This morning, I chaired a Zoom meeting between MPs, scientists and other experts. We discussed a strategy for living with coronavirus, Recovery’s Five Reasonable Demands and the impact of the current restrictions. TV psychologist, presenter and writer, Emma Kenny, gave this powerful speech:

Recovery is asking the Government for five reasonable demands

To behave with humanity

To give equal regard to all lives

To be willing to hold a comprehensive public enquiry and a balanced public debate,

To safeguard all…. that makes life worth living,

And to get the economy moving for the sake of our children…for your children…for the children who right now are living in poverty, and who do not have a voice.

I wonder for those of you listening to me today, how many of you truly believe…… that the future you….. will look back on the age of coronavirus with a belief that this Government leadership did their best, for the majority of the people… that they were elected to lead? Whether the future you will look at your reflection in the mirror and with hand on heart know that you did your best, that you spoke your truth, that you stood up for what you believed?

I ask you this question, because I truly believe that people go into politics because they wish to change this world for the better, that they can save lives with policies, that they can bring hope to those who so desperately need it.

If I am right, if that is why people choose to go into the political arena, then I must also believe that all of you listening to me today already know the devastating impact that is befalling this once great nation?

Human beings are not meant to be isolated, in fact you are less likely to die if you smoke 15 cigarettes a day, than you are if you are lonely. Loneliness kills, which is why the Alzheimer’s society have been telling us for many, many months that care home restrictions are dangerous to their residents, the elderly literally wither and die…. when they are kept from their close and loving bonds.

We are social creatures, and we need to physically experience the presence of others if we are to thrive. This is what makes us human, this is what keeps us healthy, and this is what kills us when we are denied.

And denied is what we have been, and what we continue to be.

Research is telling us a terrifying story, and one that will be told for many, many years to come, one whose ending will be decided based on moments like today.

I, and so many of my peers believe fiercely that children, more than any other demographic require safeguarding, legally and morally our democratic society should wish to protect children from harm, in fact, the Children’s act clearly, and rightly states that children’s

welfare should be the paramount concern, and that physical, emotional, social and educational harm is unacceptable on any level where children are concerned.

Safeguarding measures exist so that the health, wellbeing and human rights of individuals, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults are protected. So that they can live a life free from harm, abuse and neglect.

Yet, harm, abuse and neglect is exactly what the current restrictions are causing.

The last seven months has seen an exponential rise in reported levels of stress, anxiety and depression, with research finding that 80% of young people are experiencing a decline in their mental health. Suicidal thoughts in young people are also sharply rising, these are children, and they are so afraid, so traumatised, so concerned about their future, that they are deciding whether to experience a future at all.

Indeed, the Government and the media have taught children to be afraid of living, of playing, of loving.

One of the biggest killers in the UK is poverty, in fact, poor people die on average ten years younger that their affluent peers, meaning they will not have the luxury of reaching the age of a Coronavirus death, and yet who are restrictions affecting most? The poor

Children and young people are having their security ripped apart on every level.

Their education, which for some children is the only consistent safety and care that they experience has been utterly desecrated, and thrown into chaos.

They are watching their parents lose jobs, they will soon watch them lose their homes, because restrictions are killing the economy, ruining businesses, and devasting the employment landscape, meaning that many adults will struggle to find work again.

Did you know that nearly two million homes is the UK have no access to the internet, and 30 million people rely on pay as you go phones with very limited data, meaning that the poorest and most marginalised have no voice, imagine having no voice?

This silence means that they cannot tell you their stories, and their story will unequivocally be to end restrictions so that they can feed their children, and remain in the jobs and homes that they deserve to keep.

The Data is now there for all to see, and it unequivocally evidences the continued overreaction of this leadership,

Even more concerning is that scientists and medics who modelled their predictions correctly are constantly shut down, excluded and positioned as loose cannons in the scientific and wider community….even though each has been willing to stand in their truth at a cost to them financially, reputationally and institutionally…..why? They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose…but their integrity, compassion, and scientific dedication, along with their care for the wellbeing and future of the human race means that they cannot remain silent….no matter how loudly they are shut down and attacked…no matter how greatly they lose.

Truth tellers are always willing to lose…..because as my Father taught me, the right way, is rarely the easy way, but it remains the right way nonetheless.

Churchill said,

“All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.” I ask you to do your duty, to restore justice, to show the working classes mercy, and to return the very foundation that democracy is built upon….Freedom

Thank you.

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