Despite the evidence pointing towards a successful post-Covid reopening, general thought is that the Government is leaning towards delaying the full reopening of the country beyond the 21st of June. This must not happen, writes John Longworth.

There may have been bumps in the road to freedom in the last eighteen months of Covid; a costly and failed test and trace system, the wearing of masks with little evidence that they are of any use, lockdowns which have piled massive debt on our economy and were of questionable value, but now we have a world class vaccination programme, such that we will have individual and herd immunity from Covid.

Soon all the population will have had a jab. Already those vulnerable to serious illness have been jabbed with the exception of refuseniks and those who are immunosuppressed. This is of course thanks not to the NHS primarily, but to the supreme efforts of No. 10 in procuring the supply of vaccines and of the private sector that developed and manufactured the vaccines.

The vaccines either work, in which case we are safe, or they don't, in which case why are we having them? Fortunately, all the evidence points to them working.

At present Covid deaths represent less than two per hundred of all deaths and the number of deaths of all causes (many quite likely a result of undiagnosed and untreated disease other than Covid during lockdown) is just less than 600 more than the five year weekly average. This data ought to be weighed against any calls to continue restrictions when tabled.

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Lockdowns have created a £400 billion debt pile which can only be paid down by taxes – which we should absolutely avoid – or by boosting the economy with tax cuts, deregulation, investment and trade arrangements, all now possible post Brexit, and thus boosting tax receipts. The debt pile will naturally resolve itself over time, but only if we seek super growth right now, which depends on getting back to near normal. The alternative will be the misery of austerity coupled, quite likely, with inflation.

While the public sector has been feather bedded, many businesses have survived this far by the skin of their teeth, any further continuance of restrictions will see them fail and the disappearance of the jobs that go with them. If they go, so will the economic boost and we will look into the abyss of a vicious cycle of debt. If we rack up more debt we may pass the point of no return. Then there will be insufficient tax money to pay for the public sector, including the NHS.

Lockdowns and restrictions have also had a deleterious effect on the health of the nation, mental and physical. This has led to a tidal wave of backlog cases for the NHS, a direct result of the fear deliberately generated in people and of the NHS not doing its job during lockdown, after all only a minority of staff were engaged in ICU activity. Test and Trace was a drain on resources and a costly failure. Nightingales proved to be expensive white elephants and shamefully, many GP surgeries simply closed and put up the shutters. Undiagnosed and untreated disease will cast a long shadow.

Great Britain has an unprecedented opportunity to get ahead of the economic curve because of our vaccination programme, to get super growth, jobs and prosperity, but it depends on freedom day being delivered. Of course it is not just about jobs, business and the economy, it is also about liberty and our freedom to live a normal life without let or hindrance and to travel as we please.

Prime Minister, it is essential that you look at the data, weigh the evidence on all sides of the equation of risk and reward, question the motives of the naysayers and deliver Freedom Day!

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