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23rd April 2021

Details update: Announcement for location start will come out at 11am tomorrow morning. The march will commence at 1pm. See new photo above for more details.

21st April 2021

Many of the Lockdown Sceptics readers (of which we are a subset) will already be well aware that there will be a march in London on Saturday where people will be coming from all over the country to stand together and walk with all the others who are opposed to lockdowns.

Toby Young confirmed his attendance on London Calling this week, as have other big names in our “camp” including Laurence Fox, James Delingpole, David Kurten, and many others, and, while I am by no means a “big name”, I will also be there, and I think it is worth taking a moment or two to explain why I’ll be there so that I can hopefully persuade a couple more of you to attend too – if that star-studded line-up already mentioned hasn’t swayed you thus far.

The first point that needs to be made is that it will be safe. Of course, I don’t mean ‘safe’ in terms of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – it is pretty clear that the virus is practically entirely out of circulation at this point; I mean ‘safe’ in terms of police heavy-handedness, arrests, or social ostracisation. The march is being organised on Telegram to ensure that it can’t be shut down before it starts; there will be safety in numbers; and, as regards social ostracisation, the tide well and truly is turning. 

If you need further assurance of this, simply look at the last march which was entirely peaceful and largely unencumbered by police presence. This weekend’s will only be bigger and better.

If you’re still hesitant about committing, perhaps because protests and marches often have little to no genuine impact on policies, nor do they often bring about any meaningful change, there is an important difference about this particular protest that should be noted: we will not be marching just so that MP’s ears’ perk up – although, should enough attend, they may realise that their voter base is dwindling, we are also marching to show our fellow citizens who are opposed to lockdowns but don’t know how big the opposition is, haven’t been long-term Lockdown Sceptics readers, haven’t created a Twitter echo chamber for themselves, and haven’t felt they can voice their opposition, just how many others are prepared to stand alongside them. We are marching to counteract the constant censorship and poor journalism coming out of the mainstream media, and, for this, numbers matter.

If you’re still unconvinced, perhaps because you believe that our freedoms are being returned and once we reach 21st June, all will be effectively back to the ‘old normal’, it may be worth pointing out that Michael Gove is currently in Israel discussing vaccine passports and any introduction of vaccine passports would deny us old-normalcy; not only that, but ask yourself how confident you really are that a fourth Lockdown isn’t still on the table as a possibility. This madness is not over just yet.

If none of what I’ve said so far has pulled you down from the fence, then I have one more argument: it’s going to be a good day. The weather forecast currently looks excellent, pubs will have outdoor spaces open, and there is no requirement for anyone who comes to complete the entire march. Instead, consider it a walk through London in the sun with plenty of like-minded people, from which you can tail off after an hour or so for a pint in the sun, should you feel so inclined.

I’m sure there are arguments that could be made, but I’m hoping this will be enough to sway a few of you and I look forward to meeting some of those of you who do come on Saturday.

For those of you not on Twitter or Telegram, I will post a details update on Friday when the details come through.

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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5th April 2021

One of the most frustrating parts of the insanity of the last thirteen months is the difficulty of debate. This difficulty arises for a number of reasons, from fear of censure over voicing opposition to the orthodoxy, to a lack of opportunity to engage in genuine debate as a result of social distancing rules and the closure of hospitality.

However, even as someone who has been consistently vocal about their opposition to the orthodoxy and consistently non-compliant with the rules, and therefore someone who has experienced plenty of censure while also experiencing plenty of opportunities for genuine debate, there has still be a significant difficulty once engaged in debate, and this comes from the fact that it isn’t just one single debate, but five debates, and the risk is that one gets bogged down in one of these five, distracted by the flow of the conversation to the point where 80% of the whole topic ends up getting ignored.

These five debates (or my position on the five debates) are as follows:

  1. Lockdowns are disproportionate to the threat of the virus;
  2. Lockdowns don’t work;
  3. Lockdowns cause significant harms;
  4. Lockdowns are unethical;
  5. There are better alternatives to Lockdowns.

As an example, it is very easy to find yourself spending half an hour debating debate number one above, citing studies showing a highly manageable IFR, showing high levels of cross-infection immunity, showing high levels of population immunity, showing seasonality to be a major factor, and many other elements that would make Lockdowns unnecessary, only to realise after that half an hour, that in focusing on that argument, you have, after a fashion, conceded that there may exist a situation where Lockdowns could be necessary, and so it then becomes crucial that the debate is switched quickly in order to make it clear that this is not the case at all, because, after all, the Lockdowns don’t work (debate two above).

This debate, around the efficacy of Lockdowns, is difficult in a different way, because it requires not just overcoming a year of Government propaganda, but also the “intuitive” assumption that Lockdowns must work because social interaction is reduced so therefore transmission must also be reduced – a.k.a. the Great Common Sense.

And so, you embark on the lengthy journey of pointing out the evidence that the Lockdowns haven’t worked, whether that’s the timing of Lockdown imposition, pairwise comparisons, stringency-to-COVID-mortality correlations (or lack thereof), and so on and so on, only for the inevitable response of denial to be thrown back at you.

“But they must work in theory! I’ve done my part and I haven’t got sick, so it must work for people who actually comply; the only reason we keep going back into Lockdowns is because of those irresponsible people who aren’t doing their part.” They cry.

On we go then, explaining the driving factor of nosocomial transmission of severe cases, the woeful evidential case for asymptomatic transmission, how those not adhering to the Stay-at-Home order are doing so not out of irresponsibility but out of necessity – either for work or for their mental health. But when it becomes clear that you’re not going to get through to whomever you’re locked into the cycle of debates with, you find yourself having to switch debate once more, pointing out that even if the Lockdowns do work to some small extent, it doesn’t really matter because the costs are so high (debate three above).

You point out the huge negative mental health impact, you point out the disastrous loss of businesses, the catastrophic loss of life as a result of losing access to healthcare, the irreplaceable loss of education, and so on, knowing that you will be incapable of succinctly summarising all the costs and the size to which they have amounted that will almost certainly exceed the costs of the virus once it’s all accounted for, only to be met once more with determined indignation, the unjustified claim that those costs are inflated, or the unsubstantiated claim that those costs will be recouped or repaired quickly once the Lockdowns end.

So, again, you try a different tack and point out that “debate three” becomes moot as you slide into debate four, finding yourself entering a more philosophical debate, quoting the Hippocratic Oath, or referencing “First, do no harm”, or the principle of medical ethics whereby it is, by definition, unethical within medical principles to place harm on one individual in order to prevent harm to another. Therefore, the Lockdowns are unethical irrespective of how many lives they “save” if just one person who would otherwise have had no issue without the Lockdowns suffers in any way as a result of them; that so many have suffered makes them immoral, if not criminal, but just one person’s suffering is enough to make them unethical.

But, often, even after getting to this point in the round robin of debates, you will find that the argument still isn’t won, that whomever you are debating with still isn’t swayed. They claim there is some sort of moral obligation to “do your part”; they espouse such nonsense as, “if it saves just one life then it’s worth it”, or they claim there isn’t any other option, completely ignoring the fact that the Lockdowns should never have been considered as an option in the first place, and, despite the fact that it should now be clear that there will be no value in pursuing the noble goal of persuading whomever it is you’ve failed to convince by this point, you push on, in a last-ditch attempt, to debate five.

Although it should be blindingly obvious by this point that the option of doing nothing at all would have been better than imposing the Lockdowns, you point out there is a better option than either and you explain the Great Barrington Declaration in detail and how a focused protection strategy might actually work in practice.

Unfortunately, if you have had to cycle all the way through to this point, it’s highly unlikely that the fifth and final debate will be the pivotal convincing argument; however, if you have failed to convince them by this point, then no one will ever convince them – they are a lost cause, either cognitively impaired or morally bankrupt, so move on, find someone else, jump back on the debate wheel, and try and convince whoever the new person you find next is.

I will finish with a couple more comments on why having these debates over and over again is so important — regardless of how tiring it is. 

The first is that I am (perhaps naively) confident that the majority of people are sceptical of the Government’s approach: most people I talk to seem to intuitively realise that a lot of this is utter nonsense for one reason or another; the latest example I can give is a teacher who dutifully complies with the regulations and safety procedures put in place during the day, only to scratch his head as 150 kids are loaded onto school coaches in the afternoon without social distancing or masks. As I outlined all the reasons he should be scratching his head, he consistently nodded and agreed, and it is my belief that there are many, many people ready to be swayed. It is our civic and moral duty to find them and sway them.

The second and final comment revolves around protest. In three weeks’ time, the people will peacefully descend on London (look out for the hashtag “wewillALLbethere”), and numbers matter. 

So, in an edited tagline finish…

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug. Have a debate. Sway them to our side.

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24th March 2021

Today we’re publishing a story that made me rather emotional.

When I decided to set up Lockdown? What Lockdown? I set out with the same ambition I set out with when I write anything: if I can have a positive impact on one life, then I will have done something worthwhile.

What’s so wonderful about this website though is that I get to hear how you all are finding ways to be positive without me really having to do anything, and that has had such a positive impact on my life; so, at this point, I want to offer up the sincerest of thanks for all of your tales.

But that’s enough about me, onto our story for today…

We had our first Stand in the Park yesterday with over 60 people, which is massive for the Isle of Wight; and we’re confident we’ll have many more next week. But this isn’t just massive for the Island, it’s also massive for me; because, from not being in contact with anyone, I’ve now been able to do what I’ve wanted to do for the past year: I’ve managed to link people to an Island group of sceptics.

This website is not responsible for the gathering, but it is responsible for my being there and regaining that feeling of acceptance and being back in the swim of having friends, which I honestly thought was lost forever. I’ve also found that the skills I have in coming up with ideas, encouraging others and widening the circle are as valued in this technological age as in any other.

I’d wanted to so much to be able to send in a positive story about having had a hug or whatever, but one never came along. Now though, I’ve had multiple hugs, so, here’s my story.

I’ve really struggled over the past year. In the past I had confidence that all that was needed was a good idea and enough energy to make it happen. I’d put a notice in the local library, or sometimes a newspaper, and there would always be a response, so I learned there were a lot of people out there looking for like-minded contacts. 

Despite the deprivations of Lockdown, I actually thought it would be a good opportunity to meet like-minded people, as there would be lockdown sceptics out there keen to make contact, as I am.

The “new normal” seems to be an increasingly virtual world, and I have been strongly resistant to online meetings and social media. I contacted a few people I knew by email, but all seemed to have given up. 

For months I was putting considerable energy in to following up any lead I could find, but with absolutely no positive response, so my efforts were leaving me feeling drained and depressed. I didn’t even get a response from a lockdown sceptic forum, even though there were people who live locally.

The only sense I could make of it must be that my age was putting people off. I didn’t seem to have had a problem in my forties and fifties, but now I’d reached 60.  

As I’m increasingly out of touch with modern means of communication I felt doubly rejected. First as a social pariah, for being a sceptic and not wearing a mask etc., and second because the traditional methods of correspondence to which I am so accustomed have become a dead art. 

Having got to this point, I found Lockdown? What Lockdown?

I rarely cry – and have not done so at any point during the lockdown, but the first story I read brought tears to my eyes. It was so beautiful and a beam of light in a year in which the only relief has been black humour.  

I was so very deeply moved that I wrote to you, to thank you, and to my amazement you replied. The reason I was amazed is that this was the first time I’d received a reply from anyone I’d reached out to in the entire year.  And you gave me good advice, which was to sign up to “The Great Recovery”.

To do that I had to open a Telegram account. 

Having no experience at all with this kind of thing, I found the whole ordeal an enormous struggle. And then, when I finally succeeded, the posts confirmed my worst fears about social media. Most seemed absolutely not worth spending time reading and I felt even more like a relic from the past, now completely out of touch with current ways of doing things and of absolutely no interest to anyone.

However, I persevered, and eventually found a group for sceptics on the Isle of Wight.

Yesterday there was the first Stand in the Park gathering on the Island which over 60 people attended, of which I was one. This was the first of what will now be weekly events and I am sure numbers will grow rapidly in the coming weeks.

Your encouragement helped me at a very dark time. Not only have I now made some new friends, but I’ve also got to grips with this way of communicating.  Admittedly, it’s still not my preferred medium, but because it’s a group of sceptics, who enjoy meeting face to face, most people in the group are now real people to me and not just names.  

Some old acquaintances I’d contacted previously were depressed and lacked motivation to link up, but now I’ve been able to tell them about this real, happening and growing event and they’re keen to come along. 

And, although I’m not much interested in the general posting, through social media I’ve been able to add new people to the group. I have a particular interest in finding ways to reach out to people who are not on social media. And my fears that my age is an issue have also been allayed. When people have interests and enthusiasms in common, age is not an issue. Everyone’s just happy to see everyone.

A happy little tearjerker is that one person at the Stand in the Park had 60 people singing Happy Birthday to her.  She’d had a particularly hard time and had lost her partner, and for her to experience this support and fellow feeling was a moving and wonderful thing, and, as it turned out, the second time tears have come to my eyes in the past year.

This website is not responsible for the gathering, but it is responsible for my being there and regaining that feeling of acceptance and being back in the swim of having friends, which I honestly thought was lost forever.  

Following a very grim year, I now have a sense of a future for myself. We all held hands and we hugged and lovely things were said to each other. I made new friends and also renewed contact with old friends I’d lost contact with.  

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for sending this in, and, if anyone else reading this is on the Isle of Wight, or you know of someone who is, please share this with them. The value of humanity is in our togetherness, and we will be together again, soon, I promise.

But, for now, keep up the excellent work of looking out for one another, and remember…

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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Given an inch, I’ll take a mile

Today we’re publishing an original piece from us looking at how best to skirt around the rules still in place through the planned roadmap.

13th March 2021

The Government’s roadmap may be moving at a glacial pace, especially as Scotland starts to accelerate its unlocking; however, there are a few gems hidden within it – loopholes, if you will – if you look closely and creatively enough.

Step 1a – 8 March

From 8 March, schools returned, and we were permitted to leave home for a picnic with one other individual not in our household or support bubble. We all know about these; however, also added to the easing of restrictions was that “Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group.”

This means that you would be well within your legal rights were you to organise an activity for your child and your friends’ children that would allow you to discuss, in person and with those friends, a certain business idea you might be keen on pursuing with said friends. If that should take the shape of a playdate for the kids and a dinner party for the adults, well, so be it – it’s not as if you can host a business meeting in a restaurant right now.

Step 1b – 29 March

The additional easing that comes on 29 March includes outdoor sports (where formally organised) to resume, and the rule of six (or two households) to return, including for private gardens.

This is the date that the Stay-at-Home order will be lifted, and, also, I believe the date the nation will reach critical mass on non-compliance as enforcement of the rules on private gatherings will become too difficult; however, we are looking at legal loopholes here, not outright non-compliance.

So, here’s what I’m thinking… The five individuals who you have over for a BBQ on 29 March will, of course, be permitted entry to the home in order to pass through to the garden. Once you’ve kindly permitted your guests entry to your home, I suggest you ensure they get lost on the way to the garden, ideally somewhere around the dining table, or the living room; while getting lost in a strange place is always stressful, were they to spend the entire day “passing through the home on the way to the garden”, that would appear to be within the rules come 29 March.

Step 2 – 12 April

The current plan will see a fair few restrictions lifted in Step 2 on 12 April, including pub gardens, gyms, zoos, theme parks, non-essential retail, hairdressers and so on, and so the need for loopholes starts to dwindle.

However, there is one restriction easing that I plan to take advantage of: “Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).”

While funerals must, it seems, take place at a registered address, at no point is it specified where such commemorative events must take place, and so, from 12 April, I plan to hold weekly wakes for the passing of my great friends Civil Liberties, Common Sense, and Inalienable Rights. Their passing has caused me immeasurable grief, and I fear I will need to mourn this loss on a regular basis – until such a day arrives that they may be revived.

Step 3 – 17 May

Come 17 May, as per the Government’s roadmap, my life will be largely, and practically, unaffected; however, my weekly wakes can be extended to thirty people by this point.

Step 4 – 21 June

I won’t speculate this far, not least because the language in the roadmap changes and becomes somewhat worrisome as each easing of restrictions includes the words “we hope to”, as opposed to steps 1-3 which uses the words “it will be”; you will forgive me for not having too much faith in this Government’s “hopes” at this point.

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9th March 2021

There is one good thing about the roadmap — other than the fact it exists at all, and that is that the restrictions that are being eased earlier are the ones that make it easiest to “bend the rules”.

For example: when, in three weeks, we are permitted to have people over, so long as they stay in the garden, and the total number doesn’t exceed six, we will realistically be able to confidently invite ten people over and then spend the entire time indoors.

I hope it doesn’t stop there though. Instead, I say, they give us an inch, let’s take a mile.

I.e. when the rule of six is returned for private gardens and you have a 500-person rave in your basement, let us know!

Anyway, onto the stories, and we have two to share with you today. First up is from a couple with their ears to the ground who have been moonlighting as delivery drivers simply for something to do in the evenings!

Sick of staying in at night, my partner and I signed up to work for a delivery service and now spend the evenings driving around the county delivering food to people. It’s blatantly obvious that people are having gatherings in their homes all over the place and I love it.

The evening streets are a far cry from when the night time economy is open, but there’s a hive of activity with all the different delivery services. You don’t see many masks. People chatting in takeaway queues. Smiling faces receiving their takeaways or shopping.

We’ve seen so many glimpses of normality, and it’s so refreshing to see that, outside of our usual lockdown-fanatic Zoom-based circle, there are others like us, just getting on with their lives.

Next up is an absolute corker for which I won’t waste any more time introducing.

We send our 11-year-old to the small shopping centre every week with his school friend, who he picks up on the way, to get them out of the house and make sure they get some exercise. Of course, we send them off under instructions to maintain strict social distancing (as would be expected of all 11-year-olds).

They were enjoying a couple of ice-creams as their reward on their way back yesterday, when a woman with two similar aged children passed by. The other kids shouted at my son and his friend, “you’re anti-vaxers, anti-maskers, you must be Karen’s kids.” The woman turned to her own kids and said, “Good job.”

Our son was having none of that though. He turned to the woman and said, “What’s
the problem, you must have had your vaccine, as you are over 60.”

She was probably in her late 30’s or early 40’s but he doesn’t put up with anyone insulting his mum!

And on that wonderfully light note, I will bid you adieu for now!

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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8th March 2021

It is finally the day of the first step on the Government’s road to freedom.

It seems like a big day, and, of course, it is wonderful to have schools back open again, but at the same time, we’re all here because we believe the Government’s route out of lockdown is a farce and everything should be open now.

Well, we may be lagging behind, but the cards are starting to tumble with more and more US states releasing all restrictions. North Dakota even going so far as to pass a bill that would make imposing mask mandates illegal in the future!

Oh, how wonderful it is to see sanity prevailing.

On the topic of mask mandates, thank you to everyone who read our debate and voted — we have now closed the poll, and I can reveal that the motion proposed was passed by 58% to 42%.

Now, onto what you all really come here for… we have a truly lovely story from a piano teacher for which you may want to prepare your sleeve or grab yourself a tissue.

I am a piano teacher. In the first lockdown, and in this latest one, I very sadly moved my lessons online but went back to in-person lessons as soon as there was any legal loophole to allow it. I never wore a mask (I’m exempt) but did some keyboard cleaning and hand gel stuff initially to keep everyone happy until I got the measure of what the parents actually felt was necessary.

I initially sat about a metre away (mostly), but as playing  duets with my pupils is an ‘essential’ part of teaching that soon went out of the window. A few parents have chosen to stay with online as it’s ‘safer’, but the vast majority have obviously appreciated that my lessons have been a haven of normality for their children.

One 7-year-old always used to give me a hug at the end of the lesson, so I have been creative about online hugs with large cuddly toys and we have since always exchanged a ‘mimed hug’ in face-to-face lessons.

Last lesson before the recent lockdown I commented as we ‘mimed’, “Oh M. I hope that we’ll be able to have a real hug very soon!” at which point she threw her arms round me, and of course I reciprocated.   (I guess if I was being a ‘responsible person’ the ‘caring’ thing to do would have been to thrust her away???)

Today was our first lesson in person since then, and as M mimed her hug I mentioned to her mother that I had read on ‘Lawyers for Liberty’ that hugs are not in fact illegal. We discussed the ridiculousness of our slight concern about what others would think if M told her friends and then she was ‘given permission’ to hug me. The hug lasted at least a full minute as mum and I finished our conversation.

Clearly ‘essential’.

If it wasn’t clear from our tagline, we love hugs here at Lockdown? What Lockdown?, and we loved this story.

Just a quick final note; we are going to be switching to ad-hoc posting from this week, publishing your stories as and when they come in. Those who have hit the follow button will, of course, continue to get post updates via email though.

And that’s it for today!

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug!

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5th March 2021

Happy Friday all.

As we have published the opening statements of our Mask Exemption Lanyard Debate today (do take a look!), we will only be publishing one story for you today — but it’s a great one that gives me hope that we are perhaps not so small a minority as the pollsters would have us believe…

In the past two months I have had a company to check over my PV panels (as part of a contract) and I had a boiler service carried out. 

Two lads arrived to do the PV panels which are in/on an agricultural shed. As they got out of their van, they started to put on masks, so I said, “it’s entirely your choice but you don’t need to wear the ‘f***ing’ masks for my sake”. With alacrity they ripped them off, stuffed them back in their pockets, and said thanks. I made them a cuppa while they were doing electrical tests and a nice chat. All normal and I doubt very much that we had anything resembling “blood on our hands”.

A few weeks later the boiler engineer was booked for 8am and duly arrived bang on time; one guy on his own wearing a cloth mask. Same routine: “it’s entirely your choice but you don’t need to wear the ‘f***ing’ masks for my sake”. Again, he takes it off with a thanks and comes into the house to do his job. I quickly found out he is a fellow sceptic, and we had a fine hour slagging off Johnson and his so-called experts. It was almost worth the hundred quid to get to talk face to face with a fellow sceptic! 

I was intrigued to hear that many of his customers are near-sceptics or sceptics apparently and he regaled me with various stories about customer behaviour in these times. There was one especially sad one about a middle age lady who was obviously scared witless but needed her broken boiler repairing. He arrived to be told to stay at the end of the garden and put on an extra mask and gloves. He obliged his customer. He then asked her to show her what was wrong, but she said she couldn’t be in the house with him (even double masked when they work so well?) so he entered into what appeared to be a virus pathology lab! The way to the errant boiler was swathed in polythene and parcel tape.

He got the boiler working and left the house, telling the figure cowering at the end of the garden that it was now functional!

You have to feel sorry for someone who has fallen for all the psy-ops so completely and living such a miserable fearful existence, while also feeling utter disgust and disdain at those who have created this monster — a monster over which, they will find out, they have lost control.

What I have taken from this story is that there is less need to keep our scepticism quiet than perhaps previously perceived. Share your position with those around you, and perhaps, just maybe, we will begin to see just how far from a “small minority” we really are.

Ignore the Government propaganda telling you to “stop the spread of the virus”, but do go around spreading information, spreading non-compliance, while also spreading compassion.

And on that note, I only have one thing left to say…

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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4th March 2021

Today we have two stories for you, and indeed plan to limit our posts to two stories from now on so that everyone who tunes in has the time to share in the little ray of light we seek to shine from this fringe website.

That said, we do love reading your tales of civil disobedience, so please keep sending them in – especially now that Lord Sumption has stated we have no moral obligation to obey these despotic laws. (Well worth a listen, or a watch, even if we do disagree with him on vaccine passports.)

Our first story, in a fantastic twist, is a wonderful little snitch of a tale, numbering those who stand against us as being among us!

Myself? I’ve taken the bus into town for pretty much no reason, and, on my journey, I heard one of the other passengers saying that they were going to get rollers as they were decorating! That made me smile. Living on the edge we are.

However, for my main tale, I will snitch on my family. My niece and her boyfriend were coming down to visit her parents (is this an essential journey?) and had contacted my parents (her grandparents) saying that she would like to visit to stand at the end of the drive to see them and have a chat / say hi. My parents were obviously very pleased about this and later sent me a photo of my niece and her boyfriend as I have not yet met him. They were both sat in the front room on the sofa! Lockdown? What lockdown?

Then, my sister and her husband drove the hour and half to see their daughter and her boyfriend in their new house the following weekend! I mean, was this one also an essential journey? Was it local? Have these people lost their minds? But what’s so great about this is… these are the people that are buying into this whole lockdown thing!

Our second story is more about a regular gesture of non-compliance than a single specific event – but we loved it just the same!

Many people are concerned that if they don’t wear a mask they will be challenged, or at the very least subjected to negative vibes. However, I have not once been challenged or received a dirty look – or perhaps I just can’t see expressions behind a mask! I wore a visor for a period of time, and it made me feel happy to see anyone who was brave enough not to cover their face. So instead of worrying about negative vibes, I assume the sight of my now maskless face is lifting oppression and spreading joy. You can be sure that will be the case for the many people who are desperate for some semblance of normality.

Supermarkets often position employees, with no obvious job to do, at store entrances. Security staff don’t challenge people who are not wearing masks as they have been told that they must not harass people. Their presence is to trigger anxious feelings which prompt people to conform.

The government states “No person needs to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering”. “Severe distress” is one allowable reason for breaking lockdown rules.

Masklessness can give a wonderful sense of freedom, rising above the nonsense and also raising the spirits of at least some other people and giving them courage to resist. As Steve Biko said, “The greatest weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”. Think how wonderful it will be when on every trip to the supermarket we see more and more people baring their faces. Lead the way, break free and share smiles!

Now, this story is particularly relevant because of a debate we are having within ourselves at Lockdown? What Lockdown? regarding the exemption lanyards. We agree with one another that we should not be wearing masks at any point; however, we disagree on the wearing of lanyards, and, in a bit of a special feature this weekend, we will be publishing this debate for you to peruse and then cast your vote on – so stay tuned for our opening statements that will be coming out tomorrow.

For now though, enjoy yourselves as best you can, and…

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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3rd March 2021

Welcome back to another day of Lockdown? What Lockdown?

Hopefully, many of you will have seen the wonderful news coming out of USA of both Texas and Mississippi lifting the mask mandates and all restrictions — long may the cards continue to fall!

You may have also seen the discouraging news that “our” Government has stated that there will be no quickening of the roadmap. I remain unconvinced by this. If the house of cards continues to tumble and the rest of the Western World ends up out of Lockdown having only vaccinated one-tenth the proportion of the population we have, they will have no choice.

So, stay hopeful.

As for those of us who are already ignoring the Lockdowns as best as possible, we have only two stories for you today. Our first notes a hopeful sign coming out of the butcher’s.

Disappointing to read that the stories are running out – they are a great antidote to the doom and gloom, and the “it’ll be months before things go back to normal” narrative.  Two anecdotes to prime the pump:

1.      on Saturday, the butcher told me he had been swamped with orders for party-packs of barbecue food – surely a welcome sign.
2.      on Sunday (which just beat Saturday as the nicest day of the year so far), we went for a 10-mile walk in Cranborne Chase, stopping half-way for a rest (and a sandwich, which I guess is a picnic, although would it have been if we had been standing up?).  We saw all of 5 other people to say hello to (at a distance, and outside…)  In what parallel universe is that adding to any risk?

I do think that last thought is worth some focus – wherever one stands on the fear spectrum, it simply cannot be the case that, however far you drive, however far you walk, and however long you sit in the sunshine eating, you are risking your or anyone else’s health.

Get out.  Enjoy the sunshine.  Feel alive.

Our second story takes a different route and talks about the vaccines. We weren’t sure about publishing this one at first; however, given that getting the vaccine has an appearance of being a restriction (or at the least, becoming one…) we decided we would publish it.

I have now had three comments thrown my way in response to my stating that I have no desire to get the SARS-CoV-2 jab: one just outright accusing me of being “antivaxx”; one which went something like, “see, now you’re stepping into antivaxx territory”; and one which went something like, “so, I assume you’re antivaxx, then?”

The problem with discussing anything with these kinds of people is that they make their assumptions early, and then one is forced to battle their preconceived notions, rather than inform, educate, and persuade on anything resembling a level-playing field for debate.

It is the same with discussing lockdowns from a position of being anti-lockdown; first you have to convince your esteemed interlocuter that you are not insane before they will pay any attention to your “ideas and opinions”. Pointing out that I am not putting forward “ideas and opinions”, but rather conclusions that it seems inconceivable anyone would be able to disagree with were they to investigate for themselves and have access to all the same information appears to carry no weight either.

And so, it seems, every debate regarding the vaccine has to start with the phrase, “I’m not antivaxx, but…”

I thought I would outline my “buts” here.

First up is one that I never thought would need to be specified, but, unfortunately, appears is necessary: not wanting one vaccine does not an antivaxxer make.

As a gay man, I am more susceptible to the HPV virus; however, there is only one place in the country a man can get the HPV vaccine (or, at least, there was when I decided to get it): the MSM clinic in Brighton. It is also a three-shot vaccine and each trip down took a total of four hours, but I was happy to give up twelve hours of my life to significantly reduce my risk of contracting this nasty virus.

This neatly leads onto my second point. Every medical procedure an individual goes through should be based on a personal risk assessment. In the case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, having already contracted it and recovered in a matter of days, I see my risk of not having the vaccine as being as close to nil as is scientifically possible. Based on everything I am seeing regarding the vaccine, on balance, I see my risk of taking the vaccine as tiny; most likely, I have a sore arm and possibly a bit of a headache for a day or two. However, a tiny risk is still greater than an infinitesimal one; and so, based on my personal risk assessment, not getting the vaccine wins out against getting the vaccine.

This leads into my third argument, which is more principled: I will not get any medical procedure on the basis that “my” Government wants me to have it.

Indeed, the very fact that the Government is attempting to coerce individuals into abandoning their right to make their own personal risk assessments regarding a medical intervention encourages me to stand against this on principle, effectively abandoning my own personal risk assessment and simply saying “no”. This is anti-big-state, not antivaxx.

In the raging hypothetical where the data were clear, where the risk of the vaccine was minimal, where the virus posed a greater risk to my age group (under 30s) than it does, and where the risk of re-infection was greater than it appears to be, but where the Government was still attempting to coerce individuals into taking the vaccine, then I would still be opposed to taking it.

The final argument I have is more forward looking, and less personal. While it appears to still be up for debate what the Government is attempting to do regarding the Lockdowns, if one were to extrapolate from the idea that they were trying to get away with a monstrous crime against humanity, then a reasonable conclusion to draw would be that they are seeking a way of ensuring that the only explanation for escaping this “pandemic” is the vaccines that they so expertly sourced, secured, and rolled out in a bid to vindicate their actions over the last twelve months.

If this is the case, then the greater the number of individuals who refuse the vaccine, the harder claiming that narrative becomes, and the harder it is for the Government to claim this narrative, the less likely it is that they will be able to escape justice for all the harms they’ve caused over the last twelve months.

I am not antivaxx, but I am pro-debate, I am pro-individual choice based on risk assessments regarding medical procedures, I am anti-big-state, I am anti-fraud, and I am pro-justice, and it is on these grounds that I will refuse the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

That is all we have for today, and so, from us here at Lockdown? What Lockdown?, remember to find what joy you can as you go about your day, and, if you can…

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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1st March 2021

Happy Monday and Happy March.

Today marks the start of the final stretch on the road to Government-issued freedom, with schools returning in a week, and the Rule of Six returning for outdoor gatherings returning by the end of the month, and, with it, much greater opportunities for rule-bending.

However, this Government-issued freedom, it should be remembered, is our back-up plan. Our freedom should never have been within the gift of the Government, and we will continue to celebrate those who agree with us.

Today is also a special day as it marks what we here at Lockdown? What Lockdown? perceive to be the first card to fall in the massive house of cards that is the Lockdown fraud: Sacha Lord’s court case that ruled against the substantial meal rule sets a precedent; restrictions that are not based in science, that are disproportionate, or that are discriminatory towards certain sections of society can, and will, be dismantled in the courts.

Why is this so important? Because it is how every last restriction can be described.

So, for now, continue to send in your stories – but I am hopeful that we will be able to part ways and say our farewells in the not-too-distant future!

And so, on to our first story today, a short, sweet message reminding us to be positive in the face of adversity:

I’ve only worn a mask once (for my dear hairdresser), and not done any of the other stuff we’ve been told to. In particular, I don’t use the awful lingo of the ‘flu. I think the situation has actually helped me develop spiritually and pushed me to be more tolerant of those who hold different views to mine; I gave up trying to change other people’s minds last May and try not to argue or contradict. Being positive, hopeful and kind are the things which will help things change for the better, so I try to be that way.
With very best wishes to all readers.

This message reminded me of something said by Leonardo Da Vinci: “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”

Let us smile in this trouble; let our hearts be firm; and let us be confident that our conscience approves our conduct.

Our second story comes from a reader who has found her strength in the stars:

Dear all, I’m a 70+ year old woman, and have been a complete sceptic and non-complier (but a friendly, good-humoured one) since all this began. My developing view has been to try to find a helpful and uplifting spiritual perspective regarding what’s been happening.
– I’ve found astrology (which I study and practise) a great help; and Pam Gregory’s videos – especially her ‘Thoughts on 2021’ – invaluable.
– We create our own reality through what we believe, and our inner attitudes, and I feel that the Universe has helped me steer quietly but freely, independently and cheerfully through the last 12 months. I have lived my life much as always (except, alas for not being able to visit pubs much) and had almost no aggro from anyone.
– I try to take the Ho’oponopono view that we must all have collectively helped create the current situation through past-life actions, our beliefs etc, so need to take some personal responsibility for it. I have personally found the Ho’oponopono prayer/mantra (‘I am very sorry’ etc, which I’ve used for many years) incredibly transformative and healing.

We liked this story not just because of its positivity, but particularly because we don’t hold the same beliefs – instead believing that there are those who should be held accountable, and we who have stood against this tyranny do not number among them; however, what separates us from those whose consciences will not approve their conduct is that we are welcoming of anyone living their life as they would wish to.

Our third story comes from a lawyer who has felt encouraged by our other stories and frustrated by all the small things – I’ll let them explain:

How lovely, and encouraging, to see others treating the rules with the respect they deserve. There are times when I (almost) despair – the fellow walkers who leap to the side of the path to avoid passing within two (or often three) meters; the lone drivers wearing masks; the traffic lights outside supermarkets (I’ll go to the one across the road, thanks); the (now former) friends who won’t meet up “because of the Covid thing”; the motorway signs telling me to “STAY HOME SAVE LIVES”; the propaganda on the radio asking if I always wear my mask over my nose (among other stupid questions). 

The big stuff – the lies; the false data; the economic, physical and mental damage to people who are least able to bear it, for minimal, or possibly no, benefit – are issues for another website. They are awful, but it is the small things that really affect me the most. They are personal.

And I think it is in the small push-backs that we can best save our individual sanity. Maybe one of us can be that last straw.

So:
–       I have driven 100 miles most weekends to stay with a friend;
–       had friends and family for meals, and to stay; and
–       hugged a lot of people – and a lot of people really want a hug and I have not been stopped, or questioned, or had a knock on the door from the Old Bill. Ever. There’s no meaningful risk that I can see. (And any fine won’t be processed until, oh, 2028, if they’re lucky.)

We can do this. 

Our fourth story is another short and sweet tale that is hopeful that more visibility will lead to more freedom:

My sister came round for a cup of tea and mentioned that mum wasn’t going out anymore and was even getting her groceries delivered rather than go to the shops. So, a few days later I took her to a National Trust place to see the snowdrops. We sat on a bench and had coffee, along with three other families. Apart from the shop being closed and some annoying and stupid one-way systems around the gardens, it was a nice, normal afternoon. Hardly anyone wearing a mask, though lots of scarves since all the warm parts of the place are shut! Hopefully mum can now see that we’re not all shut in our homes, though all her social activities are now on zoom, and will get to venturing out more on her own.

Let’s hope so! Especially with the warmer weather coming in, getting out and about can only be a good thing!

Our final story for you today comes from Wales (with some encouraging crossover with the rest of our United Kingdom!):

I have been a sceptic for a year now. Actually, that’s wrong, I’ve been a sceptic for at least 55 years after my BS detector developed at age 9, but you know what I’m referring to. 

My partner and I have done our best to follow the arbitrary rules these past twelve months, only seeing grandchildren and family in the summer, but gradually getting more and more angry and upset at the hubristic shenanigans of a small clique of politicians and their narrow-minded advisors overreacting and, like naughty children, avoiding parliamentary scrutiny.

We enjoyed a few indiscretions in the summer, such as having nine people on our patio; we also had one part of the family and grandkids over on Christmas day, but they went at 6pm to avoid their car turning into a pumpkin or something. Apparently, our Welsh first minister, Drakeford (a fine, dynamic and intelligent man), warned that otherwise we would kill our grandparents. Problem with that argument; my last grandparent died 35 years ago.

Last week, we thought sod it and had some of the grandkids over from England for a sleepover – the first time we’d seen them since before Christmas. The littlest one was having a birthday, so we had a party for him. Oh, to live life dangerously!  

The daft thing is one of the kids, his mother, his father and us had a dose of SARS-CoV-2 in one form or another: the father developing classic COVID-19 symptoms (including not being able to taste his beer for 3 months!) all the way back in March 2020! His mother had had the vaccine last month. So, it was hardly a rash and dangerous action and, in any case, we are adults and should be left to make our own decisions rather than be micro-managed by a clique of intellectual children who do not understand the real world but only their narrow disciplines. 

Two kids luckily have a good nanny, and a good school, and have been well home schooled. The others have mostly been going to their school because of both parents being essential workers. We stayed a few nights in November when we were not “allowed” to do that (separate countries and all that – RIP UK) and the kids were all in and out of each other’s houses which was a joy to behold and great fun — although a bit noisy!

This latest Lockdown (number 12b) is harder on them as, unlike previous Lockdowns, they did get to meet friends in the street, as many parents are now keeping them in. They are being badly affected by not being able to get out to see their friends and it is cruel. It seems as though it is relaxing a bit now as people begin to see through the BS though.

I only hope we at least, eventually, have a proper independent enquiry. At the very least we have to see that this sort of thing can NEVER happen again. 

That, indeed, must be the goal: once we win the battle for our freedoms, we must never allow them to be taken away again.

That is it for today, folks. Unfortunately, we are running a little low on stories now, so we might not be posting on a daily basis for the rest of this week.

However, even if we’re not talking about it, do remember: Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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26th February 2021

Welcome back to yet another day of celebrating all the little ways in which you have rebelled against the Lockdowns by living your lives. It’s been wonderful to read and share these little moments as we seek to adjust the level of societal fear back to something resembling proportionality.

We have four stories for you today, including a feature piece from a paediatric mental health worker, but first up is a great snippet of how a couple of friends have mitigated the pubs being closed.

A friend and I have built ourselves a mini pub in his shed. We brew our own beer and meet for a few happy hours every weekend to watch our rubbish football team and pretend we live in a normal world. It is no exaggeration to say this oasis has kept me sane while the lunatics are running the asylum.

Our second story follows this theme of finding enterprising ways of getting the pub vibe without the pubs!

I drove from Oxford to a village near Reading last night to attend a meeting of fellow lockdown refuseniks!

We met in the upstairs room of a non-compliant café by candlelight! It was wonderful. I had a beer, I laughed, and met I some lovely people.

More of the same soon!

Our penultimate story covers examples of life-living going right back to the very beginning.

My father is a relatively fit 85-year-old living alone. After the first week of Lockdown, we went in to sort out his computer and teach him to use Zoom. It became apparent that he was losing the ability to talk and couldn’t really cope with the lack of stimulus. So, I started going in to clean his flat and to accompany him on his alarmingly long walks. My sister also visited with Sunday dinner and sorted out his house and maintenance. This has continued for the past year.

We have also had two new babies in the family, one in Nottingham and the other Poole. We live in London. We have visited both families and had them both to stay too.

At Christmas, my father was able to stay while one family was with us (and my other son snuck in around the back), and he has now cuddled all four of his great-grandchildren. He was never in any danger, we were careful. We took him on holiday to a flat in Poole to visit one grandson and, when the pubs were open, we went for pub walks.

We also managed a holiday in Grasmere with my daughter and her family, a trip to Chester and Rutland, and managed a birthday celebration in early December with 3 separate groups of 6 arriving throughout the day — the first two outside and then my sisters inside.

My husband has studied the law and we have ignored the guidance. I wouldn’t say that this year hasn’t been without its stresses, mainly caused by the last-minute changes in law, but we have managed to keep our family together and, with nine adults and three children, it has had some funny moments, like two groups on Poole beach in September meeting in the water for a swim.

And so we come to a fourth and final story today. I won’t keep you from it any longer; instead, I will just leave you in the capable hands of our anonymous paediatric mental health worker.

I’m happy to report that I haven’t ‘done’ lockdown. I support the Great Barrington Declaration and I think in the fullness of time those brave experts will be vindicated. From the very beginning, I made a decision that I would not participate in the insanity of lockdown, so I simply haven’t. It’s been much easier than I expected. I’ve had a weekly gin and tonic night with my brother and his wife and have caught up with my nephews and nieces. They are teenagers, and their friends have always been in and out of the house. Sometimes my elderly parents have come too. We’ve had family barbecues, walks, meals etc at each other’s houses. In the first lockdown, when our family business nearly went under, we met every day for strategy chats and tea and sympathy. Quite right too.

Best of all, I’ve fallen in love, I signed up for online dating in the summer as I was just so enraged at the government’s edict about relationships. I soon met a lovely chap, and, when able, we had a series of dates in restaurants and hotels. Since the tiers system and then Lockdown 3 we’ve taken not the slightest bit of notice; we stay together every weekend, and friends come over for drinks, dinner, Sunday fry-ups etc. His neighbours know my car by now and give me a nod because they are quietly breaking the rules too. I think this discrete neighbourly ‘omerta’ is taking place up and down the land; it’s the British way: you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you.

I’ve never worn a mask, and have only ever been challenged once (and that retailer is now shopped to the EHRC!). I wear a lanyard – I am in fact medically exempt but wouldn’t wear a mask even if I wasn’t – and I am always polite, I smile a LOT, but I call it my ‘invisibility cloak’. I find it a brilliant conversation starter at checkouts in the supermarket, and I love getting a wink and a thumbs up from other lanyard wearers when I’m out and about. Staff on the till are the biggest sceptics of all (the posher the supermarket, the more eye rolling they do!) and I encourage everyone to ask them about how Lockdown has been for them; you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the conversation you end up having with other people in the queue.

I’ve taken no notice of ‘essential’ journeys, it’s nobody’s business where I go, what I do, or with whom I do it. I have regular walks and meet-ups with other friends and family members, and their kids, and I generally try to act like Lockdown is not happening. Visitors have always been welcome at my home. I actually feel a responsibility to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, as I see so many people punch-drunk with fear, or worse, with curtain twitching moral certainty, and I think it’s important to ‘be the change you want to see’. People need to see there’s nothing to fear, and people need to realise they have no right to judge or moralise — that’s not the British way. I also feel very strongly that it’s not my job to babysit other people’s ill-disciplined feelings — if you really cannot control your fear to this extent, then you stay at home and hide under the stairs. Let the rest of us assess our own risks and make our own decisions, thank you.

This whole thing is, in my view, a posh panic, a middle-class indulgence. I’ve found the sense of entitlement just astonishing. Young, fit, healthy professionals who should have ‘taken one for the team’ in the name of herd immunity have hidden at home – all zoom yoga and banana bread – sparing not a thought for the ordinary people, often a lot older, or in poorer health in those blue-collar jobs that have had to fetch and carry for them. It’s embarrassing. I work in kids’ mental health, and I can assure your readers it’s an absolute bloodbath, what we’ve done to kids in the name of ‘safe’ should shame us all. We have a good few NHS workers in our extended circle and they are embarrassed and ashamed at what our health service has done, particularly to the elderly. I think the public are going to be absolutely disgusted at what is revealed at the inevitable public inquiry. I made a decision very early on that none of this would be done in my name.

In short, I’d really like to encourage people not to be afraid. Life does not promise us freedom from risk, and being a citizen in a democracy is not a passive thing, we have an important job to do. Lockdown isn’t something that is done to us, it’s something we are participating in every minute, something we as citizens are deciding to do or not do. We have a moral obligation as free people to think about what that actually means, what cowardice means. The only reason this lockdown is still holding is people keep doing as they are told. So, there’s no need to be rude, or offensive, or frighten other people; just quietly go about not ‘doing’ lockdown would be my advice, it’s surprisingly easy.

People – who really should know better – have repeatedly compared lockdown to the war, but this comparison is offensive, I think. During the war, ordinary people took extraordinary risks, and sacrificed a great deal because they decided that given a choice between death and freedom, they chose freedom. That’s my take on Lockdown — although the reality of ‘resistance’ has been far gentler and more prosaic: wandering into a Tesco Express without a mask is hardly equivalent to being behind enemy lines; but it is just as important I believe. If not me, then who?

Come the reckoning (and it really is coming) very many people, currently basking in smug, moral certainty are in for a very, very nasty shock. I shall enjoy their comeuppance. Until such time, my conscience is clear.

It is with that massive mic drop moment that I will leave you to have a wonderful weekend of seeing friends and family and living life as best as you can.

If you do find yourself living something resembling your best life this weekend, let us know about it. We’ll be back on Monday with more of your stories.

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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25th February 2021

Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to send in your stories; they’ve come in thick and fast, and so many of them are making us smile, so, really, please do keep them coming.

I also want to just quickly add that there are so many of your stories that I wish I could reply to because of how fantastic they are, but I hope that saying this here will be enough.

Last thing before we get to your stories for today; I had been assured that I would be getting a story or two from students currently living in London. These stories have failed to materialise. When I harassed those who’d assured me they’d be sending in stories, this was the response I received:

“I’m so sorry, we’re legit partying too hard to have time to tell you how hard we’re partying.”

Stay tuned though — I’m sure we’ll hear from them soon!

Today, we’re kicking off with an excellent story from Richmond, London.

In the past couple of weeks, me and my partner have seen our siblings — in public settings outside our immediate area — and found these experiences made us feel normal, they refreshed us and re-energised us after a tough few months during which we have both struggled with our mental health. Seeing my girlfriend back to her old self after months was wonderful; I haven’t felt so warm since before the winter.

The experience on Sunday was particularly notable. The three of us — me, my partner, and her sister — sat by the riverside in Richmond, enjoying cheap ciders and casual chats on the first warm day in a while. We were surrounded by groups of people — clearly not all from the same households, and with a great spread in age — doing the same.

The atmosphere was pleasant, convivial, even communal in the sense of relief to be achieving some sort of normality in the haze of the late afternoon. The panic-stricken bleatings of Clive Myrie seemed a long way off. “We’re all scared”? No, not quite. It seems now the only people who really are scared are those who fail to understand how vaccines will and do work, or how the virus itself behaves.

For the first time it really felt like normal life may return at some point, and sooner than I’d previously hoped.

We share your hopes and optimism of a speedy return to normality, and that this website will soon become superfluous to requirements.

While Lockdown? What Lockdown? is intended to provide a dose of joy and hopefulness, we must remember that there are those who have managed to find ways of looking after themselves in spite of the regulations and yet have still struggled a great deal. Today’s second story comes from an individual who told us, “the anger and helplessness [they] feel right now cannot be measured.”

The reasons for this anger and helplessness? The removal of personal freedoms; how little others seemed to care; the criminalisation of normal life; and the behaviours of the Government.

So, how have I broken “the rules” or “guidance” or whatever you want to call them? What I won’t do is call them “laws” because they are not laws that any sane person would recognise or abide by.

I have during all versions of lockdown and various tier restrictions, and in no particular order:
– Met up with family and friends on a regular basis both inside homes and outside;
– Hugged and kissed family and friends on a regular basis;
– Ignored social distancing completely, especially in the company of strangers;
– Refused to wear a mask in any setting where it is required. If challenged (which is rare), I simply say that I am exempt. I’m not, but if the Government is going to lie to me, then I will lie to them;
– Travelled outside my local area and gone to work even though I can easily work from home;
– Sat on park benches on my own and with friends;
– Had a drink in a pub without ordering a “substantial meal”;
– Visited and entered the house of my 85-year-old mother regularly even during the first lockdown; and
– Had a lock-in at a pub where all rules were ignored and you could drink standing up at the bar.

I’m sure there are others… Does this make me a “Covidiot”? A “granny killer”? “Socially irresponsible”?

None of the above. What I am is someone who has had to look after themselves during a time when we’ve been neglected by the NHS, the institution we were asked to clap for throughout that neglect (I did not), the institution that was established to protect us.

We hear your frustration, and we hope that we will be able to stand at a bar with you one day very soon!

Our next story today is short and sweet and points out that there may be more cars on the road than pre-lockdown. Has anyone else noticed this? I found myself in a traffic jam on the M25 on Saturday; no accident, no workforce in the road, and certainly not a build up of commuters…

I drove to my local supermarket at 8.30 yesterday morning (24/2/21) and I had to wait longer than non-lockdown periods at two junctions — I can just about remember the difference.

Outside of my house a gentleman, about 65, is walking up and down with a toddler. It’s beautiful to watch. We’ve finished with lockdown.

Fourth up today is a wonderful brief story of a multigenerational family gathering, and the inspiration for today’s feature image — if you’re not familiar with Bob Moran’s work, you’re going to want to familiarise yourself, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

My 56-year-old wife is driving from Staffordshire to Shropshire with our daughter (22) and 6-month-old grandson to be with their 90-year-old mother, grandmother, great grandmother, as she has been doing for weeks. Edie is in the final stages of her life and she will be with her family as much as possible, not left to die alone and miserable as our dictators would have it.

From us here at Lockdown? What Lockdown?, we wish Edie all the best and hope that the final stages of her life are filled with many hugs from her daughter, granddaughter, and great-grandson, and that she gets to experience so much joy from this day until her last.

Our fifth and final story for today highlights the absurdity of this website perfectly.

Not much to say, really. I’m lucky that I live in the same town as my elderly mum and dad. They still live together in their own home.

We did the ‘social distancing’ thing initially, until one visit when my dad stumbled in the hallway, and I ran in to stop him from falling over.

At that point, we all realised what a ridiculous concept ‘social distancing’ is, and we agreed we’d go back to normal.

I was round there only yesterday for a couple of hours, before driving them to the seafront for a short walk and an ice cream!

By the way, it was a bit cold for ice cream really, but it was nice anyway!

We loved this story — its simplicity, its normality; but, why, oh why, do we need a website that brings to light stories of someone going for a walk and grabbing an ice-cream with their parents?

Anyway! That’s all from us today, folks. Remember to spread the word — we’re not all done with Lockdown until we’re all done with Lockdown.

Finally, do tune in for tomorrow’s update. We received an absolute blinder of a piece from an individual who works in paediatric mental health that we will be publishing in full and is well, well worth waiting for and reading.

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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24th February 2021

Before we delve into today’s stories, we’d like to say a quick, and yet massive, thank you to Lockdown Sceptics for sharing this website and allowing so many more of you to join our little community of rebels and life-livers here at Lockdown? What Lockdown?

With that said, let’s crack on with your tales. First up is an individual from the West Midlands who lives alone:

I was not disappointed when I visited a disused railway line where people walk their dogs, jog, take their children on cycle rides, or just stroll along — as I did for a couple of hours. People were happy to pass each other at a normal 18-24 inches distance, and to engage in passing chat. Throughout my entire stroll, I only spotted one person in a mask; a middle-aged man with the haunted eyes of someone who spends too much time following the BBC.

Perhaps this masked man would benefit from a little scroll through this page…

Next up we have a story about one very neighbourly street.

In my street there are 10 or so primary school age children, who attend four or five different schools between them (when they’re open!). Ever since that first lockdown in March, they’ve been playing together in the road, in each others’ gardens, in each others’ houses.

Normally these kids wouldn’t mix much as you don’t tend to mix with kids from other schools (they didn’t really play together before March 2020), but lockdown has brought them all together, and their parents, and interested bystanders such as myself.

I don’t have kids of my own, and would honestly prefer these ones to be in school instead of running around screaming and yelling in the fresh air come rain or shine, but they ask about my garden and I’ve been teaching some of them about plants and nature. We found a slow worm in the summer and I recently had my veg patch dug over by willing 8 year olds.

It’s really hard for me to reconcile the snippets of lockdown I see (colleagues fretting about home schooling during Teams meetings for example, or dire predictions about death and disease) with the reality I see outside my windows.

Our third story today comes from a grandparent who has managed to socialise more in the last few days than I think I normally would have in the days before lockdowns were even thought up in the mind of a certain communist party leader.

On Monday evening I visited my neighbours, who also had family over. In total we represented six households, 6 adults and 3 children. I had a lovely couple of hours as we talked, laughed out loud, and had meaningful conversations covering a variety of topics. I live by myself so it was a huge boost to my mental health and well-being.

On Tuesday, a good friend visited me; he made me homemade soup whilst I worked at the kitchen table. We then ate together — another boost.

Today, I am going to my daughter’s house for lunch and this evening another friend is coming to visit, as she has done regularly throughout this madness.

Despite my rebellion against the lockdown, I have still found it detrimental to my health — both physical and mental. I do realise that I am luckier than most people of my advancing years, not because I am comfortably off, (I am not), but because I decided that I was not prepared to forgo the small pleasures – whenever I could get them – that make life worth living: seeing my grandkids (even having them overnight several times); having friends visit and visiting them; even just doing my own shopping in the supermarket.

Our fourth and final story for today includes some potentially perspicacious analysis of the current vibe of the country.

I’m off to see a friend of mine tomorrow, following the loss of his mother a couple of weeks ago. He needs someone to talk to over a few beers.

Is he in my bubble?

Who knows and, frankly, who cares.

I’ve continued to see my parents throughout, but we have taken reasonable precautions. My daughter and son, whose lives have been dramatically affected by the lockdown, visit regularly and have taken to staying over in recent weeks.

People all over England are starting to ignore Government advice, and it may well be that the Government advice is now changing just to keep up with sensible people’s decisions.

Trust the people” should be the only rule that the Government follows because the people clearly know best.

That’s all for today, folks. Do keep sending in your stories, hit the follow button at the bottom of this page if you would like email updates, tell your friends about Lockdown? What Lockdown?, and, hopefully, we’ll end up reversing the effects of the constant fear we have been subjected to as a nation over the last year!

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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23rd February 2021

Welcome back to day two of Lockdown? What Lockdown?

We have a real heart-warmer for you today, so I will just leave you in the capable hands of our anonymous writer.

This morning was a very special morning.

It wouldn’t have been any kind of special a year ago, but a year ago, I didn’t know I wouldn’t see my father for the next twelve months.

For about six years, since my mother died, up until February 2020, my father would come over on Tuesday mornings for a coffee, some cake, and to simply sit and chat; and when COVID-19 hit us, he withdrew from us and stopped coming over.

Three weeks ago yesterday, though, he received his first dose of the vaccine, and has now decided that enough is enough. So, this morning, we started up our Tuesday coffee, cake, and chat mornings again.

The way it started was eerie. It felt wrong, it felt off for some reason. I think it was because we were both behaving as if we hadn’t missed the last 50 or so weeks, chatting about the kids (his grandchildren), talking about plans for the future, discussing whether he would try and find a new woman.

I was half way through a sentence when I spotted his hand was shaking as he placed his mug back on the coffee table. Naturally, I instantly started worrying — worries that weren’t allayed when I looked up and saw his eyes were watering.

“Dad, what’s wrong?” I asked him, the urgency apparent in my tone, I’m sure.

He looked at me and smiled.

“Nothing, my sweetness. Nothing at all. But I’ve made a decision. Whatever happens in the future, promise me that we won’t ever give up these morning together again. They’re far too precious to me.” He told me.

I did promise him as much; I promised him this as I stood up, walked around the coffee table and hugged him like a daughter should always be able to hug their father.

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

___________________________________

22nd February 2021

Our first story!

As of Thursday 18th February, I had not seen a single friend since mid-October.

To massively oversimplify, I was really struggling to cope. But then an invite came through for a dinner party. I snatched at the opportunity, not even in the slightest bit concerned with appearing “too keen”, and on Friday night I found myself sat around a table with seven other people — yes, people(!) — discussing everything from the lunacy of lockdowns to the morality of vegetarianism.

I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how much that dinner benefitted me and my mental health, but, to give you an idea, in the space of a single evening, I went from questioning the point of continuing with life, to grinning like a fool, and laughing at the most awful jokes you will ever hear.

I can promise you now, that will not be my last dinner party of February.

Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.

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