Somehow, we suspected that there were dark forces at work. Somehow, we anticipated that, under the cover of a health emergency, the Scottish Government would move with stealth and skill to seize new powers and advance their progressive ideology. We were warned about this and we guessed that the claims of measure being purely temporary was disingenuous and deceitful at best.
What, however, takes us by surprise, as it always does, is the blatant duplicity of it all. It is quite breath-taking.
Today the Deputy first minster in Scotland John Swinney, announced the publication of a consultation paper, which details the government’s proposal to “give the Scottish ministers the same powers to protect the people of Scotland from any incidence or spread of infection or contamination which presents, or could present, significant harm to human health in Scotland, not just Covid. In addition to being able to impose future lockdowns and restrict gatherings, ministers would also be able to order school closures “during the remainder of the pandemic” or for any future outbreak of an infectious disease, so long as they believe it is “necessary and proportionate”, and the chief medical officer has been consulted. Among the plans for the justice system are calls for continued powers to permit the early release of prisoners and allowing people to avoid attending court in person by taking part remotely.”
The chilling bit is that minister will have these powers, no longer temporary but permanently enshrined in law “as long as they believe it is ‘necessary and proportionate’. So it’s a matter of belief about “necessity” and “proportionality”. Irrespective of any objective threat or reality, what matters is what the minsters believe and they will be the arbiters and the ones who will define what is necessary and proportionate. It’s about faith and feeling and fits perfectly with the progressive ideology.
It’s a “consultation” of course and everyone is encouraged to make their feelings known. But we all know about “consultations”. One a few years back revealed that the majority were opposed to the government’s proposal but they went ahead anyway and claimed that the consultation was not binding.
So that’s it, they want permanent powers to lock people in their homes, shut the schools and open the prisons. What’s not to like about that?
For those of us who are quite relaxed about government powers, who believe that those who govern are essentially good, altruistic, have access to the best advice and have our interests at heart, who are happy to sacrifice our personal autonomy and responsibility for the sake of the “common good” and who are untroubled by all of this, as long as we are kept safe, for us, it is no big deal and there is nothing to see.
For others it is a chance to say “NO” and you can do it at https://www.gov.scot/publications/covid-recovery-consultation-public-services-justice-system-reforms/. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.