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< Back to question How do we think about the UK lockdown debate? Show more Show less

The coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented isolation measures throughout the world. One effect has been the creation of ideological blocs across traditional party lines, lobbying for different approaches to containing the virus. UK lockdown came into effect on March 23, shutting down non-essential business and movement outside the home, bar a single daily outing for exercise. Critics variously describe this decision as too late, too little, too much and overblown. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

The libertarian position, or 'End lockdown now!' Show more Show less

At the heart of this approach is the belief that lockdown is a violation of fundamental human rights. Its proponents range from the UK alt right, to high court judges, to commentators seeing the closure of British drinking holes as a bleak symbol of authoritarian rule.
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The government cannot be trusted

With conflicting information spouted from country to country and leader to leader, it is impossible to trust anyone claiming authority on the subject.
covid health politics
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Proponents


The Argument

Boris Johnson's administration has consistently spewed misinformation regarding the effects, transmission, and data regarding Covid-19. The directives have changed, the information has been proven to be misleading, and the government itself has refused to abide by its own directives. The government cannot be trusted to enforce lockdowns, especially when the public does not have the truth. The guidance coming from the Johnson government has been contradictory, often within days of each other. Early on, citizens were simply told to wash their hands and work from home if possible. Then, in the same month of March, the government imposed a nationwide lockdown. In May, the government recommended the use of masks, but in July they became mandatory, with unmasked people facing a £100 fine.[1] In early August, the government recommended going back to offices, suggesting there was "little evidence" to suggest Covid-19 was spreading in the workplace. [2]But by September, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told people to work from home "if they can."[3] With another lockdown looming, how can people be sure the government is doing the right thing?[4] The figures coming from Public Health England (PHE) are also incredibly skewed. The agency marks that someone has died from Covid-19 as long as they have tested positive for the virus beforehand.[5] There is little research done at PHE to determine if Covid-19 was the cause of the deaths, but that instead someone could test positive for the virus, fully recover, and then be hit by a bus and PHE would still count their death as a Covid-19 fatality. Public trust is also waning in this government, as a poll conducted in June shows.[6] This mismanagement of data, and the general misinterpretation of models at the outset of the pandemic, proves the UK government cannot be trusted to enact or enforce any sort of lockdown.[7]

Counter arguments

The government has been adapting and changing the way it makes decisions during the pandemic, just as the public has been changing the way we do things during this time. Just because the government hit a few bumps and made a few mistakes, does not mean that their broader guidance should not be trusted.

Premises

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.politico.eu/article/how-uk-coronavirus-guidance-has-changed/
  2. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/matt-hancock-no-reason-not-to-go-back-to-work-coronavirus-a4528871.html
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54247372
  4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/23/lockdown-second-uk-circuit-breaker-new-rules-national/
  5. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8537489/PETER-HITCHENS-Face-masks-turn-voiceless-submissives.html
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/01/public-trust-in-uk-government-over-coronavirus-falls-sharply
  7. https://www.ft.com/content/92f64ea9-3378-4ffe-9fff-318ed8e3245e

This page was last edited on Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 20:51 UTC

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