It’s time to end the political consensus that there is no alternative to shutting people up in their homes
Written by NIGEL FARAGE / RICHARD TICE
When we launched the Brexit Party some 21 months ago, we were far from universally thanked for it. At times, the strength of the onslaught and personal attacks was terrifying. But we stood firm and won the primary battle. Now, however, while we are still keeping a close eye on Brexit, it is time to redirect our energies. That is why we have applied to the Electoral Commission to rename the party. We want to be known as the party of Reform. The name reflects the ambition: Reform UK.
The institutions and policies that require change are formidable and once again we will have to take on powerful vested interests. The House of Lords, the BBC, the way we vote, law and order, immigration. Badly run, wasteful quangos are in abundance. The Home Office is not fit for purpose. This Government has taken cronyism to a whole new level. Waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash is off the scale.
But the single most pressing issue is the Government’s woeful response to coronavirus. The “strategy” has been to terrify the nation into submission, coupled with a barrage of lockdowns, rules, regulations and threats. It is all about playing for time, in the hope that a vaccine miraculously comes along.
This is no way to tackle a disease that may be around for a long time, perhaps forever. The consequences to wider health and the economy have been devastating. Suicides are soaring, from students imprisoned in halls of residence to 88-year-old ladies who cannot see their relatives and naturally wonder: what is the point of life?
The Government has dug itself into a hole and, rather than admit its mistakes, it continues to excavate. Ministers have lost touch with a nation divided between the terrified and the furious. The debate over how to respond to Covid is becoming even more toxic than that over Brexit.
Lockdowns don’t work: in fact, they cause more harm than good. But there is a credible alternative, recommended by some of the finest epidemiologists and medics in the world. It is the Great Barrington Declaration. It is effectively being practised to a large degree in Sweden, with considerable success.
Focused protection is the key, targeting resources at those most at risk: the elderly, vulnerable or those with other medical conditions. Many of them would prefer to hug their grandchildren and enjoy a family Christmas. They should not be criminalised for the simple acts that make life worth living, particularly in their final years.
The rest of the population should, with good hygiene measures and a dose of common sense, get on with life. This way we build immunity in the population. The young act as warriors, creating a shield of protection. Multi-generational households will, of course, need to implement stricter measures.
The thousands of scientists who signed the Barrington Declaration, however, have faced quite disgraceful abuse. The truth is that the Declaration frightened governments and all of those who think that locking people up represents the moral high ground. But the opposite is true: imprisoning people is unspeakable cruelty.
True leaders have the courage to lead from the front and persuade others to follow. And amid the darkness, there is a real message of hope. Treatment for coronavirus is getting better. We have created more capacity in our hospitals. Survival rates for the tiny fraction of coronavirus cases who end up on ventilators are improving.
Every death is a huge loss for family, friends and loved ones. But we must put Covid-related deaths into perspective. Around 1,600 people die every day in the UK. The average age of a Covid fatality is 82: older than average life expectancy. The truth is this horrible illness is only very dangerous for a tiny minority of people. The average person has more than a 99.5 per cent chance of surviving the disease if they catch it. We must have the courage to live with the virus, not hide in fear of it.
Reform is the only significant political party that supports the Great Barrington Declaration. We are showing the courage needed to take on consensus thinking and vested interests on Covid. But there are so many areas of public life that can be improved to benefit ordinary people. That is why we will campaign for Reform.
Nigel Farage is leader and Richard Tice is chairman of the Brexit Party, to be renamed Reform UK