DAN WOOTTON: Give us back the freedoms that are our British birthright

Stop gas-lighting us, Boris, find some guts and give us back the freedoms that are our British birthright, writes DAN WOOTTON

Boris Johnson is now gas-lighting the entire British population.

The term – most connected these days with a form of domestic abuse – means manipulating a person by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

The rage and despair prompted by yesterday’s depressing Downing Street announcement of the next stage of the UK’s lockdown-lifting plan convinced me that’s what’s going on now.

Time and again the Prime Minister batted away questions about our future lives, liberties and freedoms as if we’re spoiled brats asking our parents to reveal what they’ve bought us as a birthday present.

Vaccine passports? Don’t worry your pretty head about that, little one.

International travel? You’re getting WAY ahead of yourself, silly.

A cratering London economy? Never fear, people are loving working from home, but the theatres will be open one day and all will be OK.

What Boris Johnson forgets is that we’ve taken him at his word only to be let down too many times over the past year

He dithered, he stuttered, he guffawed – but what Boris steadfastly failed to do was provide any real answers about what life is going to look like in just two months’ time.

Well, I’m not going to accept being treated like a child anymore. Are you?

What the Prime Minister forgets is that we’ve taken him at his word only to be let down too many times over the past year.

Lots of folk, including me, reluctantly accepted the snail’s pace of the lockdown lifting because June 21 provided a defined finish line, with a clear plan from the Government to ‘remove all legal limits on social contact’.

But all of a sudden, Boris Johnson’s ‘one way road to freedom’ seems full of potholes.

The best we can now hope for, according to the PM, is that ‘for many people in many ways, life will begin to get back to at least some semblance of normality’.

Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, who haven’t done a great job over the course of this pandemic, want social distancing measures enforced by law for at least another year. The Doctors of Doom warn of a dire third wave, without seeming to take into account the game-changer provided by our successful vaccine rollout.

A few weeks ago they were boasting that getting on for 90 per cent of Britain’s over-50s – those most likely to get seriously ill or die from Covid – had been vaccinated.

This was Boris’s ‘cavalry coming over the hill’.

Daily death rates are in double figures, less than one-in-a-million a day.

Daily infections are in the low thousands.

Now they warn us the jabs aren’t 100 per cent effective. Well we knew that, nothing is.

And the doom-mongers at SAGE have released more scary projections of a third wave hitting this summer that they somehow expect to be worse than last summer when nobody was vaccinated.

Yet again, the goalposts have been dramatically shifted and we’re meant to compliantly accept that without getting any clear answers as to why.

In January, Matt Hancock – who seems to be enjoying all of this far too much – told The Spectator we could ‘cry freedom’ once the vulnerable had been vaccinated.

With that now the case, yesterday the Health Secretary tweeted that ‘reclaiming our lost freedoms and getting back to normal’ means every one of us being tested for coronavirus twice a week.

Chris Whitty (left) and Patrick Vallance (right) want social distancing measures enforced by law for at least another year

How the hell did stuffing a swab up our nose constantly, even if we’ve been vaccinated and have no symptoms, become the answer?

Equally shape shifting is the Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi. In December, he told me on live radio that we will not be having immunity passports in the UK ‘at all’ because ‘they are discriminatory and wrong’.

What the hell has changed?

Have the crazy Zero-Covid crowd, who won’t be happy until nobody dies of coronavirus ever, finally gained control of policy?

If we are to accept that vaccines no longer provide us a route out of this maelstrom, as SAGE, the PM and ministers now appear to contend, then we are accepting there is no way out.

Our lives will change in previously unthinkable ways, potentially for many years, because we can’t cope with the comparably small risk of Covid.

Compare that to the mature approach being taken in the US, where last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention granted a range of freedoms, including quarantine-free travel, to the fully vaccinated.

Even the super-cautious Dr Fauci has said he won’t be calling for federally-mandated vaccine passports. And state after state is already ruling them out.

Americans are increasingly being allowed to make their own sensible decisions, based on personal circumstances and the risk to their health, allowing the economy to open up.

By contrast, we are being infantilised, with no power over some of the most important and basic decisions a human being can make, such as when to see family members in need.

And on the biggest issue of our lifetime, there’s an expectation that we stay silent because we’re fearful virtue-signallers will come and accuse us of not caring about Covid deaths.

So we’re supposed to accept being allowed to sit in the garden of a pub next week as enough. And actually be grateful about being granted the tiniest sliver of freedom.

When did we become a nation who will allow politicians to, quite literally, dictate the way we live our lives?

Boris Johnson (pictured at the AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield today) is now gas-lighting the entire British population

I know for a fact that some Cabinet ministers despair at what’s going on. But our system means the likes of Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss can’t speak up publicly without throwing away promising careers.

A compliant broadcast media is perhaps the most toxic force in all of this. Lockdown sceptics are dispatched with the same sort of fringe glee with which the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 used to treat those who campaigned to leave the EU. We all know how that ended up.

MailOnline has provided an important reminder these past few months by posting the length of time we’ve been in lockdown on the top right of the homepage.

It’s hit 379 days today.

Think about that for a moment.

Over a year where seeing your family has been illegal.

Over a year where you’ve been banned from going to the gym to try and keep healthy and stay alive.

Over a year where your business has been driven into the ground, forcing you to rely on your income being almost entirely provided by the state

Over a year without being able to use the changing rooms in a clothes shop.

This. Isn’t. Normal.

This isn’t how people in free societies live in the face of what is now becoming a minor threat to life

When did we forget this?

The onus is on us now: To block out the fear campaigns, look at the facts, examine the real-world unlocking scenarios across the globe, then demand our politicians give us back the right to make our own decisions.

Boris, you can’t gaslight me for another minute.

If the policy of you and your advisers and ministers is now to achieve Zero Covid then have the guts to say so.

And ask the people if they are really willing to give up indefinitely the freedoms we have enjoyed for hundreds of years to chase an impossible mirage.

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