John Humphrys warns UK on brink of 'surrendering liberty'- Ex-BBC host lashes out

Mr Humphrys lashed out at the COVID-19 restrictions saying the UK is close to “surrendering liberty” as the public are constantly told what to do. In his latest opinion piece, he wrote: “The Government’s got a fight on its hands if it thinks the British people will allow themselves to be bullied by jobsworths for daring to exercise their harmless freedoms.” Mr Humphrys added: “On Monday we shall be celebrating Freedom Day. It’s not exactly our first. 

“The one in June got postponed to July, which then turned out to deliver rather less than the freedom promised.

“Monday, I fear, will be much the same. And there’s already talk of new restrictions in the autumn.”

The ex-BBC host also pointed out that Boris Johnson delayed the first Covid lockdown because he knew that “the British people would not tolerate serious restrictions for more than six weeks”.

Mr Humphrys added that Mr Johnson has always had a bit of a reputation as a “rebel”.

The 77-year-old said: “Johnson had always enjoyed his reputation as a bit of a rebel who broke the rules and laughed in the face of bureaucracy.

“Good old buccaneering Boris: the leader who really did believe that our national character is defined by our love of freedom.

“But is it? For a nation that reveres liberty, we have been remarkably relaxed at surrendering it. And even gone beyond what’s demanded of us.”

Mr Humphrys also claimed that during the Covid pandemic, a “scary” number of people had been happy to adopt the role of “coppers’ nark”.

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He said: “Anxious to dob in the lonely neighbour who breaks the rule by having a friend in for tea when the rule says no.

“Or nod approvingly when some police have done what many will always do given half a chance — exceed their authority.”

Mr Humphry’s continued: “Where was the public outrage when the boys in blue checked the bags of shoppers who might have bought an unauthorised Easter egg?

“Or used a drone to spy on an elderly couple walking their dog on a deserted hillside.


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“Or arrested a couple of friends having cups of tea in a quiet beauty spot.

“Did the polls show a decline in support for the measures? They showed the opposite. We wanted them to be even stricter.”

Mr Humphrys also made comments about Brexit.

He claimed that the reason the Brexit campaign was so successful was because the “Take back control” slogan meant freedom to many.

However, people have now started to take it for granted, according to the former broadcaster.

He said: “Take something as seemingly trivial as road signs.

“They are now becoming so complicated in our big towns and cities that they’ll have to lower the speed limit to five mph so drivers can read all the stuff.

“That’s assuming we’re actually allowed to drive.”

Mr Humphrys concluded his opinion piece for the Daily Mail by making comments about public protests that “usually die out”.

He said: “We made a bit of a fuss when CCTV cameras started popping up everywhere but when we were told they were for our own safety we calmed down.

“Now there are nearly six million. One for every 13 citizens. And stand by for facial recognition cameras. They’re on their way.

“If you don’t want to be snapped, stay at home and read a book. But make sure it’s approved by the nation’s self-appointed censors.”

Mr Humphrys added: “Free speech is the key test of our supposed love of freedom and there are people who claim it must be curbed.

“Some are so convinced they don’t want us even to have an argument about it. ‘Safe spaces’ trump freedom in their book.

“But let’s enjoy our new freedom from Monday. And let’s hope that it lasts. And let’s make a fuss if it doesn’t.”

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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