Former UKIP and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage decried lockdown restrictions that could see elderly people fined by police for resting on park benches, along with legislation in Parliament that could allow authorities to recruit teenagers as stool-pigeons against their own parents.
Reform UK party leader Nigel Farage warned against a creeping police state eroding civil liberties under the COVID-19 lockdown.
The leader of the re-branded Brexit Party acknowledged that the coronavirus was “spreading fast” but questioned whether, in the name of fighting the pandemic, “is there a danger we could become something akin to a police state?”
In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday, Farage pointed to comments by Home Secretary Priti Patel that police were already stopping and questioning citizens to ask if they had a good reason for leaving their homes, and enforcing rules against lingering in public places.
“Don’t sit down on the park bench!” he warned elderly arthritis sufferers walking their dogs. “Otherwise the bobby may come and ask you why you’re there.”
”How does this do anything to prevent the spread of coronavirus?” Farage tweeted.
The self-styled ‘Mr Brexit’ also lamented the phenomenon of “neighbour turning against neighbour.” He said he had just heard from former LBC radio colleague Iain Dale that police had visited the latter’s rural home after after receiving reports of Trance House music playing there during the day — and were investigating whether he was illegally hosting a rave.
Home but not Alone
Farage took a more serious tone pointing to a widely-circulated mobile phone video of police officers forcing their way into the home of a Scottish family after receiving a report that the couple living there had a visitor — in fact their unwell daughter who had just been discharged from the hospital. All three were arrested after a scuffle broke out.
— Steve Laws (@Steve_Laws_) January 7, 2021
“Behaviour like this does not get citizens onside, supporting the police,” Farage suggested.
“All this legislation… to prevent terrorism tends to get used in ways that have nothing to do with terrorism,” Farage remarked, decrying what he described as a “rule by diktat over the past few months” as Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a series of restrictions to slow the spread of the pandemic. “This is all going way too far.”
Drawing comparisons with the former East German Stasi secret police, which he said encouraged children to inform on their parents, Farage suggested that the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill currently in debate in the House of Lords would enable authorities — from counter-intelligence to local government — to recruit 16- and 17-year-olds as “child spies” to report on their parents.
“I don’t want to live in East Germany”, complained the politician who led the campaign to take Britain out the the European Union in 2016.