Daisy Cooper: Boris Johnson needs to go

The constant drip feed of stories of Government Covid rule breaking continues, most recently with the picture of Boris Johnson taking part in a quiz as the Daily Mirror reports:

After this latest revelation, Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said that the Prime Minister was undermining the ongoing fight against Covid and needs to go.

She said:

This slew of rule-breaking revelations leaves Boris Johnson with nowhere left to hide.

The British public did what they were asked, often at huge personal cost, but over the last year, it seems that Johnson and his cronies flouted rules, laughed about it, and are now desperately trying to cover it up.

Johnson is destroying public trust at every turn. For every day he remains in No 10, he undermines the national effort to accelerate the booster programme and hold the line against Omicron. Johnson just needs to go.

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55 Comments

  • Graham Jeffs 12th Dec '21 - 4:33pm

    I fear that Conservative angst with this stems too much from being ‘caught out’ rather than a real concern about ethics and integrity.

    The problem from their perspective is that they need a leader who has the skills to be more accomplished at subterfuge. I doubt that a change of leader shall bring about any improvement in the main thrust of their policies – it’s just that it won’t be so obvious.

  • Yeovil Yokel 12th Dec '21 - 5:24pm

    I was intrigued by what appears to be a black bin liner at the upper left-hand side of the screenshot. If, as some have suggested, it was placed there to cover a CCTV camera, then I can think of no more damning evidence of an attempt to cover-up what the quiz show organisers knew to be wrong. If anyone can suggest a plausible alternative reason why a black bin liner would be hanging off the wall inside 10 Downing Street I’d love to read it.

    Voters of North Shropshire: do your duty next Thursday.

  • @Yeovil Yokel a lot of people online seemed to think it was a bin bag too, but further investigation, and photos from another angle show quite clearly that it’s the end of a funny curtain thing.

    What is perhaps more interesting is that those who know about these things seem to think that the photo was taken in the press office, so while people might argue that an office quiz isn’t that big a deal compared to full on parties, it does suggest that Johnson’s attempt to save himself by throwing members of his press team under the proverbial bus is not without consequence.

  • Helen Dudden 12th Dec '21 - 9:02pm

    Having been to the House of Commons several times, I know the security needed to access secure areas. There has to be footage of any happenings and someone must know.
    To lie is worrying.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 13th Dec '21 - 7:35am

    Daisy Cooper is rightly angry about Boris Johnson’s apparent rule breaking. But I am disappointed that she, and other Lib Dem MPs do not seem to be speaking out against the “Plan B” legislation, especially vaccine passports. It is not yet clear whether or not Lib Dem MPs will be voting against this legislation, even though the party is supposed to be opposed to vaccine passports. I have messaged some of our MPs (including Daisy Cooper) about this, but have not had any replies. I get the feeling that they are afraid that, if they speak out against vaccine passports, they will be perceived as being anti vaccine. But it is possible to be passionately pro vaccine, and also to believe passionately that vaccines must be a personal choice.

  • Chris Moore 13th Dec '21 - 9:32am

    Having COVID passports doesn’t make vaccination obligatory.

    In Spain and France, there are passports and a minority who don’t vaccinate.

  • John Marriott 13th Dec '21 - 9:41am

    The ‘Zoom Quiz’ is frankly a bit a bit of a red herring. Watch out for Lynton Crosby’s ‘dead cat’ thrown on the table in the form of the latest 1 million per day booster jab campaign!

  • COVID passports also don’t guarantee that the holder hasn’t got Covid or can’t pass it on.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 13th Dec '21 - 1:10pm

    Chris Moore, Its true that vaccine passports do not exactly mean mandatory vaccines, but they are still a dangerous step in that direction. Vaccine passports put pressure on people to be vaccinated, by the threat of excluding them from what may be important aspects of their lives (and once vaccine passports have been approved, they are likely to be used in more and more situations as time goes on). Vaccination needs to be to be a truly free choice, made for health reasons only, and without pressure. And vaccine passports would create a two tier society – something that all liberals should oppose.

  • Mick Taylor 13th Dec '21 - 1:28pm

    I think the party has it seriously wrong about vaccine passports. Yes, people have the right not to be vaccinated, but they must then accept that their exercise of freedom puts the rest of us who have been vaccinated at risk and accept the consequences. Society is right to expect that individuals will not harm others in the exercise of their freedom.
    I have just returned from Greece, where in order to have a meal out or go for a drink you must show your vaccine certificate on your phone otherwise you can’t go in. This isn’t denial of freedom, it’s the consequences for unvaccinated individuals and it’s their choice. Greece is also going to charge individuals over 60 €100 a month if they are unvaccinated to begin to pay for their treatment if they get sick. Harsh maybe, but a denial of freedom, not so. They can always choose to be vaccinated.
    So, I favour measures to deny unvaccinated people access to places where they can spread the disease. It’s their choice. And whilst it is true that fully vaccinated people may get covid, it’s far less likely than the unvaccinated.
    This is classic Liberalism as espoused by JS Mill in ‘On Liberty’. Our MPs would do well to heed it.

  • Mick Taylor – It would be naive to assume that all businesses comply with vaccine passports in Greece, France, Italy etc.

    I’ve heard that in France and Italy quite a few establishments don’t check the Pass Sanitaire/ Carta Verde unless officials turn up which defeats the object.

  • Chris Moore 13th Dec '21 - 1:51pm

    Come on Catherine,

    Covid passports do not make vaccines obligatory, full stop.

    Nor are they a “step” in that direction. If governments wanted to make vaccines obligatory, they could directly without any intermediate “step”.

    You can live perfectly OK in France without being vaccinated. But you can’t go into bars and restaurants.

    In reality, late at night, some bars turn a blind eye and don’t ask to see Covid passports. (I can name a few in SW France, if you are interested in going out for a beer.)

    In Spain, regulations are regionalised. In the region where I live, only mega-events require a covid pass.

    Mick Taylor is spot on in referring to JS Mill. The infringement on liberty of the non-vaccinated protects the liberty of those more vulnerable to covid.

    I believe this is a justified trade-off

  • David Goble 13th Dec '21 - 1:57pm

    @ Mick Taylor. Fully agree with what you say. I know that there are those out there who will criticise me strongly for what I am about to say; if a person who chooses not to be vaccinated needs a hospital bed and subsequent treatment, I think it is only fair that they should bear some of the cost. Sometimes, the greater good is more important than our right to individual choice.

  • Christopher Moore 13th Dec '21 - 2:01pm

    Hello David,

    My feeling is the welfare state and health services should not punish bad decisions.

    Similarly, we shouldn’t charge smokers for treatment of smoking-related conditions.

    The welfare state should be a safety net, irrespective of poor decisions made.

  • @Chris

    “Mick Taylor is spot on in referring to JS Mill. The infringement on liberty of the non-vaccinated protects the liberty of those more vulnerable to covid.”

    But it goes much further than that, it is not just the more vulnerable to covid, it is the public health system as a whole for which WE ALL rely upon.

    If the health service gets clogged up, especially ICU departments with unvaccinated covid patients, that creates situations where Dr’s are forced into difficult decisions on capacity issues and what elective surgery patients to treat or those to delay…

    If the NHS requires “x” amount of ICU beds out of their stock at all times to cover accidents and emergencies and the rest have to be carefully managed for things like Cancer operations, Organ Transplants, Heart operation to name just a few, but covid is eating in to that capacity, who wins the lottery on getting their operating first, the transplant patient or the cancer patient??/
    That is the dilemma that many trusts were faced with before and are still faced with in order to deal with the mammoth back log of cases…

    Like I keep banging on about…The unvaccinated pose a significant risk to the health service that we are all reliant upon and so we need to have a conversation about this and something needs to be done….

  • Barry Lofty 13th Dec '21 - 2:21pm

    I believe the present situation with Covid beholds us all to behave in such a way that protects ourselves and others with any sensible precautions to try to stem the continuing rise in cases due to the on going pandemic, even, sadly ,if we have to forego some of our personal freedoms.
    It is annoying for me though, to witness our PM using the booster campaign to try and divert attention away from his and his party’s behaviour towards previous measures to curtail this virus!

  • Chris Moore 13th Dec '21 - 3:21pm

    @Matt: I agree with your remarks.

    There is no absolute right to liberty. If your behaviour causes certain sorts of material harm to others, there should be limits.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '21 - 3:35pm

    I agree with the tone of, and description of, liberty as regarded by Mill, here.

    However, Mick, the Greek punishment of charging people every month before they, may or may not need treatment, is indefensible.

    Poor, ignorant, or badly informed people ought to be helped, eduated, persuaded, to get vaccines.

    It reminds me of Liberals who want every immigrant who risks a boat trip even from a safe country, to stay. The same Clegg trypes who stopp people coming here even if married to a UK citizen, but who are not earning enough!

    Liberalism is understanding of things a bit more surely!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '21 - 3:39pm

    Also, we ought to see this booster campaign for what it is. An attempt to avoid the necessary restrictions, that would have never led to this variant.

    I disagree with my very much valued friend Catherine, whose compassion to minorities here is needed. I think all of us ought to give up all unecessary so called freedom, pubs, bars, concerts, travel abroad for holidays.

    The world beat early pandemics because they satayed local and there was no real mass gathering except for Roman debauchery and Greek tragedy!

  • Barry Lofty 13th Dec '21 - 4:44pm

    The booster jab seems to be the only light at the end of a dark tunnel for this winter, let’s all hope and pray that the vaccination programme is carried out successfully and efficiently and has the desired effect, even if the PM will claim it to be all his own work.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '21 - 5:15pm

    Barry

    I have concern . I is that yes, for those who had Astra zeneca, more protection seems needed, but is it really needed to have three doses of pfizer so quickly? Six months or so after a second, perhaps third dose boost is ok, but who says it is needed after less ?

    I have a friend who had two Astra zeneca jabs and real side effects. He was even worse after the booster!

    Stay home is the best advice. By all accounts a booster might be needed, but I am not sure at what period and for what age. A vaccine was in olden days a one off. Once and for ever for polio or TB. Once a year for older people for flu.

    Three or four or more? In a matter of weeks or months?

    Side effects?

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 13th Dec '21 - 5:29pm

    I find some of the comments here, by people who support vaccine passports, very shocking and distressing, to the extent that I really find it very hard to find the words to reply.
    There seems to be a lot of anger directed toward people who have chosen not to be vaccinated, and, from some, a really vindictive wish to punish them for their choice, to the extent of excluding them from all leisure activities, and even denying them medical treatment.
    Surely part of liberalism should be respecting the right of others to make choices, even if we consider their choices to be unwise? Surely we can empathise with some of the reasons why people choose not to be vaccinated? Some people have a real fear of vaccinations. An irrational fear, perhaps, but a very real fear, nonetheless, just as some people have a phobia about flying, or travelling in lifts. It is cruel to say that they should just “snap out of it”, and get vaccinated, or be punished for their fear.
    Some people have mentioned JS Mill, and the “harm principle”. It is always very difficult, perhaps impossible, to say what someone from history would have thought, or done, if they were living today. But we should remember that John Stuart Mill lived his whole life with the constant risk of infectious diseases far more deadly than Covid. But as far as I know, he never suggested that anyone’s liberty should be restricted to stop the spread of disease.

  • Barry Lofty 13th Dec '21 - 5:33pm

    [email protected] Yes stay home is the best advice and my wife and I will try to stick to that as far as possible, but at our age we are dreading not seeing our family again, but I know there are plenty worse than us and perhaps I am clutching at straws with the booster programme and just hoping for a glimmer of hope? I am aware that the Covid vaccinations are not tolerated by everyone but if everyone who can take the booster it is another weapon against this virus?

  • @catherine

    “Surely part of liberalism should be respecting the right of others to make choices, even if we consider their choices to be unwise?”

    That is all well and said if their choice was unwise and only had a consequence that affected only themselves, i.e smoking or drinking far more alcohol than what is good for them, However, that is not what is at stake her, it is an “unwise choice” that could have far reaching consequences on all of society, for exactly the reasons that I have been setting out…..
    If vast numbers of the unvaccinated came into contact with coronavirus at around the same time ( as this new variant seems to suggest) and significant proportion of those required hospital and ICU treatment at the same time, swallowing up limited resources….then we have a real problem..

    I am not and have never argued that they should be denied treatment, but I will ask you this simple question… How is it liberal that other citizens, who have done the right thing and got themselves vaccinated during a public health emergency, in order to protect themselves, their loved ones, their community , the Public health system and the economy and then find themselves through accident or illness requiring Hospital or ICU treatment, but cannot access it as a bed is taken up by an unvaccinated person who through choice however unwise, declined it….

    Individual Liberty is not as cut and dry as you would like it to be, it comes with responsibility and a social contract…It we took Individual Liberalism that far then that is on the path to anarchy

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '21 - 6:11pm

    Catherine

    I reckon this situation like Brexit, divides. I think it is best to realise that nobody has truly extreme views here, but most are coming at it with feeling.

    I see you here as my fine and appreciated friend, tough we often disagree on these policies in recent period of covid.

    Mick is a fione Quaker Liberal Democrat. If he advocates for the Greek policy I am as surprised as you!

    Matt

    As ever you talk sense my dear friend. However we might do well to examine the science of too many vaccines vs a mild variant?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '21 - 6:13pm

    Barry

    You are one of the best on here, as always measured and hopeful!

  • Nonconformistradical 13th Dec '21 - 6:22pm

    @Catherine Jane Crosland

    I quote here a phrase from J S Mill’s essay ‘On Liberty’:
    “…the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

    It doesn’t matter whether the ‘harm’ pertains to passing on an infectious disease or something quite different. I’d regard it for example as being applicable to drink-driving laws – they are necessary because people who drive while under the influence of alcohol (or other mind-bending substances) are at increased risk of harming others.

    The point is – Mill is saying basically that people do have responsibilities towards each other – that a civilised community is entitled to impose rules on its members where it is agreed to be necessary to prevent (or at keast reduce the risk) one of them harming others.

    I’m struggling to understand why you appear to have such a problem with this. Are you claiming that, for example, it is acceptable for a worker in a care home to work there in the present situation without hving been vaccinated and hence posing an increased risk of passing the infection on to residents?

    By the way, it’s normal for a newly elected president of the Liberal Democrats to be presented with a copy of Mill’s ‘On Liberty’. It matters. Today as well as during Mill’s 19th century life.

  • Excellent comments from Catherine Crosland.

    It is true that liberty is not an absolute value and it can be restricted in extreme circumstances but it is equally true that there are limits to what we can demand of others to protect ourselves.

    Especially when protecting oneself means harming other people’s well-being and livelihoods or in the case of vaccine mandates interfering with their bodily autonomy.

  • @Lorenzo

    “As ever you talk sense my dear friend. However we might do well to examine the science of too many vaccines vs a mild variant?”

    Lorenzo, the things is although the disease might be “mild” for many it is the sheer numbers that potentially can come into contact with this ,in a very short period of time, that makes even a small percentage of serious cases a very large number of cases indeed, which can have serious consequences for us all in terms of Public health.

    If this Virus is doubling every 2 days, then as the scientists are saying, unless you are a hermit and completely locked yourself away, we are all going to be coming into contact with this over a very short period of time..

    20,000 becomes 40,000 in 2 days, 40,000 becomes 80,000 2 days later, 80,000 becomes 160,000, then 320,000 then 640,000 and then 1.2 Million… I think we can see where this is going….

    The Government is hell bent on not going into any kind of lockdown, be it national or local….

    So you can see, by those sort of numbers, by the end of January we are looking at some really horrific numbers of people of people who will be catching this variant and even if the vast majority only have a “minor” illness just by the sheer scale of the numbers a small percentage of severe cases can be a lot of hospital admissions…especially amongst the unvaccinated who are at more risk (especially if any of them are living with comorbidities that put them at more risk)

    Vaccines have proven to be safe. We would have already seen if there was going to be longer term health implications from the vaccine. There are far more longer term implications for public health from catching covid considering the amount of people that are suffering from Long-Covid and the amount of people who have suffered Organ Damage from infection…

    I know your prefered option is to go into Full lockdown Lorenzo to beat this, but I still think that in order to give us ALL better protection now and in the future with future variants, we need people to get vaccinated unless they are medically exempt.. That is the only way we are all going to get our freedoms back, otherwise it is going to be backwards and forwards with lockdowns etc each time Public health comes under strain

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 13th Dec '21 - 6:57pm

    Lorenzo, thank you for your supportive comments. But I don’t think we can pretend that “nobody has truly extreme views here”, when some people have been advocating refusing to admit unvaccinated people to cafes, fining them, even denying them medical treatment or forcing them to pay for it.
    Matt, I know you did not suggest denying medical treatment to unvaccinated people (although some people above have advocated this). I understand your worry about unvaccinated people causing the health service to be overwhelmed, but I think you are overestimating the risk of this. In the highest risk groups – elderly people, and people with serious underlying health conditions – the vast majority of people are vaccinated. People who have chosen not to be vaccinated do tend to be relatively young, and without serious health conditions, and are highly unlikely to need hospital treatment if they do get Covid. But even if someone is at serious risk from Covid, they have the right to choose to decline the vaccine, and to take the risk. Bodily autonomy is a principle on which we must not compromise. I know you were not actually advocating mandatory vaccines, but vaccine passports are really all about making life so difficult for unvaccinated people that they will eventually give in and get vaccinated – an approach that is totally unacceptable, even if it may possibly increase vaccination rates.

  • Chris Moore 13th Dec '21 - 7:18pm

    Hello Catherine,

    I am not so much “advocating” not letting unvaccinated people into cafes, as simply pointing out what is happening in neighbouring countries (which are arguably overall more liberal-minded than contemporary UK.)

    I don’t “hate” non-vaccinated people – my own brother, for example, my closest friend in Spain. But I can’t turn a blind eye to my many other friends who have chronic health issues and/or are elderly and have felt obliged to exclude themselves from public spaces, because of the (((selfish))) behaviour of others.

    And that’s not even mentioning Matt’s important points.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '21 - 9:17pm

    Matt

    I do agree on this with you on vaccines. I am not convinced I can understand thogh, at what juncture we realise you cannpt give people a vaccine over and over, a bit like the definition of insanity, we ought to try a different way.

    I believe pfizer is safer, but all who take a vaccine think it is safe, until they realise it isn’t. I do belive the booster is needed for those who did get two Astra zeneca. I am not sure why, a few moths after two doses of pfizer, a third ought be good for , how long?

    Yes I favour the reverse of Catherine. Get rid of norms and freedoms that harm and beat this!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '21 - 9:21pm

    Where I think the party is struggling is in accomodating a couple of stances on this, which on their further exreme, are incompatible.

    It is obvious that Matt and I and David Raw and Barry Long and nonconformist radical can find much to agree on.

    But Catherine and Mick, or Marco and Chris??

  • @Lorenzo

    “I am not convinced I can understand thogh, at what juncture we realise you cannpt give people a vaccine over and over, a bit like the definition of insanity, we ought to try a different way.”
    I understand what you’re saying, who would have thought that we need a Booster so soon, we would at least have thought that we would only need Boosters once a year as we do with flu….. But please remember, this is the first Generation of Vaccine, we didnt even know 18 months ago whether these vaccines were going to work in the first place…it has been a massive achievement.
    As some people have said, although antibodies do wane substantially after a few months, we do not know yet how well T-Cells hold up against serious infection amongst the wider population, these are much harder to to determine and more work needs to be done to find this out.
    However Lorenzo, when things are fast moving, Governments can not afford to sit back and wait to see what happens ( A live experiment) if you will, because its peoples lives and public health as a whole at risk, therefore they have to make a clinical decision on whether to vaccinate again…I am sure that the cost benefit analysis is vigorously tested….as in, is the vaccine safe ( Yes thats already been determined) compared to what would be the economical and health cost were we to hold off and T-Cell immunity did not hold up as much as needed….. Those are the kind of dilemma’s that Governments face in fast moving situations and as we have seen from past inaction or late action, that costs lives as well as livelihoods.

    As I said, these are only the first generation of Vaccines, hopefully the next Generation will be much more improved, but not only that, hopefully there will be further more in-depth studies and tests available to show T-Cell immunity, especially for the elderly and clinically vulnerable and maybe it will be shown that there is not a reason to get jabbed as often, but that all takes times….The scientists have done a cracking job on what they have achieved thus far in such a short time scale and have saved millions of lives worldwide, but they are only human and can only do so much so fast and for a Virus that has only been with us 2 years, so much is being learnt every day….

  • @Lorenzo Cherin. What on Earth makes you think we can’t “give people a vaccine over and over, a bit like the definition of insanity. They work – they give immunity for a reasonable period of time, until they either need topping up or a newer vaccine to match whatever mutations the virus has recently done. They do seem to be the best way to keep people safe while allowing society to function.

  • Nonconformistradical 13th Dec '21 - 11:06pm

    @Catherine Jane Crosland

    “People who have chosen not to be vaccinated do tend to be relatively young, and without serious health conditions, and are highly unlikely to need hospital treatment if they do get Covid. “

    That may well be the case. But what if/when any of these non-vaccinated younger people gets Covid and then infects someone else – more vulnerable than they are – who might become more seriously ill or even die? Are you saying that’s OK?

    I ask because I perceive that you might be viewing this issue purely from the viewpoint of the perosn deciding not to be vaccinated, without taking account of the possible impact on others.

  • Guy 13th Dec ’21 – 9:54am:
    COVID passports also don’t guarantee that the holder hasn’t got Covid or can’t pass it on.

    Indeed. The majority of transmission is now by the vaccinated, partly because the vast majority of the population IS vaccinated, but also because most of the unvaccinated have antibodies from a previous natural infection. The vaccinated are also allowed to travel and bring new variants, such as Omicron, back with them. Over recent months, for people in England aged over 30, the rate of positive tests (cases per 100,000) has actually been higher in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated…

    ‘COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 49’ [9th. December 2021]:
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1039677/Vaccine_surveillance_report_-_week_49.pdf

    Results
    The rate of a positive COVID-19 test varies by age and vaccination status. The rate of a positive COVID-19 test is substantially lower in vaccinated individuals compared to unvaccinated individuals up to the age of 29. In individuals aged greater than 30, the rate of a positive COVID-19 test is higher in vaccinated individuals compared to unvaccinated (Table 11).

    ‘The epidemiological relevance of the COVID-19-vaccinated population is increasing’ [19th. November 2021]:
    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanepe/article/PIIS2666-7762(21)00258-1/fulltext

    …the epidemiological relevance of COVID-19 vaccinated individuals is increasing. In the UK it was described that secondary attack rates among household contacts exposed to fully vaccinated index cases was similar to household contacts exposed to unvaccinated index cases (25% for vaccinated vs 23% for unvaccinated). 12 of 31 infections in fully vaccinated household contacts (39%) arose from fully vaccinated epidemiologically linked index cases. Peak viral load did not differ by vaccination status or variant type. […]

    Between week 39 and 42, a total of 100,160 COVID-19 cases were reported among citizens of 60 years or older. 89,821 occurred among the fully vaccinated (89.7%), 3,395 among the unvaccinated (3.4%) [3]. One week before, the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 was higher among the subgroup of the vaccinated compared to the subgroup of the unvaccinated in all age groups of 30 years or more.

  • I personally do not see, in England alone 780,000 over 50’s unvaccinated as being low numbers, Just 1% of those needing an ICU bed is 7,800 ICU Beds which is more than we have available to adults in England

    Then there are the under 50’s who are unvaccinated on top of this, although the risks are reduced admitted, there have certainly been plenty of fit and healthy people with no underlying conditions who have ended up in ICU. That is the nature of this Virus, there is just no really knowing who is going to get a severe case.

    The only way to combat this virus is for society to take its obligations as one ( the social contract we are all a part of) , there can be no singling out the elderly and the Vulnerable as they are the most at risk.
    We have to agree on a set of measures to drive down these numbers of severe cases, that puts us all at risk, not just through the dangers to public health, but also the dangers to the economy in order to protect public health…
    The only way to do that is through vaccination, and before people start harping on about what is better Natural immunity or vaccination, there is no better immunity than being vaccinated first then natural immunity through a mild infection…

    Unfortunately to reach the stubborn minority who have proven harder to reach, we have to use a combination of education, carrots and sticks….I don’t like sticks, but when all other methods have failed then sometimes we are left with no other choice… We can not have a small minority hold back the liberty and freedoms of others in favour of their own. That is not liberalism, Liberalism is shared not hogged by the few

  • Mick Taylor 13th Dec ’21 – 1:28pm:
    Yes, people have the right not to be vaccinated, but they must then accept that their exercise of freedom puts the rest of us who have been vaccinated at risk and accept the consequences.

    For those aged over 30, it’s the vaccinated who have a higher rate of infection than the unvaccinated that put the rest of us, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, at (slightly) higher risk.

    And whilst it is true that fully vaccinated people may get covid, it’s far less likely than the unvaccinated.

    The data shows that it is not less likely.

    Greece is also going to charge individuals over 60 €100 a month if they are unvaccinated to begin to pay for their treatment if they get sick. Harsh maybe, but a denial of freedom, not so. They can always choose to be vaccinated.

    So should individuals who are vaccinated similarly “pay for their treatment” if they get sick by vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, myocarditis, pericarditis, etc.? If not, why not? They can always choose to remain unvaccinated.

  • Andrew Tampion 14th Dec '21 - 7:20am

    Lorenzo Cherin 13th December 9.31pm
    “Where I think the party is struggling is in accomodating a couple of stances on this, which on their further exreme, are incompatible.
    It is obvious that Matt and I and David Raw and Barry Long and nonconformist radical can find much to agree on.
    But Catherine and Mick, or Marco and Chris??”
    I agree with Catherine rather than you but as a liberal I accept that you hold your opinion in good faith and believe we should all respect our opinions and try to reach an agreement.
    Second should we not concentrate on what we agree on rather than what we don’t. The only part of the Governments proposals I don’t agree with is the “Covid Passport”. This is a relatively minor point. I see no real incompatibility.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 14th Dec '21 - 8:39am

    Nonconformistradical, Thank you for your comments. You say that you feel that I “may be viewing this purely from the viewpoint of the person deciding not to be vaccinated, without taking account of the possible impact on others”.
    The reason I was emphasising the viewpoint of the person who chooses not to be vaccinated, is because it is unvaccinated people whose rights are most at risk from the “Plan B” legislation (although we should be aware that the legislation would set precedents that would be a risk to the human rights of us all). Of course I also care about the rights of vulnerable people who are at risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid. But I feel that is mistaken and illogical to suggest that there is somehow a conflict between the rights of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. (We should, in fact, always be very wary of any suggestion that the human rights of one person or group are somehow in conflict with the human rights off another). Vaccinated people can still become infected with Covid, and can transmit it. But the vaccine is very effective in protecting them from becoming seriously ill, if they get Covid. A vaccinated person is likely to have only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. If there are both vaccinated and non vaccinated people present at an event, it is the unvaccinated people who are at much greater risk. An unvaccinated person might become infected by a vaccinated person who is asymptomatic. The unvaccinated person might then become very seriously ill. But if a vaccinated person if infected by an unvaccinated person, the vaccinated person will be likely to have only very mild symptoms. It is the unvaccinated person who is at risk in this situation, but the unvaccinated person should be allowed to choose to take the risk.
    Either we believe vaccines work, or we don’t. If we believe they work, then if we are vaccinated, we should be confident our vaccination will keep us safe, and should not see unvaccinated people as a threat. But if we don’t really believe vaccines are effective, then what could possibly be the point of vaccine passports anyway?

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Dec '21 - 8:46am

    @Andrew Tampion
    “The only part of the Governments proposals I don’t agree with is the “Covid Passport”.”

    Are you saying that you object to the idea of providing some evidence that, before trying to enter a crowded venue, you have taking some precautions, either to reduce the risk of your being infected (by being vaccinated yourself) or checking via a test that you do not appear to be infected at that time?

    Because if that is the case then shouldn’t you perhaps be classing yourself as libertarian? With no regard for the wellbeing of others if you intend to excercise your freedoms?

  • Peter Martin 14th Dec '21 - 9:27am

    “……it is possible to be passionately pro vaccine, and also to believe passionately that vaccines must be a personal choice”

    They are. The unvaccinated can remain unvaccinated if they are prepared to accept the consequences! Which, unfortunately for them, will be decided by the personal choices of the rest of us.

  • Paul Walter 14th Dec ’21 – 9:36am…………….What about the harm the unvaccinated do by having a higher rate of infectiousness, if they do get Covid, and therefore spreading the disease to others?…………….

    Paul, it’s not just ‘medical’; it’s also social ..I know several who refuse to be jabbed and their attitude to following the rules are cavalier, to say the least. They are all in their 30’s and their attitude seems to start and end with, “It’s my choice”

  • It seems to me that the issue with unvaccinated people isn’t only about spreading Covid: It’s also that someone who chooses not to be vaccinated and as a result becomes hospitalised with Covid is taking an NHS bed and resources which are then not available to someone else who is seriously ill. This may (and indeed probably has) lead to some people dying from non-Covid things because other people’s refusal to get vaccinated lead to more pressure on the NHS.

    Regarding the suggestions of charging people who refuse to get vaccinated, if they subsequently need treatment for Covid… We already charge smokers for the health choice involved in smoking, by levying very high duties on cigarettes. Is there really much difference in principle between charging smokers for smoking and a proposal to charge people who refuse vaccination, if they become ill?

  • Mick Taylor 14th Dec '21 - 2:16pm

    Marco. Some people ignore the laws about theft, burglary, food standards, traffic regulations. By your logic, we shouldn’t bother having those laws in case some people don’t follow them.
    Of course not everyone will follow the regulations about Covid. I travel on buses and trains and there are still some people who don’t wear masks, but the majority of people will do as asked, because there is a strong possibility that not doing so will get you infected.
    Whilst I am grateful for Mr Chevin caring about my immortal soul, I was neither advocating nor opposing the Greeks approach, but pointing out that it was not to do with personal freedom, it was about accepting that the exercise of same has consequences. I would add that those who shout loudest about their personal freedom, often ignore it for others and certainly don’t accept that with freedom comes responsibility and many of them don’t exercise it.

  • Chris Moore 14th Dec '21 - 2:32pm

    Hi Lorenzo,

    I understand and appreciate your desire and drive for a consensus of moderate, though differing views. I think I’m right that this is your strategic posture across many debated issues within the LDs.

    The Lib Dems should be able to accommodate internal debate and difference on COVID, economic issues etc. We are a better party if we do. Let’s make sure that remains the case on all issues.

    There are different interpretations of liberty and hence liberalism underlying this debate and I can see that those whom I disagree with here are passionate liberals.

    I’m a bit surprised you cast me as extreme, as really my main contribution here has just been to point out that Covid passports are already in use in the European countries I know best. Life hasn’t ended!

  • Paul Walter 14th Dec ’21 – 9:36am:
    What about the harm the unvaccinated do by having a higher rate of infectiousness, if they do get Covid, and therefore spreading the disease to others?

    That study was much cited at the time, but numerous other studies have shown little if any difference in transmission. Vaccination status is misleading as most of the unvaccinated will have acquired immunity from a previous infection. Any comparison really needs to be between those with some immunity (from vaccination or prior infection) and those with no immunity.

    ‘No Significant Difference in Viral Load Between Vaccinated and Unvaccinated, Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Groups When Infected with SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant’ [5th. October 2021]:
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.09.28.21264262v2

    We found no significant difference in cycle threshold values between vaccinated and unvaccinated, asymptomatic and symptomatic groups infected with SARS-CoV-2 Delta.

    ‘What is the vaccine effect on reducing transmission in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant?’ [29th. October 2021]:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8554481/

    This study confirms that COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of delta variant infection and also accelerates viral clearance in the context of the delta variant. However, this study unfortunately also highlights that the vaccine effect on reducing transmission is minimal in the context of delta variant circulation.

    ‘Shedding of Infectious SARS-CoV-2 Despite Vaccination’ [6th. November 2021]:
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.31.21261387v6

    To determine whether infectious virus titers differed in vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, we performed plaque assays on an additional set of 48 samples with Ct <25, finding no difference in infectious virus titer between groups.

  • expats 14th Dec ’21 – 12:12pm:
    I know several who refuse to be jabbed and their attitude to following the rules are cavalier, to say the least.

    In which case, they will most likely have contracted Covid already and, all other factors being equal, have better immunity than conferred by a vaccine alone. Almost every adult in the UK now has some immunity either from the vaccine, a previous natural infection, or both (so-called ‘hybrid immunity’).

    ‘COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 49’ [9th. December 2021]:
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1039677/Vaccine_surveillance_report_-_week_49.pdf

    Based on antibody testing of blood donors, 98.4% of the adult population now have antibodies to COVID-19 from either infection or vaccination compared to 22.7% that have antibodies from infection alone. […]

    Seropositivity estimates for S [spike protein] antibody in blood donors are likely to be higher than would be expected in the general population and this probably reflects the fact that donors are more likely to be vaccinated. Seropositivity estimates for N [nucleocapsid protein] antibody will underestimate the proportion of the population previously infected due to (i) blood donors are potentially less likely to be exposed to natural infection than age matched individuals in the general population (ii) waning of the N antibody response over time and (iii) recent observations from UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) surveillance data that N antibody levels appear to be lower in individuals who acquire infection following 2 doses of vaccination.

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Dec ’21 – 8:46am:
    Are you saying that you object to the idea of providing some evidence that, before trying to enter a crowded venue,…

    I object to vaccine passports being adopted when there is no evidence that they work or even could work, nor any cost / benefit analysis. The UK Health Security Agency’s ’COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report’ shows that for people aged over 30 and under 70 the vaccinated have a higher rate of positive tests than the unvaccinated – more than double for those aged from 40 to 59…

    ‘COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 49’ [9th. December 2021]:
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1039677/Vaccine_surveillance_report_-_week_49.pdf

    In individuals aged greater than 30, the rate of a positive COVID-19 test is higher in vaccinated individuals compared to unvaccinated (Table 11).

    Here are the cases reported by specimen date between week 45 and week 48 2021 for each age range for persons “vaccinated with 2 doses” / “not vaccinated” (per 100,000): Under 18: 549.7 / 2,795.7, 18-29: 906.3 / 952.6, 30-39: 1,629.7 / 1092.8, 40-49: 2,273.6 / 1,034.0, 50-59: 1,482.4 / 780.9, 60-69: 870.9 / 554.1, 70-79: 324.1 / 441.3, 80 and over: 245.4 / 461.0 [from Table 11].

  • Nonconformistradical 15th Dec '21 - 12:25am

    @Catherine Jane Crosland
    “Either we believe vaccines work, or we don’t. If we believe they work, then if we are vaccinated, we should be confident our vaccination will keep us safe, and should not see unvaccinated people as a threat.”

    Would that it were so simple. It doesn’t seem to be a 100% / 0% issue. The vaccines appear to work, but are not 100% guarantees of not catching the virus. They appear to work to some extent and appear to reduce the severity of the illness if you do catch it.

    You refer to the concept of being confident that the vaccines will keep us safe – but what is safe? ‘

    Safe’ with respect to this virus might to a reasonably fit person mean something quite different from what ‘safe’ means to someone with some health vulnerability – someone who might, before covid, have been accustomed to making e.g. the occasional trip to a theatre but who now feels they dare not do so, despite having had all their jabs, because they cannot feel safe near others who may or may not be prepared to produce some evidence of having taken appropriate precautions through vaccination or with evidence of a recent test.

    Do such persons’ rights count for nothing?

  • @Nonconformistradical

    Some who are able-bodied nonetheless suffer from an empathy deficit with those who have chronic health conditions or are old and infirm.

    People like myself should be prepared to sacrifice some liberty to safeguard the freedom of less lucky or older members of society.

    We need to have a more sustained debate in here about the difference between positive and negative liberty, which underlies the argument on here.

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