COVID Rules and CCTV – Another Case for Liberty | Honest Liberal
Last week, unfortunate pictures of the former Health Secretary were published in the tabloid newspapers, and he swiftly resigned. But what was the reason for his resignation, and should those images ever have been captured? The moral question of marriage and affair is one thing, but the principle of freedom is far more important.
In the past, a Minister might have legitimately argued that this was a personal matter, and the press would not have even printed the images. But in this case, there was a strong public interest argument. This is because Matt Hancock himself has used the law to cause a collision between the private lives of every citizen in the country, and criminality.
Of course, I understand the case for lockdown, the rules on ‘bubbles’ and the rule of six, but to take these powers, to lord over one’s own citizens for doing the most normal things, such as meeting their families, does leave ministers unhappily vulnerable to judgement on exactly the same terms.
Rather than being able to judge our own risk and take our own decisions in the last year, the government took that liberty out of the hands of us all. A large majority of people, according to opinion polls, have been happy to oblige. I must say, I did not do so enthusiastically. But the people of this nation sacrificed so much according to the wishes of the government, and then of course the main proponent of those rules was spied on breaking those same rules himself.
But the public should have never seen such images at all. I realise this is an unpopular thing to say, that we should be ignorant of what our government ministers are doing, but this is because the principles of freedom should apply to all. In the UK we have the rule of law, rather than the Chinese ‘rule by law’, which is an entirely different proposition. Of course, government ministers should be held to account for decisions they take, but the video footage of the goings on in their offices should never be recorded.
Matt Hancock has caused this crisis not by acting dishonourably to his wife, but by imposing undue and illiberal restrictions on the public, that quite clearly he didn’t think were reasonable, as he couldn’t bear to follow them himself. CCTV cameras in any ministerial offices should be removed, security protocols should be in effect at the front door of the department to prevent people gaining access to the inner sanctum, rather than cameras spying on Ministers.
My case is against all of this – the cameras should not have been in the Secretary of State’s office, the COVID rules should have remained as guidance, and should not have been passed into law, and therefore, Matt Hancock would have still been in post if he had only trusted the British people to take responsibility for their own actions.
The government should be careful not to adopt the line of ‘do as I say, not as I do’. The Labour Party have jumped on this story because the former Health Secretary broke his own rules, whereas the liberal and reasoned criticism is that these rules should never have been made law in the first place.
Not knowing, and therefore not being able to judge and pass a verdict on others is what liberty is. It means ignorance, yes, but provides us all the freedom to make our own decisions in private, without unwanted intervention from others, and especially not from the government. Liberty should be repatriated to the people of this nation, to return privacy to us all, including ministers.