As we welcome the end of lockdown, dare we hope to see the banishment of its companion communication strategy, a deliberate strategy of terror that has been mercilessly executed by the Government and its scientific advisers in pursuit of maximum compliance with the restrictions? 

This messaging, designed to create the greatest level of fear and anxiety about the virus, has ruthlessly stripped away the coping mechanisms of those with an existing mental health condition, or those vulnerable to developing one.

As a consequence we now have children who are too frightened to go outdoors lest they kill their parents, adolescents isolated at home suffering from anxiety, eating disorders and self harm, parents battling with depression, desperation and suicidal thoughts, and many old people fading away from loneliness.

It is a strategy that has created a deep well of anxiety. This anxiety will be visible at the school gate, in the classroom, in our workplaces, in our homes, on our streets, in our police stations, and then it will end up in the NHS for months and years to come.

No doubt those in government and Sage will say that driving down cases of the virus justifies the cost – whether in jobs lost, businesses ruined, the educational harm, and the effect on the nation’s long-term mental health and wellbeing.

But there is one question to which one day I will need an answer. Before this deliberate terror was unleashed on our airwaves, did any of these people ask: is what we are doing ethical? Did the Secretary of State ask: is this ethical? Did the Chief Medical Office ask: is this ethical? Did anyone in Sage ask: is this ethical?

Did they ask if it was ethical to create a level of fear that will push many people to the very edge of what they can bear, or even over that edge? Did they ask if it was ethical to embark on a strategy that will leave many of our fellow citizens debilitated with fear, anxiety and worse for years to come, or perhaps a lifetime? 

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