On Thursday evening, Toby took part in a Cambridge Union debate. The motion was: “This House believes lockdown was a mistake.” Toby spoke in support of the motion along with Richard Tice and Sir Graham Brady MP. Writer, novelist and journalist Laura Spinney, novelist and physician Phil Whitaker and Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran spoke against. The motion was approved by 362 votes to 309. The Cambridge Independent has more.
Getting the proceedings under way was Sir Graham Brady, who said that the Lancet medical journal reported on December 23rd that, looking at the second lockdown, “it remains unclear how effective tier restrictions were in reducing transmission and what additional reduction in transmission might have been accomplished by the second lockdown”.
“We can see the efficacy of lockdowns is unclear,” suggested Sir Graham, “certainly rates had started to fall before schools were closed earlier this month, or indeed last March.”
He said: “We know that rates of transmission can fall without lockdown and can rise whilst restrictions are in place,” adding: “While some degree of restriction does, I’m sure, impact transmission, it remains, as the Lancet report says, unclear whether lockdown has any particular beneficial impact.”
Sir Graham mentioned, among other things, the 800,000 people who have lost their jobs since March, those who may have no job to return to when furlough comes to an end, and “the growing number” of people who are taking their own lives.
Sir Graham also spoke of the “hideous toll” on children and young people, the “three-fold increase” in the reporting of eating disorders, and the NSPCC reporting a 43% increase in referrals for child abuse.