Patrick Christys: We need to talk about our Covid freedoms

Our freedoms are not flimsy little things that can be bought and sold - or are they?

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Our freedoms are not made out of wet tissue paper. They are hard earned. They were fought and died for. The blood of many young men, boys, and, frankly, innocent civilians, has been spilled in the pursuit of freedom.

Our freedoms are not flimsy little things that can be bought and sold, or cast aside at the stroke of a politician’s pen. Or are they?

I look around the world now and I am concerned. Very concerned that for political leaders their main focus seems to be on crowd control and introducing measures that make it easier for them to control the population as opposed to letting it flourish.

Now all of the curtailments to civil liberties around the world are being done in the name of Coronavirus, but I’m not sure that’s where this will end. I think a few leaders have got the taste for it.

Just think about the type of person who not only goes into politics, but then rises to a position of power. Why have they done that? It’s because they want power. Having spent a few years at the sharp end of political journalism I can confirm that these people are often very, very strange.

And in many cases, it’s not the national leaders you have to watch out for – it’s the regional ones. The people who lacked the talent and the intellect to make it right to the top, so settled for being a local leader. Well, when they now find themselves with power in their hands, they go a bit mad for it. Like Victoria’s Dan ‘Dictator’ Andrews, who I’ll come on to shortly.

Let’s just survey a part of the world shall we? In Austria unvaccinated people were already barred from visiting restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas, but have now been put under full lockdown. This means that around 2 million people cannot leave their own homes.

Their justification for this is that about 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.

Meanwhile, the seven-day infection rate is more than 800 cases per 100,000 people, which is one of the highest in the region.

There were massive protests, but they, of course, fell on deaf ears.

Latvia, where 59% of the population are fully vaccinated, re-imposed lockdown last month and has banned lawmakers who refuse the vaccine from voting on laws and taking part in debates until the middle of next year. They will also see their pay docked.

Compare this to Russia – not often famed for its laissez faire approach to life - only about 35% of the population has been fully vaccinated. the end of October, Moscow shut shops, restaurants and schools in a partial lockdown and workers were given nine days paid holiday to curb infections. And that’s all they did. So Russia, Putin’s Russia, is now arguably more liberal than some European nations.

It’s certainly more liberal than Australia. There are now quarantine camps popping up around the country. Huge 1,000 bed facilities. In the case of the one in Brisbane, it has not one, but two giant electric fences around it.

Case numbers have halved in Australia in the last month, and by the time these things are built, it is reasonable to suggest that the pandemic will basically be over. So what’s the point?

Australia is turning into George Orwell’s prophecy – they’re introducing laws that hand huge amounts of power to tinpot politicians, but naming them things like - The Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management). Well, what this. Does is shift the power to declare a pandemic and impose public health restrictions from the chief health officer to the premier and health minister.

So their freedoms, on health grounds alone, are now no longer in the hands of a medical professional, it’s all about the political leaders.

Victoria Premier Dictator Dan Andrews, you know this guy, the one who said you weren’t allowed to take your mask off if you wanted to drink a pint outside, adopts the tone of someone speaking to naughty schoolchildren – which is ironic, because he actually looks like a geography teacher whose wife’s just left him.

In America, Joe Biden who, if some reports are to be believed, puts the Trump into President Trump, mandated the vaccine for federal workers. In addition, all US companies employing more than 100 people must require their staff to be fully vaccinated or have weekly covid tests. This was announced in a speech by President Biden. That’s basically a mandatory vaccine for two thirds of the United States workforce. A decision made by a man who looks increasingly like he’s just days away from being found wandering the grounds of the White House shouting at pigeons, demanding to know what the result of last night’s Mohammed Ali fight was.

These are all examples of personal freedoms and bodily autonomy being taken away at the stroke of a politician’s pen.

Look, we’ve some similar examples here haven’t we – care workers and NHS staff are fronting up to mandatory vaccinations. I know they say they’re not mandatory but in my book if you have to have a vaccination otherwise you lose your job then that’s pretty flipping mandatory if you ask me.

I think it’s worth having this discussion now about where we draw the line. Sajid Javid is holding Christmas to ransom as we speak – get your booster jabs or we might have another lockdown.

Look, until someone invents a better vaccine, we’re probably never going to be more protected as a nation from Coronavirus than we already are. If the vast majority of people are double, then triple, then quadruple jabbed, then that’s all we can do.

We have to live with this thing. We keep being told we need to live with terrorism, well I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that this government took terrorism as seriously as it takes coronavirus. At what point do we say, that’s it now, enough is enough – there cannot be any threats of any restrictions to our freedoms. I’ll finish how I started – our freedoms were hard earned