by Amy Jones
Monday, 26
April 2021

Spare us the selective outrage on the lockdown protests

Medical staff can't pick and choose — it undermines their authority
by Amy Jones

Images of the protests held in London this Saturday over lockdown, vaccine passports and ongoing restrictions, sparked a predictably venomous response from many prominent healthcare workers.

Criticism was widespread, primarily focusing on the foolishness of protest (rather than the reason for it), ranging from angry predictions of a third wave to wondering out loud if medical care should be withdrawn for those who participated.

There is, of course, the issue of whether it was actually correct to criticise the march. After all, protesting is a basic democratic right, prevalence of Covid is low, and outdoor activities are associated with less transmission than indoors. Moreover, a significant proportion of the vulnerable population has been vaccinated. 

Indeed, it is worth considering that Patrick Vallance, giving evidence to a select committee earlier this year, reported that, based on data on marches in New York, there had been no spikes following protests, and in January, Jonathan Van Tam reiterated his belief that it was only necessary to wear face coverings indoors.

This aside, perhaps a more important question should be asked — where was the same outcry remarking on the danger and recklessness of other recent protests, which also took place in a pandemic?

The Sarah Everard vigil, and associated protest, occurred earlier in the year, when prevalence was higher, and fewer people had been vaccinated. Yet, far from provoking widespread condemnation, it was greeted with encouragement by many medics. There was even anger towards the police for acting in such a heavy handed manner when they broke it up under the auspices of “Public Health”.

Similarly, the protests earlier this week in response to the (thankfully doomed) football Super League — which even included singing! — were met with silence. Likewise, few medical staff argued that scenes earlier this month from the “Kill the Bill” protests against the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, had them fearing a third wave.

This selective outrage towards protesting by many in healthcare appears to be a very odd affliction. Strangely, it only seems to flare up when protests are related to lockdowns, vaccine passports, and masks. Even though everyone has their own political views, there is a difference between criticising the reason for someone’s protest, and using the pandemic as justification in order to argue against the right to protest.

Medical staff crying foul, and invoking their position as NHS employees in order to condemn only certain protests, and certain people — those they disagree with — are at risk of appearing, at best, inconsistent, and at worse, manipulative. 

Join the discussion

  • In January and February this year I had two operations (not major but tricky ) in a private facility paid for by the NHS as it turned out. . Very clean and very efficient with far fewer staff around than I have had in a NHS hospital. I was telephoned at home with instructions and queries at a late hour when necessary by the staff involved in my case. If this is the future then bring it on.
    The whole company looked and felt on top of it’s game and the work was quickly and well done. Being interested I asked a nurse if the staff were NHS as well. She said at first yes but now no.
    The company is run to make a profit and so what if the result is better for the patient and the country .

  • David B – be careful what you wish for!

    Pathology, radiology, sterile services, laundry, catering and portering have been privatised a long time ago. GP practices are also subcontractors, so private also.

    GP are generally run by GP partners who continue to see patients and remain physically connected to their surgery. I worry for the creation of large GP networks that will bring with it the potential for further detachment from the family doctor.

    Privatisation of healthcare beyond what we have
    will cost more and deliver less. I forsee a replication of the disaster that was privatisation of British Rail.

    Patients will lose, so too will the majority of workers, bar a select few, who by chance are in the right place at the right time.

    Only the lawyers, accountants and middlemen will benefit from this.

    Health and science is a world of its own. This imbalance of knowledge has the potential to be exploited to bill more and deliver less. Look at the USA system for an example of the worst case scenario.

  • Transgenderism, wow, JP Sears did a good youtube where he explains how progressive some laws are which allow hormone blocking to be done on teens even without the parents permission, and how much more progressive it would be to do it without the teens permission too, as the doctors know best, and gender is oppression.

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