Time for Libertarians to Fight | Ewell Gregoor
December 13th, 2019, thousands of protesters, made up of mainly remainers and left-wing activists, marched on Downing Street in the backdrop of the 2019 General Election in which the Boris Johnson led Conservative Party romped to an 80-seat majority. Protesting a democratic election result may seem strange to most people, however, those protesting claimed to have good reason, as they held placards with the Prime Minsters face with the quote, ‘say no to racism’. The polemic continued; the Daily Express interviewed protesters stating that the United Kingdom had just elected ‘fascists’ to lead the country. If true, and we will get to that later, the protesters certainly were right to protest.
It was not the first time the former London Mayor had been accused of supporting a totalitarian ideology, such as fascism. Opponents of Boris Johnson have long accused him of being ‘racist’, ‘fascist, ‘Nazi’, ‘far-right’ etc… In August 2019, 113 MPs, mostly from the Labour Party, signed a letter accusing the Prime Minister of ‘deploying the language of fascism’.
The media have long reported Johnson’s supposed links with fascism. A quick Google search of Boris Johnson and fascism, returns some 74,000 items. Whilst searching Boris Johnson and racist, returns a staggering 7.5 million items.
It is unsurprising that many of media reports linking Boris Johnson to fascism are from the outlets that are, stereotypically, representative of the opulent ‘modern left’. Take the Guardian, who over the course of 2019, have published the following statements:
“On Saturday, for the first time in living memory, neo-fascists were chanting the name of a serving prime minister.”
“For progressives, the last two weeks have shown how high the cost of losing that general election would be. The country would be ruled by a faction of elite Tories who have abandoned their moral and intellectual dividing lines with the far right.“
“The lessons of the second world war risk being forgotten because of the rise of extreme right-wing leaders such as Trump and Johnson”.
The above statements are just three of potential thousands that could have been taken from the Guardian alone. And it is not just the Guardian that have placed Johnson on the totalitarian right. Take the headline from the Canary on 16th November 2019, “Far right leader endorses Boris Johnson but let’s face it, we saw it coming”. Or the Morning Star article from 29th December 2019, “Britain First, Boris Johnson and the resurgent right”.
As a Labour Member who has voted for Labour in all but two elections since being able to vote, I shuddered when I saw and heard the above. Up until 2020, Boris Johnson had shown no signs of being on the totalitarian right, to suggest otherwise was frivolous. Johnson was, up until March 2020, a libertarian. A believer in small state and free speech with a desire to honour a Brexit mandated by plebiscite. Johnson was quite literally antithetical to anything resembling totalitarian. Whilst being, at the time, untrue, it was only going to exacerbate the haemorrhaging of votes in the perspicacious Red Wall.
However, was it the modern left that were perspicacious? Was it luck, or just chance? Because fast forward twelve long months and the Prime Minister has ditched his libertarian orthodoxy. Having overseen three national lockdowns where the people of Britain were placed under house arrest. Having set up a Stasi-like hotline for neighbours to inform on each other. Having increased parliamentary powers with the Coronavirus Act 2020, giving the Government the right to pass laws without Parliamentary approval. Having the power to tell people who they can and cannot hug or shake hands with. Having cancelled Christmas for millions of people in London and the South East.
I bow to thee, modern left, for your powers of foresight. You are exonerated for what was previously dismissed as frivolous.
Hello… Modern left…… Are you there?
It seems the people who, prior to February 2020, were the most obsessed with the Prime Minister and his love of the totalitarian right, are the most comfortable when he actually starts acting in a way befitting an authoritarian despot. And rather than being out on the street fighting against that what they claim to oppose, they are urging him to go further.
Take the Guardian and the warnings they have given us about the authoritarian Johnson. You would, therefore, expect them to be opposing the Number 10 power grab. Instead, they commissioned an editorial on March 23rd, 2020 titled, “However well-intentioned, a laissez-faire strategy for fighting coronavirus has not worked. Now is the time for the Government to give the public firm parameters”.
Let us break down the above headline. Firstly, for a Prime Minister frequently and obsessively linked to the far right, describing his leadership style as laissez-faire, is an irony lost on the Guardian. Secondly, and most important, the Guardian are advising a Prime Minister, of which they have obsessed over his supposed links to far right, to increase his presence and give firm parameters. Strange.
Take the MPs who, as mentioned above, signed a letter accusing Johnson of using the language of fascism. They are not only offering no opposition on Covid restrictions, they want more.
It is an irony lost that those who regularly link Boris Johnson to the far right and totalitarianism are the ones who challenged his original libertarian approach. And since he crumbled, and increased the powers of the state, there has been an omnipresent call to increase said powers.
You do not have to wake up early in the morning to find holes in the rationale of the modern left. They are, in that respect, the gift that keeps on giving. I expect no plaudits for what I have said above. Calling the modern left hypocritical and full of political inconsistencies is as obvious nowadays as stating water is wet and the sky is blue. However, what has bothered me since the start of the pandemic, is why? Why have the modern left welcomed the Tory power grab, why so insouciant about the stripping away of liberty and basic human rights? But I believe I now have the answer to that question.
It is not the authoritarianism that ever concerned the modern left. In-fact, it comes easy to them. Cancel culture is testament to this. Yes, they want the authoritarianism, that is axiomatic, they just want to drive the authoritarian machine.
In a way, the new measures are a gift to the modern left, British politics will never be the same again. A blueprint consisting of a hyperbolic fear inducing media and selective science is all that is needed to override our once thought foolproof democratic system. Should the modern left ever reach Number 10, well… it does not bear thinking about.
I am calling on anyone with a libertarian bone in their body to stand up and challenge the new orthodoxy; power. I am truly shocked at just how many people in the UK have such a soft spot for authoritarianism and it is scary. Brought up on fables from my veteran Grandfather, who would tell me that authoritarianism could never take ahold in Blighty. Quite frankly, this is un-British.
Libertarians are too often mocked for their distrust of the Government, labelled as hyperbolic. “What do you actually think the Government are going to do” they ask… Well, look around. Authoritarianism is a virus, and it spreads quicker than Covid. And whilst the mortality rate of Covid is low and its effects are du jour, the same cannot be said for authoritarianism and his evil older brother totalitarianism, of which he always mutates into.
Civil liberties secondary function is to enable a full and happy life. Their primary function is to protect against the more nefarious forms of political leadership, and it is why we should vigilantly defend them from the darker forces of both left and right.
Libertarians, suit up, step out of the shadows and get ready to fight. Covid will eventually pass, but the fight for a free Britain has just begun.