Beyond pork-barrel politics there is little actual substance to the prime minister’s vision
Everyone has found pandemic restrictions frustrating. Few see them on the spectrum of state coercion tending inevitably towards the Gulag. But the hysterical minority is overly represented in the Conservative party. As a result, the language of political emancipation is misapplied to something that would, in a more rational setting, be discussed in terms of clinical outcome. With so many people vaccinated and so many businesses craving customers, it makes sense to adjust the risk calculus, but for Tory MPs to speak of a “freedom day” is pantomime.
They mean freedom from the face mask, asserting their own right to no longer care about Covid infections, while making it sound like freedom from the disease itself. This is the same reflex that wanted to celebrate Brexit with an “independence day” on the grounds that EU membership equated to colonisation by a foreign power. It is the familiar revving of ideological engines, racing through the rhetorical gears from metaphor to hyperbole to paranoid delusion and fantasies of joining the resistance in people whose only political struggle has been for selection to a safe Tory seat.