March 29, 2023
UK Govt Aimed to Use 'Fear/Guilt' to 'Frighten' Public Into Obeying Lockdown: Leaked Messages

The British government aimed to “frighten” the general public into obeying the lockdown regime during the COVID pandemic, leaked messages have revealed.

Leaked messages seen by the British press have revealed how the British government aimed to use “fear” and “guilt” to force mass compliance with the country’s lockdown regime.

In particular, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock appeared to be at the centre of the campaign — nicknamed “Project Fear” by pundits — with the then-Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, also being described as jumping in and out of lockdown “fascism” throughout the pandemic.

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.

“Mr Hancock and his advisers did not even try to imagine how the tactics they were gleefully discussing to achieve ‘proper behaviour change’ would affect the most vulnerable in society,” Isabel Oakeshott, the journalist who first leaked the messages, said regarding the then-Health Secretary’s actions.

In particular, Oakeshott highlighted the severe impact the government’s lockdown rules had on the mental health of children, discussing in detail the suicide of one 15-year-old boy who had his life upended by the government restrictions.

The boy’s family is said to have been put under extreme pressure by “over-zealous council officials” who shut down local amenities, eventually forcing the teenager and his family to move to another part of the country.

However, the family was then reportedly unable to find a new school for the teen, who was at this point struggling mentally due to the impact of lockdown.

Eventually, with news of another lockdown on the cards, the boy left his home, telling his mother he was going to the local stores, but never returned.

He was reportedly found “hanging from a tree” three days later.

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.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Johnson’s sister, Rachel Johnson, described her brother as frequently being “bounced” between anti-lockdown beliefs and hardcore “Covid-sanitary fascism” by the data presented to him by those working under him, adding that he ultimately seemed to do what the “gibbering control freaks” in the office wanted.

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