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Media and Health Industry Winning the Battle to Undermine England’s ‘Freedom Day’ Lockdown Removal

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: June 13, 2021
A rapid vaccination centre was set up outside Bolton Town Hall on June 9, 2021 in Bolton, England. Sir Iain Duncan Smith said “an organised push by a group of scientists” were working hard with the media to undermine the June 21 “Freedom Day” reopening.
A rapid vaccination centre was set up outside Bolton Town Hall on June 9, 2021 in Bolton, England. Sir Iain Duncan Smith said “an organised push by a group of scientists” were working hard with the media to undermine the June 21 “Freedom Day” reopening. (Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

England’s establishment media appears to be celebrating the prospect of continuing lockdowns and restrictions in the country in the run up to the much-anticipated June 21 “Freedom Day,” which now appears will be delayed for at least a month. 

In a June 12 article by BBC citing unnamed “sources,” the delay to the removal of lockdown restrictions is anticipated to extend for as long as another four weeks. A “senior government official” told the public broadcaster, “the government was considering ‘options – plural’ for step four of England’s roadmap.” 

The June 21 Freedom Day, if it proceeds as planned, will bring an end to all government mandated restrictions. 

In late May, the Johnson government allowed pubs, restaurants, hotels, and cinemas to reopen, and rescinded the mask requirement for school children.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, warned the public about the dangers of hugging their loved ones, “In fact, more than a year into this pandemic, we all know that close contact, such as hugging, is a direct way of transmitting this disease,” in comments at a press conference

The PM said “if you think it’s appropriate” then “you should exercise care and common sense.” Johnson seemed to imply the “care and common sense” had to do with an individual’s family member or loved one’s vaccination status based on his follow up comment, “clearly with unvaccinated people, there must be a greater risk of transmission than those who have had vaccination.” 

BBC remarked that The Times and The Sun had published that UK Ministers “were considering the delay,” adding that the British Medical Association had joined other public health officials in calling for Freedom Day’s cancellation.

The public health officials include groups such as the Association of Directors of Public Health.

Meanwhile, a June 11 article by The Guardian entitled Lifting Restrictions in England on 21 June: What Are the Alternatives? under the subhead “Push Ahead as Planned” made the editorial comment, “This seems increasingly unlikely, for one very obvious reason: the rapid spread of the Delta variant.”

The Guardian’s editorial comments continue to build a basis for why a reader is supposed to be afraid of the Delta variant, “First detected in India, it is believed to be about 60% more transmissible than the previously-dominant Alpha variant.” The publication claims data from Public Health England has said “up to 96 percent” of new positive PCR tests are Delta variants.

Further stoking the embers of fear, The Guardian again editorialized that the Delta variant is “connected to a greater risk of hospitalisation” and said there were “warnings” from undisclosed sources that “continued unlocking would be likely to bring a third wave of coronavirus, potentially on a similar scale to those seen before.”

This is despite the fact that, according to The Guardian itself, more than 40 million of England’s more than 55 million citizens have subjected themselves to at least one dose of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

A June 12 article by Politico Europe entitled Johnson Indicates England’s June 21 Reopening Could Face Delays appeared to show that cancelling Freedom Day now had the official stamp of the Prime Minister when they quoted comments Johnson had given to Sky News at the G7 Summit, “It’s clear that the Indian variant is more transmissible, and it’s also true that the cases are going up, and that the levels of hospitalization are going up.”

Yet, Johnson did not appear to make any representation that June 21 would be cancelled in the comments the article cited, such as “What we want to do is make sure that the roadmap is irreversible, but you can’t have an irreversible roadmap unless you’re prepared to be cautious,” and “I think that all our viewers should be reassured by this: that the situation is dramatically different from what it was in either of the first two waves of the pandemic.”

The 263-word article concluded with Johnson’s final comment, “We’re seeing an increase in hospitalizations, but the context has radically changed because of the sheer number of people who have been vaccinated.”

An official announcement is expected by the Johnson government on Monday. 

Former UK Conservative Party leader and Member of Parliament Sir Iain Duncan Smith said as early as June 1 he was concerned that a group of scientists were deliberately organizing to use the media to create public pressure to nip Freedom Day in the bud in comments given to talkRADIO, “It seems like an organised push by a group of scientists to stop June the 21st.”

Smith called the campaign “really coordinated and quite deliberate” and added “What we have got now is a bunch of scientists obsessed, obsessed with one single issue to the detriment of absolutely everything else.”

The MP also took aim at the use of the Delta variant as an excuse to keep England under perpetual lockdowns, “There are going to be new variants for the rest of our lives and beyond. Flu has a new variant or two every year. This is the ridiculous notion that somehow we go to zero COVID, and we are okay for the rest of our lives. That will not happen.”

In his comments, Smith reminded listeners that lockdowns and measures were not consequence free and produce real, material harm to many people and businesses, “If the economy doesn’t move, the poorest in society will suffer the most. They will be unable to navigate their way through because the furlough scheme will have to shut.”

“There is no actual factor that says we shouldn’t unlock on the 21st.”

“We were always told that the most important feature of all of this is to protect the most vulnerable, and we have now double-dosed pretty near 50 percent of the population, and that encompasses all the most vulnerable and the rest are either much younger or for one reason or the other, chose not to take the vaccine.”