There was once a famous Chinese executioner so skilful with his razor-edged sword that crowds would pay to watch him behead criminals.
One day he came to a small provincial town where the authorities had given him a large fee to do away with a notorious killer.
He entered the arena and made several elegant and delicate passes with his weapon.
The condemned man sat gloomily before him, looking unimpressed with all this fuss. ‘Just get on with it!’ he growled.
It may even be that the British Revolution, a horror that this country has repeatedly escaped by good sense and natural conservatism, has actually taken place
The executioner bowed politely, smiled and said softly: ‘Kindly nod, please.’ The murderer did so and his head, already parted from his body by a stroke of incredible swiftness, tumbled from his shoulders.
I think we in this country are like that condemned man. A terrible thing has been done to us but we have not yet realised it.
It may even be that the British Revolution, a horror that this country has repeatedly escaped by good sense and natural conservatism, has actually taken place.
In a lecture of astonishing power and force last week, the former Supreme Court judge, Lord Sumption, revealed in sad detail what has happened to our country in the name of Covid.
I have placed a copy of it and a recording on the Peter Hitchens blog and I strongly advise you to read and watch it.
It says that Parliament has been elbowed aside by Ministers who rule by decree.
Now, Jonathan Sumption is not just a brilliant lawyer. He is also a distinguished historian.
Last year he gave the BBC’s Reith Lectures, and they were the best for many years. If he has any politics I have no idea what they are, but he uses language with immense care.
If he says this ‘has been the most significant interference with personal freedom in the history of our country. We have never sought to do such a thing before, even in wartime and even when faced with health crises far more serious than this one’, then you may be sure that this is so.
When he says ‘Ministers are accountable to no one, except once in five years at General Elections’, you may be sure that this is true. This a complete breach with centuries of law and tradition, and who can say where it might end?
When he points out that laws, backed by tyrannical, ruinous fines, are now made at televised press conferences and enforced by bluff by police forces operating far beyond their authority, then it is happening.
He accuses the Government of showing ‘a cavalier disregard for the limits of their legal powers’. This, he says, is how freedom dies.
And behind it lies an astonishing, previously unnoticed seizure of economic power, which has made the entire Covid panic possible.
In a lecture of astonishing power and force last week, the former Supreme Court judge, Lord Sumption, revealed in sad detail what has happened to our country in the name of Covid. I have placed a copy of it and a recording on the Peter Hitchens blog and I strongly advise you to read and watch it
By long tradition, Parliament has had ultimate control over the Government’s purse strings. It must permit major spending specifically. Without this power it is just a mascot or a toy.
That power has been abolished. Back in March, unnoticed by almost everyone, Parliament vastly increased the Government’s freedom to spend what it liked. The old limit, for emergency spending, was increased from a mere £11billion to almost £270billion a year.
I cannot say where or how this will end. It is my own growing belief that Johnson and Hancock do not understand what they are doing.
Their decision to strangle our struggling economy once again in an alarmist shutdown is one of panic piled on panic and is visibly destroying the NHS they claim to be saving, as well as laying waste to those jobs and businesses they have not yet ruined or obliterated.
I see them as two schoolboys on the footplate of an old-fashioned steam locomotive, clattering into deepening twilight, too scared to call for help, too vain to admit their error. They started it moving by accident, foolishly pulling and pushing at levers whose functions they did not know. Now they cannot find the brakes. The safety valves are blocked. The whistle screams, the pace gathers.
Alas, the rest of us are trapped in the lurching, bucketing train behind them, unable to reach or influence them, let alone stop them.
A needless stampede towards the abyss
The oddest thing about the Panicdemic is that nobody would know it existed if the Government and its mouthpiece the BBC did not constantly seek to terrify us into a state of servile fear.
It does not help that they all presume the truth of the unproven belief that shutdowns control the disease.
In many years, comparable numbers of people die from respiratory ailments. Quite normally, 1,600 people die every day for all kinds of reasons, though it has become almost sacrilegious to say so. Most of them do not die from Covid.
Many die from other diseases whose treatment has been halted or reduced by the Panicdemic.
All such deaths are rightly mourned by the bereaved. Except that, thanks to the Panicdemic, they cannot hold proper funerals.
How long will it be before the realisation sinks in that we have been stampeded, quite needlessly, into poverty and darkness?
If only they would ban Halloween...
Given all the dozens of good things that have been banned in the name of fighting Covid-19, how on earth is it that the miserable imported festival of Halloween was allowed to go ahead in most places?
I had hoped that we might be spared this event, which in some places is little better than door-to-door intimidation and in others leads to near-fatal consumption of sugar by the young.
The daily spectacle of millions walking about in muzzles is quite scary enough.
I had hoped that we might be spared this event, which in some places is little better than door-to-door intimidation and in others leads to near-fatal consumption of sugar by the young. A scarecrow with a pumpkin head is seen above in Italy
The ultimate lockdown lunacy
Any government truly concerned about public health would encourage the growth and spread of gyms, which probably do more than any drug to save us from avoidable disease.
Fit men and women are far more likely than the unfit to fight off and survive diseases such as Covid. Yet gyms are often the victims of shutdown fanatics.
I have had a heartfelt message from gym owners in Wales, determined not to be closed by their irrational, flailing politicians. Lawrence Gainey, of the Welsh Gym Owner Collective, says: ‘We strongly believe gyms are an essential service.
‘It’s a scientific fact that active participation in exercise actually relieves the strain on the precious NHS through the promotion of physical and mental wellbeing. In forcing the closure of gyms, the Welsh Government is performing an incredible act of self-harm to a large proportion of its population and we cannot stand by and allow that to happen.’
I have to say that nothing would induce me to enter a gym anywhere. I’ll stick to my pushbike.
But Mr Gainey is absolutely right and I hope he succeeds.
If you want to comment on Peter Hitchens click here