Charlie Sansom was until recently Chairman of South Basildon Conservatives.
Back in May I’d just lost my first election. Well, actually two. I stood for both Basildon Borough Council and Essex County Council – at the same time – and got demolished by the local Independent Goliath.
It wasn’t my time but the campaign was a fantastic success for the South Basildon branch, of which I was chair until very recently, with enough gains to take back control of Basildon Council.
So, how had it gone from a great campaign, with Conservatives considering me to be a talented future asset to the party, to me quitting live on radio with the BBC?
It all really began to unravel in September. Sajid Javid and Nadim Zahawi had both spoken about two things I could never live with: vaccinating children and vaccine passports.
As a father myself, the audacity of a minister explaining that if an agreement couldn’t be met with the parent(s) over whether children between 12-15 years old should be vaccinated would be decided by the children themselves was utterly astounding.
Javid has since backtracked but the foul taste in my mouth was still there. I realised at that moment that I did not trust my own Government to do the right thing. I was alarmed, but ultimately dismissed by those in the party I’d tried speaking to about it.
I was made to feel as though my concerns were invalid, that vaccinating children against the will of a parent would never happen. The same was said about vaccine passports.
These interactions led me on a path of vigilant critical analysis of everything the Government did. I was looking for any indication of a reduction of civil liberties, an overreach, or an excuse to play with our freedoms.
Sadly, I was proven right by the Prime Minister on December 8, when the tyrannical proposals for a medical apartheid in the UK were put firmly on the table.
I believed I now had a choice to make; stay with a party that believes in unscientific, discriminatory vaccine passports or leave knowing that a “conversation” about “mandatory vaccinations” really meant that’s what’s coming.
When I announced my resignation on the BBC I wasn’t expecting the national interest in this particular story to be so high. I certainly didn’t expect major news outlets to want to hear my views on primetime TV at Sky, the BBC, GB News and Radio 4.
It was only after appearing on these shows and seeing news articles written about me alongside a flurry of tweets and Instagram messages that my gut feeling, my moral decision to stand by my principles was one that I can only hope resonated with millions of people around the country that heard my thoughts on both television and radio.
The news clips of me criticising the Downing Street parties being shared on Twitter and Instagram are being shared by those that used to vote Tory. They’ll probably never vote Tory again.
Many of them say that it’s because of this Government they don’t trust vaccines anymore; they fear Omicron will be used for another lockdown and many will boldly ignore any new restriction measures.
It’s within these comments that I feel the public’s anger tinged with a desire for moral leadership that some have given up hope of ever seeing again. Who could blame them?
No government should ever assume the authority to inject a drug into our bodies without our consent, nor should any government ostracise those that refuse to give that consent.
Vaccine passports will do nothing to stop the spread of a virus that has spread in countries under total lockdown. If anything, they will alienate a majority vaccinated population that were promised their civil liberties a long time ago.
Protests will inevitably be seen as the last resort for the emotionally terrorised; those who can no longer be motivated by another dangled-carrot dressed as the freedom no politician ever had the right to take away.
And I suppose that’s the real question people need to ask themselves: Are we a free nation anymore? Were we ever free?
At the start of the pandemic we were told it would be ‘two weeks to flatten the curve’. Nearly two years later, and a huge rebellion on the horizon, I’m not sure this Government will last another two weeks.