AS expected, yesterday the Scottish Parliament voted to impose vaccine passports. From October 1, Scots will be barred from nightclubs and numerous live events, including all crowds of more than 10,000, unless they are double-jabbed and prepared to prove it to strangers.
The result of the vote was not in doubt due to the pernicious pact between the SNP and bought-off Scottish Greens. The latter’s co-leaders, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, recently became, respectively, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights and Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity – titles seemingly bestowed by Holyrood’s random word generator.
The proposal for mandatory vaccination certification was opposed by all other parties, including the Scottish Conservatives.
In an earlier piece for TCW Defending Freedom, written immediately after Nicola Sturgeon announced her plan last week, I condemned the Scottish Conservatives as ‘contemptible collaborators’. Because they voted against, do I confess to a calumny and apologise to the Tartan Tories?
Not on your nelly. Scotland is about to enforce medical and social apartheid, yet the Scottish Conservatives still cavil only about the process, not the principle. Here Murdo Fraser, the shadow spokesman for Covid Recovery who previously lauded vaccine passports as a ‘reasonable proposition’, bleats about the ‘practical impact’ on business and quibbles at not having seen ‘either a proper explanation of the policy intent or the science behind these measures’.
Not exactly a full-throated defence of freedom. And tellingly, he opposes the introduction only ‘at this particular time’.
Though seemingly far down his list of concerns, at least Fraser fleetingly mentions civil liberties, which is more than his leader, Douglas Ross, has done.
In Thursday’s Scottish Daily Mail, Ross was given a full page in which to state the case against vaccine passports. There is no available link, for which readers should be thankful, because he used more than 1,000 words to say no more of substance than is in the above tweet.
Ross devoted around half the article to reiterating his acceptance of earlier crude constraints: ‘We accepted the need for a national lockdown 18 months ago . . . We accepted those harsh restrictions for many weeks because it was explained to us that this was the only way to keep the virus under control . . . Then as lockdown was imposed again in response to the second wave, we again accepted the need for restrictions that were enforced.’
Speak for yourself, Dougie. And unfortunately he did, at great length. The laborious point of his humdrum history lesson was that government had previously ‘explained to us in detail’, therefore in his opinion ‘we understood the rationale behind the decisions that were being taken’.
Ross’s current complaint is that, in contrast to earlier clampdowns, ‘The SNP government . . . announced their proposal last week without proper consultation, without details and without the infrastructure in place to deliver it.’
That, distilled into a single sentence, is Douglas Ross’s entire objection, which he padded out to fill a full page of the Mail.
In parliament on Thursday, Ross was worried only by the SNP’s lack of preparation and consultation; he failed to flag any of the myriad reasons for principled opposition to vaccine passports such as them being coercive, divisive, prejudicial and an affront to freedom.
In Scotland, only the Liberal Democrats seem to be aware that there is a moral case against Covid passes. Even then, one senses that the LibDems remain sympathetic to restrictions which apply to everyone and stand against vaccine passports only because they discriminate. Nonetheless, new leader Alex Cole-Hamilton is spot on when he warns that the SNP’s mandatory certification ‘is an illiberal policy which would set a very dangerous precedent about the use of our private medical data’.
That is what we should be hearing from the leader of Scotland’s so-called Conservatives, which ought to be the party of personal autonomy. But for principled opposition to the menace of medical ID, do not look to gutless Douglas.