For once in our lives we Brits have made it to the top of a league table, but for all the wrong reasons.
According to academic types at the University of Oxford, Brits are enduring the sixth strictest lockdown in the world and the second harshest in Europe. Only Cuba, Eritrea, Ireland, Honduras, Lebanon and Peru have faced tougher lockdowns, and most of those places are no stranger to a military coup or a bread line or two.
It does not end with lockdown. Lockdown was never the destination. In Britain, lockdown was only ever a pathway to mandatory vaccination, using unmarked backroads to mask the destination. But we’ve finally arrived.
As things stand, mandatory vaccinations are not currently legal in the UK.
And yet, this week’s headlines included ‘No jab! No job!’, indicating that employers will mandate vaccinations in new work contracts, forcing the unvaccinated out of work.
If that weren’t enough, they are coming for our kids, too. Most parents with children in state schools received a letter just like this:
‘Students will not be allowed to enter the school or return to lessons until they have been tested once and found to be negative.’
In short, without a negative COVID test, your child is not coming in to school.
The lioness in me is already up on her haunches, ready to defend her cubs to the death. I want to roar in the faces of the authorities until their hair singes off at the roots: ’Get your hands off my kids. They are not part of your freaky social experiment and they are never going to be!’
Parents have been emailing me in tears of disbelief, unable to comprehend they live in a time in which their child will be denied an education if they do not bend at the waist to the government’s will.
One parent wrote: ‘I’ve been in tears tonight as I feel so powerless to argue this case. How can the government possibly enforce this? I’m sure many parents feel the same way.’
Judging from my inbox, many certainly do.
You might argue that mandatory testing is perfectly reasonable because it ensures the safety of teachers and others. But here’s where the vaccine comes in. If the vaccine is as marvelous as the government scientists and, indeed, all the vaccine enthusiasts out there say it is, then everybody has the option to protect themselves against COVID. That is their personal choice.
Others, alternatively, can choose to continue to shield at home on the basis they are vulnerable. This, too, is personal choice.
Education in return for forced testing is not personal choice. At best it is coercion, at worst it is blackmail. Where is the choice for a parent who wants their child to be educated, but in exchange is forced by the government to have their child invaded three times a week by swabs and strangers?
Not only are COVID tests notoriously unreliable, but suddenly my 12-year-old will be tracked and traced. More fundamentally, I do not want him growing up imagining he needs some kind of medical intervention before he can rough and tumble with his mates.
We are a few baby steps away from a dangerous double standard here. Interfering with children is a crime that carries an explicit terminology and stigma. Yet we are not only inviting medical interference with our children — we are enforcing it, with testing, with vaccinations. We are close to criminalizing those who try to prevent or refuse that interference.
Vaccine passports are about to become a reality here in Communist Britain. Government contracts for their production were issued way back in 2020 and Boris says he is considering the ‘ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects’ of vaccination certificates and whether limits should be placed on organizations using them.
Notice the language here. Boris does not say they will not be used. He only ‘wonders’ if their use should be limited.
Arguably, personal choice remains. You can choose not to have the vaccine and therefore accept you will live your life in a self-enforced lockdown, ostracized from socializing, travelling, family weddings or birthdays until you are forced by loneliness or desperation to comply.
But all this whataboutery takes us far from the only two numbers that really matter: excess deaths and hospitalizations. Given excess deaths are trending negative, and hospitalizations are below average for the time of year, mandatory vaccinations or vaccine passports shouldn’t even BE a conversation. And yet somehow we are at the implementation stage in the blink of an eye.
I feel like setting up one of those desks with a sign board: ‘COVID: Kill off the elderly, inject the young. Prove me wrong.’
I find myself re-reading the official line, as if to reassure myself with the certainty of print: Neither the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 or Coronavirus Act 2020 currently permits making vaccination mandatory.
But reading fact and watching reality are two very different things.
Barrister Louise Hooper of Garden Court Chambers said: ‘…there are multiple human rights and civil liberties implications both globally and domestically arising from the response to COVID-19 and the current crisis. Some of them are very real and concerning…’
She is not wrong, but her language is at 10,000 feet. Here on the ground as a mother, it feels like the net is closing in.
When asked whether the COVID vaccine would be made mandatory in the UK, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he did not think so.
‘I think the extent of the public’s reaction following the lockdown shows we will be able to achieve very, very high levels of vaccination without taking that step.’
This feels about as reassuring as the orchestra playing on the Titanic when you could feel icy water lapping at your ankles.
Take it or we will mandate it.
This is called freedom of choice in the UK.