Lord Sumption: "This is the worst interference with personal liberty in our history"

More words from the eminent former justice of the Supreme Court Lord Sumption on how we are being treated as incapable of using common sense by a tyrannical nanny state that we are allowing ourselves to be dictated to:

He makes the following points:

  • The government narrative has changed. A Lockdown doesn't reduce deaths but instead pushes it into the future which is what the government is now starting to admit, that they cannot eliminate it altogether

  • We cannot be locked down for two years and should do what Sweden is doing where their results are not that different to ours

  • According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), 91% of deaths have been people with serious underlying conditions, 88% of deaths have been over 65 and the under 50s is "so tiny" that the ONS cannot even show this on their charts

  • Yet it is people who are fit and under 65 that are being asked to sacrifice their liberty, their jobs, their businesses and "all the ordinary collective activities that make life worth living for something that hardly affects them at all"

  • As an older man he says he will make his own choices on how much risk he wants to take and that it was never justifiable to deprive people of their liberties. Lockdown was only ever supposed to be a "strictly temporary measure" to push infections into the future to allow the NHS capacity to catch up which it now has

  • The threat to the public was always over-exaggerated. This is why the slogan "Save the NHS" has been dropped from the Government slogan

  • The Government's new approach to getting the R number to such a low level is "not a good enough justification for a qualified house imprisonment applicable in principle to the whole population"

"This is the worst interference with personal liberty in our history from what is by a historical standard not a very serious pandemic except for particular categories of vulnerable people who can isolate themselves voluntarily"

He says the following in response to how the law applies to the advice on meeting others:

"Law requires exact definition and it works in categories. So if you do this not voluntarily but compulsorily, you are bound to have laws which make perfect sense in some contexts but not in others. The problem about law is that it excludes common sense. Now the Prime Minister has said that he trusts the British to use their common sense. You can't say to a police officer that you must arrest somebody or fine them if they are using common sense and not otherwise. The whole legal approach invites a collection of completely arbitrary rules unrelated to the underlying purpose of the regulations... You couldn't have a more perfect illustration of that than the incredibly complex, utterly arbitrary distinctions contained in the government's document this afternoon distinguishing meeting one person, two people, one person in your back garden, one person in the street on your front garden. These are the kind of ridiculous distinctions that you get when, instead of resorting to common sense you resort to law"

Lord Sumption finalises his interview by saying:

"I have every confidence that our preservation and common sense will allow us to get through this without the nanny state telling us what we can and can't do, especially when so much of what they say makes no sense at all"