Letter to my MP .. masks are an economic policy, not a health one ...
I am writing to express my deep concern at the behaviour of the government in its current high handed and autocratic response to COVID-19.
I can understand that at a time of crisis, governments need to react quickly and face difficult decisions with uncertain outcomes. I also appreciate that evoking a sense of national emergency and putting the country on a “war footing” has a benefit in driving a faster reaction from the general public. Faced with the apparent crisis exponentially growing back in March there is logic to the lockdown imposed by HMG, particularly as every other country was doing the same & the pressure to follow suit intensifies.
Some people might argue we went into lockdown too late, some might say it was lifted too slowly. However, this is at the margins and now thankfully in the past.
Having come through this immediate battle, with hospital cases around 1,000 vs 30,000 at the peak and the medical impact very much under control, I am horrified at the way the Government is continuing to behave which is draconian and dictatorial. The immediate crisis is passed, now is the time for more reasoned action – we have the time to reflect and consider that we did not in March.
Specifically, I am dismayed at the shocking introduction of compulsory face masks. First public transport, then shops, now other public areas. There is a trend that one can only conclude is a stealth mask policy and before long we will be told to wear them at all times. The time for this (if ever there was) would have been back in March, not August when case rates, hospitalisations, ventilator numbers and deaths are way below their peaks to be almost insignificant.
And this is despite there being no clinical evidence to support their use.
It is interesting to see that other countries (eg Spain) which made them compulsory are still seeing a spike in cases. Proof if ever that masks are a side distraction.
Worse, they have been introduced without any indication of an “exit strategy” so am I to assume they are hear for 1 year? 2 years? Forever?
They have been made compulsory without any stated aims or ambitions eg to reduce infection rates or transmission.
My assumption is the only reason for their introduction is economic, to somehow force people back to their offices. This is misplaced. We have recently conducted a survey of our office-based team in my organisation with a 90%+ response rate. The office normally holds 200 people. Overwhelmingly the feedback is that they like working from home (90%) and would ideally do 4 days home/1 day (90%) office or 5 days home. This indicates just how quickly people have adjusted to “WFH” and they like it!
There will not be a rush back to central London any time soon and the Government needs to acknowledge this rather than fight it through ridiculous policies and statements.
Given the wider statistics on COVID-19, why not a more measured approach to face masks. Encourage their use if that is what the Government believes. Mandatory implementation without an exit strategy is not democratic, not tolerant and not British.
Last week’s speculation about possible “Stay-at-home-if-you’re-50+” policy is an indication of how ridiculous and extreme policy-makers can become when unfettered and unchallenged. The current chaos around overseas travel another.
I would urge you therefore to:
1. Insist on the immediate repeal of compulsory masks.
2. Insist that there is a time-limit on ALL lockdown measures so that the Government is forced to reconsider steps frequently and rejustify measures in the light of facts and figures at that time. (Three or four months would seem a reasonable period and consistent with the commercial sector.)
I have signed the petition requesting the repeal of compulsory masks in shops. Will you support it?
I look forward to your acknowledgement and considered response to my question and points above.