Lionel Shriver Lionel Shriver

I have herd immunity

(Getty Images)

I am a type. I don’t like groups. I maintain few memberships. I question and resist authority, especially enforcement of rules for the rules’ sake. I’m leery of orthodoxy. I hold back from shared cultural enthusiasms.

Everyone’s met such obstreperous specimens — the original self-isolators — and some readers out there are just like me. We’re irksome in emergencies, when the police want the crowd to evacuate and we insist on knowing why. We sometimes spite our own faces; many of us still haven’t seen Hamilton (and now we can’t). We don’t joyously belt out national anthems, and recently, to popular disgust, many of us curmudgeons don’t lean out our windows every Thursday at 8 p.m. to clap for the NHS.

Still, we have our uses. Back in the day, we different drummers had no objection to gay relationships just because homosexuality was illegal. More recently, unlike 89 per cent of the British public, we don’t take blithely for granted that a prolonged ‘lockdown’ of all the healthy people in a society is necessarily the most effective or intelligent approach to contagion. In short: my lot have herd immunity.

The capitulation to a de facto police state in a country long regarded as a cradle of liberty has been depressing

Yet you sure won’t see us on TV. One of the many disturbing aspects of this surreal period of viral suppression — indistinguishable from social repression — has been the media’s lockdown lockstep, especially the startlingly homogenised viewpoints espoused across the networks. Unsurprisingly, given my little addiction problem in the most tranquil of times, in the last month I’ve overdosed on news. Albeit infrequently, I do read the odd outlier in newspapers and magazines raising a nervous hand to say: ‘Er — is all this lockdown really a good idea?’ But in both British and American broadcast news — the BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 4, CNN, PBS — we almost never hear from the numerous epidemiologists who regard the stay-at-home policy as scientifically unjustified.

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