James O'Brien scrutinises 'Freedom Day': 'What is the freedom here?'

19 July 2021, 15:45 | Updated: 19 July 2021, 15:59

By Fiona Jones

As today marks 'Freedom Day', James O'Brien questioned why it has been hailed as such when the public are in an "almost identical" situation to before.

July 19 has dawned in England and almost all remaining mandatory Covid restrictions have come to an end.

From today, there are no limits on how many people can meet or attend events, nightclubs can reopen, and table service will not be necessary in pubs and restaurants.

Read more: July 19 'Freedom Day': Everything you need to know - explained

However, Boris Johnson has pleaded for people to take personal responsibility in place of Government instructions, urging "prudence and respect for other people".

James reflected: "Why are they calling it Freedom Day while simultaneously telling us to carry on almost identically as we were before?"

He read out the official guidance on the NHS app, branding it "nuts": "Most Covid-19 legal restrictions have been lifted in England. You can still catch and spread Covid-19 even if you are fully vaccinated. You can continue to protect yourself and others by following the latest advice."

James reiterated: "Why have you called it Freedom Day then, if you're telling me I can still catch it, I can still pass it on, even if as I am fully vaccinated - you're telling me I should still protect myself and others by following the advice you've just freed me from having to follow?

"Are you free or are you not free? Are you free to follow, are you free to not follow? What is the freedom here?"

James questioned listeners why Freedom Day is occurring now when Covid cases in England are skyrocketing, to which one caller said it "morally exonerates" the Government from shouldering any more responsibility.

He said, "It's a terrible and shameless attempt to reposition the blame so if you get the virus next week, for example, they can now say you didn't take personal responsibility but we kept everything open for businesses."

The Prime Minister justified the move in a video he posted on Twitter: "We're doing a big opening up. If we don't do it now we'll be opening up in the autumn and winter months when the virus has the advantage of the cold weather.

"We'll lose the precious firebreak we get with the school holidays."If we don’t do it now we've got to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it? This is the right moment.

"But we’ve got to do it cautiously. We've got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there. Cases are rising, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant."

Sadiq Khan was asked if the Met would have ignored the Sarah Everard vigil if it was BYOB

'If the Everard vigil was BYOB, would the have Met ignored it?'

James O'Brien on choices facing Boris Johnson over No10 booze-up

James O'Brien's analysis of choices facing Boris Johnson over No10 booze-up

James O'Brien said the Prime Minister's regime reminded him of a video game.

James O'Brien's powerful analogy of Boris 'sucking the souls' of those closest to him

James O'Brien's powerful take on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation

James O'Brien's merciless take on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation

'January 6 is just the beginning'

Capitol riots not culmination of Trump years but 'just the beginning', says journalist

James O'Brien's utter disbelief that PM 'forgot' about Whatsapp messages

Flat saga: James O'Brien's utter disbelief that PM 'forgot' about WhatsApp messages

'Come and spend a shift with me': Paramedic hits out at 'pontificating' journalists

Paramedic breaks down explaining she is 'on the brink of nervous collapse'

Bristol's slavery 'cancer' was 'surgically removed' by Colston Four, says witness David Olusoga

Bristol's slavery 'cancer' was 'surgically removed' by Colston Four, says historian David Olusoga

James O'Brien's passionate take on defining patriotism

James O'Brien's passionate take on defining patriotism

James O'Brien: Uproar over Tony Blair's knighthood 'silly'

James O'Brien: Uproar over Tony Blair's knighthood 'silly'

James O'Brien moved by grieving father's response to Cummings' claims

Best of 2021: James O'Brien moved by grieving father's response to Cummings' claims

Best of 2021: Matt Hancock's pub landlord 'sets the record straight'

Best of 2021: Matt Hancock's pub landlord 'sets the record straight'

James O'Brien's best moments of 2021

James O'Brien's best moments of 2021

Trump fan hangs up after being asked question by James O'Brien

Best of 2021: Trump fan hangs up after being asked question by James O'Brien

James O'Brien reaction to PM's decision to delay Covid measures

James O'Brien reaction to PM's decision to delay Covid measures

James O'Brien: 'It's not a flipping work meeting, it's a flipping party'

James O'Brien: 'It's not a flipping work meeting, it's a flipping party'