AS I SEE IT: Terry Murden says the Prime Minister is right to demand proof of Covid protection
Almost everyone has a password for their phone, their computer, their bank, online shopping channels, and many more applications. We all have a National Insurance number, most of us carry driving licences; we may have a student union, gym or trade union membership card, a buss pass, a high street loyalty card. They identify us to anyone who needs to know who we are and our fitness to be driving, accessing our current account, or whatever else it is we seek to do. So how is it that providing a vaccine passport to enter a pub or a cinema is an attack on our freedom to go about our business?
More than 70 busy-body MPs claim they “deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs”. What a lot of nonsense. They do no such thing.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says they are “un-British” and against the “British instinct”. Well, you don’t speak for me, Keir. The only thing that is un-British is to adopt a selfish attitude to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. The real British attitude is one of trying to help others, and in this case it starts with self-sacrifice. If it means proving to a waitress or cinema usher that we have received the vaccine in order to keep venues free of the virus then so be it.
Former director of Liberty, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, says that “participating in your own community is a fundamental right” and that “Covid passports are an authoritarian step too far”. No they are not. Having another card in your wallet or handbag saying you have had the vaccine is no more authoritarian than having to provide ID to a barman to prove that you are over 18.
Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey has joined the rebels claiming vaccine passports will reverse the process of getting our freedoms back. No they don’t. Quite the opposite. Having proof that we have protection hastens the reopening of the hospitality, leisure and travel sectors.
Other opponents are playing the race card, claiming vaccine passports discriminate against the BAME community. Explain that one, please.
A current Liberty spokesman argues that “a passport system has the potential to create a two-tier society, and risks further marginalising people who are already discriminated against and cut off from vital services.” ….er, what? Does that mean having a passport system to travel abroad marginalises people and denies them a chance to join a gym, have a pint in their local, or go watch a film? What utter drivel.
There are some genuine concerns with vaccine passports, which barely merit a mention by any of the self-righteous crew on this list. One is fraud, and the other is how the system will be applied – critically, how those staff asking for proof of vaccination will be protected from aggressive behaviour. However, theses same issues are faced by anyone asking for any other ID as mentioned above, so they should not be a deal-breaker. There also needs to be protection for those unable for health reasons to receive the vaccination.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a lot to answer for on many issues, but on this he has got to be right. He has warned the hand-wringing liberals that other countries are likely to bring in similar measures so we might as well just get on with it. And avoid another lockdown.
Terry Murden formerly held senior positions at The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and The Northern Echo and is now editor of Daily Business