubled Test and Trace system, £500 million on barely used Nightingale hospitals, all to be overshadowed by the £50 billion a year needed for climate measures.

Burdening us with eye-watering debt for generations to come and yet there is no party willing to stand up and say: ‘Enough!’

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour will only ever call for even more public expenditure. It appears to have no sense of responsibility to act as a proper Opposition party. 

It should be challenging every imposition on our daily freedoms or every tranche of taxpayers’ money committed to yet another vast public scheme, but it does not.

Last week, it was good to see a group of Tory MPs coming together to form the Free Market Forum, in association with the Institute of Economic Affairs, the think-tank behind the 1980s Thatcher revolution.

They pledge to ‘refocus the political debate, shifting attention towards free enterprise and social freedom’.

Five members of the Cabinet, including potential party leaders such as Priti Patel, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, have signed up and it is only to be hoped they can exert some influence on Boris Johnson to revert to his earlier small-government beliefs.

If so, then I may be able to vote once more for a party that trusts individuals more than government.

Otherwise, without any such party, I and many others are being faced with an electoral choice between big government and bigger government — and that is no choice at all.

  • Tim Newark is the author of Protest Vote: How Politicians Lost The Plot (Gibson Square).

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