by Freddie Sayers
Wednesday, 19
May 2021
Reaction
13:25

Confusing travel advice only spreads suspicion

Contradictory messaging is most damaging to the least powerful
by Freddie Sayers
Boris Johnson in the House of Commons earlier today

The fiasco over the Government’s contradictory pronouncements on international travel has unfolded in a now-familiar atmosphere of uncertainty and mean-spiritedness. Each new “clarification” of the travel advice is drenched in class anxiety: travel is a luxury and virtue consists of denying such luxuries.

The politicians, as usual, are eager to get ahead of the latest moral bandwagon and are cheerfully causing chaos in the process. Notice how the most privileged are also the most ostentatiously severe. The latest was James Bethell, the fifth Baron Bethell to be precise, who is now a Health minister. “Travelling is dangerous,” he announced on Times Radio yesterday — “travelling is not for this year, please stay in the country.”

Within the last hour, the Prime Minister himself has said that, despite there being no legal injunction, “you should not be going to amber countries on holiday.”

Let’s just remind ourselves how we got here.

The UK Government’s traffic light system for international travel was briefed for weeks in advance and, when finally confirmed, was maximally restrictive, with destinations like St Helena and the Falkland Islands making up the very short list of “green” countries. But the rules were at least clear: you could travel without quarantine to those few countries; travel to the ‘red’ countries was subject to mandatory hotel quarantine and strongly advised against; and travel to amber countries was subject to quarantine and a high degree of testing.

The regime for amber countries is not exactly slack or permissive. If you want to go to Italy for a week you have to take no fewer than five Covid-19 tests — negative test before departure, negative test on arrival, negative test before departure back to the UK and two negative tests on day two and eight once you have returned home and are in quarantine, which is policed carefully with calls every day and home visits. Families that have followed government advice and made plans on this basis, at the additional cost of at least £310 per person, in order to see relatives or go on holiday after a horrific past year must really feel it is necessary.

And now, from the despatch box of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister tells them they shouldn’t go after all. Perhaps he thinks this technique of declaring things legal and then saying people should not do them is clever —“nudging” the population while stopping short of an outright ban. Perhaps it is choreographed negative mood music in advance of a good news moment for which he can claim credit; or perhaps, after the disastrous past year, he simply now thinks it is safest to be seen to be on the restrictive side of whatever the latest Covid controversy is.

But what are these families supposed to do now? How is business supposed to behave? The principle of freedom under the law is that governments tell you what is legal and what isn’t and the rest is up to the people. This sort of confusion is more common in chaotically run non-democracies, where uncertainty and taboo around what is allowed is part of the mechanism of control. It’s not just incompetent, it’s reckless.

Meanwhile the rich and privileged, confident of their rights and scornful of dithering politicians, will go ahead and travel to amber countries anyway. As always, it is the less privileged who will feel the fearful effects of this ambiguity and have their lives further curtailed.

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Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago

Come to Portugal! We need it! It’s all good.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Would love to, but not until outdoor mask requirements at least are removed.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

Bill Gates wants this to continue until next year so plenty more variants to go through until that is allowed

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago

Around 2038. I might get you booked.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Coming in July – postponed from last year but booked in 2018!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago

People will travel wherever they want to travel. In the US, the public has long ago stopped listening to the Biden admin, the CDC and Anthony Fauci. They have no clue what they’re talking about. One of my daughters just got back from Costa Rica where she met many Europeans, particularly French people. None of whom were rich or privileged. Stop envying rich people, it improves your life not at all. Go where you want to go.

Last edited 1 year ago by Annette Kralendijk
Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
1 year ago

From the very first moment the pandemic was announced there has been almost nothing but confused, contradictory and, at times, wholly incoherent messaging coming out of government.
There really are no words adequate to describe this, given the need for clarity.
I went from a supporter of the government to an opponent because of this incoherence.

There came a point when I could no longer believe the sowing of confusion was accidental.

I do now believe it is deliberate, and I think I understand the rationale. The purpose is to render the population docile, and – thus rendered – malleable.

I believe there to be a branch of behavioural psychology which has studied the effect of contradictory messaging of this kind, has studied the effects of the bewilderment that follows it, and has studied the extent to which subjects who are subjected to this kind of conditioning are less able to resist authority.

I believe the government has depended on this psychology, and has quite deliberately caused dismay, confusion and distress in order to make the process of controlling our behaviour easier than it would otherwise have been.

I believe this government to be reprehensible to a degree unimaginable only a couple of years ago.

Bella OConnell
Bella OConnell
1 year ago

Agreed. A new book that is out, ‘A State Of Fear: How The UK government weaponised fear during the COVID-19 pandemic’ by Laura Dodsworth is a most interesting read. She started writing this book a year ago! Scary stuff. This information needs to be widely disseminated. Only by having the courage to share what we discover, such as this information, will we ever regain our freedoms.

Steve Silverman
Steve Silverman
1 year ago

Unless an adult is legally termed mentally disabled, they should make their own choice as to where and when to travel.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

The principle of FYTW on display. Whenever the proles ask “why” about something that does not add up, those four letters represent the all-purpose answer from the privileged class.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

And as us Proles then reply, SNAFU, or even FUBAR, knowing we have been shafted and there is nothing we can do.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

What does fytw mean? I’m afraid I’m too old and can’t keep up with all these baffling abbreviations

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago

I didn’t know either. I had to google it.
“F&_£ you that’s why”

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago

What happened to providing advice and guidance and letting people make their own decisions based on their own circumstances – oh that’s right it was totally forgotten about over a year ago. As we came out of the last lockdown Boris said he had faith in the commonsense of the British people then proceeded to do the exact opposite. Boris often says what he really feels, then crumbles when it starts to be criticised. Quite often his first instincts are right, but he lacks the courage of his own convictions.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago

Photo of Boris talking off the top of his head as usual!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Boris, that silly, glib, popinjay, has shown every single defect his silly Twit class carry. No Noble Warrior like his class traditionally was. – on top of the fact Covid broke him, my guess is getting close to death he found out he is actually a coward with massive false bravado, and this crushed him. He was Chamberlain dealing with H* tl er, Like Biden dealing with Xi, he was utterly the wrong man at the wrong time.

“Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man”
And so it was with Churchill, Nelson, Wellington, Henry V, but Boris strode on as Quisling instead.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

“The principle of freedom under the law is that governments tell you what is legal and what isn’t and the rest is up to the people.”

Who makes up these stupid soundbites? Sure its legal to have unprotected sex with a person with AIDS, but the government, quite rightly, says they advise against it, advises steps to take to mitigate such actions, and why. ** That the covid response was the opposite of this – it made the sex illegal, and told you steps to mitigate covid which made it worse, and fined you if you did not fallow them as it made them illegal to not do.

The problem is this all is crazy, it is not AIDS, and it is not an intentional choice taken on risky behavior, like say sex is. COVID response is completely political, almost none of it has been about health, it may be hysteria, it certainly is about just ‘Doing Something’ to show the voters the elected are doing everything possible, it is absolutely for nefarious NWO reasons, it is certainly to put Trillions of $ into the hands of the ultra rich, and into the wealthy in general. It is to cause a huge recession/depression to Trickle UP the middle class savings into the pockets of the rich, it is to divide society into splintered and hostile groups, it is to destroy education, and it is to hurry up the whole ‘You Will Own Nothing And YOu Will Be Happy” as the Devos gang said through Charles Schawab.

Covid response is a war against the citizens, led by the Government. USA is 50 States which went from total lockdown to Zero lockdown. It is 100% known by studying them that lockdown did nothing to reduce covid, rather the opposite. Masks were 100% ‘Project Fear’. The covid response was merely to for ever change global finance, and my guess, to break the Middle Class and make all dependent on Government handouts, and so all clients of the State, and thus Owned by them.

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You forgot to mention the health passports. Since the government is aggressively pushing and coercing people to get vaccinated it has to be for a reason. ITS NOT COVID! that much is obvious. Why the children? Clearly the government has an objective to have near 100% vaccinated. I can only think of two reason. One is bad and the other is evil.
The bad one is to have a health passport which morphs into a digital pass so that we are all tracked and traced wherever we go. No more popping down to the pub for pint. You will have get permission first!
The evil one is what the gene therapy does and turns the population into a nation of, essentially, junkies. Totally dependant on 2 or 3 “vaccinations” every year for life for what were relatively harmless viruses, earning pharma TRILLIONS annually. All because the first vaccine compromised their innate immune system and thus switched off everyone’s generic virus protection.

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
1 year ago

Frankly all this “Oh it’s confusing” is confected claptrap. If the £310 per person, ridiculous rigmarole and intrinsic risk are not a message that travel to Amber is not a good idea that is your own problem. If you want to stand in an immigration hall shine on you crazy diamond.
The press and the opposition look utterly pathetic. In the context of death across the world which we seem to have emerged from it is really petty to be moaning about holidays abroad.
To characterise the governments action as “reckless” is reckless in itself.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf and the fantastic Nic Cage “I lost my hand ” scene from moonstruck spring to mind.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Goodman

It’s all media bollox. They come up with new scenarios to catch ministers out in interviews.
The RAG rules have been clear from the get go: you can only go on holiday to ‘green’ countries. As with a traffic light, you have to wait until ‘amber’ countries have been deemed safe. When they change to green, it’s safe to go.
Of course, as with drivers on the roads, there are travellers who will put their feet down at the first sight of an amber light!

chrisjperry2012
chrisjperry2012
1 year ago

I wonder whether the government’s sudden rush to declare it “wrong” to travel is fear of the total chaos that would be visited on LHR if travel resumed at significant levels.

The weakness of this interpretation is that it implies foresight

Last edited 1 year ago by chrisjperry2012