My tuppenceworth speech by Mike Swadling
Solidarity, the Polish Trade Union, brought 10 million people together. It survived a period of martial law imposed to crush it and helped bring about the downfall of their Communist government. On November 9, 1989, it was announced that starting at midnight, citizens of East Germany were free to cross the country’s borders. East and West Berliners flocked to the wall. As the border guard in charge frantically called his superiors, they gave no orders. Overwhelmed he gave the command to “Open the barrier!”. Both of these serve as a reminder that by coming together people can achieve the seemingly impossible.
Mahatma Gandhi, said “Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state, shares in its corruption and lawlessness.”
The Reverend Martin Luther King said, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Or as Aristotle put it “It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.”
I’m not sure if we can stop a future lockdown. My suspicion is government will be reluctant to impose another full lockdown. They will instead salami slice our freedom away with the imposition of more and more restrictions that never fully disappear. These will be much harder to oppose as each one will be minor and have some alleged practical argument in favour of it. Whilst we may not be able to stop them, we can disobey them.
We need to build a polarity if not a majority. We need all of those who objected to any part of lockdown to come on board. We don’t need to insist on total agreement or compliance, after all we are not them. We are the free, we are the people who believe in live and let live.
That means we will often find ourselves arm in arm with those we disagree with, and with whom we share little common ground. But the common ground we have, the area we can agree on, and the way we build a group large enough to oppose lockdowns, is by banding with those who all agree we must once again, be not only free, but free from the fear of more government restrictions.
We should never try to impose this on others, we may need sometimes to follow the rules and pick our battles. We should also never mock those who follow the rules. Instead, we can simply go about our lives as a free people regardless of what government says or others do.
If the restrictions come again, we can meet in the park as many have, or better still pop round to each other’s homes. If you can go into work, go in. We can meet-up on public transport or at the supermarket. With the exception of medical environments, refuse to wear a mask. We can’t go to the pubs if they are closed but bring a bottle and you are all welcome around mine for drinks.
We need to build networks of the widest set of people. Not those who agree with us 100%, but who agree on this one issue. In May we organised a hustings of otherwise disparate political parties who were all pro freedom and anti-lockdown. Despite their differences, on this overwhelmingly important issue, they agreed and came together. We must all do that, find that common ground with as many as possible, and defy anyone that ever tries to lock us down again.