This is the second in a series of posts based on the results of our survey of KBF supporters. The three key findings in the area of democracy are:
- There is strong agreement with Lord Justice Hickinbottom’s description of the measures taken by the government as “Possibly the most restrictive regime on the public life of persons and businesses ever”
- MP’s, the NHS and ‘the people’ had little influence over decisions. Government scientific advisers and international organisations such as the WHO had the most influence
- Traditional values such as democracy, transparency have been replaced decisions taken in an illogical and irrational manner.
5,416 people took part between Tuesday 15th and Monday 21st August 2020. A quarter of respondents said they were KBF members, half followed KBF on social media or used the KBF web site, a quarter did not follow KBF. There was a good spread of occupations. The five largest job groups (each with at least 300 respondents) are Health/Nursing/Medical Care, Hospitality/Personal Services, IT/Digital, Finance/Property/Law and Education.
The Judicial Review
The first questions referred to the Judicial Review challenging lockdown and other measures implemented by the UK government. As a result of an appeal decision by Lord Justice Hickinbottom the legal challenge is proceeding further with a rolled-up hearing expected to be held at the Court of Appeal during the week of 28th September. See the CrowdJustice page for more details.
98% agree with Lord Justice Hickinbottom’s description of the measures taken by the government as “Possibly the most restrictive regime on the public life of persons and businesses ever.” 95% agreed strongly.
97% are concerned about the ways in which the government has taken decisions in the past 6 months. 92% are extremely concerned.
This legal challenge (and others like it) is one of the strongest bases for overturning
Who Had the Most Influence on Decisions?
When asked who they think had the most significant influence on decisions taken by the government in the past six months groups we might normally expect to have influence (the NHS, MP’s and the people of the UK) came at the bottom of the list. Instead decisions had been influenced most by:
- government scientific advisers (80%)
- international organisations such as the WHO (78%)
- the media (71%)
- big business (70%).
Other advisers and behavioural scientists were also seen as influential (57% and 56%).
In other words, most people who took part in their survey do not see their MP’s as being primarily to blame.
According to Wikipedia, The Coronavirus Act 2020 was introduced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, on 19 March 2020, and passed all remaining stages of consideration in the House of Commons on 23 March without a vote. There is still time to write and tell them your views on this. Whilst the Act has a time limit of two years, the Act is additionally subject to parliamentary renewal every six months (i.e. in the second half of this month).
The Manner of Decisions
When asked how decisions have been taken by the UK government in the past 6 months traditional values such as democratically, transparently, using due process, on the basis of sound scientific evidence and in interests of the people were absent. None of these scored more than 2%. These traditions have been replaced by procedures which are:
- illogical (86%)
- inconsistent (79%)
- in secret (72%)
- autocratic (60%).
When asked the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with six statements about government decision taking and being informed there was a strong desire to be informed and understand things and a severe lack of confidence in the government and lack of trust in the organisations which advise them.
98% agree with “I like to have information to understand or take decisions myself,” 96% agree strongly.
97% agree the government will need to work hard to restore trust. 94% agree strongly, 1% disagree.
94% agree with “We need a fast and effective way of challenging decisions taken by government,” 89% agree strongly.
Only 2% agree “I am confident the government will take the right decisions,” 95% disagree, 87% disagree strongly.
Only 2% agree “I trust the organisations which advise the government,” 95% disagree, 87% disagree strongly.
Only 5% agree “I do not need to know or understand the detailed reasons behind government decisions,” 91% disagree, 84% disagree strongly.
7% agree “Decisions need to be taken at an international level, not in the UK,” 82% disagree, 69% disagreed strongly.
The survey report was submitted to the House of Lords committee on Life Post Covid on August 31st. The report stated:
“There is universal concern for the loss of joy and democracy. People feel that recent decisions have been taken in a way which is illogical and inconsistent. The views of scientific advisers and international organisations have taken precedence over the views of the people of the UK and their elected representatives…It feels as if these experts treat the people with contempt.”
A selection of quotes from the report are given below.
I will publish further extracts here and announce these on my twitter feed where you can follow me. @TheGoodStatsMan #TheGoodStatistician.
Normal democratic procedures need to be reinstated; trust in the government needs to be restored.
I am only worried about the government response to a future pandemic. Not the pandemic itself. Male, Government employee, KBF Follower/website User
I want to have lots of friends and be in a relationship, which this year has prevented. We need to move towards libertarianism and a massive reduction in powers of the state. The current administration needs to face criminal repercussions for their dishonesty and needlessly authoritarian and unscientific response to what is essentially a jumped up cold. Male, 18-24, Retail, KBF Member
Although I'm not worried about future pandemics, I am concerned about this paranoid Government's response to it. They are a complete disaster and I hope they have all lost their jobs by 2022 or are in prison for misuse of power and money. Female, 45-54, Website Manager and Social Media, KBF Follower/website User
We have been completely failed by the collective Westminster political class. We forfeited the right to call ourselves a free democracy in March. This must be remedied by a return of our rights and wholesale electoral reform to ensure this can never happen again. Male, 55-64, Retired, KBF Member