The prisoner eventually learns to be grateful to his captors for almost anything. Once he has accepted his position as powerless victim, even the things he used to count as normal become luxuries.
So it is with most of us. Since we marched obediently into captivity last spring, we have turned servile. Look at us now, arguing about whether we should be in one tier of absurd limits on our lives, or another.
We are like convicts complaining that we are allowed only salt, but not sugar, on our miserable gruel. Well, complain away.
By the time this is over, you’ll be lucky even to get any gruel from Warder Hancock and Governor Johnson.
It was in those vital days at the end of March – when we should all have resisted and almost nobody did – that we allowed the handcuffs to be snapped on our wrists.
None of this has worked. As I have pointed out from the start, there is no evidence that the repeated throttling of our society and economy has saved a single life. Plenty of research confirms this.
The latest is an article in the journal Public Health of November 19, entitled Covid-19 Mortality: A Matter Of Vulnerability Among Nations Facing Limited Margins Of Adaptation.
After surveying the world’s supposed struggle against the virus, it concludes: ‘Stringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate.’
By contrast, we do know that it has cost many lives, through postponed operations and lost opportunities to treat undiagnosed sicknesses, and through the misery, mental illness and despair caused by the crushing of normal human society and the mass destruction of jobs and livelihoods.
‘Lockdowns’ work very well if what you want to do is to destroy a happy and prosperous society and replace it with a desert.
It will cost much more as the measureless debt incurred by Rishi Sunak begins to bite in the form of taxes, inflation, shrinking real wages and ravaged pensions and social services.
No wonder they dare not announce an actual Budget. It would be the most horrifying public experience since The Exorcist. So the thing to do is to win back what we lost in March.
This requires determination, ruthlessness and large numbers. But it is very easy. Parliament, very slowly waking from its long, induced coma, discusses the latest prison rules on Tuesday.
Before then, I beg and urge you to write to your MP, and to get your friends, neighbours, colleagues and family to join you. Numbers are crucial, as you will see.
On your computer, please find writetothem.com. This will direct your letter to your MP in easy steps. Then write, briefly, politely, acidly.
Say only this: ‘If on Tuesday you vote to destroy the jobs and livelihoods of others, do not expect to keep your own. When the reckoning comes for this, there will be no such thing as a safe seat. Scottish Labour MPs once thought their seats were safe. Look what happened to them.’
Do not worry about any reply you receive or do not receive. These boobies mostly cannot reason. But they can count. And if enough such emails arrive, they will at last grasp what they have done, and fear for their majorities as they should.
This is pretty much the only lawful means of resistance we still have. If you do not use it now, to the full, when are you going to do so?
And if lawful protest is ignored, what do people think is going to happen when the P45s and the bankruptcies spread like a great puce blot across the country through the miserable winter months, and next spring brings no real release?