The deadline for submitting evidence to the covid immunity passports review is fast approaching. Responses must be filed by 11:45pm on 29 March 2021. Don’t be put off by the formal language of a ‘call for evidence to inform the review into COVID-status certification’, this is also an ‘open consultation’. The government says it is keen to ‘ensure that the [review] recommendations reflect a broad range of interests and concerns’ and that it will ‘welcome views from all respondents’. So if you have a view on covid passports, email it to certification.cfe@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. For good measure, you might also send a copy of the email to your MP. You can find his or her email address here.

There are a number of websites offering email templates, for example Big Brother Watch and the UK Medical Freedom Alliance, along with lists of things you might want to include in your email. Dr No is of the view that the templates are rather on the long side, and that the receipt of thousands of identical emails, which, let’s face it, Govie is not going to stay up all night reading, will rather lessen their individual impact. Better, Dr No suggests, to send a short email giving your top two of three reasons why domestic covid passports should not go ahead (perhaps even add they should explicitly be banned, as being discriminatory), as shorter individual emails are likely to have more impact. Or perhaps not. But please do send something, even if it is just a one liner, as the bigger the count of total emails received, the greater their collective weight. Your country needs you, to add your voice to the call to stop this dangerous divisive authoritarian devilry in its tacks.

Comments

  1. Tish Farrell Reply

    I’ve done just as you described, Dr. No – short and copied to my MP. In fact I might have another go, and copy it to some of those few MPs who are standing up for democratic principles. Astonishing that only 76 against 400 odd have not been well and truly ‘Emperor’-new-clothes-ed’. Utterly shameful.

  2. Zuzu’s Petals Reply

    Thank you, Dr. No, for this timely reminder. I have sent my email but, having had previous experience of my MP’s muddled thinking, I didn’t think it worthwhile to send her a copy. My plea to her in December to vote against compulsory vaccinations for all was met with the following reply, and I quote verbatim: “I disagree. I hope the vaccine helps us to overcome the virus and concerns about its safety are outweighed by our individual rights or choices.” I puzzled over that second sentence for some time and it is no clearer to me today.

    • DevonshireDozer Reply

      “I puzzled over that second sentence for some time and it is no clearer to me today.”

      No doubt that was her intention. A string of words that convey nothing whatsoever.

    • Harry hopkins Reply

      If you are expecting intelligent, coherent, sensible replies from your MP then I fear you will be sorely disappointed. During 2020—taking Peter Hitchens’ lead—I fired off numerous e-mails to my MP, a certain Alex Sobel. Scripted garbage of a similar ilk to your response was all I received. Getting out of this mess will never be achieved by the gutless morons who pose as MPs….It’s a waste of time writing to them. Sadly, it’s also a waste of time listening to Peter Hitchens as he never did quite understand the fact that this whole covid hysteria is far more than just government incompetence.

  3. Annie Davenport Turner Reply

    I’m with you on all you say, Harry. But just maybe pushing the need and reasons to write to MPs in our social media posts will get a few more people to at least consider exactly what you say in the last part of your final sentence, even if not the MPs themselves – who, I’m guessing, have the equivalent of a firearm in their backs.. We just have to do all we can, for as long as we can, and pray some of the many law suits in action come off, and in time.

  4. dr-no Reply

    Zuzu’s Petals – that sentence is pure Sir Humphrey! Sounds full of import, but is actually meaningless.

    For what it is worth, here is the text of Dr No’s email to the consultation:

    I am writing to express my deep concern at the possible introduction of domestic covid immunity passports. I do not believe they should be introduced, for the following reasons:

    (1) the covid immunity passports will automatically create a two tier have/have not society, those who have immunity, and those who don’t. It will create a form of apartheid right here in Britain

    (2) they are wide open to extension and abuse, up to and potentially beyond a Chinese style state monitoring of its people. Once the technology is in place, it will be used, for more and more purposes

    (3) they will create a direct coercive pressure on people who for whatever reason do not wish to get vaccinated to have the vaccine. Except in remarkably strictly limited conditions, which covid–19 in no way satisfies, any form of coercive treatment is both unethical and illegal. The state will end up sponsoring state sanctioned assault

    My concerns are not limited to these three concerns, but they are the main ones.

    Yours sincerely

    etc

    The fact that the passports are potentially (dangerously) misleading, in that we don’t yet know the effect or natural history of vaccination or prior infection on subsequent transmission of covid-19, didn’t get included because (hopefully) in due course we will the answers, which could go either way.

  5. Annie Davenport Turner Reply

    Emails sent, and much posting-to-encourage done!
    http://www.writetothem.com is good for getting through to your MP, too. I’ve had success with that than any other way.
    Thanks for this blog, Dr No; it’s so important, and feels a major line in the sand, over which we must not cross. (Hmm… 🤞🙏)

  6. Helen McArdle Reply

    I’ve just sent the following (abridged) response. I could have gone on for several pages:

    I write as a GP and a citizen, in opposition to proposals for introduction of COVID-status certification in the UK, for the following reasons:

    1. Apartheid
    Under current proposals, the following groups will have restrictions placed upon their freedoms:
    1. Those who can’t take the vaccine
    2. Those who don’t currently wish to take the vaccine:
    Pregnant women or women planning pregnancy
    Those who are pro-choice. Their reasons are likely to be varied and private.
    Those who have infection-acquired immunity who don’t wish to take the vaccine.

    2. Proof of Covid vaccination is not proof of immunity or transmission status.

    3. Not justified:
    Utilitarian arguments are used to promote the concepts of Covid-status certification and mandatory vaccination. Vaccination uptake is high in the JCVI priority clinical risk groups and this is expected to drive down the mortality from Covid-19 by up to 99%. In some areas Covid-19 is now probably endemic, and through a combination of infection and vaccination there may be population immunity.

    It is anticipated that endemic Covid-19 will confer a similar health risk as seasonal flu and once the endemic phase is reached and primary exposure is in childhood, COV-2 may be no more virulent than the common cold. What then are the criteria for defining the need for infection-status certificates? The current criteria are arbitrary, based on political power ie anything that the government decides to be in the interest of Public Health.

    4. Worrying direction of travel:
    In a free democracy we learn to balance risk and freedoms. History shows us that totalitarian regimes take away human rights in incremental steps. De-implementation is always more complicated.

    Restrictions to freedoms based on ‘Covid-status’ certification will not stop at leisure activities like holidays and visits to pub. If pubs, why not all shops? If all shops ,why not all places of education, gyms, public transport, libraries, workplaces..? Will we restrict from public places, and by extension, from employment, those ‘without status’? But how to identify those ‘without status’? Perhaps a badge? Or will those ‘without status’ require separate areas?

    And if this, for an infection that in time will likely confer the same risk as a common cold, then why not the same for annual seasonal flu?

    There is the thorny issue of what to do with those employees ‘without status’? Employers will be able to discriminate against those who cannot or do not want to take the vaccine, or cannot prove their status. Once we have vaccinated those vulnerable patients who wish to be vaccinated, are we really prepared to cross the rubicon to enforced and coerced vaccination? We risk creating an alien class who will be legally restricted from normal social activities and ghettoised for the sake of the majority.

    Yours Sincerely

  7. dr-no Reply

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Helen – good that we have made similar points, but using different wordings. It should increase credibility (assuming they read our emails, that is…).

  8. Helen McArdle Reply

    Thank you for drawing our attention to this important consultation. It took me a few hours to collect my thoughts and only after did I realise you’d made the same points, only more succinctly.

    I have emailed my MP. People who are not extremely worried about the future implications of this policy, frankly should be.

  9. jonathon tomlinson Reply

    We consent (willingly or not) to an enormous range of restrictions on our freedom for a number of good reasons including making life safer for other people, especially those more vulnerable than ourselves. This video gives a good philosophical account of how hard it is to balance freedom and justice. The libertarians think that freedom is both a means and an end, while the SJWs would argue that the powerful have always enjoyed far more freedom than those with less power and so justice is the means and freedom with justice is the end https://peertube.parleur.net/videos/watch/474ffb8c-7ffb-4dd6-b16b-b9ad1941bcdc

    In relation to vaccines you need Yellow Fever certificates to travel to / from endemic areas and you need proof of Hepatitis B to work in Healthcare. Vaccines protect the people around you so you cannot appeal purely to self-interest.

    Invoking ‘apartheid’ and ‘Chinese style state monitoring’ is absurd if you begin even for a second to think about what it was like in South Africa (and still is in many places) or Xinxiang.

    In all it’s a fascinating ethical dilemma, but we won’t make much progress if people resort to hammer vs tongs positions and leap to defend only one side of the debate without getting stuck into the issues.

  10. dr-no Reply

    JT – I have known you long enough (online) to know this isn’t you, but the arguments you are advancing are the classic ones used by authoritarians (introduction of restrictive measures for the protection of the self/others/the state). Authoritarianism from within does not come with a bang, it comes in bit by bit. Sometimes (some of) the people even welcome it (1930s Germany). We need to apply the most extreme care imaginable to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes.

    It is not absurd to say that the passports will create ‘a form of apartheid’. The origin of the word is Afrikaans for ‘apart-ness’, or separate from, which is exactly what will happen: those without passport will be separated from, and put apart from, those who do have passports. What’s more, given the higher levels of vaccine resistance (and so higher levels of no passport apart-ness) in BAME people, BAME people will be disproportionately represented in this group. This group will be denied access to all manner of places, services and even work.

    Nor is it absurd to say the passports apps are wide open to extension and abuse, up to and beyond Chinese style state monitoring. Having us do everything digitally is exactly what the big tech companies want to happen. It is already starting to happen, and as it does, vast amounts of data are generated and collected. Is it really conceivable that the government will ignore all the opportunities for data collection that the big tech companies have already enabled? Facial recognition and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) are already in use, introduced not with a bang, but bit by bit. It is all just far too seductive for those with a controlling streak to pass by. It will happen — unless we make sure it doesn’t.

    Dr No started writing a post the other day on The Rule of Law. Among other things, it was going to consider the dilemmas at the heart of your comment, including the extent to which the state can infringe personal liberty in the interests of the greater good. But who defines the greater good? Sometimes it is obvious: not carrying firearms and drink driving laws, but at others it is much more contentious. What happens when a government starts chipping away at the rule of law, for instance by using emergency powers and secondary legislation? Strictly speaking, it probably isn’t against the (lower case) rule of law, given that powers to do so are already there, but what about the spirit of the (upper case) Rule of Law? These dilemmas, and the solutions sent to meet them, demand the highest level of debate and scrutiny. Right now, that isn’t happening.

    • carolyn_f Reply

      Agree 100% Dr No – seems total vigilance is now required. I imagine also that most of us need to change our online habits and mindsets; I certainly do.

      Electronic surveillance of our medical records via third-party Apps is a reality. For confirmation you only need to read this Press Release from a Government-funded/backed companies now carrying out a real-world trial: “Mvine and iProov aim to complete two trials by 31 March 2021, giving Directors of Public Health across the country the confidence to deploy the passport at scale to benefit their local areas.”

      “Crucially, the Mvine-iProov passport can be plugged into the NHS’ existing infrastructure, enabling it to meet the specific needs of local Directors of Public Health and any overarching national requirements. This flexibility ensures that areas in different tiers or levels of vaccination rollout can set appropriate policies and enforce them with confidence.”

      The Mvine-iProov passport has been developed quickly and cost-efficiently, with a total £75,000 investment from Innovate UK following a call for ideas in April 2020. It is expected this investment in UK innovation will help businesses and employees return to work, and enable families and friends to reconnect, more quickly and more responsibly than would otherwise be possible.” [Ends]

      I don’t wish to give these folks more publicity than necessary but look at the graphic bottom right of this page – looks like facial recognition to me. Their their entire business is based on what they call: Genuine Presence Assurance.

      If their (facial recognition?) software ‘approves’ me as real and capable of paying Sainsbury for online groceries or, say, allows me to withdraw money from my own account (time, date, place, amount recorded) and/or approves any number of other online transactions… Plus their app has access to an up-to-the minute record of my medical ‘events’… what a neat psychological profiling and citizen-control bundle that data makes, eh?

      I fear the worst is almost upon us. (She said cheerily as she set off for an evening walk… all the while being tracked by her smart phone.)

  11. Helen McArdle Reply

    Jonathan

    It is naive to ignore the lessons of history.

    Discrimination based on vaccination status will currently disproportionately restrict the freedoms of those who identify as black Africans or black Caribbean (7 x less likely to have taken the vaccine as White British), alongside Muslims (3x less likely to have taken the vaccine compared with Christians), Buddhists (2.8 x less likely) and the disabled (ONS). Vaccine uptake in traveller communities has historically been an area of concern.

    Will we see a future where people without status are prohibited from using privately-owned public spaces? If not why not? How do you safeguard against that?

    Robert Freundenthal on Twitter puts it succinctly, ‘There are people that live beyond the bureaucratic reach of the state. There always will be, however hard the state tries. They will be excluded from any system of passporting’. Robert predicts ‘a fear based spiral of escalating exclusion and surveillance’. This last year has shown us how that might play out.

    What does ‘Covid status’ even mean? What if sterilising immunity fades faster than disease reducing immunity? What about the emergence of vaccine-resistant strains? Hep B immunisation is a poor analogy.

    What does social identity theory predict, with the creation of socially defined groups based on arbitrary categorisation of ‘covid status’? In-group favouritism and outgroup derogation. We may see escalating fear, rising in-group/out-group tension, discrimination and violence. Interesting that, based on vaccine uptake, the current ‘without status’ out-group appears to have phenotypic commonalities with other out-groups.

    Research into cognitive dissonance theory has shown us that people who are committed to changing their narrative based on previous behaviour are not aware of the intensification of their viewpoint. In other words, you can be on the slippery slope without knowing it.

    Helen

  12. Jonathon Tomlinson Reply

    Helen,
    As a GP with a lot of Black British patients of African and Caribbean background and multiple other people of colour from all over the world I’ve seen the death toll and complications caused by Covid. I’ve been working in the same practice for 20 years and know my patients well. Every day I’m having discussions with them about vaccines. After so many years of living with systemic racism and white supremacist culture it’s no surprise that rates of vaccine uptake are so low, but every day we’re making progress by working with community leaders and making use of the trust and mutual respect that doctors and patients have for one another when personal continuity of care is a priority. So there’s nothing inevitable about the differences in vaccination rates of you make the effort.
    Dr No, there’s anything but a lack of contention about carrying guns in the US the last time I checked. All restrictions on freedoms need to be vigorously debated including vaccine passports
    I’m generally not in favour of vaccine passports, but I think that slippery slope arguments are lazy rhetoric.

  13. dr-no Reply

    JT – Sorry, should have made it clearer I was talking about the British context, where last time I checked we don’t want people carrying arms. I used it as the example precisely because other cultures do things differently, and an awful lot of harm results. Any country is perfectly capable of acting foolishly (according to our world view, the NRA will see it very differently).

    Any country (or government) is perfectly capable of acting foolishly – that’s the key point. That’s why we have the imperfect but best there are checks and balances – Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition (and elections), a free press etc. One major consequence of covid has been these checks and balances have been wiped out. The rot may have set in before covid, but covid meant the rot really took hold. There is no effective opposition, and the MSM have turned into HMG’s public relations department. Fact checkers and the establishment mob police any dissidents. Anyone who dares to question the Establishment narrative gets mobbed. All these things are are clear signals that we are moving – sliding – into authoritarianism.

    There are two arguments to be had about vaccine passports. One is the ivory tower academic argument of immense, profound and all encompassing wisdom (which just might never actually come to a conclusion); the other is the pragmatic here and now argument. In this second argument, slippery slopes are anything but lazy rhetoric, they are core to the argument because they describe the process by which bad decisions are made. Once you know what the process is, you can start doing something to stop it.

  14. The Meissen Bison Reply

    Jonathon Tomlinson: “The libertarians think that freedom is both a means and an end”

    Apologies in advance for being thick but I’m not convinced that that means anything.

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