We are concerned that some people in Stroud feel it’s a good idea to organise a protest against measures intended to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Of course some of the measures (like having to wear masks) feel onerous and uncomfortable; and no-one wants their freedom to mix with family and friends restricted. Sometimes the logic behind the government's advice seems questionable, and its overall strategy can and should be subject to scrutiny. Is it really 'based on the science'? Have they rushed to give lucrative Covid related contracts to private businesses owned by their cronies? Is Track and Trace a justification for further invasions of our privacy and an opportunity for social media companies to amass yet more of our personal data?

Legitimate questions like these are one thing, but suggesting that the virus itself is not real, or that its harmfulness has been deliberately exaggerated as part of a conspiracy, is another thing entirely. It's not an accident that the organisers of the so-called 'Freedom Rally' have invited two speakers who are advocates of a raft of anti-science and anti-technology conspiracy theories. People in Stroud should be aware that both of the speakers have websites arguing that climate change is a 'hoax', and that we should resist any measures that are intended to reduce carbon emissions.

One of the invited speakers goes much further - her website includes links and material that is much nastier, including citations of notorious holocaust deniers, anti-Jewish material, and other off the wall conspiracy stuff. Either the organisers of this event did not take the trouble to find this out - in which case they are incompetent - or they did know, but they didn't care - in which case they are complicit in her racism.

Are the organisers of this event aware of the views and beliefs of their speakers? We would urge anyone who is considering attending the rally, whatever their legitimate concerns about government policy on Covid 19, to think carefully about who they are associating with.

Simon Jacobson & Jeremy Green