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Freedom day

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, July 19th, 2021 - 58 comments
Categories: boris johnson, covid-19, health, uk politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Today is the day the United Kingdom gets back its freedom.

Who from you may ask?  From the European Union?

No that was Brexit and it has happened already.  And it did not turn out the way it was promised.  Read this scathing review from the Observer if you still need to be persuaded.

Today is the day the Government has designated that the people get back their freedom from Covid.

Boris says that since the vaccination rate of those most at risk from the disease are over 90% and since the virus is less dangerous in summer time they should open up now and let it rip.  But this is weird because Boris does not even want to mandate mask wearing.  It is one thing letting everyone go to the pub but mask wearing of itself will slow down the spread of the disease so you would think that a responsible Government would at least keep in place the easy to do things.  After all there is no such thing as a right not to wear a mask.

And when you look at recent infection rates in the UK you have to wnder what planet Boris occupies.  Because there is a surge happening and that is before the effects of the World Cup final have been felt.

Admittedly death rates are much lower than they were, so far.

Maybe the vaccine is ensuring that some of those who catch the virus are more resilient.

But the event is descending into pathos.

Because Sajid Javed, the newly appointed Health Minister, has tested positive for Covid, which given the timing of the event and the photo opportunities that Boris is no doubt seeking, is rather unfortunate.  And normally as a close contact of Javed’s, Boris would if he was an ordinary British Citizen be expected to go into isolation.

But there is a new policy just announced that means that Boris will not be treated like any other UK resident.

From the Guardian:

The British prime minister Boris Johnson and the chancellor Rishi Sunak have been have been contacted by NHS test and trace as contacts of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, Downing Street said on Sunday.

The announcement follows the news that Sajid Javid, the health secretary, tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

Downing Street said in a statement:

They will be participating in the daily contact testing pilot to allow them to continue to work from Downing Street.

They will be conducting only essential government business during this period.

Scientists throughout the world are agog at what Boris is doing.  From CNBC:

Global scientists have criticized the U.K. government’s plans to ease almost all Covid-19 restrictions, calling it unethical and dangerous for the entire planet.

Gathering at a virtual summit on Friday, leading scientists and government advisors from all over the world warned that Britain was heading for disaster by removing most of its remaining restrictions on Monday.

The event came as more than 1,200 scientists backed a letter to the Lancet medical journal, in which U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans were dubbed “dangerous and premature.”

England will see most of it last remaining restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing, removed on Monday, which Johnson has said will be an “irreversible” move.

Johnson has fiercely defended his new strategy and has argued that now is “the right time to proceed,” before the weather turned colder and as “the natural firebreak of the school holidays” approached.

“It is absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution … we cannot simply revert instantly from Monday to life as it was before Covid,” he said at a press conference Monday.

Even our own Michael Baker thinks the plan is crazy.  From the Guardian:

“In New Zealand we have always looked to the UK for leadership when it comes to scientific expertise, which is why it’s so remarkable that it is not following even basic public health principles,” said Michael Baker, a professor of public health at the University of Otago and a member of the New Zealand ministry of health’s Covid-19 technical advisory group.

I think Boris is trying to create this sort of impression:

But as anyone with any sense will tell you, opening up to an easily spreadable virus that has proved to be fatal to sections of the public and that mutates the more it spreads before you have reached herd immunity is bonkers.

Good luck England.  You will need it.

58 comments on “Freedom day ”

  1. Treetop 1

    Are there any benefits from Freedom Day?

    • lprent 1.1

      Lots of benefits for Covid-19. Delta has landed in the UK and is making a bid for dominant variant. It will probably suceed as it is about 2-3x more spreadable as the previous champion Beta. Freedom day will probably result in a increased density of the virus throughout the community, regardless of the relatively high vaccination rate.

      Heading into another winter, the general expectation amongst the UK health sector seems to be that 'freedom day' will result in the infection rate doubling over the next few months.

      About the only good thing will be that the rest of the world will have a look at what the covid-19 infection rate looks like when there is a high, but still way too low vaccination rate through the community.

      My expectation is that it will simply result in a rapid selection pressure for the virus to recombine strains and to activate previously unseen behaviours from its rather large genome.

      Looking at the other side of the equation – humans. Benefits for the people in the UK?

      Not as a whole. However it doesn't appear to have been for that purpose. The sole purpose seems to be to allow Boris Johnson to say that he'd done it and tick something off his bucket list.

      • Treetop 1.1.1

        Johnson is defeated no matter what he does.

        It is now in the hands of scientists and not a politician to manage mutations and vaccines. With some hope newer strains are not as harmful as the Delta variant and that vaccines become fully effective.

        It appears that vaccination is slowing down the death rate. This would be my reason for being vaccinated. It is a numbers game.

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          It appears that vaccination is slowing down the death rate. This would be my reason for being vaccinated. It is a numbers game.

          Will be mine as well.

          However the death rate in the only relevant issue. For instance one of my UK colleagues got covid-19 back in Feb. She is still off work with a 4 weekly cycle of doctors certificates with long covid-19. Never had to spend time in hospital as far as I am aware.

          She is getting better really slowly, but lacks all energy and certainly is unable to concentrate enough to write code or organise the current project development – which are her usual jobs.

          She is in her late 30s or 40s. Crucial skills with the specific product we're working on.

          Long covid looks like it is more common than either death or hospitalizations amongst the under 50s with Beta. So far it is looking like Delta only increases the probability of that kind of outcome all of the way down into the 20s.

    • SPC 1.2

      Yeah Randian's who opposed the 2020 lockdown and who decried our elimination strategy, can Cry the Beloved England has Freedom.

  2. weka 2

    Calling this Freedom Day is as massive a gaslighting as anything we saw from the Trump administration.

    Looking at the anti protest legislation in the context of let ‘em die, and the general hard right neoliberalism, makes me think the UK is now top contender for western fascism.

  3. weka 3

    The drop in death rate bears exploring. Would be good to know if rates of post covid disability and long covid are dropping too.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Yep I thought it important to include the death rate graph. I suspect there are a few reasons:

      1. Vaccines do not stop infections but greatly reduce the effects.
      2. The most affected sectors of the community have higher vaccination rates.
      3. It is summertime in the UK and effects are lessened.

      But yes the effects of long covid should also be factored in. I know someone who is suffering from long covid and basically they have had a hell of a year.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Does most vulnerable having been vaccinated include front line workers?

      • mpledger 3.1.2

        There is a panorama doc on long-covid out recently.

      • lprent 3.1.3

        You’re missing the most important factor – time lags.

        There is typically a long lag in a country with a functional medical system between getting symptomatic and getting dead. It varies a lot by county and region, but it is typically a minimum of 3 weeks and has median morbidity of about 6 weeks after infection. It is very laggy.

        If you look at the UK right now, the useful measure would be hospital admissions with covid-19. What is being reflected on the current covid-19 death rate now is what was happening on the infection side in early June.

        • mpledger 3.1.3.1

          I suspect it's also the mix of people getting it has changed. The old and vulnerable stay home and out of the way while the young ones are all mixing and socialising.

      • Andre 3.1.4

        Deaths lag infections by a month or even six weeks on average. Given the upturn in infections really only started at the beginning of June, and there's already an upturn in the death rate, I think it's too soon to form any kind of opinion how the death rate of this wave compares to previous waves.

    • Rosemary McDonald 3.2

      The drop in death rate bears exploring.

      I'll be looking out for the latest updates from ONS regarding the number of deaths in the two most vulnerable groups in the UK.

      Those with disabilities, who constituted a whopping 60% of deaths in the first and second waves. Then there's the Care Home deaths, which may also include those with disabilities, but from what I can make out are largely those with age related impairments.

      Vaccines could very well account for the fall in deaths….but it could very well be that the most vulnerable had died already before the vaccine roll out.

      • weka 3.2.1

        Please let me know what you find.

        • Rosemary McDonald 3.2.1.1

          Last year, there was a narrative from both the MSM and some of the fringe media in both the UK and US that these deaths of disabled and care home residents constituted 'dry-tinder'. This unpalatable terminology was quickly muted, but some did opine that whatever the extent of vaccine coverage and it's efficacy at reducing deaths in future outbreaks, there will never be those awfully high daily death tolls because of the extraordinary high toll for these people in the first and second waves.

      • SPC 3.2.2

        The UK is making itself a giant lab experiment – we can learn from such things as

        1.whether the old and those with health conditions (eg diabetes) are protected enough by vaccination or not.

        2.whether mild illness among those vaccinated can result in long covid or not.

        3.how much worse it would be to allow freedom without vaccination passports (comparison to the EU) and consequent lower vaccination rates.

  4. tc 4

    Watched an angry Christian horner, mask down, interviewed at super spreader event the British GP.

    'Freedom' has been on show all across the UK awhile now. Add in that GP, the open at St George's on top of the euros just wrapped, horse racing etc etc strap yourselves in UK.

  5. Ad 5

    UK is 53.6% fully vaccinated, 69% 1 dose.

    Boris's freedom moment has just encouraged everyone to get their shots.

    Otherwise it's "28 Days" and "World War Z".

    Sometimes freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

    • lprent 5.1

      I did like the response of the French from new restrictions if not vaccinated. No cafes or restaurants. The demand for getting vaccinations is still rising.

      In the UK – maybe you can't go to the pub or football matches without being vaccinated?

      • SPC 5.1.1

        No the UK government has not led or followed the French and now German policy on internal vaccination passports – the EU already has border vaccine passports.

      • SPC 5.1.2

        My bad, he has some hours ago decided that once everyone over 18 has had the chance to be vaccinated, they will then bring in vaccine passports.

        • lprent 5.1.2.1

          I'm pretty sure that in the UK a vaccine are being offered to all over-18s now. However I don't think that they will have had the time to get the second jab yet – that is set to 8 weeks between jabs for the under-40s.

          https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55045639

          Who is being offered the vaccine now?

          All over-18s in the UK can get a vaccine.

          Of course that does mean that right now is the maximum infection possibilities as the under 40s flood into crowed nightclubs and other concentrated venues.

  6. Drowsy M. Kram 6

    Dear (oh dear) Boris:

    "Enough, enough. Let's get this done!", "Get Brexit done!",

    and now, apparently, 'Get Covid done!' Not so unusual to see this pro-risk mentality and behaviour on display during a global pandemic.

    Trump: “Normal life. That’s what we want, right? Normal life. Normal life. We just want normal life. It’s happening, very quickly.

    Bolsonaro: "I'm sorry for the dead, I'm sorry. We're all going to die one day, everyone here will die. There's no point running away from it, running away from reality. You need to stop being a country of queers."

    'Leaders' cut from similar psychological cloth – they roll(ed) the dice for 'their' citizenry.

    The best 'we' can hope for as the third wave builds is that the daily global Covid-19 death toll will remain under 8000. The UK and Indonesia currently have the largest numbers of daily new Covid-19 cases. How the UK mix of high vaccination rates and high active case numbers will play out is anyone's guess. As lprent said @1.1:

    My expectation is that it will simply result in a rapid selection pressure for the virus to recombine strains and to activate previously unseen behaviours from its rather large genome.

    Do hope that a more virulent Covid-19 variant isn't in the pipeline, but that's a hope rather than an expectation. We don't know how lucky we (NZers) are.

  7. greywarshark 7

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/447183/covid-19-nsw-hard-lockdown-only-chance-to-crush-outbreak-premier

    The Brits will start pinching loaves of bread and handkerchiefs to get arrested and transported for free to Australia soon – the land where you have a chance of getting lucky. Not like in defunct old England with its showpony/Eton schoolboy top-heavy politicians and thinking. The rest of England doesn't notice the imposition of the upper strata, because they are so light and airy they float above the populace, no substance at all – just gas enough to float 1,000 hot air balloons or even dirigibles – note future market chance here for the Brits. Get onto it before some smarter Europeans hit on it.

  8. AB 8

    If you think of freedom as a set of pre-existing conditions that were present in some imagined state of nature – then all a society or a government can really do is either step back and permit those freedoms, or step forward and restrict them. This is the mythologised 'freedom' of the neoliberal/libertarian/Tory right. Under this notion of freedom, Covid lockdowns restrict our freedom.

    Or you can think of freedom as something that is collectively constructed every day through a network of mutual obligations. Your obligations construct my freedom, just as my obligations construct your freedom. Advanced, liberal societies attempt to construct as much freedom for as many people as possible. This is an historically-based view of freedom – and it means that when a deadly pandemic is stalking the world, temporary lockdowns produce a net increase in freedom for that period of time.

    The ideological commitment of far right governments to the former, mythologised notion of freedom is why a number of them have done so badly in the pandemic. Covid 19 should really be a dagger to the heart of this abusive version of freedom – but that won't happen because it serves powerful interests so well.

  9. Jenny how to get there 9

    If the UK is about to beome an example to the world of what not to do.

    New Zealand must become an example of what to do.

    Let us become the first nation in the world to reach herd immunity levels of immunisation.

    The vaccine is not fool proof. But the more people who have it the more effective it becomes. The vaccine, just like masks, by slowing down infections and transmissions, the vaccine protects those around you, possibly more than it protects you.

    The strategy being, that if herd immunity is achieved the spread of the virus will just fizzle out.

    The results of Boris Johnson's irresponsibility and ignoring of the best medical and scientific advice is that the Delta varient will spread around the world and inevitably wash up on our shores, and possibly breach our defences..

    Hopefully if herd immunity is reached before that time, the effects will be muted.

    The race is on.

    • Jenny how to get there 9.1

      Overseas the Right, especially the Far Right have politicised the vaccine just as they politicised mask wearing and lockdown strategies.

      The key to reaching herd immunity is leadership.

      To beat the virus all those in leadership positions must be on board.

      All those in positions of leadership Left Right and Centre, every single MP in our parliament, need to declare their support for full immunistion, but not just in words but in actions.

      How can they do this?

      By getting vaccinated themselves.

      If every single MP in our parliament agrees to get vaccinated the Prime Minister can announce this fact to the country and the world..

      And then they must follow through, it could be made into an event, with every single MP from the Maori Party to ACT being witnessed getting their jab.

      Any recalcitrant MP hold outs need to be publicly challenged in the House, and made to be debated and made to defend their position.

      Our success, so far, in beating back the virus has been down to leadership. Let us see that leadership demonstrated again. And not just by the government but by parliament.

      (I hope you are listening Judith, I hope you are among one of the first of our political leaders to announce that every single one of your MPs in your caucus has been vaccinated. And urging every one of your supporters to do the same.)

      The race to reach herd immunity is on. Let us be the first nation in the world to achieve it.

  10. Jenny how to get there 10

    By not aiming for herd immunity, by opening up before herd immunity has been achieved, Boris Johnson has been condemned for putting economic concerns above public health.

    Bur what is 'Herd Immunity' and how does it work?

    Why do relatively healthy people and young people less at risk of suffering the worst effects of covid-19 need to be vaccinated?

    National Geographic gives some answers;

    Herd Immunity: Strength in Numbers

    ……seasonal influenza is a contagious disease that kills 36,000 people per year in the United States alone. While having the flu is unpleasant at the best of times, it is potentially deadly for people with weakened immune systems, including children and the elderly. Flu shots are available, but their effectiveness depends on a strong immune response. As a result, the vaccine is least effective at immunizing those who need it most: people with weakened immune systems. If strong and healthy people get vaccinated, then flu outbreaks can be contained and vulnerable demographics are protected.

    https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/herd-immunity-strength-numbers/

    • Jenny how to get there 10.1

      What percentage of New Zealanders need to be vaccinated for herd immunity to be achieved?

      It depends on who you ask.

      Because it is such a new disease, the exact percentage for herd immunity to covid-19 to be achieved is unknown, it depends on a number of still undetermined variables,

      Covid-19: Govt wants to vaccinate 70 per cent of NZ, but questions remain

      Hannah Martin Stuff.co.nz 07:27, Jan 29 2021

      The percentage of people who need to be immune to achieve herd immunity varies with disease.

      Herd immunity against measles requires about 95 per cent of a population to be vaccinated. For polio, the threshold is about 80 per cent, according to the World Health Organisation.

      WHO’s chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan​, previously said officials believe between 60 and 70 per cent of a population need to be immune to Covid-19 to “really break the chain of transmission”.

      Vaccinologist Associate Professor Dr Helen Petousis-Harris​ said she thought 70 per cent was a “low bar”.

      …..

      it remains to be seen what proportion of the population needs to be vaccinated to bring the virus under control, it could be “reasonable for an initial goal”, and one which may change as time goes on.

      “We don’t have the answers to those questions just yet.”

      For argument's sake, say you need 70 per cent vaccination coverage for herd immunity, and a vaccine was 90 per cent effective, you would need to vaccinate more than 70 per cent of people to hit that target, she said.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300215491/covid19-govt-wants-to-vaccinate-70-per-cent-of-nz-but-questions-remain

      • Incognito 10.1.1

        B.1.617.2 AKA Delta variant.

        Please keep up instead of spreading old news.

      • Jenny how to get there 10.1.2

        We were able to achieve 95% and 80% vaccination rates in the past, and 70% is a 'low bar', why are our ambitions so low today?

        Part of the reason is the politisation of vaccination and disease control by the Right, who have put economic concerns above public health.
        ,
        With this nod from mainstream conservatives vaccine hesitancy has been put on steroids by the Far Right and conspiracy theorists.

        If we want to achieve herd immunity, political leadership is vital, we need to have this political leadership from right across the mainstream political spectrum, from the Maori Party to Act and everything in between.

        Leadership is important.

        When the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition can announce that 100% parliamentarians are vaccinated….

        Is the only way to 'depoliticise' our public health response and isolate the far right conspiracy theorists spreading vaccine hesitancy.

        With this sort of leadership we can match the ambitious vaccination targets of the past.

        • pat 10.1.2.1

          I suspect the reason why 90% plus vaccination rates were achieved in different times and locations had much to do with less of a consideration for individual rights over and above community benefit.

          'There is no such thing as society' we have been told.

          • Jenny how to get there 10.1.2.1.1

            And it is no coincidence that we were told this by another Conservative British Tory Prime Minister.

            Margaret Thatcher: There’s No Such Thing as Society

            Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. During those years, she presided over a social revolution in which nationally owned industries were privatised and the welfare state was drastically reduced in size. Here she speaks of her understanding of the responsibility of the individual.

            https://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-4/margaret-thatcher-theres-no-such-thing-as-society

            Johnson like Thatcher thinks it is all up to individual responsibility to end the pandemic, or get out of poverty, or stop climate change, (an early concern of Thatcher’s). There is no role for leadership, there is no such thing as society, there is no role for government, government should stay out of it. Collective action and appealing to the common good, is anathema to such people, except when fighting wars of course. When war is declared whether in the South Atlantic or the Middle East. Then it is all hands on deck.
            Right wing politicians can all be leaders then, leading the charge for collective action to fight any perceived menace to British interests whether it is from Argentina or Iraq or Afghanistan.
            Not only do they drag their own populations into such wars, they twist the arms of other societies like New Zealand to get involved as well.

        • Incognito 10.1.2.2

          Is the only way to 'depoliticise' our public health response and isolate the far right conspiracy theorists spreading vaccine hesitancy. [sic]

          The irony of your ignorance is striking and irksome. Your dogmatic absolutism should raise a warning flag for anybody reading your simpleton reckons.

          • Macro 10.1.2.2.1

            frown

            I think Jenny is advocating here that the "Government"; and by that she implies the whole of Parliament needs to set a clear goal of wholesale vaccination across the whole country. The vaccination of every parliamentarian would demonstrate that, and be an act of leading from the front and leading by example.

            We frequently overlook the role of the opposition benches in our parliament, but they have an important function in government, as the do the ruling parties.

            "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Abraham Lincoln

            In such a case as fighting a pandemic it is important for all parties to work together to achieve the desired goal of the whole population being vaccinated. We can see the effect of one party expressing reluctance and resistance to Covid vaccinations in the US. The opposition GOP have consistently spread misinformation and lies wrt to Covid and the the resulting reluctance of GOP supporters to vaccinate is well documented.

            Two polls released this week gauging support for receiving the coronavirus vaccine are underscoring the lingering hesitancy many Republicans still harbor toward the shots, fueling concerns over an unstable recovery from the pandemic.

            A poll from Quinnipiac University released Wednesday showed that 45 percent of Republicans “don’t plan” on getting a vaccine. Another surveyfrom Monmouth University showed that 43 percent of Republicans “likely will never" get a shot.

            The surveys indicated that vaccine hesitancy among Republicans was significantly higher than among Democrats and independents.

            The Quinnipiac University poll reported that 29 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats said they wouldn’t get a vaccine, while Monmouth University’s poll showed 22 percent of independents and 5 percent of Democrats said the same.

            https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/548422-worries-grow-over-gop-reluctance-to-take-vaccines

            And this is despite McConnell (a polio survivor) advocating that every one should get vaccinated – but his words are heavily undermined by constant misinformation and lies from congress GOP colleagues and RW media.

            • JO 10.1.2.2.1.1

              yes

            • Jenny how to get there 10.1.2.2.1.2

              yesyes

            • Incognito 10.1.2.2.1.3

              Good comment; constructive, well reasoned and supported, and devoid of authoritarianism. I agree that setting an example is a good way of leading, as in prefigurative politics AKA be the change you want to see. Non-partisan messaging would be ideal, but I thought Bloomfield and MoH were already doing a good job of that.

              Jenny’s comments (plural) OTOH were so piss-poor that it is almost not worth unpacking them.

              Take this nonsense, for example:

              And then they must follow through, it could be made into an event, with every single MP from the Maori Party to ACT being witnessed getting their jab.

              Any recalcitrant MP hold outs need to be publicly challenged in the House, and made to be debated and made to defend their position.

              This goes way beyond persuasion, encouragement, and setting a positive example, voluntarily, goes beyond coercion even, and is bordering on fascist. Who does get the broadcasting rights, Sky or Parliament TV? Shall we do in-depth interviews before and after too, led by Gower, Soper, and Hosking, you know, to 'depoliticise' things?

              What happened to personal choice and responsibility? Since when are Covid vaccinations mandatory in NZ?

              Is the only way to 'depoliticise' our public health response and isolate the far right conspiracy theorists spreading vaccine hesitancy.

              Says the cult leader called Jenny, FFS. What happened to Human Rights? Tough, says General Jenny, we must smoke out and eliminate “the far right conspiracy theorists spreading vaccine hesitancy” because they’re the enemy.

              You know when the cure is worse than the disease and Jenny’s ‘cure’ is infinitely worse.

              • Jenny how to get there

                Incognito

                20 July 2021 at 10:13 pm

                [Jenny] ….goes way beyond persuasion, encouragement, and setting a positive example, voluntarily, goes beyond coercion even, and is bordering on fascist. Who does get the broadcasting rights, Sky or Parliament TV? Shall we do in-depth interviews before and after too, led by Gower, Soper, and Hosking, you know, to 'depoliticise' things?

                Hi Incognito,

                The goal is Herd Immunity

                The question is how to get there.

                I happen to think it is a matter of leadership.

                I have a high regard for our elected officials they do a thankless job and most if not all, despite what talkback hosts claim, are sincere, (to their various different lights), I suspect that if they were asked to do the right thing by the Prime Minister they would do it, voluntarily

                I never said vaccination should be compulsory for MPs or that our MPs should be forced to be filmed getting vaccinated. I think you have miscontrued what I was trying to say. I am saying that our parliamentarians should give a lead. You are trying to imply that I think our MPs should be forced to be vaccinated at the point of a gun, and then paraded before the cameras. This is completely wrong and not what I am saying at all. Nothing like it.

                I am not a "cult leader" or a borderline "fascist". Name calling and falsely assigning me the worst possiblle motives, is not the way to win a debate. You may disagree with someone, you may think they are mistaken but it doesn't help your argument to assign them malicious intent.

                Maybe I was not as clear as I should have been, for that I apologise. Maye what I have put into words here is not as well written or eloquent as I would have hoped it would be.. What I was trying to say; is that MPs make an event of getting vacinated, if they want to. And as a way of giving a lead.. After all our Prime Minister did it,.when she got vaccinated..No body forced her to, she wanted to go on camera getting her vaccintion. And good for her for doing so, she did it show people that there was nothing to be afraid of. She gave a lead and set an example. It is what leaders do.

                If David Seymour, (just for argument's sake, not picking on you David), or any other right wing MP, is against giving a lead to the nation, or getting vaccinated, (not saying that you would David), what is wrong with engaging in debating with the Act leader in the house to get him to defend his position?

                Persausion and debate, the rough and tumble, cut and thrust of well put argument, is the bread and butter of parliament.

                This is not coercion, this is democracy.

                This is why we have a parliament, so we can publicly thrash out different poltical viewpoints before the nation. We are not a communist dictatorship where everything is done in secret behind closed doors. .

                Every democratically elected MP worth their salt should be able to get up on their feet and debate their position and defend it.

                If they are against vaccination, or don't feel the need to give a lead or set an example, let them tell us why. Let them have their say. Most democratic politicians value their time at the mic. they want their views heard, they want to defend their poltical positons on matters of the day.

                From the beginning, Boris Johnson has shown little backbone in fighting this pandemic, and has now given up on the goal achieving herd immunity that high rates of vaccination can give, and is opening up his country regardless to the cost in lives and public health.

                Unlike Johnson, our Prime Minister is no jellyfish. If we are to achieve herd imunity we need a strategy. The Prime Minister has every right to call on every MP to do their sworn duty to serve the nation, and to ask them to set an example, to pull the House together in a united front to undermine the deliberate efforts of the Far Right conspiracy theorists to spread vaccine hesitancy.

                In times of crisis it is what great leaders are called to do.

                • Incognito

                  Good to see you back-tracking from those fascist vibes in your comment. A hallmark of democracy is freedom to choose without undue influence or coercion, which is why advertising on Election Day is not permitted, for example. Similarly, MPs can make up their minds, freely, with undue influences or coercion. These are personal choices and not “political viewpoints”, as you’re suggesting . Didn’t you want to 'depoliticise' this!? I’m glad you see it this way too. Some MPs may not choose to get vaccinated with the Pfizer or any other Covid vaccine. You seem to be suggesting that there is some dividing line that neatly runs between Left and Right of the political spectrum. I hate to burst your bubble and spoil your narrative but I think you might be a tiny bit wrong there. I can’t be bothered countering your response step by step because my comment would become as long as yours or I might even have to split it into two comments, God forbid; less is more …

                  Lastly, herd immunity seems near-impossible with variants such as Delta, as modelling has suggested, if it were to rely on vaccination only. No matter what leadership.

                  • Jenny how to get there

                    Hi Incognito

                    There were no fascist vibes in my comment.

                    Macro in their following comment, did not see it that way.

                    There was no backtracking on my behalf. Things which I think are self explanatory, have to be explained to you in depth. Either by myself, or others like Macro, who I kindly thank here for their support.

                    Personally what I think is, because of our differing political views there is a certain decoherence between us, which is why I often have to explain things to you in detail, things that I think are self evident.

                    Don't get me wrong,

                    I appreciate you questioning me and challenging me, which forces me to explain my position in more depth.

                    Maybe I am the one wearing the blinkers

                    Maybe there are many others who don't understand my political perspective or where I am coming from.

                    I am a great believer in democracy.

                    Democracy has been described as the dictatorship of the majority over the minority.

                    I have had the honour and privilege to have had my political views about democracy shaped by my experience in the grass roots trade union movement.

                    In the face of employer hostility, not to be disempowered individuals, by necessity we all had work collectively as one. Agreed positions taken by the majority had to be followed. In the unionised jobs I worked at, decisions to go on strike or deduct a levy for some worthy cause or any other decision had to be agreed by a margin of 60 to 40.

                    On the bigger jobs there was almost every time a desenting minority, but this desenting minority understood that if they could not win the majority to their position, they still had to go along with the majority decision even if they disagreed with it.

                    I can understand that if you are unfamiliar with this form of democracy you might see it as dictatorship.

                    It may be hard but it is necessary.

                    When you are in a bitter fight with your employer for decent conditions and a safe work place the collective effort can easily be undermined if individuals are allowed to do their own thing.

                    Conservatives and others who may have not had this experience may think that the individual should be able to do whatever they like.

                    But in practice even conservatives who espouse freedom of the individual and hate trade unionism, in practice also take collective action where the minority have to obey the majority. Every poltical party in parliament have their 'Whips' to make sure MPs vote the way their party wants.

                    Only sometimes are individual MPs allowed to vote as their indivdual conscience tells them.

                    Some may see this as fascist or authoritarian.

                    I call it democracy.

                  • Jenny how to get there

                    Incognito

                    21 July 2021 at 10:40 pm

                    …..herd immunity seems near-impossible with variants such as Delta, as modelling has suggested, if it were to rely on vaccination only. No matter what leadership.

                    Really?

                    Only if you believe the bullship being spread about by the conspiracy theorists and right wing media outlet Fox News.

                    ……earlier this month, anti-vaxxers have exacerbated the situation by ,/b>fueling misinformation to convince people that current, widely available vaccines aren't effective against the Delta variant. (Again, that's not true.) The divide has once again focussed attention on the peddlers of vaccine lies over at Fox News, where a minuscule shift might be taking place: Two big names this week bucked the on-air trend and backed vaccines—sort of. We'll believe it when it sticks.

                    https://link.motherjones.com/view/5eb47206b01fd7378a49027felee5.cg2/0d66030e

                    P.S. What are people to think, Incognito, if you don't put in the links and/or quotes to the "modelling" that you (and the Far Right), claim, suggests that the vaccines are "near-impossible" against variants such as Delta.
                    Is that too much to ask?
                    Come on, help me out here. I am trying to understand where you are coming from.?

              • Jenny how to get there

                "There is no such thing as bad soldiers, only bad generals."
                Napoleon Bonapart.

                Incognito

                20 July 2021 at 10:13 pm

                to 'depoliticise' our public health response and isolate the far right conspiracy theorists spreading vaccine hesitancy.

                Says the cult leader called Jenny, FFS. What happened to Human Rights? Tough, says General Jenny, we must smoke out and eliminate “the far right conspiracy theorists spreading vaccine hesitancy” because they’re the enemy.

                Yep that's right. The far right conspiracy theorists spreading vaccine hesitancy are the enemy, and they are winning.

                And as long as they are not publicly countered and isolated by our political leaders*, not just in words but in practice, they will keep on winning. And this country will never achieve herd immunity

                *(The Centre Right in particular need to be called on to distance themselves from the Far Right conspiracy theorists, not just in words but in actions).

                • Incognito

                  You are incorrect! Stop smoking your own dope!

                  Here’s just one example but there are loads more, if only you’d look instead of confirming your own bias:

                  We find that—even when controlling for important individual-level factors—ideological extremism on both ends of the spectrum explains skepticism of vaccination.

                  And

                  One strategy for increasing vaccination willingness is to politicize the issue of vaccination itself.

                  Political ideology and vaccination willingness: implications for policy design

                  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206899/

                  Do you remember vivid antivaxxers before Covid? On which side of the political spectrum where these mostly found? Where have these gone?

                  • Jenny how to get there

                    “Do you remember vivid antivaxxers before Covid? On which side of the political spectrum where these mostly found? Where have these gone?
                    Incognito

                    To answer your question.

                    I remember exactly which end of the political spectrum the anti-vaxers were found before covid.

                    The new age hippy anti-science irrational end of the political spectrum, that's where.

                    And I also know where they have gone.

                    Nazi Hippies: When the New Age and Far Right Overlap

                    Both the New Age and the far right are drawn to conspiracy theories

                    Jules Evans Sep 4, 2020

                    Last week’s rallies in London, Berlin, and Los Angeles against lockdown measures attracted both New Agers and far-right groups….

                    ….Some people are astounded that New Age hippies could have any overlap with extremist conspiracy politics. But it happens. This week, I want to look at another period when the New Age overlapped with far-right politics, with disastrous consequences for the world — Germany in the 1920s and ’30s.

                    https://gen.medium.com/nazi-hippies-when-the-new-age-and-far-right-overlap-d1a6ddcd7be4

  11. Jenny how to get there 11

    Bad leadership has consequences

    The Pandemic Is Roaring Back Where Vaccination Rates Are Low

    Soaring infections in Arkansas show the dangers of skipping the shot.

    Noah Lanard, July 18, 2021 [two days ago]

    The variant has highlighted a new divide in America, between communities with high vaccination rates, where it causes hardly a ripple, and those like [Mountain Home, Arkansas] that are undervaccinated, where it threatens to upend life all over again. Part of the country is breathing a sigh of relief; part is holding its breath.

    While infections rose in more than half the nation’s counties last week, those with low vaccination rates were far more likely to see bigger jumps. Among the 25 counties with the sharpest increases in cases, all but one had vaccinated under 40 percent of residents, and 16 had vaccinated under 30 percent, a New York Times analysis found.

    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/07/coronavirus-pandemic-arkansas-delta/?utm_source=mj-newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-newsletter-07-19-2021

    Not quite the situation in the UK, where vaccination rates are high.

    But the UK is still far from reaching levels where the benefits of herd immunity kick in.

    Boris Johnsons bad leadership in prematurally lifting all disease control measures against th advice of disease control experts could have similar bad outcomes.

  12. SPC 12

    The Tory idealist – we believe in freedom and the survival of the fittest

    The Tory politician – we can again declare our solidarity with freedom (as we tried last year before the NHS was overwhelmed).

    The Tory realist – we can get quicker immunity among the young, by letting them spread it around before the end of summer, than by vaccination.

    The known unknown, how many people got long covid without requiring hospitalisation in 2020? How many vaccinated (one dose) avoid hospitalisation and yet get long covid in 2021? And how many of the younger not vaccinated in 2021 get long covid with the delta variant?

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