‘NOBODY is safe until we are all safe.’ This is the fanatical public health ideology born of the pandemic which is now creeping its way into all domains of life, lockdown its pinnacle. But at what point does hysterical health and safetyism cross the line into increasing the threat to life?
Reports are circulating, for example, that only a paltry number of those Ukrainians eligible for asylum in the UK under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme have actually arrived on our shores, one stumbling block in particular seemingly that the health and safety checks being undertaken on accommodation offered by sponsors are being implemented to prohibitively obsessive standards.
The government recently updated the criteria for appropriate refugee housing, asking only that accommodation offered be clean, large enough to prevent overcrowding, sufficiently and safely heated, free of damp and mould, and afford both adequate privacy, and access to kitchen and bathroom facilities, etcetera: ‘All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards.’ Although they do then immediately undo what on the face of it constitute reasonable and sound demands by advising that accommodation also be ‘without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm’.
In exactly the same manner in which care homes, NHS trusts and teaching unions appear free to impose pandemic-related public health measures in spite of any Government guidelines to the contrary – from Lockdown One-esque visitation protocols to masks – so it is that local authorities up and down the country appear free to undertake safety checks on potential Homes forUkraine candidates which likewise cross the threshold of reason, into lunacy.
Take Devon County Council, as one example among many, whose own time-consuming criteria for safe sponsor-accommodation includes ensuring such checks as:
‘Are chip pans used?’
‘Is garden play equipment appropriate in its design?’
‘Are chest freezers inaccessible to young children?’
‘Are there any local hot spots/risks to be alerted to? For example, rivers.’ And ‘are there restrictors on all windows above ground level?’, not to mention the danger to life that kettle cables present, which should be ‘suitably adjusted and kept away from surface edges’.
It’s all rather comical up to a point, yet according to the press daffy checklists such as these are being used across the country. One woman in Derbyshire apparently had to fill up her nevertheless shallow garden pond (surely it’s safer empty?) and board up glass doors to satisfy her local council. Another in Essex was apparently told that the unoccupied, double-glazed, fully heated, fully furnished, newly decorated, and legally sited static caravan – a type of dwelling many in the UK choose to holiday in – was not suitable due to restrictions on year-round occupancy in caravan parks.
Just how many eligible Ukrainian souls in the war zone that has become their country are the British Government keeping at arm’s length via the manufactured health and safety binds of either their own making, endorsement, or to which they turn a blind eye?
Striking a similar tone, there is unfolding an absurd mutation of this spurious humanitarianism within the massively controversial plan (let’s call it what it is: human fly-tipping) to send illegal/undocumented arrivals to the UK on to Rwanda, where they will, within a somewhat optimistic timeframe of three months, be offered either permanent residency or returned to their home country or that of a third-receiver country.
According to the Prime Minister (and various online sources) Rwanda is among the safest countries in the world, yet according to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office itself, the border areas with Burundi and the DRC remain unstable, conflict historically flaring up with little notice, and over the last five years grenade attacks have also occurred sporadically in the capital Kigali: precisely where the undocumented migrants will be sent. Ongoing human rights abuses in the country are also well documented.
That being said, this is the same FCDO which warns that terrorist attacks in the UK’s most beloved of holiday destinations, Spain, could be ‘indiscriminate’, and that there have also been ‘a number of very serious accidents (some fatal) as a result of falls from height, including balconies’, so interpret their warnings as you will – if you have any choice in the matter, that is.
However, there are two further points the FCDO notes in relation to the human-junk we intend to tip in Rwanda. On a more serious note, firstly that citizens and residents of Rwanda must be fully Covid-19 vaccinated (a needless risk in itself) in order to access public places and events, and secondly – tying laughably in with the health and safetyism of Homes for Ukraine – that: ‘Levels of health and safety in Rwanda are lower than in the UK. There have been incidences of buildings collapsing, causing deaths and serious injuries. Fire safety standards are also variable [and] there have been a number of building fires apparently caused by poor wiring and substandard electrical cables.’
You need only glance at the suspiciously gleaming surfaces of Hope House hostel in Kigali, where Channel migrants are purportedly to be housed, to smell a whopping great mainstream media red herring.
Government will therefore happily ship one demographic of vulnerable migrants off to a country where health and safety standards are by their own account low in the extreme, and do whatever they can to slow the influx – of their own sanctioning, no less – of another migrant demographic; the standards of whose destination country likely outshines that of their own tenfold. ‘Nanny’ simply loves her pick ’n’ mix humanitarian policies of late, choosing her favourite colours and flavours and discarding the rest.
I fully expect the trip-hazard of shoelaces to be banned within the decade, and not in favour of Velcro (as prolonged exposure to its grating sound could cause tinnitus) but gender-neutral, carpet-friendly slip-ons – the only footwear capable of providing adequate enough protection in the war zone that is a British cul-de-sac.
Whether Syrian, Iraqi, Eritrean, Ukrainian or British, in the post-Covid world where there is a new variant of threat lurking around every corner, within every pane of glass and multi-plug, and behind every cupboard door and sharp edge, none of us is truly safe, until we are all safe.