Bid to ‘cancel’ GB News’s Neil Oliver over ‘I’d risk catching Covid’ in name of freedom stance

AN online campaign has been launched to boycott Scots historian Neil Oliver’s programmes who has been widely criticised for stating he would “cheerfully risk catching Covid” in the name of personal freedom.

A continuing backlash over Mr Oliver’s stance has led to an online bid to ‘cancel’ the archaeologist, author, TV presenter and former National Trust for Scotland president.

In a monologue Mr Oliver, who has a weekly show on the controversial GB News channel, said: “If your freedom means I might catch Covid from you, then so be it.

“If my freedom means you might catch Covid from me, then so be it. That’s honestly how I see it.

“For the sake of freedom, yours and mine together, I will cheerfully risk catching Covid. That is a chance one among many that I am prepared to take and happily. Life is not safe. Freedom is not safe. For the sake of freedom, yours and mine together all freedoms being of equal value, I will cheerfully risk much else besides.”

One campaigner tweeted: “This is Neil Oliver. He says his freedom is more important than giving someone Covid. Please retweet. Please don’t watch his programmes.”

READ MORE: Anger as Scots GB News’s Neil Oliver says he would ‘cheerfully risk catching Covid’ in name of freedom

It has been retweeted over 1000 times, beeen quoted in separate tweets 390 times and liked 1663 times.

Singer Billy Bragg is among those who have criticised Mr Oliver’s stance saying: “Before he starts banging on about freedom, Neil Oliver should brush up on his John Stuart Mill: ‘The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others’.”

Entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, start of BBC’s Dragon’s Den said: “I sat next to Neil Oliver on a flight many years ago. he seemed nice and good and sensible. Either something has happened since then or I need my radar adjusted.”

And writer Andy Grayson directed a tweet directly at Neil Oliver, saying: “You should never, ever, ever be forgiven for misusing your privileged and thoroughly undeserved platform for this purpose. Never.

Mr Oliver has since hit back at his critics saying: “I feel like I speak for a silenced group of people…there may be millions for all I know, but they haven’t had access to a microphone, they haven’t had a chance to express their feelings.


“I feel that I am in a position to do that. The amount of support I get from letters, real letters from the Royal Mail and on all sorts of platforms, makes me ever more determined to keep airing my views because I’m reassured again and again that I speak for many, many people.”

The Renfrewshire-born 54-year-old who was described as “divisive” by senior SNP members for his well known pro-Union anti-independence said in his monologue “it was a minority of people, outgunned and shouted down by fellow citizens who felt deals might be struck with tyrants” who stood up against fascism during the Second World War and compared them to the minority of people who refuse to take the jab or comply with Covid rules.

He indicated those who are shouted down for not taking the vaccine were living under “tyranny”.

While there were many who frowned at Mr Oliver’s speech, others gave support.

Among then is Laurence Fox, the English actor and founder of The Reclaim Party dubbed “UKIP for culture” set up last year.

He tweeted: Those who wish to cancel [Neil Oliver] won’t succeed. He speaks for the millions who have been shamed and silenced into submission for not subscribing to the approved narrative of fear and division.”

Effie Deans, a pro-UK Scottis blogger wrote: “I have been vaccinated twice & strongly support it, but I equally strongly support those like Neil Oliver who take a different view. We must be free to choose. We must be free to disagree.”

And Matt Gubba, chief executive and founder of advisory firm BizBritain remarked: “If you can’t appreciate the importance of what Neil Oliver is saying here, your brainwashing by the state is complete.

“Our ancestors laid down their lives in the name of freedom.

“But many people today won’t even put up with a cough for a few days to honour their sacrifice.”

An unrepentant Mr Oliver stood by his monologue – agreeing that Twitter was “the hell site”.

“I think it’s only 20% of people in Britain were actually on Twitter, so it’s a fifth, it’s a minority to begin with.

“I know that the clip of the monologue in its entirety, the five or six minutes, it was, it’s been viewed hundreds or 1000s or three quarters of a million times or something.

“So it clearly speaks to people. And I have to say done that, the outpouring of support on YouTube, and its 1000s upon 1000s of responses that I’ve that I’ve seen, overwhelming and heartwarming. I mean, hard to read with a lump in the throat a lot of it. So positive.

“And I feel apart from anything else that one side of the narrative has been being pushed, rammed down throats for a year and a half. ”

Mr Oliver has previously branded lockdown “the biggest mistake in world history”.

In 2017, the TV presenter best known as a presenter of several BBC documentary series, including A History of Scotland, Vikings and Coast revealed he quit using social media after being subjected to “vicious” abuse from pro-independence supporters. He later returned.



What Neil Oliver said in full



For me, it’s all and only about freedom. For me,  without freedom, there is no point in anything. 
So, take away all the numbers, all the statistics, all the models and predictions. 
All the promises and threats, all the steel hand in velvet glove coercion, take all of that away. 
For me, it all boils down to something simple.
I declare that I am a free man. 
I was born 54 years ago, into a part of the world, just a relatively small part of the world, where I was taught that my freedom had been won for me by men and women who had fought and died to make it so.
I was born just 22 years after World War Two, into a world still full of those men and women who had fought for my freedom and live to tell the tale. And what a tale, it was.
It started with the sudden appearance of a force bent on tyranny. Of course, the sudden appearance was an optical illusion. In truth, that force had been on the rise and making plans for years before it was ready to pull the trigger.
It’s worth remembering that that force believed it was poised to make the world a better place, a glorious place. 
When that force started moving it seems nothing could or would stop it. And in the beginning of the fight to prevent the victory of that tyranny, it was a minority, a minority outgunned and shouted down by fellow citizens, who felt deals might be struck with tyrants that stood up and said no.
English writer Mervyn Peake said to live at all, is miracle enough. It’s a good line.  And I’ve quoted it for years.
But now I see that merely to live is not enough, not nearly.
A caged bird is alive, but without the freedom to fly in the limitless sky, it is denied everything that makes a bird in the first place. 
To be alive is not enough. What matters is to live in freedom.
A bird is such a fragile creature. It’s really all and only about movement. Take away a birds movement, and it’s a handful of feathers and air.

Freedom is not negotiable. You’re either free or you’re not. 
Freedom is not even safe. Those who have been imprisoned are often terrified of freedom, all those choices, all of that personal responsibility. 
This is why ex cons often reoffend, so they can go back behind bars where it feels safer, out of harm’s way.
I have three children.
They’re growing up fast, teenagers all.
Often, I think I would like to keep them close by me forever where I can stop them doing stupid things, dangerous things.
If I kept them in the house, no stranger could hurt them. But that would be no life, Not for them, and not even for me. 
I would be the jailer, and they would be my caged birds.

As it happens, this past year and a half  let me see what happens to children kept safe in the house. It’s not good. It’s not good at all.

And so if I didn’t know it before I know now that I have to let them go out into a world that is full of all manner of things, danger included. 
Here’s the thing. If your freedom means I might catch Covid from you, then so be it. If my freedom means you might catch Covid from me, then so be it. That’s honestly how I see it. 
For the sake of freedom, yours and mine together. I will cheerfully risk catching Covid. That is a chance, one among many, that I am prepared to take and happily. 
Life is not safe. Freedom is not safe. For the sake of freedom, yours and mine together, both freedoms being of equal value, I will cheerfully risk much else besides.
It’s the summertime now. Summertime is the time to remember the Battle of Britain.
The part of the story that moves me most of all has Churchill in Uxbridge in the operations room of Number 11 Group, tasked with defending London and the southeast, the sky above them is filled with fighter planes, and bombers. 
Churchill asks Air Vice Marshall Keith Park, about the reserves, how many planes and pilots he has as backup, ready to take the place of those already committed,
Every aircraft, and man we have is in the air now, said Park, there is no reserve.
Those Spitfires and Hurricanes were piloted by men, and also by boys not long out of school. 
They risked everything for freedom, mine and yours, the last full measure of devotion.
I cannot be sure, but I don’t think they fought and died, so a government might seize and hold that freedom like a deck of cards, dealing them out one by one to those deemed deserving.
I think they fought for unconditional freedom for each man, woman, and child. That’s what I think. 
I’ve been reading about people calling people who have chosen not to take the vaccine, ‘plague rats’. I’ve read about people calling for those plague rats to be rounded up and locked away, out of sight.
There’s another battle of Britain being fought now. It’s being fought by a minority outgunned and shouted down by those who would [won’t] accept freedom handed to them by MPs on condition that they do as they are told.
That’s not freedom. That is tyranny. And I for one will not live under that yolk, as I have done all my life, I salute the few.
I hope to see you on the other side.


The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992