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IPFS News Link • Pandemic

Matt Hancock's Plan to "Deploy the New Variant" to "Frighten the Pants off Everyo


Throughout the course of the pandemic, officials and ministers wrestled with how to ensure the public complied with ever-changing lockdown restrictions. One weapon in their arsenal was fear. 

"We frighten the pants off everyone," Matt Hancock suggested during one WhatsApp message with his media adviser. 

The then Health Secretary was not alone in his desire to scare the public into compliance. The WhatsApp messages seen by the Telegraph show how several members of Mr. Hancock's team engaged in a kind of 'Project Fear' in which they spoke of how to utilise "fear and guilt" to make people obey lockdown.

As with the other revelations, it is shocking yet not surprising. We knew they were doing this, but there's something truly grotesque about seeing the contempt they had for people laid bare. The absolute disregard for freedom, and worse, the revelling in this exercise of power by the likes of Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, who found forcing travellers to quarantine in shoebox hotel rooms "hilarious".

It is a toss up between Hancock and Case for the title of the Lockdown Files' Greatest Villain. I was considering awarding it to the wretched Case until this latest round of files dropped, and Hancock went full Dr. Evil with his question: "When do we deploy the new variant" [sic].

Of course we shouldn't let the unintentional comedy of Hancock's messages (one has him text shouting "SOMEONE INSTALLED A CAMERA IN MY OFFICE WITHOUT TELLING ME!") distract from how appalling his actions were.

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