Authoritarianism – Why we should all be worried & better informed sceptics

Authoritarianism, in any form, is probably what us liberals try to fight against most of all. Indeed, it is one of the biggest fault lines in our left of centre politics as it splits liberals from socialists because socialists tend to lean towards it whilst Liberals abhor it.

And here we are, because of our present health crisis, in a government sponsored authoritarian state with our freedoms significantly curtailed for our own good. Yet despite us being in a form of lock-down the government which imposed this on us is said, in polls, to be reasonably popular. Do we like being told what to do and when we can do it or are the present restrictions on our lives an almost welcome comfort blanket to wrap ourselves in? And how do we know government is doing its best for us? Yes I know they keep telling us they’re doing all they can but is that really true? We, Jane and Joe Public, don’t have the facts so is it right we that we take the view that government is doing its best in difficult circumstances just because they tell us they are?

My view, as a Liberal, remains as it always has, don’t trust anyone with power – remember the adage ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. We have no sitting Parliament, the official opposition is all but missing in action, there’s no leader of the opposition, why even my own party has no elected leader in place! If ever there was a recipe for state sponsored authoritarianism this heady brew must be it!

And on another level I saw a social media posting the other day which made my blood run cold. It was asking folk whether they were flouting or complying with government instructions via you replying to with 1 of 4 answers. Firstly, who on earth would reply that they weren’t following advice? That would be a big invitation to be trolled would it not? But why do folks want such information? Just think about that for a moment…… Before answering any question ask yourself why you are being asked it.

My other worry is that the very journalists whom we are effectively relying on to hold government to account simply aren’t doing so, with a few notable exceptions of course. I’ve been impressed with Nick Cohen but there’s been too many easy ride media interviews for ministers. Surely ministers should be getting turned inside out via probing investigative journalism aimed at exposing any lies and misrepresentations. Now more than at any time we need tough impartial, well informed interviewers and journalists to make those taking the life and death decisions on our behalf feel the heat.

Don’t cheer a government, no matter what its colour, because it is governing in tough times, keep your foot on the back of its neck or it will do what is best for it rather than what’s best for you.

And to close, this from the BBC website about how we are being policed:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52101040

Quote from BBC article – ‘On Monday, Lord Sumption, a former Justice of the Supreme Court, told Radio 4’s World At One the actions of Derbyshire Police – which also included uploading drone footage of walkers to social media – had “shamed our policing traditions”.

“The tradition of policing in this country is that policemen are citizens in uniform, they are not members of a disciplined hierarchy operating just at the government’s command,” he said.’

My thanks to Chris Reilly for provoking my liberal instincts into action……

3 thoughts on “Authoritarianism – Why we should all be worried & better informed sceptics

  1. Victor foulds says:

    My thought exactly Tony but we are like.This period is so surreal it doesn’t register with me yet.It seems to scaremongering with constant bombardment to stay indoors from Chief medical officer to daily announcements This is so similar to Orwell’s 1984. We are given figured no names of the dead.Keeping us in check.

  2. […] Robertson is our former Group Leader on Sefton Council, and writes on the risks of authoritarianism, and why we should […]

  3. Phil Holden says:

    I don’t think the government is popular because of the authoritarian measures but because people mainly agree they are temporarily necessary, which is a different thing.
    I’m instinctively with Sumption but I can see where the pettifogging Deryshire (and Welsh) Police were coming from, not wanting crowds descending into the country “for exercise” at the current time. They overstepped the mark though.
    In my view now is the time for constructive questioning not foot on neck. Holding to account is for later.
    I agree with you about socialists and liberals: on individual freedoms liberals and tories generally have more in common.

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