The first lockdown, which was supposed to be the last, started on March 16 2020 and with Britain in the middle of a third national lockdown questions are being asked about why it is necessary. In a Blue Collar Conservative podcast with former cabinet minister Esther McVey, psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos warned that the anniversary of that first lockdown will be an important marker for the country and fear tactics are counterproductive.
With the vaccine being rolled out to 12 million vulnerable people, the Prime Minister has suggested that March could be when restrictions will be lifted but others such as chief medical officer Chris Whitty have raised the prospect that they could still be in place next winter.
Dr Papadopolous said: “In 2021 we are going to see people asking more questions.
“When it started last year there was a sense of shock and people were hunkering down.
“Now we know a lot more and I think because of that we are going to ask more questions and be thinking more critically about what we are asked to do.
“When we hit the year mark, I think if we are going to be asked to continue to deny ourselves these liberties people are going to have an issue with that at that point unless they have a very clear understanding of what is going on.”
She warned: “The messaging has been lacking. There needs to be more clarity. We need transparency. That is going to be critical.”
She also likened the public relation tactics of fear being used to the one on smoking which proved fear does not work.
She said: “It’s more about how one see their identity in what they are being asked to do, it’s a lot more nuanced than scare the hell out of people works for a little bit but then people resent it.”
Ms McVey, the MP for Tatton and the founder of the powerful Blue Collar Conservatism Movement, said that the warning underlines the questions people will have about the impact on the economy.
She said: “There is no reason at all why the lockdown shouldn’t be quickly eased as people get vaccinated. At that point people can go back out to their local shops and pubs and high street and not let fear of the virus get the better of them. It is vital for the health of our nation, for individuals, communities and our economy that we do that.”
However, the podcast also had a message of hope from the Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin.
She said: “Hope is very important not only word in itself but almost I would describe it as a way of living. Because hope is for that which we do not yet see physically before us so before we see it we are actually envisioning what we would like to see, the change that we would like to see. Once we envisage that we then live as if we were on the way to that.”