Is this an emergency? Technically, in the UK I do not believe it is because the Government has chosen certain actions.
A technicality, but an important one.
How to declare a national state of emergency
The last time a national state of emergency was declared was during the 1974 miner’s strikes (remember this!)
In UK Law only the Queen can declare a national state of emergency following the recommendation of the privy council. The privy council is led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, who holds the position of Lord President of the privy council.
Having read the records of the Privy Council there appears to be no mention of the need to declare a national state of emergency. So technically I believe that this is not a national state of emergency.
Wrap your head around the fact that the miner’s strikes were a national emergency, but COVID-19 is not!
The Civil Contingencies Act (2004)
Okay, no for why this technicality matters. The answer is connected to the Civil Contingencies Act (2004)
The Civil Contingencies Act is a law which defines who responds in an emergency & what we should do to prepare for an emergency.
When a national state of emergency is declared there is a provision that gives the Government extraordinary and temporary powers.
In order to respond to an emergency the government is granted extra powers.
But these powers are limited and time bound to to 30 days, at which time the powers must be reviewed or extended.
They are not allowed to touch the Human Rights Act or the Civil Contingencies Act itself. It’s limited power.
Many of the actions that the Government needed to take could have been enacted under the temporary powers of the Coronavirus Act is we were in a national state of emergency.
However, instead of declaring a national state of emergency and utilising the emergency powers of the Civil Contingencies Act, I believe the government chose to pushed two new Laws
The Coronavirus Act (2020) and The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.
From my understanding the Coronavirus Act was passed within a week, giving no time for scrutiny or objection. They chose to do this instead of declaring a national state of emergency & utilising the powers of the Civil Contingencies Act which already existed.
I find the content of these two laws (which have barely been talked about) extremely concerning. Take a look for yourself.
The Coronavirus Act (CA,2020)
The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020
I want to know why these to laws were pushed rather than the Civil Contingencies Act being utilised. I am hoping that there is a good reason for this but I am skeptical.
I believe that there is a reason behind why these two new laws were introduced. Two laws that will remain until removed or changed. I believe that the crisis was utilised to introduce new laws without question in the midst of a crisis. I am willing to listen and debate, but we must have the opportunity to debate. I am shocked that there has been so little discussion.
I am concerned. I also want to know whether the indemnity clause of health professionals, & changes to the need for inquest in the Coronavirus Act will impact the families of healthcare professionals that have died from COVID after stating that they did not get adequate PPE.
Will it inhibit their right to inquiry / inquest? I understand that under normal circumstances, staff are ensured protection at work and work related deaths must be reported and investigated if things go wrong and they dies as a consequence of their work(I will write more about this later).
However, the Coronavirus Act overrides certain laws, so what impact will it have on health and safety at work? What impact will it have on the reporting of deaths, inquests and the path to justice for the of health care workers who died as result of poor PPE provision?
Here are some sections from the Coronavirus Act 2020 that I believe need the consideration of a legal expert.
Throughout these two new laws, there are other parts that put the fear of god into me. Things about DNA, detention and policing for example.
I want to know why the UK has not declared a national state of emergency yet (I don’t believe that it’s accidental that they chose not to), I why the provision of the Civil Contingencies Act was not used more (or even entirely).
I want a proper open discussion about what the new laws mean in reality. Why is no one talking about this?????
Learning from the past
The scale of COVID-19 may be unprecedented but mechanisms have been put in place to prepare and respond to emergencies/disasters. Mechanisms such as the Civil Contingencies Act. It is there for an emergency, it is there to be used! so why aren’t we?
There are degree courses and training academies specifically on humanitarian response and leadership. We have learnt lessons from past events and prepared for ones like this.
I started my career in disaster management and humanitarian response. From study and first-hand experience of managing a disaster response, I learnt the importance of accountability (even during a crisis).
Yes, accountability needs to be responsible, adaptive, rapid, practical and not too bureaucratic. But it must be there, it must remain.
I know what happens when we loose accountability in crisis. I know what a lack of scrutiny can result in. I am concerned, we all should be.
Many people I talk to have not even heard of these laws, if they have they haven’t read them. The government has to be held accountable.
PLEASE READ THESE LAWS & CONSIDER WHAT THEY MEAN FOR YOU – ASK QUESTIONS – HOLD THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT