Govt Aimed to Use ‘Fear/Guilt’ to ‘Frighten’ Public Into Obeying Lockdown
Leaked messages seen by the press have revealed how the Government aimed to use “fear” and “guilt” to force mass compliance with the country’s outrageous covid lockdown regime.
According to a report by The Telegraph, the 100,000 leaked WhatsApp messages have shown how those inside Westminster and Whitehall aimed to twist data into making the pandemic look more severe, seemingly hoping it would increase voluntary compliance with lockdown rules and even increase support for further restrictions.
In one exchange sent in December 2020, Hancock discusses how best to replace talk of the Conservative Party’s Brexit failings within the media with fear about the pandemic, seemingly suggesting a strategic drop of news regarding a new variant of the virus in order to heighten people’s fear response.
“We frighten the pants of everyone with the new strain (sic),” he said in a chat with a Department of Health media advisor, before going on to ask when exactly the state should “deploy” the new variant of the virus to maximise impact and best fight off anti-lockdown elements within both the Tory Party and Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Simon Case, who as Cabinet Secretary is Britain’s top civil servant, appeared to display similar sentiments in other messages, telling Hancock that “ramping up messaging [with] the fear/guilt factor [is] vital” at the beginning of 2021.
Hancock and his team were far from the only government officials trying to push Britons into harsh lockdown restrictions, with Boris Johnson also repeatedly sending WhatsApp messages supporting restrictions.
Early on in August 2020, Johnson was reportedly sceptical about pushing lockdowns, saying that even the elderly would likely prefer for England to remain open considering the suspected mortality rate of the disease.
“If I were an 80 year old and I was told that the choice was between destroying the economy and risking my exposure to a disease that I had a 94 per cent chance of surviving I know what I would prefer,” he wrote in one message.
However, the PM is later seen agreeing in messages with officials supporting greater lockdown efforts, with Johnson ultimately being responsible for multiple serious COVID lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.