In the old Soviet Union, political opponents of the regime were commonly punished by internal exile. The effect was that they were required to live in some province on the outer edges of the USSR and forbidden to travel, work or study elsewhere without the permission of the state and then only if they met conditions imposed by the state. It was rightly condemned by libertarians and liberals alike as a severe infringement of civil, human and individual rights.
Since Brexit, UK citizens, who formerly had the individual freedom to choose where to live, work, study and even set up and do business across the EU, find their freedom of choice is permanently constrained by law to living, studying and working only in this offshore appendage to Europe and that they are only able to live, study and work in the rest of the EU if they have the permission of the state, albeit, a state in whose governance they, like those Russian exiles of old, now have no say.
We now hear the ‘usual suspects’, once the authors of Brexit, telling us that their libertarian values are outraged by the temporary measures requiring us to wear masks or to be vaccinated or take a test before attending some types of public entertainments. These temporary and minor restrictions they claim are intolerable infringements of individual liberty reminiscent of autocracies such as Russia or even Hitler’s Germany. They are, they exclaim, the first and alarming steps on the slippery slope into authoritarianism. Such concerns ring hollow from politicians who have already greased that slope and given their fellow citizens a push down it by stripping us of our individual freedoms to live, work and study across the EU and who, in pursuit of monopolising their power over us, enthusiastically condemned us all, as individuals, to forced exile on the fringes of Europe.