by Freddie Sayers
Wednesday, 24
March 2021
Idea
22:50

Libertarians have lost their way over vaccine passports

Defending the freedom of businesses means curtailing the freedom of individuals
by Freddie Sayers
Pubs like the Ye Olde Cross pub in Ryton are not just businesses — they are centres of the community

When we published our interview with Lord Sumption a couple of weeks ago, we thought it was the former Supreme Court Justice’s open discussion of breaking the law that would attract most attention. Nearly 250,000 YouTube views later, it’s clear that in fact it was his comments accepting the inevitability of domestic vaccine passports that most surprised and shocked his fans. Scroll down the nearly 6,000 comments and you’ll witness nothing short of a feeling of betrayal from those who had felt he was fighting for liberty and had given in on a crucial point.

Today it was Boris Johnson’s turn to shrug his shoulders at the concept that pubs might demand proof of vaccination before allowing customers entry. Number Ten later clarified that a negative test result should also suffice, but the Covid Research Group of MPs is already upset. Steve Baker describes it as a “ghastly trap.”

The reason I wasn’t especially surprised by Lord Sumption’s — or Boris Johnson’s —acceptance is that it isn’t really a betrayal of libertarian values at all: in fact they are calling on the traditional libertarian principle of the freedom of businesses to act as they please. As the Prime Minister put it, it should be “up to individual publicans”, and in Sumption’s example, he did not see how a theatre could be forbidden from demanding reassurances that its customers wanted to feel safe.

In a sign of how topsy-turvy our politics have become, I heard the same argument being made by the pro-censorship side in two public debates I took part in in the past month on the subject of free speech. In both an Intelligence2 debate and a debate at my old school, the people arguing that it was right to ban Donald Trump from social media reached for the same libertarian argument: Twitter and Facebook are private enterprises, and must be allowed to choose their own entry criteria. So progressives wishing to “deplatform” people whose views they dislike are making a libertarian argument to do so.

If to be ‘libertarian’ is to mean being concerned for liberty rather than simply an ideological objection to state interference of any kind, the philosophy urgently needs an update. Because these days, the threats to freedom are just as likely to come from a business as from a government — indeed governments need to restrain over-powerful businesses precisely in order to protect the freedoms of the people that use their services.

Clearly, in the case of vast international platforms like Twitter or Facebook, it is easier to make the argument that they should be treated as public utilities and regulated as such. The astonishing disappearance of Donald Trump from our public consciousness since the election — welcome as it may be to many — is a chilling sign of just how effective that form of censorship can be. His team may talk about creating his own network but he’s hardly going to amass hundreds of millions of followers any time soon.

In the case of an airline, similarly, you might say that realistically customers don’t have genuine choice and so a ban on unvaccinated people such as pregnant women would be discriminatory.

But what of the humble pub? There are tens of thousands to choose from — surely Boris Johnson could allow vaccine passports to be a decision for the individual publican and keep his libertarian credentials intact?

I would argue not. Public houses, as their name implies, are not simply an optional service where customers can choose to go elsewhere. They are required to allow you in — they are even legally required to offer you free drinking water on request. They are in many cases the centre of a community and the only option available — a crucial part of the public infrastructure of our country.

To allow people to be banned on the basis of health status would be a major step — and observe how the arguments that allow it are libertarian in nature. A state truly devoted to protecting liberty and preserving minority access to public goods, instead of intuitively taking the side of business, would not wave this measure through so casually.

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Dave Smith
Dave Smith
1 year ago

I cannot even start to accept that there is a case as Johnson says.By the way he looks and sounds beaten and needs to go soon for all our sakes. How long would the vaccine passport last? Will it have to be renewed every six months or so and will it as is clear morph into an identity card and end up denying effective citizenship to those who exercise their right to turn down vaccination?
I know it will. This dreadful government wants us to live in a country under a sort of dictatorship of the health obsessed . Biofascism as Naomi Wolf calls it.
I am serious about Johnson. He is no good to this country of ours now. Please go .

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

If people do not have vaccine passports they should be allowed in, but on the other hand, maybe the pub could exclude members of some minorities who have a higher risk of health issues from covid from being served without one. I mean the publican should not have to shoulder the increased risk some kinds of people carry just because he lets the ones with a 99.8% chance of recovery in.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Surely you’re joking? That’s exactly the sort of active discrimination the state should be protect individuals from and until recently activists were very focused on this kind of discrimination eg the gay wedding cake in NI ..”libertarian ” business rights (based on religious consciousness) vs universal state sponsored rights of access

Maria Bogris
Maria Bogris
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

No, it’s up to those people what risk they take with their own health, and if some of them are medically unable to take the shot, what’s it to YOU?

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

His party is currently (on 20 April) 9% ahead in the polls. That’s not what being beaten looks like.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
1 year ago

As from day 1 with Covid it was and remains about proportionality. Why not for other deadly viruses, criminals, groups even?

The twist with the vaccines remains that either you think they work and you’re safe – so you have nothing to fear from infected people or you don’t trust the vaccines to protect you, but want to coerce others into having a vaccine you don’t trust.

Of course like much of Covid it’s to do with hysteria, people cannot think straight about it.

If you’re worried about your health you probably shouldn’t be in the pub or restaurant in the 1st place, you should be in the gym or eating salad somewhere.

Graeme O
Graeme O
1 year ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Medical science, virology and vaccine therapy are foreign worlds to you.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme O

No doubt you also dismiss Kulldorff, Gupta, Bhattacharya et al with such cutting remarks. I expect like me they’ll happily be vaccinated when their chance arises. Of course one could disagree with my points and make a political argument as per the article about the rights of business owners to choose or not, but you attempt to dismiss with causal insults.

What would you be aiming to achieve by illiberal and of limited use internal Sars-Cov-2 vaccine passports? Just making people with an appalling understanding of risk feel safer?

Would the passport guarantee that the holder couldn’t pass on the virus? No. It should reduce the chance of them passing it on, if they become infected by ~60-70%. The key here is prevelence in the community and a little bit of maths, your odds of being in a pub with an infectious individual who passes it on to you were always low. Asymptomatic people pass it on a lot less, some studies show 7/1000 vs 200/1000 whilst living together. Peak community prevelence of the virus was ~ 1/100. Now given that the vast majority of infections happen in residential (home, hospital) settings your chance of catching it from a stranger in a pub is quite lower. A massive over estimate would be 1/1000, if that stranger was vaccinated that could reduce to as low as 1/3000. Oh and if you’re vulnerable you’ve had a vaccine that reduces the risk of severe disease and death by at least 10 fold.

Would a passport stop unvaccinated people meeting in their own homes or non enforcing venues and spreading the virus there? No and these people will not be evenly dispersed over the country but exist in concentrated interconnected communities across the UK – so it will continue to spread amongst them.

Would a passport exclude people who can’t be vaccinated like pregnant women, people with poor immunity or young children? If they’re more likely to pass on the virus..

Would you be happy with a passport scheme that on current figures would bring about de facto apartheid? I’d refuse to participate in such a scheme.

Have you thought about the practicalities of such a scheme? I mean hospitality is already a low margin business model, you know at best it would turn into a a tick box exercise. Unless you’re dreaming of a surveillance state, in which case please try to understand history or current affairs.

The UK already has remarkably high vaccine take up rate, do you want to endager that by threatening coercion?

Why is Covid so special? Why not ban children who don’t get other vaccines from school, why not make Flu and other jabs a requirement for everyone. After all these diseases kill a wider demographic than Covid.

The inconsistency around Covid vs everything else is shocking. Now we have vaccinations the threat of Covid is massively reduced, all the vaccines appear to currently prevent severe disease and death – that’s great.

Last edited 1 year ago by LUKE LOZE
Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
1 year ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

One tiny ray of hope: when Johnson opens his trap and blusters / bullsh*ts away, normally one can expect the exact opposite to happen. However I fear that observation is in real danger of being disproved. Despite Gove being supposed to present his ‘findings’ at the end of May, Johnson’s sly deflection yesterday suggests the decision has already been taken and the only review in action is to find ex post facto justifications.

Witness also how the MSM immediately raced to portray this as an inevitability, a done deal, with next to no argument or discussion about the civil liberties implications let alone the cost to the hospitality sector.

With the fear the government has unleashed, the result is a terrified, demoralised and passive populace whose numb, passive and unquestioning acceptance of loss of freedoms bodes terribly for the future and inspires deep resentment among those of us not sleepwalking to oblivion.

GO appears to be in the former rather than the latter category. I doubt he’s capable or willing to respond to your more than reasonable questions.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
1 year ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

There’s also the near guarantee that such a system would be a colossal failure. It’ll be full of holes, exemptions and fraud. But it might make some people feel ‘safer’.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I do hope so…a colossal IT failure

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

It’s not going to happen.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
1 year ago

Yes, the government or 77th Brigade or whatever troll factory he works for obviously don’t pay overtime.

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme O

But hysteria isn’t.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
1 year ago

Any business that demands a passport from me simply will not receive my patronage.Shop online, order your booze delivered. I have no problem withdrawing from society when I resent that society.

Kelly Mitchell
Kelly Mitchell
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

And… groceries?

Linda Baddeley
Linda Baddeley
1 year ago
Reply to  Kelly Mitchell

He said shop online. The supermarkets deliver!

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

I wonder if this is exactly what they want. After all who have been the big winners of all this?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

So what, you refuse to go there, what about the huge injustice? Can a baker refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay client who has not got a covid passport? Can a Pub exclude a person from a Minority from custom as they carry a greater risk of covid?

The issue is not if you will drink there, it is should you be legally required to get a vaccine? As that is the question. A ‘Public House’ is that, a house which must allow the public in, legally, unless they have caused a problem (and then can be banned). If they can exclude you then it means you have legally caused a problem by refusing the vaccine.

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago

I am grateful that where I am there is plenty of choice. I seriously doubt I would patronise an establishment that is asking me some health certificate.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Who cares where you patronize, the question is is it legal to refuse if you wished entry. Personally I think it is all Revelations 13:16 where all, great and small. free and bound, rich and poor, must wear the mark of the beast on their hand or forehead to be allowed to buy and sell.

Barry Coombes
Barry Coombes
1 year ago

If it were believed, rightly or wrongly, that certain demographics were more likely to commit violent crimes, would it be acceptable to prevent members of that demographic from entering a venue in order to ensure that the other guests “felt safe”?

Last edited 1 year ago by Barry Coombes
G Worker
G Worker
1 year ago
Reply to  Barry Coombes

… or perhaps, to sharpen the analogy, would it be alright that proof of no criminal record must be demonstrated for us to enter society?

Last edited 1 year ago by G Worker
Graeme O
Graeme O
1 year ago
Reply to  Barry Coombes

A dull analogy. Refusing a vaccine is a personal choice; being targeted for your age, gender or ethnicity is not. And criminal behaviour is monitorable (hence security guards). Your dangerous nanoparticle breath is not (if only it were).

Bertie B
Bertie B
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme O

Apart from those people who can’t have a vaccine for medical reasons, religions reasons, because they are allergic – what about them?
Do they need a certificate to say they shouldn’t be excluded because they have a valid reason for not being vaccinated?
And if they are safe to be admitted even though they havn’t had it, then why isn’t some-one who hasn’t had it just because they didn’t want it?
Your argument is fundamentally flawed.

Tracy Clark
Tracy Clark
1 year ago

If this is hard to understand why not skew the discussion to saying the miniscule harm from the likelihood of anyone getting and getting ill from covid from someone else in a bar is about the same risk as a woman drinking and giving her unborn some brain/alcohol damage. And, if you think that risk 1 is in need of testing/ passports then maybe all women of child bearing age need to have pregnancy tests and carry “non-pregnancy” passports before they should be allowed to enter or drink. Every life saved is worthwhile especially the unborn- surely?
And if publican care about people they would put something like that in place – you know, for their own good.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tracy Clark
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago
Reply to  Tracy Clark

No. Gates wants the babies dead. Gotta get co2 down. Driving P to zero. P * S * E * C = CO2. No P no problem.

Bertie B
Bertie B
1 year ago
Reply to  Tracy Clark

<joke>
We all know that alcohol is itself bad for us and causes harm.
The only sensible way for is to issue us all with ration cards so we can only have a very limited amount of alcohol. That way people who are pregnant, or for any other reason shouldn’t be drinking in a pub (such as not being vaccinated) can simply have their ration reduced or removed.
</joke>

Last edited 1 year ago by Bertie B
LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
1 year ago
Reply to  Bertie B

Please do not give them ideas.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
1 year ago
Reply to  Bertie B

Bertie, we don’t need ration cards (I’m old enough to remember what they were) as it can all be done using the new identity cards – sorry vaccination cards.
Government has been itching for decades to introduce identity cards and now it looks as if we’ll get them. Won’t it be nice to get stopped and arrested in the street by the police because you forgot it.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
1 year ago
Reply to  Bertie B

This is actually a brilliant idea. For medical reasons, I can no longer drink alcohol; can you imagine what my alcohol ration cards would be worth on the black market?? I’m all for it, sign me up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Scott Carson
Laurence Renshaw
Laurence Renshaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Bertie B

That, plus getting your 5-a-day, was what Public Health England used to badger us about before 2020. They were so angry about us ignoring them then, that the gloves came off for Covid19, and now they have real coercive power to make us do anything.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Tracy Clark

The Johnson and Johnson, and some others, vaccine is made from dead, aborted, baby’s cloned kidney cells, so it all gets a bit murky…..

Pauline Shimell
Pauline Shimell
1 year ago

These vaccines do not protect from infection with and transmission of CoVid. It is claimed that they only protect from the rare but serious complications of CoVid. It is also unknown how long the vaccine provides this protection.
Therefore the unvaccinated and the vaccinated are equally capable of being asymptomatic transmitters of CoVid.
In the old days vaccines protected from infection and transmission but these vaccines do not claim to do either and neither are they fully licensed. Many seem to believe they are like the old vaccines.
The government know that domestic vaccine passports and “no jab no job” employment contracts do not protect anybody. By supporting these measures they are expressing denial that the vaccines fail to protect from infection and transmission. They are I think deliberately implanting the idea into public consciousness that they do protect from infection and transmission. It is a lie that everyone wants to believe and even those, who are meant to look into these matters in detail are acting as if this lie was true.
I am sure that Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock know the limitations of these vaccines. The effect of this lie is to create a divide between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. It is a crude attempt to get the vaccine hesitant to take the vaccine.
By word of mouth people are becoming more familiar with how sick these vaccines can make you while the media keep totally silent about this. Instead of holding back on coercion at a time when most of Europe had suspended the AZ vaccine, the government went into full aggressive mode threatening care workers with loss of their jobs if they refuse the vaccine.
Those who work with the elderly and vulnerable and have witnessed the effects of the vaccine on them and may well decide to lose their jobs rather than take the jab. As there are huge staff shortages already in this sector, all this can lead to is poorer quality care.
Meanwhile lack of understanding about CoVid and the vaccine make the public gullible enough to support these measures.
I am 70 years old and among my generation many have not wanted to take this vaccine. Many have taken it because friends and relatives have pressurised them into it. Some have been told that they will not be able to see grand children if they don’t have it.
Boris, Matt and Pritti all are in favour of coercion rather than reason or compassion. How would I feel with a family history of strokes and heart attacks taking this vaccine? How would anyone feel, who had harassed me to take the vaccine if I developed a serious adverse reaction? How would they feel if they knew that my having the vaccine did not protect them in any way?
I have just heard about a man driving back from his vaccine, who had a black out and drove onto the pavement. How would he have felt if he had killed somebody?
I am a retired health science lecturer.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
1 year ago

Beautifully put.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
1 year ago

If they protect from neither infection nor transmission then they’re not “vaccines”. they are prophylaxis, like the drugs people take when traveling to certain areas of the world to prevent malaria. Those drugs are extremely powerful too, and often come with nasty side effects. Quitting them cold turkey after returning from travel can make you feel so sick you’ll think you’ve been felled by malaria (a friend of mine once made the mistake of doing this, after returning from a trip to India).If COVID “vaccines” are anything like anti-malarial drugs I’d advise anyone to approach them with caution. Definitely no-one should drive himself or herself home after getting the shot; I think here in Canada people getting the shot are required to have an escort (my elderly mother just got hers, with my brother-in-law escorting her), like someone who’s just had surgery. I’m not inclined to voluntarily get the shot myself, as I have no risk factors, i.e. if I get COVID I am highly likely to, at worst, feel wretched for a few days then get better. I’m not personally afraid of this virus and I never have been, at least no more than of any flu virus (and flu shots don’t protect against all of them). But I will probably have to get the jab eventually, as getting back to a semblance of normal life will be made impossible without it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kathy Prendergast
Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
1 year ago

You killed it all with your last sentence..!.. if you cannot cope to the end.. then nice words do not count.. we must endure, we must be strong, we must listen to their lies hiding in numbers and false graphs, we must be smarter and read in between the lines.. we must see with our heart.. we must fight back and exercise our birth rights of self defense.. You must understand the metaphors, when they are talking about controlling the virus, they mean us.. we are the virus.. wake up.. There will be no normal ever again.. old or new, vaccine is the chain for far more worse coming upon us.. Please go to youtube and find Dr Daniella Anderson from Singapore on NBC says: it is not Airborne.. many doctors in other countries quitting their jobs and lawsuits are being made, crimes against humanity are happening everywhere..at the least. If you really want to contribute then.. start dreaming of the normal you want to live in, do not expect anybody else to do it for you.. politicians etc, they are not working for us.. You must create your normal..

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
1 year ago

Agree with Vasiliki, you killed it with your last sentence…a la Jonathan Sumption, Peter Hitchens et al…

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
1 year ago

It is quite natural, when a government has been acting with such blatant disregard for people’s most basic human rights, to be very suspicious of “vaccine passports” and see them not merely as a way of gaining entry to pubs and theatres, but as another step towards yet greater state surveillance and a move towards mandatory identity cads.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Alexander
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago

Is it really far fetched? They saw what China did. Citizens have social credit scores. They block access and travel options to people with low scores. This is technocracy. This is our future.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

Ear Tags, like Cattle.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

This is why I refuse to own a smartphone. They’ve always struck me as a kind of electronic cattle tag.

Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones
1 year ago

OK, well as a libertarian in the tech industry, I can choose whether to follow the law or not. If these are brought in, I will be doing everything I can to facilitate the creation of fake “passports” via any means necessary.

Graeme O
Graeme O
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Jones

“I can choose whether to follow the law or not.” “I will facilitate breaking the law”. That’s not libertarianism, that’s the anarchism of your ego.

Linda Baddeley
Linda Baddeley
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Jones

Can I put in an advance order?

bob alob
bob alob
1 year ago

The whole idea is nonsense, the government would like the majority of the population to be vaccinated and it looks like that will be achieved within the year, so why are these “vaccine passports” being touted, either it’s a scare tactic to encourage those vaccine sceptics to take it up or it’s a money making scheme, the government would have to sell the database of vaccinations to a private company who could them make millions selling an app or certificate to show as proof, I doubt that selling such a database would be legal anyway and if the majority of the population does receive a vaccine then these passports are pointless.

Harold Aitch
Harold Aitch
1 year ago

If vaccine passports are about making people feel “safe” again, then the time, money and effort would be better employed getting the Behavioural Psychologists of SAGE who created this climate of fear, to work towards reversing it.

As to the “let the market decide” arguement, I always go back to a line from the Michael Marshall Smith book, Spares; “People sometimes seen to think that letting financial concerns make the decisions produces some kind of independent, objective wisdom. It doesn’t of course. It leaves the door open for a kind of sweaty, frantic horror that is as close to pure evil as makes no difference.”

If we open the door to vaccine passports, then sure as night follows day, those in power will push through something else. I understand Blair is employed as a consultant in this passport scheme, I still remember his plan for a National Identity Database. Don’t think that the powers that be aren’t thinking similar thoughts.

My theory as to why Johnson looks so haggard: His hero Churchill protected and saved the sovereignty of this nation from a German globalist, while Johnson is selling us all out to a different German globalist.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago
Reply to  Harold Aitch

This is the whole point of covid. To bring technocracy into the West. China already does it. Based on your social credit score you can be denied travel and loans. It will allow Gates to solve his co2 concerns.
P * S * E * C = CO2
They will know your carbon score bad citizen. You took a trip to the country? Plant a tree and stay in your bedroom the next 6 months. Breath into uour bedroom algae bloom you filthy human

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
1 year ago

Why there have been no vaccine passports before? Why were people allowed to get together for any reason, while they MIGHT have a flu, pneumonia, chicken pox, plague, leprosy, contagious eczema, malaria, etc? What is this obsession with contagion? Every human being MIGHT be contagious, but that does not mean he/she should be ASSUMED contagious unless proven otherwise! It is the most dangerous and repressive attitude ever.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
1 year ago
Reply to  Lena Bloch

Exactly. There is nothing special or particularly different about the COVID-19 virus. It is (possibly) slightly more dangerous than the flu, to people who are both elderly (70 or over) and have at least one serious medical condition. It is certainly no more transmissible than any flu or cold virus. People under 20 are almost completely unaffected by it, and it seems increasingly apparent they can’t even “carry” and transmit it asymptomatically. The rate of asymptomatic transmission in general seems very negligible. It is not a “superbug”, nor a “deadly virus” (even the most vulnerable who get it recover from it, at a rate of over 90 percent).

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
1 year ago

Libertarians have lost their way about everything. Every decision they support is one which encourages socialism., they never wish to conserve anything, why would they wish to conserve ancient rights and customs? The Academic Agent made a very good video on this, available on Youtube.

But we do not live in a Libertarian country with a Libertarian government, we live in a Christian country which is a Constitutional monarchy.

In 2019 Lord Sumption, Lord Pannick and Lady Hale, between them overturned our constitution as it had been for centuries in Common Law and enacted n the Bill of Rights and turned the monarch into a mere nodding dog, just in time for Brexit, so that when our sovereignty was returned,, having been ‘pooled’ with the EU, it was not returned as it should have been, but to all intents and purposes authority was given to the single aspect of the Crown, that of the Crown in Parliament, with Parliament being the sole arbiter of what could be inflicted upon British subjects.

At Her Coronation the Queen swore that we should be governed according to our usual laws and customs. It may be usual that the Executive makes decisions about legislation, that Parliament scrutinises and debates it and that the revising chamber revises it, but if the legislation is so outlandish and severe in its effects upon Her subjects it should never reach the monarch for Her to assent to it.. When it was understood, that theoretically at least, the monarch could refuse to assent to an Act of Parliament if it demanded too much of British subjects then Parliament and the Executive had it in mind that legislation should be only enacted where necessary and that it should be clear and just and specific.

Lord Sumption being a republican, who rose to prominence under Blair, and represented the government during the Hutton enquiry, did not like the old arrangement. He believes in this mad notion of the sovereignty of Parliament. He argued that Parliament should be everything and imagined it always working as it should, with the checks and balances of opposition and democracy every four or five years being sufficient to stop the executive becoming dictatorial. Yet when the whole of Parliament was against Brexit he thought the demos should be ignored and overridden. He thought the executive, the Crown in Parliament should be overridden. He believed that a majority of MPs who were somehow not ordinary subjects like the rest of us, but were endowed with special powers once elected should be allowed to stop the express wishes of the demos and the executive and impose its own opinion, cancelling the referendum result and acting to prevent sovereignty ever fully returning to the crown.

When Lord Sumption made arguments against Covid legislation he was simply arguing over the details, not the principle. He wished for the Blair era Emergency Powers to be the tool by which the state dictated to the people, rather than the 1984 Public Health Act. He argued that Emergency Powers legislation had an inbuilt requirement for Parliament to debate whether its continuing use was necessary at given intervals. Because he believes in Parliament, has faith in the mystical power of wisdom with which MPs are endowed once they enter the chamber, he believes that given the opportunity they would always do what is right and on the side of freedom of the individual. The fact that almost the whole of Parliament supports lockdown shows that despite his great intelligence, his alternative view of how our system should work was always flawed.

Nobody should ever put their trust in a man who thinks he has the wisdom and intellect to improve or overturn our existing systems, developed over centuries. And anyone who believes in Carlyle’s one great man theory of history is also a bit odd to consider themselves a libertarian.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

My understanding was that the Supreme court’s decisions (2nd Miller case) managed to: ‘misunderstand’ what Parliament is – the courts cannot interfere with Parliament and that includes the Monarch (Bill of rights), they quoted as precedence a court decision taken 60+ years prior to the Bill of Rights – this is utter insanity, the precedence was null and voided by the Bill of Rights. Then they decided that Johnson’s proroguing parliament was unlawful, when no such law existed.

In the 1st case they also selectively quoted Dicey to justify their positions, in essence they quoted that Parliment is sovereign (so could ignore the people), they deliberately missed out his conclusion in the text that ultimately it was the people who were sovereign.

In the first case at least a couple of Judges concluded sensibly that it wasn’t wise for them to get involved in politics. Sadly this didn’t last. The fact that Sumption was amongst the least authoritarian, anti democratic members of the highest court is very scary, he was the only one who’d not been a judge before, coming straight in from being a Barrister.

Last edited 1 year ago by LUKE LOZE
D Ward
D Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Good post

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago

Uh? It’s am experimental vaccine. Clinical trials won’t finish before 2023. Many many medics say proper testing (on animals) has not taken place (this is where ADE problems arose). No one has to be subject to medical experimentation, without FULLY informed consent. Are recipients being warned of the dangers of ADE? Not from those I know. We have one thing to thank Dr. Mengele for – the Nuremberg Code, and its clauses on medical experimentation.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-00789-5
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22536382/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31607599/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33113270/

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

As the Prime Minister put it, it should be “up to individual publicans”, and in Sumption’s example, he did not see how a theatre could be forbidden from demanding reassurances that its customers wanted to feel safe.
That’s not how the passport is being presented. There is no “if you like” caveat included in the discussion. Libertarians and rational people of any stripe understand that the discussion is never about a single document. That doc is just a starting point, a license through which the state can start collecting all sorts of information. The more data collected, the more it will be used to regulate everyday transactions in an allegedly ‘free’ society.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Lekas
Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

This is how the masks came into being mandatory too. Government said: “We will let the companies decide if they want people entering their store to be masked” – viola – all businesses jumped on that and everyone needs one to enter a store. 🙁

worldsbestbrewer
worldsbestbrewer
1 year ago

Interesting comments here on comparative risks from criminals, other diseases etc and maybe anyone, for instance, who has a criminal record above a certain seriousness level should also have a ‘passport’ to allow a business to either allow or reject entry.
Lots of discussion around vaccine efficacy acceptance.
As a lot of people keep saying, the risk from covid for the vast majority of us is very low. Lower than injury/death from driving 24km. This is without taking into account the fact that there are many treatments for covid which when used at the correct time in the disease cycle for the treatment, in the correct dose, reduces hospitalisations by 80 plus percent over control.
Our govt along with many others is stuck within the minutae, the micro view of covid, viewing vaccines as the only long term solution. It’s become a political chest puffer to see who administers the most vaccines. So invested in it are they that certain treatments and prophylactics that are known to work on covid have been politicised, vilified even and buried to the detriment of thousands of people, a lot of whom ended up in hospital with a proportion dying early deaths. Apart from lockdowns, this is absolutely criminal negligence for which Hancock needs bringing to account as he could have saved 80 plus percent of hospitalisations along with locking down the nation in case the NHS became ‘overwhelmed’.
And going forward, if Hancock paved the way for treatments to be legally and easily administered by doctors, made some available over the counter. Vit D and the HCQ substitute, Quercetin is easily available, as is Ivermectin, HQC/Zinc and Budesonide in some countries.
Who needs a vaccine, let alone a vaccine passport!

Iliya Kuryakin
Iliya Kuryakin
1 year ago

Freddie Sayers misses the most important point. Anyone vaccinated has no need to fear an unvaccinated person, so once most people have had the jab (argue about the percentage if you will), there is no public health need for a vaccine passport.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
1 year ago

Thank you – the EU’s drive to push through without debate vaccine passports is another unconscionable step, even after the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe unequivocally restated the obvious: Anything going in that direction is in flat violation of the Nuremberg Code.

Derrick Byford
Derrick Byford
1 year ago

Are we missing some elements of what this may mean in practice? Will there be government diktats anyway – if a pub “chooses” not to require vaccine passports will they be required to impose other restrictions such as social distancing and mask wearing. What if there is only one pub within reasonable distance of home? Presumably not just pubs, but restaurants, cafes, theatres, clubs etc. How long will these requirements be in place? Temporarily until some arbitrary level of infections/hospitalisations/deaths is reached? Forever? Will Flu jabs or evidence of immunity from other diseases be added? Will government demand passport entry for all public service locations (eg libraries, museums, council leisure services, hospitals).

David Redfern
David Redfern
1 year ago

For the first time in human history, a ‘vaccine’ passport discriminates against the healthy.
Why? That should be blindingly obvious. The ‘vaccine’ doesn’t guarantee the vaccinated can’t contract and convey the virus, it seems it simply masks the symptoms.
In other words, pubs are likely to be filled with asymptomatic Covid-19 carriers sharing the virus between them unknowingly.
Bearing in mind, none of the ‘vaccines’ are vaccines in the conventional sense, they are a technology never before tested on humans. Indeed, they violate the terms of the Nuremberg Convention by being unapproved (other than by emergency exemption) and experimental, and Israel is being sued right now for conducting illegal mass testing of a drug.
Nor is the drug administered with full disclosure, which is also illegal. No one has a clue what the long term effects might be. How could they? It took only 10 months or so to develop them. But no one is told that before they have a needle stuck in their arm.
So what are the alternatives to a vaccine? If there are any?
Funnily enough, the prophylactic and early stage intervention medication that Trump promoted, Hydroxychloroquine is now approved by the FDA, having been condemned by the left because, well, Trump promoted it. It also happens to be dirt cheap, readily available, safe, and an over the counter medicine in the developing world.
But there is another, and possibly cheaper and even better understood anti parasitic drug available OTC in developing nations that won the Nobel Prize for it’s treatment of river blindness. It too is off licence, a prophylactic, and early stage treatment, which seems to be nearly 90% effective in successfully treating Covid-19.
But again, it’s a developing nations solution, so certainly not good enough for the sophisticated western world which has public money to burn on hugely expensive vaccines.
It is, of course, Ivermectin. And you can be certain that almost every piece of beef or lamb you have eaten for the last 30 or 40 years has been treated with it, as it controls parasites within the animal. So unlike our ‘vaccinations’ it has been extensively tested on animals.
It’s also been extensively tested on humans, I mentioned earlier River Blindness, but also Scabies and a host of other parasitic infections are eliminated by it. Covid-19 as well, it seems, and any derivative thereof.
The beauty of Ivermectin is, as an early stage treatment your immune system will have begun detecting and fighting the Covid virus, before administration of the drug, which will kill it off. So immunity and cure from a single, safe, cheap, treatment.
If I do get some imported from India, as I fully intend to do, does that mean I get an Ivermectin passport to allow me into the Pub?

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
1 year ago

Personally, I don’t think that anyone (private or Government) has the administrative capability to run a seamless , functioning certification scheme. Whether it be the QR code reading, physical barriers that would block entrance to your local (who manufactures, pays for and installs those?) or the staff member/security guard at the entrance to check the papers of those without smartphones. There is too much logistical practicality to overcome and with levels of Governmental incompetence being what they are (as evidenced over the last 12 months), it’s highly unlikely that a scheme like this would take off in anything other that a few large, City Centre establishments.

That’s the hope I cling to.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

Bluetooth and wifi. You will be forced to leave it on. How many people don’t have cell phones? Without considering the nanobot injections will tie you to it directly. With the low earth orbit satellites running into the woods won’t even help you. They’ve already launched you know? Bezos and Musk got us all covered

Laurence Renshaw
Laurence Renshaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

I also cling to that hope, based on UK governments’ previous incompetence in managing large IT schemes.
However, they seem to be willing to throw an unlimited amount of money at it, and they have a working blueprint in China’s social credit scheme. It will be messy, but they might get something cobbled together by the end of the year, when most adults will have been vaccinated and Covid19 will present less risk to the UK population than a very mild flu (as it does now, in fact).

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
1 year ago

This virus is being used as a Trojan horse to intrude on our lives with restrictions and controls.
Testing, isolation of healthy people, masks, QR code surveillance, closed state and international borders, coercive vaccination, and vaccine passports. All this on the back of a virus which isn’t a threat to most people.
Jonathan Sumption blew his credibility to bits in buckling to coercive vaccination. He missed the point entirely…the lockdown caper was all about putting the vaccine products in place.
It’s laid out in Neil Ferguson et al’s Imperial College Report 9, published on 16 March 2020, which argued for a suppression strategy, saying: “The major challenge of suppression is that this type of intensive intervention package – or something equivalently effective at reducing transmission – will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more) – given that we predict that transmission will quickly rebound if interventions are relaxed.” (My emphasis.)
Who decided on the mass vaccination intervention? Wasn’t it known at the time that the virus wasn’t a threat to most people? It appears now it’s mainly the elderly with comorbidities who are at risk of the virus. So why was it planned to vaccinate the entire global population?
Was the vaccine response initiated at the behest of one of Ferguson’s funders, Bill Gates? Gates outlined his global Covid-19 vaccine plans in his article published in April 2020: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine, GatesNotes.
Why is a software billionaire dominating international vaccination policy? People have been warning for years about the influence of Bill Gates, and have been mocked and ridiculed by the mainstream media. And yet this is the huge story, the influence of Gates. When is UnHerd going to cover this story?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

This is easy. The market will decide. If one airline wants a vaccination passport, choose another airline. If all airlines want one, don’t fly. If France wants one, don’t go to France. If all foreign countries want one, don’t go abroad. If Wales wants one, don’t go to Wales.
If everybody wants one, stay at home.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Yup, and maybe there is a business opportunity that us unvaccinated can cater to our own. It’s tending towards segregation though!

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

And if Jewish people are not allowed in, they should also go to their own pub, right? I have heard this before …

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

How is that relevant? It is dead easy to be against everything. When teachers were moaning about going to work when it wasn’t safe I suggested that they should get vaccinated or not be paid. Of course, everybody was against that – freedom of speech, personal freedoms, blah, blah.
The point is that if everyone is totally free and everyone has to have an opinion, then nothing gets done. In real life you choose a way which works for as many as possible.
So, if airlines want vaccinations we should all stay at home to show that we don’t agree. It makes me tired.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It’s the fact that we are having this pushed on to us in the first place. It’s like having a bullying neighbor who keeps extending his fence across your lawn. You complain to him about it, so he agrees to to bring it back a little, but not all the way. Now imagining this happening every year. Eventually, there is very little left of your original lawn.
This may be an awkward analogy, but I think the majority of people are starting to feel this way on many issues. Without major pushback from people, are freedom will be whittled down to meaningless choices like sexual identity etc.

Bertie B
Bertie B
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Its relevant because segregation of people, regardless of whether its imposed or by choice can end pretty badly. Suggesting market forces, around an imposed vaccine passport, will keep all of our liberties safe is dumb.
Most people will simply shrug their shoulders and say “doesn’t bother me” and get a passport, those people most effected will be those who can’t get a passport due to medical reasons. But they can just go else where, out of sight, out of mind…
A decade later when they have disappeared, you can ideally wonder where they went.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
1 year ago

Businesses must adhere to the law.
They cannot make their own loser or stricter ones when those are discriminatory or breaking other laws.
The UK actually got this quite right on masks.
Or do Johnson, Sumption&co suggest that if the Mask mandate was a voluntary one, business could discriminate against exempted people by disallowing them access?
Surely, the ‘vaccines’ are an even more medical and also contested product and distinction.
Certainly, medically exempt unvaxxed must be given a avenue (self certification again?) to get that status and unlimited access to pubs, planes etc. to prevent law breaking discrimination.
And tests in their current, unstandardized form are completely
useless, as is well known.
In their prevalent, entirely but deliberately dehumanizing, invasive forms, they are illegal.
If they are being made mandatory for the unvaxxed, they must be standardized and non invasive first, free second and if they are to be made self-administered, they might as well be scrapped.
Vaccine passports are a catastrophic, issue-laden instrument, really designed for a completely different purpose, social control. The only access control to any business that I deem acceptable and that catches 99% of the infectious cases are temperature controls. Which noone is doing anymore, of course.

Last edited 1 year ago by Joerg Beringer
Laurence Renshaw
Laurence Renshaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

Temperature checks on entry (to most businesses) is what much of the world has been doing. It guards against people with fever, which doesn’t guarantee much, but it’s better than nothing and it’s non-invasive and instant and free and easy.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago

I quit twitter, facebook, and amazon. It has taken me a bit to get around amazon. I’ve paid some higher prices too but screw them. I’m not doing this fascist totalitarian bs

Last edited 1 year ago by Dennis Boylon
Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Yup. Still on Facebook, but only because of a few really good groups I belong to. Deleted my Amazon account a few weeks back, and Twitter months ago.

I highly recommend “Surveillance Capitalism”, by Shoshana Zuboff, on the matter of Big Tech data capture and their abuse of it.

Kelly Mitchell
Kelly Mitchell
1 year ago

So – let’s reverse the criteria. Could a business then say, ‘No one who has been vaccinated is allowed in? You must show proof of non-vaccination?’

worldsbestbrewer
worldsbestbrewer
1 year ago

Who is for starting a business with many tendrils that refuses access to people with vaccine passports?

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
1 year ago

Although there are ‘tens of thousands’ of pubs, these are owned by a handful of chains whose decision will be based on their insurance companies insistence that you must only let in the vaccinated.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

First, everybody calm down. A Government-mandated vaccination passport isn’t going to happen – except for overseas travel, where it is foreign governments, not our own, making the rules.
Second, how revealing of Britain that it is pubs at the centre of this debate, not theatres, cinemas, sports venues etc.
Third, I’m with Lord Sumption on this (although not much else). Businesses must be free to respond to the needs of their customers. Imagine a pub near a university that caters for students and other young people. It would be mad to wish to insist on vaccination or test certificates, its clientele would just go elsewhere. On the other hand, think of Saga Cruises. Many of their target clientele might well not book a cruise unless they were reassured that their fellow passengers were vaccinated like themselves. If the competition does offer that reassurance, Saga’s business will be holed below the waterline.
This is not about public health – if the pubs are open the public health criteria have been met. This is about whether or not people feel safe to resume their previous patterns of activity after lockdown eases. Government cannot legislate for individual feelings. Businesses must be free to exercise their own commercial judgement and do what works for their customers.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
1 year ago

Your point about SAGA is a valid one. I do some maintenance work onboard their ships while docked in Southampton, and when this restarts after lockdown I fully expect to be asked prior to boarding to demonstrate that I have either been vaccinated or can show a very recent negative Covid test. I have no problem with this, as I’m quite sure their clientele would demand it.

Laurence Renshaw
Laurence Renshaw
1 year ago

Your points are logical, but the government is saying that this scheme _will_ be for internal use.
Do you think that’s just an idle threat to encourage vaccination?
Why has Tony “mandatory id cards” Blair slithered out of the woodwork and why is he all over this?

Joe ntemuse
Joe ntemuse
1 year ago

freddie i think you are missing the fact that most private business , especially small ones are run by 5 or 6 private individuals making their choices not huge corporations

Steven Sieff
Steven Sieff
1 year ago

Freddie – It pains me to say it, but although it may be immaterial in practice, the distinction between a compulsory vaccine and a coerced one is important.
Many of us have been arguing for a year now that the Government should not be restricting our freedoms in the way they have. That we can be allowed to find the balance between freedom and obligation ourselves.
If the vaccine were made compulsory then it would be a further blow to our collective freedom.
That is not to say that the argument should be dismissed out of hand. If it were shown that the vaccines were effective in preventing transmission, and that they are sufficiently safe for the vast majority of recipients, then a case can be made as to why it is for the good of everyone to require as many as possible to be vaccinated. The simple argument would be that the vaccines will not be totally effective to protect everyone who receives them, plus some will not be able to be vaccinated, so it makes sense to maximise protection by suppressing transmission as far as possible. It is important to stress that any measures would have to allow for the people who are unable to receive a vaccine not to be excluded.
The ‘sacrifices required for the protection of the minority’ is of course the same argument we have been hearing for a year – that we should protect the vulnerable by attempting to disrupt transmission at every stage, even where the majority of transmission is unlikely to pose much danger.
The objections to this approach are familiar. It is disproportionate to the risk involved. We can protect those who are vulnerable without protecting everyone.
Those who believe that the risk from Coronavirus is negligible or that we should now just accept it as another circulating virus will naturally reject any suggestion that compulsion could be proportionate.
But those who have been arguing for focused protection must be wary of setting themselves against compulsory vaccination in all contexts. Take care home workers. If the vaccine does not fully protect the residents and does block transmission from the staff, and if the staff can be confident that they will not suffer harm from the vaccine, then requiring staff to be vaccinated does appear to be an example of a measure which focuses on protecting the vulnerable. That is a lot of hurdles to jump over before the criteria are fulfilled, but we could get to that point.
The focused protection/duty of care argument may extend to a limited number of professions. But to require people who are not healthcare workers to be vaccinated would seem to be a continuation of the disproportionate approach to risk that has characterised the last 12 months.
The position is less clear where the vaccine is not compulsory, but where it is in practice required to access shops/pubs/venues etc.
Having argued that the Government should allow us the right to make our own decisions, and that they have fettered our freedoms without good reason, it would be a slightly awkward position to then criticise them for allowing businesses to choose what level of ‘safety’ they require for their staff/customers.
This is not to say that the choice by a business to require customers to be vaccinated is any more proportional than it would be if made by the Government. But it is a choice. Many of us would resent the choice made by our local pub landlord or feel that it was based on a year of misinformation, but it would be our opinion against theirs. Asking the Government to now intervene on our behalf to prevent the landlord from being able to act freely on the basis of the landlord’s opinion would feel hypocritical to some of us. It would give the appearance of just wanting our own way rather than genuinely wanting freedom to choose.
There will be many who would automatically see this as a discrimination issue. If I do not want to be vaccinated then I should not be discriminated against for my choice, especially when the vaccines are so new, when there have already been doubts expressed by official agencies and Governments over their safety and when there is a reasonable chance that I may suffer mild illness at the least from receiving one. All perfectly valid reasons to resist getting vaccinated, but at the moment, unlikely to benefit from the legal protections against discrimination.
It would certainly be possible to extend or at least clarify the law to make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their choice not to be vaccinated. My personal view is that at this stage, that would be an appropriate thing to do. That it would be an appropriate reaction to the valid concerns set out above.
But we should all be clear that this would be another example of asking the Government to use compulsion – only this time in our favour and against those who are still fearful. It might be that as a society we believe that the right not to be vaccinated is something worth protecting, but how easy is it to make that argument if the majority of business owners in society are showing that they would prefer the reverse?
Over the last year we have seen a lot of confusion and mixed messaging over what is ‘essential’. Ultimately if the government does allow a free for all on COVID certification it will have to revisit this concept. Even if it is deemed acceptable to allow certification to become widespread, it would not be unreasonable to expect that people who have chosen not to be vaccinated should still have access to ‘essential’ services. For the ones controlled by the state, that is relatively straightforward, but it is more challenging to apply it to food/clothing etc run by private retailers who think that a certification requirement would keep the majority of their customers happy. As you say, the local pub may be a focal point of a community but the last year has been spent telling us that they are not essential, so it would be surprising if the Government were to change tack so dramatically that having forced them to close to everyone, they now forced them to open to those seen as posing the highest risk.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Sieff

Proportionality should remain the key to this (and all policy), and the application of fairly applied principles. Will all carehome staff be required to have the full range of vaccinaitions, if not why not? Will the government pay sick leave for care home staff (or cover the extra rates to accomadate this), indeed make it illegal for a carer or a medic to go to work with ‘the sniffles’ (sniffles for them, serious illness for a frail 90 year old), and for extra staff so they do not need to be shunted between carehomes.

Will potential residents to carehomes who haven’t had the jab for medical reasons, or had poor immune response be excluded? How about those who refused the jab outright? Should we leave them to suffer, for the greater good?

Also shutdown during lockdowns were education & primary medical care, so presumably these should discriminate too?

Jim Nichols
Jim Nichols
1 year ago

If it was a case of the government not banning individual pubs doing this, that would be one thing. But the proposal goes well beyond passive acquiescence, and into the government actively facilitating and endorsing this, by issuing ‘passports’, certificates, etc that are specifically designed for domestic use in this way.

The issue with tech companies is different again I think, due to their monopoly-like dominance and anti-competitive practices that stop new entrants coming into the market to provide real consumer choice.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Nichols

Their partnership with intelligence agencies just might be a problem too.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago

What happened to right to privacy on my medical records?
Will they start to ask for “virginity passports”, “no-abortion passports”, “no-std passports”?
Club owners could easily argue that a no-std passport is very useful to their business. Is private property rigths all that takes to have all classes of intrusive questions being asked wherever you go?

jimslade1972
jimslade1972
1 year ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

What concerns me the most is the inevitable data mining and sale to third parties by the usual government providers like Serco or Captia of my medical status. After all who do we expect will administer this scheme?

Stewart Slater
Stewart Slater
1 year ago

I think the problem with this line of attack on libertarianism is that it posits companies existing as some sort of special category of entity. In reality, companies are merely conglomerations of people – shareholders and employees primarily. It is not that the government is giving some strange metaphysical entity rights while taking them away from individuals, rather, it is allowing one group of individuals to decide whether they wish to provide services to another.
In the case of pubs, it seems that the options are a) force people to have vaccine passports in all cases, b) force pubs to serve everyone regardless of their Covid status and c) allow pubs to choose. “A” and “B” both involve forcing one group of people to do something they may not wish to while “C” involves the least compulsion. It does, therefore, seem to me the most libertarian option.

jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
1 year ago

If you do not accept the difference between a 75 year old with underlying health issues and a healthy 15 year old when it comes to the risk of Covid then you should not agree with health passports. If you can see a difference then there should have been “health” passports since the beginning of the pandemic. The mixing of the two groups would of course need to be detailed carefully.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
1 year ago

Such “passports” should not be necessary at all, if all people in the high risk groups get vaccinated, or understand and accept the risks to themselves if they voluntarily expose themselves to the unvaccinated. You know, like with flu shots. Healthy young people have never been browbeaten into getting flu shots because they MIGHT make some unvaccinated elderly person deathly ill. The responsibility for prevention was, correctly, assumed by the vulnerable person, or by those caring for him or her. Not to the populace in general.
Simply put, this virus is nowhere near dangerous or deadly enough to justify any of this nonsense.

georgedance04
georgedance04
1 year ago

As a long-time libertarian, I’d like to qualify Mr. Sayers’ explanation of the libertarian position, which I see as not wrong but incomplete. First, we would oppose government issuing any vaccine passports, or surrogates like cards or certificates, due to the danger of them morphing into official documents. If businesses want to require proof of vaccination (such as vaccine cards), the government should not allow that by legislation, neither should it ban it. Upset patrons would be free to challenge the bans in law.
Second, a ban by a private business is different from a ban by government, because it does not close off all the options for those dissatisfied – as long as pubs are free to not require proof of vaccination (p,o.v.), there will be a market incentive (in places with more than one pub) for at least one to capture that unserved share of the market. In this case, I can see the big chains going along with popular opinion by requiring p.o.v., and the smaller independents not doing so, in order to attract that market share.

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
1 year ago

Thoughtful take from Mr. Sayers.
I’m conflicted on the example of pubs/bars/restaurants. I do understood Mr. Sayers’ point: that they are public accommodations already obligated to be open to the public and subject to various anti-discrimination laws. That said, as a matter of regulation, I’m generally inclined to let the market work, even though I regard “vaccine passports” for such establishments as a bad idea that I’d prefer for owners not to enact.
As for large social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and providers of Internet infrastructure such as AWS, there’s also a point beyond Mr. Sayers’ reasonable “public utilities” (or “common carrier”) argument. Executives of these companies are regularly called to testify before Congressional committees. (In practice, such testimony generally entails being harangued by members of Congress making prepared, soundbite-laden policy speeches.) The subtext – and sometimes specific statements – of members of Congress amount to “take action about speech on your platform that we don’t like, or we’ll pass legislation to regulate your business in ways that you won’t like”. With these businesses subject to so much legislative and regulatory scrutiny, it’s tough to draw the line between purely private decisions and coerced pseudo-governmental actions.

Michael Upton
Michael Upton
1 year ago

Pace Mr. Sayers and Lord Sumption’s critics, this really isn’t that complicated. Public and private coercion are wrong unless necessary to prevent positive injury – or the coerced have consented so it isn’t coercion. Neither Facebook nor the Dog & Duck are coercing anybody, so leave them alone and read John Stuart Mill.

jill dowling
jill dowling
1 year ago

I’m glad it’s in the hands of the pub landlord and not the government. The landlords have got more sense – they won’t be turning away business

Laurence Renshaw
Laurence Renshaw
1 year ago
Reply to  jill dowling

As long as it really is in the landlord’s hands. I suspect that the government will impose social distancing rules, early closure, and other restrictions on pubs that don’t follow the plan.
Hancock will say “Vaccine passports are the only way to remove these limits safely”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laurence Renshaw
Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
1 year ago

As for the businesses.. are they not on benefits for months now..!! how are they going to repay our society and countries? Have they not embarrassed themselves enough ? What a shame! Have you not learnt anything from the masks? Landlords and business owners are not doctors and therefore if they are pushing their staff such as security officers, administrators, sales persons etc to threat everyone and make medical decisions by the pub’s door or flights.. by disclosing private and strictly confidential data, then I am sure that it is not only the politicians, scientists and big pharma who will be taken to the courts for crimes against humanity and genocide.. why can you not see that they want everyone on their knees..? there will be no winners from that.. The myth.. that it is inevitable for nonetheless prearranged plans from long time ago.. Whether the old or new normal.. it has never been Ours, we were always pushed and forced to predetermined plans, by snatching our free will. But now is very different.. We have the opportunity to Create and Own the world we dream of. They have run out of methods for bullying us.. The latest was of that they could hide as an invisible enemy for some time.. But what we see and listen on the screens, is their collapse.. one by one they reveal their true character. They are afraid of us more than ever before.

Last edited 1 year ago by Vasiliki Farmaki
Marcelo Maresca
Marcelo Maresca
1 year ago

Remember whe had, have, and will have the power to Boycott businesses.Now,what about if employers force employees? Then the ball goes back to the goverment, doesn´t it?

Last edited 1 year ago by Marcelo Maresca
Jethro Bodine
Jethro Bodine
1 year ago

Well, I have to say I’m a little disappointed with Freddie’s opinion, but not a whole lot. I didn’t think he was as hardcore libertarian as I am. Actually, I suppose he’s a “classical liberal”, and there’s quite a difference in degree between these two political philosophies.
Non-libertarians—classical liberals, centrists, conservatarians, conservatives, leftists, alt-rightists, social anarchists, etc., etc.—just don’t get or accept the big picture we principled modern libertarians do. (The modern libertarian movement is dated to 1955 in an article in FEE. Since then, there’ve been many striations and offshoots.)
Libertarianism is hard to swallow for most people. Most see the dangers of freedom. Libertarians see the rewards. The case in question here is freedom of association. Non-libertarians are worried about discrimination by bigots. In a libertarian polity, it’d probably happen, and bigots may find a niche, but they’d barely scrape by, business-wise. In fact, YouTube, Google, et al, are slowly destroying themselves as free speech upstarts are multiplying and gaining traction. Freedom isn’t free. It takes some work and sacrifice. Running off to Big Daddy Democracy every time you don’t get your way just digs you in deeper in the Control Machine. Best find your own niche, your own space, your own oasis….. Only insecure people crave inclusion.
I was glad to see a few commenters here defending liberty. Of course, I’m an American, and I know my culture is different than Britain’s, so I don’t want to push my culture on anybody else….

Last edited 1 year ago by Jethro Bodine
norton1227
norton1227
1 year ago

Thank you for weighing in on this Freddie with some sane clear thought on the subject of vax passports. And so pleased to hear how many commented negatively on Lord Sumptions belief that businesses and sports/entertainment venues should be able to ask for evidence of your health status.

Dennis
Dennis
1 year ago

There’s no doubt that without government intervention, some businesses will require vaccine passports. But most businesses will not. And in libertarian paradise this is ideal. Because people vote with their wallets and vote with their feet. Over time people and companies will arrange themselves as to maximize net happiness. It’s likely that the success and good health of those without vaccine passports will persuade others that the whole thing is unnecessary. The hassle and cost of maintaining some app on your phone. The long lines of theaters & stadiums made even longer by having to wait to check everyones passport, etc. I’m reminded of a local restaurant that had unusually stringent covid-19 rules and intrusive contact tracing questions. (Do they really need my social security number?) Despite the good food, my wife and I never returned. And judging by how empty the restaurant has remained compared to it’s bustling neighbors… I’d say others were not big fans either.
Of course, the government is likely to intervene. But in the opposite direction. New York, the first state to roll out a vaccine passport app (Excelsior Pass), claims that the passport is an optional measure. But is it optional? Left alone, people must decide whether the marginal safety benefit of a vaccine passport is worth the cost of a bad customer experience. But Cuomo has taken that choice off of the table. Non-compliant venues will be rendered uncompetitive or unprofitable from crushing capacity regulations. And those that can survive will be forced to deliver a subpar customer experience.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dennis
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

The chances of a vaccination “passport” being used by the state are vanishingly small – except for maybe health locations.
My NHS record now shows that I have had a “first jab” and if a private elderly Care Home said all visitors entering their premises must have had this vaccination, I would find it really hard to object to them “taking this liberty”.
If my local council said I couldn’t enter the local park without proof of vaccination, I’d take an entirely different view.
There is surely no right answer to fit all situations.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Lol. Vanishingly small? This is the whole point of covid

Roland Ayers
Roland Ayers
1 year ago

Never liked pubs; they don’t have dance floors. The freedom to dance again might be worth becoming a guinea pig for the partially-trialled vaccines. The opportunity to escape to Sweden certainly would be.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
1 year ago

This Libertarian hasn’t. Any business is free to bar anyone for any reason they like in my view. But when they can bar anyone for being black, gay, muslim, or trans, come and talk to me about freedom of association.

Graeme O
Graeme O
1 year ago

That civil society can erect censorship of key spaces it controls is nothing new; and to defend that as a form of freedom of disassociation is not hypocritical. It’s the relative power of modern corporates and brand conscious censorship that is problematic. No libertarian position can capture that.
That debate is important, but hardly relevant to vaccines. As long as vaccines reduce symptoms (sneezing, couging) and viral loads that put others at risk, and as long as they reduce hospital admissions of the vaccinated, there’ll be both a corporate health, safety and duty of care to require them. Whether that corporate interest be a businesses, or our collective interest in effective and not overloaded hospitals. You might as well whinge that ‘smoke free’ rules, supported by most businesses, airlines etc, are an imposition on ‘individual liberty’. Even Mill got the harm principle restriction ‘on liberty’.
(A small thing, but what has a licensing requirement to supply free water got to do with anything? It’s not some individual right to slake some tap water. But a reaction to price gouging by licensees that was (a) designed to encourage buying alcohol but (b) unhealthy, societally, for that reason.)

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme O

Do you think there is a chance that vaccines might cause long-term side-affects? And that it might take years for these to be noticed?
I live in the States where the companies producing these vaccines are involved in countless controversies and court cases because of corporate greed and malpractice.
If it’s unacceptable for people to remain unvaccinated because they may infect someone, why is it ok to enforce vaccinations and then write off vaccine-related deaths as an unfortunate inevitability?

Dave H
Dave H
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Generally because “vaccine-related deaths” have been vanishingly rare and tend to be over-reported by people who are prone to “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacies of reasoning.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave H

Time will tell on that score. As for over-reporting of deaths, we do that to excess already with our narrow definition of dying within 28 days of a (dodgy) test. I guess you’re “ipso facto” fine with that given your disdain for anyone reporting vaccine-related deaths.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

Good reply.

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave H

Pandemrix? While not fatal, narcolepsy is very unpleasant to live with.

Graeme O
Graeme O
1 year ago

Long covid is news to you. Hospital overload is not a risk to you. People with common conditions like asthma, diabetes or the ‘cofactor’ of being over 60 are dispensable to you.
The death rate, worldwide is 2% currently, of known infections. And still estimated at up to 1% of undetected/unproven infections. The vaccines are the one escape from the border and movement controls that Australia, NZ, Timor etc used to all but eradicate the virus. But which the UK avoided until it was too late for anything but lockdown rollercoaster.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme O

Comparing the U.K. to Australia or New Zealand demonstrates the inapt and simplistic extremes those who have swallowed the ‘official’ narrative without question will go to. We are not in any way comparable to either of those countries, Timor or Taiwan.

I’d guess you would be an advocate for zero Covid too?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
1 year ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

Sars-Cov-2 is a very poor candidate for eradication, yet the zero Covid fanatics keep it up don’t they? Pathologist Prof John Lee did an excellent piece on this a year ago.

The Florida vs California comparison shows the futility and damage of lockdowns and restrictions. I feel kind of sorry for the fanatics, but all they can do is double down on it.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme O

What a load of BS you spout!
IFR is not 2% but if you’re relying on the misused PCR test for your data that might explain it.
There was no need, evidence or decent data or balance of risks for any lockdowns. Sorry if that doesn’t gel with your obsessive narrative.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme O

“The death rate” includes all those who have died WITH the COVID virus, not necessarily OF it. As for “long COVID” obviously there are some cases where the effects are going to linger or keep recurring, and even a few where the person is left with permanent damage. Severe cases of flu have always carried the possibility of that, too.
What persons of libertarian bent like myself find so irritating about al this is the fact that this “deadly virus” is no more deadly than umpteen other similar viruses that we have coexisted with for a long time. They suck but they don’t kill us. They’re dangerous only to the frail and elderly. They’re not easily transmissible via “asymptomatic” people (several studies have confirmed this about the COVID virus now, so I don’t know why people still bang on about this), which is why outbreaks of severe forms of the illness nearly always occur in places where there are many elderly and frail in close proximity, i.e. , hospitals and care facilities.
IF we were dealing with something like Ebola or smallpox none of us would be having these conversations. But we aren’t.

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
1 year ago

‘IF we were dealing with something like Ebola or smallpox none of us would be having these conversations. But we aren’t.’
Not according to many people, who have been so successfully terrified that they believe covid to be at least as bad as, if not worse than smallpox. I’ve had several arguments with such types, who will accept any restriction in order to achieve the Holy Grail of zero-covid.
The lack of perspective is astounding.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme O

And the Czech Republic? It closed its borders on 16 March 2020 and was the first European country to make the wearing of face masks mandatory from 19 March 2020 onwards. It now has the second highest per capita deaths with Covid in the World. Even Sir Patrick Vallance acknowledges the futility and impossibility of the UK closing borders in such a way to have kept the virus out or keeping variants out. We will just have to live with the virus as we do with many others.