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A few weeks ago, the former UK health minister ( 2018-2021) came under strong scrutiny when The Telegraph newspaper made public hundreds of whatsapp messages he exchanged with Boris Johnson and other senior figures during the corona crisis, revealing that he had deceitfully duped, conned and cheated the public and deliberately bullied them with a multitude of lies. For weeks, the UK press was full of " the Lockdown Files " of Hancock and co.

Not so in Belgium, where the scandal has barely made the news and has been de facto hushed up.

The Lockdownfiles died a quiet death. Suddenly, the UK press too was silent. Although Hancock was undeniably guilty of deceit and manipulation, the man is not (yet ) facing criminal charges. He is still a free man.

Unlike Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany - where a Covid commission has also been set up but exists only in effect and ostensibly investigates nothing - the Covid Investigation Commission does get to the bottom of everything. The hearings are public. All those who wish can attend the sessions.

On Tuesday 27 June 2023, Hancock appeared before the Covid Commission of Inquiry and again made some very remarkable, thought-provoking statements.

Hancock stated before the Commission : " Britain must prepare for harsher, wider and stricter, lock-downs in view of future pandemics ".

According to Hancock, the failure to plan in advance for restrictions on civil liberties during the Covid pandemic was a flaw in the government's "woefully inadequate" pandemic strategy. Even before Covid struck in 2020, he thought it was "a mistake not to consider lock-downs" during a pandemic.

Advocating lock-downs, Mr Hancock said the UK was "completely wrong" in assuming a pandemic could not be stopped. "It is central to what we have to learn as a country that we have to be ready to tackle a pandemic hard," he said. "We need to be able to take action with lock-downs that are broader, earlier and more severe than feels comfortable at the time.""I understand very well the consequences of lock-down and the negative impact on many, many people - many of whom continue to this day."

Despite acknowledging its harm, Mr Hancock later said that in the event of a future pandemic, he would still support restrictions "unless the cost of lockdown outweighs the cost the pandemic would entail". He admitted that the country had prepared for the wrong pandemic by focusing on influenza, but maintained that even in those circumstances, restrictions on civil liberties would also have been necessary.

Had they considered such restrictions as part of pandemic planning, they could have worked out "how best to shut everything down with the least amount of damage".

According to The Telegraph, Hancock makes this assertion despite mounting evidence that lock-downs have caused more damage than the pandemic, rising referrals to children's mental health services to a "cancer bomb" of patients whose treatment was delayed alongside a struggling economy. Earlier this year, The Telegraph's Lock-down Files revealed that those who ran the country during Covid privately admitted that lock-down was "terrible for other outcomes".

Families who lost loved ones during the pandemic accuse Hancock of using obvious failings to deflect blame from his own decisions.

Former Foreign Secretary and subsequent Brexit Secretary David Davis criticized his former Cabinet colleague, saying lock-downs were "ill-conceived and based on scientific guesswork, not science". He added: "Mr Hancock has not shown a shred of evidence to support his suggestion that we should have done a lock-down earlier, just as there was very little evidence when they chose to do a lock-down in the first place."

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former economy minister, said, "The lessons we can learn from the enquiry are: don't ruin the economy, don't give children mental health problems and let people make their own choices, because they are actually better at that than ministers making choices for them."

The long-awaited enquiry is now in the third week of its first phase, which examines pandemic preparations rather than decisions made during the national emergency. Scotland's former first minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to appear before the enquiry committee on Thursday, 29.06.2023.

Is Matt Hancock .... ? Yes, he is. So the fact that he talks about future pandemics and harder lock-downs should come as no surprise.

Even stricter and wider lock-downs would, in practice, mean that people would also no longer be allowed outside to shop, go to the pharmacy, doctor or bank, their homes would, literally, for long periods of time, become prisons from which they would not be allowed to leave, and food supplies would be delivered to their homes. For people who live in rural areas, this would be manageable because most have a garden, but for people living in a small flat in the city, this would be very problematic and a real horror for children and the elderly. It already was during the previous lock-downs of 2 months and 8 months respectively. The social isolation and fear caused immense damage.

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