Image: IT CUTS BOTH WAYS. Mixed Media on Canvas. 25.5 x 25.5 x 2 cm. 2009
There is a difficult and delicate balance to be struck between control and freedom. With power comes responsibility and decisions have consequences. If the overriding priority of the government is to preserve the health of the nation then measures which damage that will be counterproductive. If prolonged enforced isolation leads to an increase of mental illness, domestic abuse and suicide then we must ask ourselves at what cost. Closing parks and rare open spaces for many couped up in cramped urban living conditions may seem a small sacrifice, but is it? Draconian enforcement of rules by excessive force as a policy runs contrary to any liberal democratic society which values human rights. Similarly the threat of obligatory GPS mobile phone contact tracing may be the next gradual step towards totalitarianism. It has worked in South Korea but do we really want to unwittingly introduce a police state? The spin will be ‘We are doing this for your own good’, and the individual liberty which we value so much may be under threat by the acceptance of this new normal. History proves that such incremental societal changes are seldom reversed. We all, as members a free, democratic society, have a duty to ensure, having passed through this terrible dark tunnel, that the light at the end of it is not forever obscured under the cloud of well meaning, but potentially catastrophic mistakes. The time for recrimination is not now, only in hindsight will the consequences of today’s decisions be apparent.