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DAN WOOTTON: If you want to know why freedom is important look at your loved ones this Christmas

The Covid 2022 battle lines have been drawn.

At stake: How we live our lives forever more.

On the side of hysteria and never-ending restrictions: Doomsday duo Christopher Whitty and Patrick Vallance, the worst fortune teller in the history of viruses Neil Ferguson, every lost soul at BBC News, Cabinet irrationals Michael Gove and Sajid Javid, Robert Peston, the Leader of No Opposition Keir Starmer, failed London Mayor Sadiq Khan, communists and anti-capitalists everywhere.

On the side of learning-to-live with this damn virus once and for all: 100 (and counting) Tory backbench rebels, independent thinking scientists, freedom fighters everywhere, including a tiny handful in the media who have been brave enough to ask the pertinent questions, and Lord Frost, who became the first warrior to quit a senior Cabinet post because of Plan BS.

If Boris Johnson backs the Omicron-hysterics over the next 48 hours – or at any time over the next few weeks – there will be grave consequences for his prime ministership.

I’ve been saying it for over a year, but the only way for the PM to save his job and allow us all to get on with our pre-2020 lives – given 95 per cent of adults are positively bursting with Covid antibodies – is by taking back control from the Covid brothers grim Whitty and Vallance…before it’s too late.

We are allowing ourselves to be strangled by over-the-top laws and the survival of our society as we once knew it is at stake.

On the side of learning-to-live with this damn virus once and for all: 100 (and counting) Tory backbench rebels, independent thinking scientists, freedom fighters everywhere, including a tiny handful in the media who have been brave enough to ask the pertinent questions, and Lord Frost (pictured with Boris Johnson), who became the first warrior to quit a senior Cabinet post because of Plan BS

Take the ten-day isolation rule that is forcing hundreds of thousands of us to stay locked up, even once we’ve tested negative for Covid.

NHS staff absences have doubled in a week.

Schools are predicted to be in crisis until Easter, with pleas for retired teachers to join the supply force. Many are already closing.

Then there are supermarkets, restaurants, pubs, shops, gyms, theatres and cinemas all being forced to shut because of the ten-day isolation period.

The simple solution is to halve it to a five-day isolation period immediately – or at least seven – and allow those who test negative to go back to their lives at once.

That must be done now to avoid serious issues.

But that’s just the beginning of what must be a fundamental re-evaluation of how we learn to live with Covid.

We can’t even start to do that until the rules are adjusted to acknowledge it is no longer killing many people, but our disproportionate response to the virus is killing off thousands of businesses and even more jobs.

People aren’t terrified of dying anymore, but they are terrified of being locked up and having their lives disrupted.

We need to be clear what living with Covid actually looks like.

If Boris Johnson backs the Omicron-hysterics over the next 48 hours – or at any time over the next few weeks – there will be grave consequences for his prime ministership

If Boris Johnson backs the Omicron-hysterics over the next 48 hours – or at any time over the next few weeks – there will be grave consequences for his prime ministership

That will mean a major shift in mindset because it must require the end of asymptotic testing and lateral flows being shelled out for free in great numbers, too.

Covid needs to be treated for what it is, just another – not very dangerous – cold and flu.

And that’s why I’ve so convinced dramatic changes in personnel on SAGE, starting with Whitty and Vallance, are needed.

The current reckless advisers don’t just want to kill off Christmas; they are happy to fundamentally damage capitalism too, with a perpetual cycle of restrictions.

The most effective way for Boris to ensure his Cabinet and supporters that he has listened, and that the UK will not be seen as some sort of ‘plague island’ controlled by Covid, would be to sack Whitty and Vallance, and fundamentally remodel SAGE as soon as humanly possible.

Don’t believe the paranoid who walk among us and warn: It just HAS to be like this.

There are plenty of places, from Florida to Sweden, that have proven throughout this pandemic a more liberal approach that doesn’t cripple lives and livelihoods results in a better mortality rate.

People aren’t terrified of dying anymore, but they are terrified of being locked up and having their lives disrupted. Pictured: Dan Wootton

People aren’t terrified of dying anymore, but they are terrified of being locked up and having their lives disrupted. Pictured: Dan Wootton

And there are several well-respected scientists – notably Oxford University professors Sunetra Gupta and Carl Heneghan – who have propagated a different approach here in the UK.

They should be immediately included in the official conversations on SAGE.

Whitty, Vallance and Ferguson seem drunk on power, but also completely unaccountable.

We were told to hunker down for three weeks to protect the NHS; we were told further lockdowns were a temporary measure to buy time for vaccine development; we were told 15 million jabs to freedom.

We’ve played our part while officialdom has broken promise after promise.

And I don’t know about you but I’m done.

Exhausted by Covid madness. Devastated to see how the constant threat of new restrictions has resulted in many of my friends crumbling, becoming shadows of their former selves.

I’m sick and tired of not being able to look forward to anything; planning has become a ticket to disappointment when the almost inevitable threat of some maddening and unnecessary restriction gets in the way.

Most of us were prepared for a life interrupted to some degree in 2020.

Sure, we were living through an unprecedented global pandemic, albeit for a virus with a miniscule infection fatality rate for anyone other than the very elderly or very sick.

But it’s two years now since I saw my beloved father, mother and sister who live in New Zealand, with no certainty about when or how I will be able to be with them again.

That pain is unbearable.

Boris Johnson (centre) speaks with people during a visit to an NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre near Ramsgate on December 16

Boris Johnson (centre) speaks with people during a visit to an NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre near Ramsgate on December 16

I know most of you have similar stories and so many are far worse than anything I can comprehend.

The unconscionable heartbreak of not being able to say goodbye to dying relatives, for example, when we know those who imposed such barbaric limitations on us were throwing party after party in the gardens and private quarters of Number 10 Downing Street.

The pain of cancelling a wedding, a dream holiday, a school ball or a graduation ceremony.

For a virus where most experience very few symptoms but we can find out immediately whether we’re carrying it or not with a simple test.

A fundamental re-balancing is now required – and that onus must be on us.

In my final column of 2021, my plea to you is this: Enjoy Christmas without fear, regardless of what the usual doom merchants and scaremongers tell us.

Be sensible, sure. Take into consideration the needs of the vulnerable, just like any sound human being would do.

But start to claim your life back without fear and remember just how liberating the old normal feels.

Live normally to protect the psychological health of the entire population.

Live normally to save businesses from collapse.

Live normally because we are wise enough to follow the science ourselves and isolate if and when we’re carrying Covid.

Live normally right now because, if we continue down this dystopian path, our so-called leaders will maintain their powers and we’ll forget what normal ever was.

There’s a lot at stake this Christmas, but a very simple solution.

Surround yourself with the ones you love, then eat, drink and, yes, hug till your heart’s content – and remember why freedom from the tyranny of government micromanagement is so important.

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