Scrap the Rule of 6 – Bring back democracy

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The UK government’s ban on people meeting in groups larger than 6 is draconian, undemocratic, and unreasonable.

The law makes it a crime for a family with three children to meet their grandparents. It criminalises five-a-side football matches and would ban everything from extended family Christmases to children’s birthday parties. It even makes ‘mingling’ into a crime.

We have lost our right to protest, since the burden of risk assessments and official procedures make these all but impossible.

The new law is absurdly complicated and unenforceable. It has no grounding in evidence: there is no obvious reason why groups of more than 6 have been banned, rather than say 5 or 8.

It makes no sense that children mix with large groups in school, yet are banned from seeing these same groups outside the classroom. Frontline workers spend their days serving members of the public yet are prevented from seeing their friends at night.

This law will have a tremendously negative effect on young people’s social and psychological wellbeing, as well as decimating large sectors of the economy, from entertainment to self-catering accommodation, which were struggling to get back on their feet.

Most importantly, the ‘Rule of 6’ completely bypassed democracy. The law was brought through as a statutory instrument; there was no vote in parliament, and reports suggest that only one cabinet minister was in favour of it. The law was published 10 minutes before it came into force.

This is the final straw. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, each week there have been new laws that affect the lives of millions of people, imposed without approval of parliament.

Parliament needs to be resuscitated as the place where laws are made and approved. There needs to be proper scrutiny and consideration of the effects of these measures on social life.

It would be better to give people advice to take sensible precautions, rather than slap them with these absurdly prescriptive legal injunctions every few days.

The Rule of 6 must be scrapped. This government by decree must end.