Ancient liberties placed in pawn

Lion & Unicorn

A fearful Britain hunkers down to face the foreign invader. An eloquent Prime Minister sets out to rally the nation with stirring speeches. Parliament is presented with an emergency bill to monitor and restrict the people the like of which it has never seen before.

For 2020, read 1940.

Most of us may not have experienced it, but this feels like wartime. The threats that Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Boris Johnson faced may be entirely different, but there are intriguing comparisons to make in the new legislation that now governs our everyday lives. In May 1940 it was the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, now it is the Coronavirus Act, which received Royal Assent only last Wednesday.

‘A Bill to make provision in connection with coronavirus – and for connected purposes’. It is the second part of that description that worries civil libertarians. Of course the bill’s sponsor, Health Secretary…

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