A Twelve Percenter image

A Twelve Percenter

Apparently I’m one of the twelve percent: three years on since the first lockdown was imposed only twelve percent of the British population strongly agree with the statement, “In retrospect, lockdowns were a mistake.”

I am part of the “dissenting minority” who, “Have had to grapple with the possibility that, through panic and philosophical confusion, our governing class contrived to make a bad situation much worse.”

If you’re part of the majority can you,

Imagine living with the sense that the manifold evils of the lockdowns that we all now know — ripping up centuries-old traditions of freedom, interrupting a generation’s education, hastening the decline into decrepitude for millions of older people, destroying businesses and our health service, dividing families, saddling our economies with debt, fostering fear and alienation, attacking all the best things in life — needn’t have happened for anything like so long, if at all?

And I was sceptical right from the beginning about it needing to happen at all. This seemed clear from what happened aboard the Diamond Princess, which on February 20th, 2020, contained half the known cases of covid globally, outside China. 3,711 passengers and crew (median age of passengers, 69). 712 infections. 13 deaths. Not good, but not the end of the world.

Despite the evidence, then and much more since, that lockdown was A Bad Thing the majority of people still consider it a good thing, with many thinking we didn’t lockdown enough. Extraordinary.

Being in a minority is often challenging, but then I’ve spent my whole life holding to minority positions. I’m a Christian, and an evangelical, generally Calvinistic, one at that. A minority thrice over! A far smaller minority than twelve percent. Twelve percent would look like winning!

Being in a minority is uncomfortable. It feels like being constantly buffeted – of always walking into a strong wind. But, as Andrew wrote a few months before the pandemic, “intransigent minorities” can have incredible power for social change.

I tried not to be too intransigent about lockdowns (though some readers of Think thought me too intransigent by far). I was pastoring a church in which most of our members agreed with the general lockdown narrative: it was more important for me to pastor them than to precipitate divisions. I would contend that those of us who were sceptical read the data and projected the outcomes more sensibly than the lockdown zealots, but no one really knew how the pandemic would pan out, or what effect non-pharmaceutical interventions would have.

But I do want to be intransigent about my spiritual convictions. I don’t want to look back at the end of my life knowing I conceded ground where I should have stood firm. What happened during the pandemic was hugely important – people either died or didn’t because of the measures that were taken – but it wasn’t ultimate. The gospel of Jesus Christ is ultimate. It is the good news for all peoples. Believing that makes life uncomfortable at times but I’m happy to walk into that wind, believing the power of the gospel to change lives. Number me amongst the intransigent minority!




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