Carmichael accuses ministers of bringing in vaccination passports by stealth

After some nightclubs in England began requiring an NHS Covid pass for entry, Alistair Carmichael, Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson, yesterday accused the government of introducing vaccination passports by the back door.

The government has just committed to vaccine passports by stealth. This deceitful move is deeply shameful.

Carmichael also called for parliament to be recalled to discuss the matter.

More than 20 nightclubs and venues in England have said they would be requiring customers to show their NHS app passport. Alistair Carmichael criticised the move:

We now have a new ID card snuck onto our phones without even as much as a whisper from the government.

The Conservatives are no strangers to a U-turn, they should have no problem with doing the right thing and scrapping vaccine passports for good.

At least when Tony Blair tried to introduce ID cards he put a bill to parliament, this lot won’t even open up parliament to debate it. They must recall parliament now if they are serious about this. To get your vaccine passport, you have to type and click through a bunch of options. Just think of the faff getting into hospitality businesses, who don’t want it and can’t afford to pay staff to police it.

Dominic Raab denied the UK is aiming to follow France in requiring proof of vaccination to allow people to gain entry to cinemas, bars and restaurants. But he did suggest the government was engaged in “a little bit of coaxing and cajoling” to boost vaccination rates among younger people before the universities return in September. With just eight weeks to go before colleges return, and with vaccinations spaced eight weeks apart, the government had better get the nation partying.

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  • John Marriott 30th Jul '21 - 10:28am

    Sorry, MrCarmichael, I really do not have a problem with so called ‘vaccine passports’. Like the ‘road map’ or ‘going forward’, it’s just a trendy modern way of saying something for which we old timers had a more appropriate word. So, for ‘road map’, say ‘plan’, for ‘going forward’ say ‘in the future’ and for ‘vaccine passport’, how about ‘common sense’?

  • I’ll echo John Marriott…Sorry, MrCarmichael, my ‘local’ has just closed until 8th August due to the landlord testing positive and the staff being ‘pinged’..Throughout the last 18 months he has adhered strictly to government instructions; those instructions are now gone…
    Outside table service only seems to have worked for the last few but, post 19th July, orders were also over-the-counter and, lo-and-behold, pub shut…as a seaside venue we have visitors from all over and it only takes one infected person to cause the problem,
    Those nightclubs requiring covid-clearance probably worked out that any staff testing positive means all staff isolating and a shut down business…As great pity that you couldn’t view it the same way.

  • Helen Dudden 30th Jul '21 - 11:09am

    The injection does not prevent you getting the virus and some have had the illness quite badly. It neither prevents passing it on.
    I object to this total interference in personal data ans I recently joined the no selling of medical date.
    I agree with you and feel it’s not a good idea.

  • @Helen

    The current vaccine does not 100% stop you from getting the virus as we now have a new variants, however, it does help prevent serious infection and deaths.
    Had we have still been dealing with the original strain which current vaccines were aimed at, then things could have been different. Hopefully the new generation vaccines that are due to come out will be able to prevent infection before another vaccine evading variant emerges.

    I am no epidemiologist, but my understanding is that those that are vaccinated produce less viral loads which means fewer infections and you want a vaccine to immediately start attacking a virus as soon as the body comes into contact with it, that way you have less chance of the virus mutating when it makes copies of itself.

    I see no problem with vaccination passports, we have been through some very hard lockdowns because of this virus and the risks it poses to people and public health as a whole. We cannot afford to live with the constant risks of large scale outbreaks and lockdowns due to the dangers this causes to society, the economy and public health.
    If the only means out of that is vaccination then I am fine with that, as long as there are “medical exemptions” for those who are unable to have a vaccine.

    Businesses need to be able to protect their staff and livelihoods in this ever changing world and if that means vaccination for conditions of entry, then so be it.
    It is no different to some countries requiring a yellow fever certificate as condition of entry to protect its borders.

    Why is it acceptable and clearly to some people “liberal” to say to the minority of clinically vulnerable people you should shield indefinitely due to this virus and the dangers it poses to you if you’re scared, but on the flips side it is not acceptable and is in fact illiberal to introduce vaccine passports which will effect the Minority of people who chose not to take a vaccine?

  • Matt Wardman 30th Jul '21 - 1:42pm

    Outright opposition seems unwise to me, as it may be a necessary move. The numbers seem to be that with Delta we really need 85-90% of adults double-vaccinated. A careful balance is needed.

    I don’t think we will see the French rather authoritarian route of denying health treatment to people who are not vaccinated, however.

    There’s also the separate question about whether ID cards may in fact be sensible. Would the Windrush Generation issue have happened had we had ID cards?

    AIUI there is no danger of it happening in Scotland, where I believe it is all still on paper and you get your “come to be vaccinated” via the post. So Mr C is safe there for now.

  • If the government extended vaccination to those over 12 and made it a part of the normal childhood vaccine programme, the problem would largely be resolved…

    I do hope Mr Carmichael (and others) start to speak out about the government’s brazen attack on the NHS with its patient data theft, remember (with respect to the GP and NHS hospital data) you need to opt-out to save the NHS.

  • Graham Jeffs 30th Jul '21 - 2:47pm

    If people were wandering around with smallpox, would we not want to know who they were in order to avoid them and to keep them away from us?

  • Matt Wardman 30th Jul ’21 – 1:42pm:
    There’s also the separate question about whether ID cards may in fact be sensible. Would the Windrush Generation issue have happened had we had ID cards?

    Yes, of course it would. The same problem would have occurred with issuing them an ID Card as documentary proof that they were legal residents had been thrown away by the Home Office…

    ‘Home Office destroyed Windrush landing cards, says ex-staffer’ [April 2018]:

    The Home Office destroyed thousands of landing card slips recording Windrush immigrants’ arrival dates in the UK, despite staff warnings that the move would make it harder to check the records of older Caribbean-born residents experiencing residency difficulties.

    The abhorrent treatment of those Windrush arrivals is another argument against ID Cards. Once you require a licence to live from the state, you are no longer master of your own existence.

  • @ Jeff, “The abhorrent treatment of those Windrush arrivals is another argument against ID Cards. Once you require a licence to live from the state, you are no longer master of your own existence.”

    Can we take it that Jeff is about to cut up his driving licence , National Insurance card, bank debit and credit cards, and if he has the misfortune to support a football club his season ticket as well ?

    I wish a few more Lib Dems would get exercised by poverty and inequality in the UK and the third worl) instead of tilting at imaginary windmills a la Don Quixote.

  • People should have total autonomy over their bodies and what is done to them and medical treatments should be a personal question on advice from their doctors.

    There is a lot of history of people having forced medical treatment because it’s deemed to be in their and society’s best interests. I believe BAME Americans, people with learning difficulties, forced electro-shock treatment, chemical castration of LGBT people etc. etc.

    Now these are more extreme examples than that being proposed but we need to be careful.

    But… Vaccination is about the only lever sadly the government has left us with so I am slightly in favour of it for clubbing and arguably for other indoor crowded venues. I am not sure you have an inalienable human right to go clubbing or at least that right could be delayed for a few months while covid hopefully subsides.

    I think we need to be even more careful where someone might lose their job as with NHS and health care workers. As depriving someone of their living is tantamount to forcing them. And we have never forced them to have a flu jab. But even here I am beginning to tip towards making it a requirement or alternatively daily testing if you are not jabbed.

    I do have a problem – and I do understand where they are coming from with employers such as Plimico Plummers instituting a “no jab no job” policy.

  • John Marriott 31st Jul '21 - 7:44am

    Insisting on a person (probably young; but you never know with liberals) having had two shots before going clubbing – a sort of ‘jab to dance’ – might actually be a cunning ploy from HM Government to get more of those reluctant youngsters on board. A nice plug from ‘Michael 1’ for Pimlico Plumbers. Didn’t their owner recently sign up to the Lib Dems? Some might call that “plumbing the depths”. Not me, of course. You might prefer a more liberal approach with something like “if you have a right to refuse a vaccination, we have a right to turn you down for a job if you do – the choice is yours”. To continue the plumbing theme, that might “flush” a few ofvthem out!😀

  • On any subject dealing with “freedom” i seriously believe that some in this party are determined to discover some abuse of their idea of freedom…
    I’d like to be a surgeon but having to pass all those exams is a real drag;
    In that instance the only danger is to others but my freedom, to do as I want, should be paramount; so why not let me have a go?

  • Helen Dudden 31st Jul '21 - 10:43am

    I took a medication and I was unlucky enough to end up in a situation of being in a wheelchair. The choice was mine, but I feel every one should have a choice when it comes to personal health issue’s.
    Mine was a one off so to speak but not a pleasant one off.
    I think my energy for change goes into the many with serious illnesses on the waiting lists now a very long waiting list.
    Those living with cladding, the many disabled people living in unsafe housing.
    I won’t use the injection, this time I know about my reactions to certain medication.

  • When people talk about personal freedom it often means being free to do whatever they like regardless of any harmful impact it might have on other people. We do not live in isolation and everyone is dependent on others to a certain extent. The problem is that everything is now too big and other people are seen as remote. In small communities individuals might have been more careful how they behaved as misbehaviour could rebound on them in unpleasant ways although even there you could get bad people who did not seem to care or thought they could deal with whatever happened , probably by force. Nowadays freedom of speech often means the freedom to propagate a torrent of lies as it is practically impossible to refute them because of the huge legal cost involved so courts are only useful to the wealthy. Justice for all is a joke, although the legal profession do not seem, or claim not, to understand this.

  • expats 31st Jul ’21 – 10:12am:
    I’d like to be a surgeon but having to pass all those exams is a real drag;
    In that instance the only danger is to others but my freedom, to do as I want, should be paramount; so why not let me have a go?

    Your freedom to wield your scalpel ends where my skin begins.

  • Jeff 31st Jul ’21 – 11:49am……..Your freedom to wield your scalpel ends where my skin begins…..

    As with carriers, knowingly or unknowingly, of infectious diseases..

  • Lorenzo Cherin 31st Jul '21 - 1:26pm

    David, as in Raw

    It David, is good to be for different views on issues.

    I am against id cards and for the kind of measures needed to fight inequality. It is not this vs that.

    You need to see things are nuanced and they have more at heart than what is obviously also important too.

    The cards you mention are with very small databases entered into as volunteers. Can you picture a National Database with goodness knows which or what of medical info and work history on it?! Do not think it would only have your name and date of birth. The government would add and add and …

    You also misunderstand basic income. Your excellent feeling and record on poverty is rightly oriented to anti inequality. But basic income is about dignity.You as a successful professional in consistent work in the unionised public sector have little, I would reckon, experience of DWP and the job centres. If you did, like me, on both sides, as a recipient after a car accident that leaves my wife and I with permanent issues, and in my case too, as an independent adviser and seminar leader for several years with unemployed clients, you would realise basic income is about getting rid of the talentless in secure jobs working for govt doing their best to enforce dictat, lording it over the often talented in insecure areas of endeavour or unfortunate circumstances.

    id cards, add further, to the power of the bureaucrat.

    Liberals in this country ought to be against them, to raise up the privacy of the individual,and for basic income to raise up his/her dignity.

  • It will be interesting to see whether there is any LibDem comment in the media about today’s announcement: Covid vaccine will not be compulsory for university lectures

    “asked whether vaccination would be mandatory for students returning to halls of residence, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said a decision would be taken in September.”

    It is clear the government live in an alternative universe. Students will be starting the new university year in mid to late September. Given at best it takes circa 8 weeks to become fully vaccinated and in practise the government is aiming at circa 16 weeks. If students (and prospective students) haven’t received their second vaccine by mid-August then they won’t be fully protected when they walk into their new halls of residence. Given I expect nothing has been done to improve the ventilation of halls of residence, and it looks like the government won’t be requiring oversea’s students to be vaccinated, it looks like we are set for another autumn and winter of campus CoViD outbreaks…

    Perhaps someone needs to tell Carmichael et al to start shouting about things that actually matter.

  • Thank you Alistair Carmichael for standing up for decent, liberal values. Many of your supporters do agree with you.

    Leaving aside the question of whether it is scientifically necessary to increase vaccination uptake among young people (I suspect the effect would be very marginal), even if it is necessary the best approach is through explaining and encouraging not coercion. Address genuine concerns about side effects known and unknown.

    Any approach based on coercion will just undermine trust in vaccination programmes and science generally and act as a recruiting sergeant for anti-vaxx groups and conspiracy theorists.

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