Sunday Column: Boris must not betray his own voters by going into lockdown again.

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By Derek W Gardiner

COVID hysteria has hit the nation again, despite the lowest death toll recorded since March last week, a rise in positive tests has lead the government to introduce the "rule of six" and consider introducing even more draconian restrictions in the coming days. But this is not March and the overwhelming public support for lockdown is no longer present. Last month the government were trying to get people back into work and school, what has happened to all that? The silent majority of this country just want to get back to their jobs (if they still have them) or their studies and they are saying enough is enough.

These people tend to be overwhelmingly Conservative voters or people who switched over in the last election because of the economic armageddon that they thought would have been delivered under Corbyn. Now, less than a year later we have a bankrupt country, a shattered economy and are on the way to an unemployment crisis not seen since the late 1980s. They voted for Boris because they thought he would protect their freedom and respect the will of the people to leave the EU now we are facing the most draconian restrictions ever imposed on us in peacetime or wartime.

Yesterday another anti-lockdown protest took place in Trafalgar Square, the police were much more heave handed towards these protestors than to those who protested for BLM or Extinction Rebellion a few months ago. What shocked me the most however was the hate that they received on twitter. Along with usual insults of "stupid", "selfish", "idiot" etc which were being applied to Brexiteers this time last year, there was also the suggestion that those who don't wear masks be denied the medical care that their taxes pay for, be forced to dig the graves of those who die from COVID, be bombed when they try to protest, someone even suggested that not wearing a mask in a supermarket should be punishable by death. All of this accompanied by the worst profanities directed at people who just want the freedom to get on with their lives. It is disgusting and perhaps the celebrities that are leaving social media to protest hate speech should have a word with Twitter about taking this bile down as well.

A group of Tory backbencher led by Sir Graham Brady wants to see the return of more parliamentary scrutiny on the restrictions once the Coronavirus Act 2020 (which is not actually the legal source of the lockdown restrictions) comes up for review next week. This should hopefully at least provide some accountability as the government have been imposing severe restrictions on all of us without so much as a parliamentary vote.

If we'd wanted an endless lockdown regardless of the economic and social consequences then we would have voted for a Labour government but we voted for a Conservative government for pragmatism and rational decision making instead we have got irrational and ideological decision making and the results will be catastrophic. It's time for Boris to get a more competent group of people around him and that must start by getting rid of Matt Hancock who has utterly failed at everything he has attempted as health secretary. He must also start taking advice from economists and business people as well as scientists and medical experts and finding a balance in his decision making.

I hope and pray that Boris makes the right decisions next week and does not lead this country down a path of no return.

Joe Biden should keep his nose out of Brexit

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Americans have never liked it when foreign politicians comment on their elections, indeed the Democrats have spent the last four years trying to prove that Russia had meddled in their affairs and helped Trump win the White House.

Now Presidential candidate Joe Biden has tweeted that Brexit must not become "a casualty of Brexit" threatening future trade agreements between Britain and the US if a hard border is returned in Northern Ireland. While nobody wants to see a hard border in Ireland, this would be the equivalent of us telling the US that we will not trade with them unless they keep their border open with Mexico, it's not our call to tell them how to police their borders not is it theirs to tell us how to police ours.

I have always maintained that a trade deal with the US is beneficial but it is not the be-all and end-all, we have the entire commonwealth to reconnect with and negotiations are already underway with Australia and New Zealand. We do not need a one-sided trade deal with the United States only one that benefits all parties involved and I believe we can get a better deal if Trump stays in office.

Barbados is wrong to remove the Queen as head of state.

The Governor-General of Barbados announced plans to remove the Queen as head of state in Barbados in November 2021. Something Jamaica also announced back in 2012 but has not yet done. It is a matter for them to settle of course but I believe that it is the wrong decision. One of the last symbols of unity of the commonwealth is having the queen as head of state of the 16 realms, a foundation stone I believe for a future union of nations within the commonwealth once Brexit is done.

The countries that chose to keep the queen as head of state after becoming independent have continued to enjoy the stability that a constitutional monarchy provides and have not fallen into political turmoil. I believe in the monarchy even though it goes against democratic principles because the queen is there to act as a symbol of unity and if necessary a check on the power of the Prime Minister and the cabinet. It is something to be cherished and I hope other realms do not follow suit.