Can we still believe a word this Government says? | William Hallowell
Only three days ago Sajid Javid said the Government is keeping its vaccine passport policy “in reserve” – what he really meant is that it’s “Plan B”.
On Sunday, the public were assured – relieved, even – over the Health Secretary’s announcement on the Andrew Marr show that the Government was dropping plans to enforce vaccine passports on nightclubs and large events (at least, to begin with).
Although the timing of this decision seemed convenient, as I wrote on Sunday, it was welcomed good news that the ridiculousness and unjustified authoritarianism of mandated medical passports were being ditched by the Prime Minister, who was elected on the basis of being a liberal, freedom-loving politician – and who’s policies should reflect this.
However, it appears we have been misled. Sajid Javid told Andrew Marr: “I am pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.” Good news. The Government have backtracked on an outrageous, intrusive and dangerous precedent-setting policy which is wholly dystopian, totally unwarranted and borderline extremist. What is bad news though, is that unfortunately the Health Secretary also said: “We should keep [vaccine passports] in reserve as a potential option.” His being “pleased” then, must surely be disingenuous.
Therefore, the public’s hesitancy to believe vaccine passports are completely off the table, in terms of the Government’s Covid policy, was legitimate – because only two days later, they’re included in the Prime Minister’s Covid Winter Plan. There is no possible way that Javid would not have known this, as a senior Government figure and as the Health Secretary. Granted, at least at the moment, vaccine passports only form part of “Plan B” to battling Covid during the winter. However, it would be naïve to believe the idea wouldn’t be brought forward into “Plan A”, depending on the national coronavirus situation, and the same can be said for its denial of winter lockdown rumours. This Government has made a habit of changing its mind and performing the famous U-turn.
It does raise questions over the ability for the public to trust the Government to guide the country out of the pandemic successfully, with minimal deaths and hospitalisations, and minimal threat to our freedoms. Vaccine passports would heavily impede upon the public’s freedoms, and, if they are implemented, should serve as a catalyst to bring down this Johnson Government. And, though Conservative backbenchers have tended to oppose heavy coronavirus measures, including those which threaten our liberties, it is unlikely they have enough power to prevent the Government from imposing vaccine passports.
If the Government does introduce vaccine passports, it should be agreed that the Prime Minister is unfit to govern, and the senior members of his party who back this abhorrent policy, too. As mentioned previously, Johnson was not elected on the pretences of an authoritarian, tyrannical regime. He was elected on the contrary, in fact. If he is to invoke the use of vaccine passports, and thus invoke a severe imposition on our freedoms, is he any better than the tyranny and oppression of the Taliban regime?
As of Tuesday evening, rumours have begun to circulate that the Prime Minister plans to announce a snap election due to planned reforms to our elections. His Government has lost a lot of the support he so magnificently won in 2019 – and he is forever losing more. For me, personally, I will cancel my party membership without hesitation should he impose vaccine passports. And, to call a snap election now, and really, at any point in the foreseeable future, would be totally ill-advised, and could potentially cost him his hard-won power.
Evidently, we can no longer take the Government for its word, and must question how genuine its intentions and policies are. At present, there is little reason to put faith and trust in our Government – particularly when it is so unbothered about breaking manifesto promises, which is a sign of a Government in trouble.