Yes, any government would need emergency powers in an epidemic like this, to shut down activities which endanger not just those taking part, but others near them, and endanger the NHS too.
That does not mean that we should trust the Tories.
The government agreed under pressure to have the emergency powers reconsidered after six months, not to run for two years as they first proposed.
In this fast-moving emergency, that should be monthly.
Parliament should go online rather than either shutting or being depleted due to self-isolation. Make the government accountable!
The legislation gives exceptional powers to immigration enforcement officials as well as cops.
We say: send the immigration agents home. They are not an “essential service” but a drain on supplies like PPE and an infection vector. The longer they work, the more they will deter many people from getting the help they need to keep themselves and those within reach of them safe.
Cancel all data-sharing from emergency services to the immigration authorities; extend all visas and other permissions for the duration.
Defend disabled rights
Disability Rights UK says that the government’s version of emergency powers will:
• Remove disabled people’s rights to social care
• Change the duties to educate to meet children’s educational requirements to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty
• Severely undermine the civil liberties of disabled people and erode their rights to support.
They say: “the government must treat our essential social care service as key infrastructure, alongside the NHS, and provide the necessary funding to keep this vital service running”.