Saturday’s anti-lockdown protests were an incredible success. Judging by the turnout in some of Europe’s major capitals – especially in London, Amsterdam and Brussels – the organisers played an absolute blinder in terms of communicating in stealth mode until the very last minute. But people who needed to be informed were informed. In London it was clear that the police had no idea that the numbers assembling in the West End would be anywhere close to the tens of thousands who showed-up.
The BBC’s coverage was risible. Initial news reports suggested that the London protest included “hundreds” of people. However, numerous attendees were livestreaming the gathering crowds. Hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands converged – marching up Park Lane, then assembling in Trafalgar Square and onwards through the city.
The streams showed a happy crowd in good spirits – many being welcomed by London bus drivers who seemed delighted to have their near-empty buses stopped by city crowds. London hasn’t seen such crowds for nearly a year. The city has been near-crippled by a lockdown than has seen offices close, the Civil Service vacate Whitehall, and a London Mayor insisting on even more draconian levels of self-destruction than those mandated by government propaganda.
By the time the BBC started reporting the protests in its early afternoon bulletins on Saturday it was forced to admit that the crowds of protesters were, indeed, large. Marianna Spring, the BBC’s “specialist reporter covering disinformation and social media” was despatched, donning a loose-fitting mask that resulted in her nose popping out repeatedly mid-report. She reported that the protesters represented a variety of groups – including many that were spreaders of conspiracy theories. But the most obvious conspiracy theory on Saturday was the BBC’s own – that this protest was anything short of massive and that a very large number of people do not accept the BBC’s relentless, unchallenged, scientism and propaganda.
I have no idea what has happened to the BBC. Perhaps it was informed by the new, incoming government that in order to protect its license-fee funding model it was required to parrot government ‘lines’. But, whatever the reason, the BBC has apparently given up on objectivity when it comes to covering the Covid beat. Lockdowns, as the definitive policy of dealing with the Covid threat, are unquestioned. The seeking of information before consenting to vaccination is portrayed as the stuff of conspiracy. Meanwhile government “scientists” are beyond reproach, beyond question, beyond accountability.
But worse than the BBC’s sycophancy is the apparent lack of any democratic opposition to the government’s Covid-response. The Labour Party opposes – but only to the extent that self-flagellation should be greater, should have started sooner, and that taxpayer money-squandering should be even more profligate. The Liberal Democrats just seem bemused, increasingly irrelevant.
But a political blind man on a galloping horse could see that there’s a huge opportunity to redefine British politics for a generation staring us in the face. There is vast, palpable and seething anger at the extent of government incompetence that has resulted in the economy being eviscerated, non-Covid healthcare being consigned to the NHS B-list, and government borrowing scaling to levels that mean this nation is effectively trading insolvently – and will be for generations.
Laurence Fox, the London mayoral candidate for the Reclaim Party, attended the protest on Saturday. He was asked what his first act would be if elected and he said he’d restore the right to protest. Many rounded on him, via Twitter, suggesting that such a reversal of policy wasn’t part of his brief. But the point was well made. The restraint of the right to protest is part of the government’s Coronavirus Act. The Mayor of London was given a direct mandate for policing in London in 2011, as part of the Police and Social Responsibility Act. Therefore, as Mayor, he could give whatever strategic direction to the Metropolitan Police that he saw fit – including turning a blind eye to peaceful protest.
Fox’s campaign is growing in momentum. Just as those bus drivers welcomed the protestors on Saturday there’s a growing and significant constituency across the UK that’s had enough of draconian lockdown restrictions for over a year. The most vulnerable have been vaccinated. Rates of infection are tiny. The disease is easily survivable by most, unnoticed by many. The never-ending paranoia, in the face of a jumped-up common cold virus, of a Prime Minister whose political hero is Winston Churchill, is thoroughly perplexing. But if Fox and his Reclaim Party do well in the Mayoral election, Johnson will have a long fight on his hands, well before the next general election. A big majority in the House of Commons is no guarantee of success. Johnson’s administration could suffer a long, slow death of a thousand cuts.
People can sense when they’re being stitched-up. And I sense that Laurence Fox is more in tune with the mood of the nation than any other politician in the UK today.