Thursday, February 25, 2021
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Piers pressure from GMB’s preaching presenters

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NO television programme has done more to cultivate coronavirus catastrophism than ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Hats off, therefore, to Dominique Samuels, who on Tuesday challenged the show’s hostile hosts, opposing the vaccine passports which Dominic Raab had conceded were ‘under consideration’ for when pubs, restaurants and other social settings reopen (whenever that might be). 

Samuels is a young conservative student who during the past few years has gained prominence by declining to be defined by either her gender or skin colour. Though personally in favour of the injections, on GMB she forcefully argued against the de facto mandating of vaccines and balked at them being a requisite for restoring routine to our lives.

Alas, Dominique discovered that championing autonomy and liberty is now a rebellious position, one which prompts vitriol from the fainthearted who have blithely swapped freedom for so-called safety and enthusiastically endorse their own subjugation.

GMB’s regular presenter Piers Morgan is currently on a break; much needed, no doubt, it having been fully six weeks since the programme’s principal panicmonger returned from his non-essential excursion to Antigua for Christmas. But even though he was not on screen, from his lair GMB’s self-important inquisitor tweeted the non sequitur that because she opposes a permit for domestic activities Dominique should also relinquish her travel passport.

Also this week, incidentally, the Telegraph’s Celia Walden argued that vaccine passports would be no more of a moral imposition than, amongst other things, stopping at a red light, adhering to a speed limit and not driving drunk. She further bemoaned how opponents of such a permit scheme lack ‘selflessness, altruism, humanitarianism, social conscience [and] public spirit’. 

Finger-wagging Walden is the wife of . . . Piers Morgan. Presumably a massive marital home is required to house the couple’s combined condescension and reserves of righteousness.

On GMB, this week’s mini-Morgan, Ben Shephard, tried to conflate a domestic vaccine passport with requirements for visiting other countries; but choosing to travel abroad has no parallel with having constraints placed on everyday activities within one’s own country. Predictably, Shephard resorted to trying to shame Samuels into silence, exclaiming: ‘But we’re in a country now that has a very virulent virus that is killing people!’ 

Thanks for that scoop, Ben. Shephard’s co-host, Kate Garraway, inevitably has had her view of the virus coloured by her stricken husband, Derek Draper, catching Covid-19 almost a year ago and still being critically ill in hospital. Garraway claimed to be neutral on the matter of vaccine passes but was far from disinterested when she warmly welcomed there being ‘consequences’ for those who reject the jab and emoted: ‘Why is that unfair compared with risking someone’s life?’  

For understandable reasons, hers is not an objective opinion. Dominique Samuels against Garraway and Shephard was an example of GMB’s preaching presenters, following the lead of self-righteous regular Piers Morgan, assuming their moral superiority over someone less emotive and whose perspective on the pandemic is more pragmatic.

Last week Conservative MP Charles Walker showed how to deal with the maudlin misgivings of a TV interviewer, in this case Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News. It came after Sir Charles had excoriated Grant Shapps for seemingly ruling out a return to near normality until much later in the year: ‘What the Secretary of State for Transport has done . . . is a terribly irresponsible thing to do with a very stressed out and exhausted nation . . . The current situation is absolutely not sustainable. It’s not sustainable for people’s mental health and emotional well-being. It’s not sustainable for business. It’s not sustainable in any way at all.’

‘Are you saying we need to learn to live with a certain amount of death through coronavirus?’ asked Guru-Murthy, as though the very idea is unconscionable. ‘That’s a hard thing for you to tell Grant Shapps when his dad is in hospital.’

Walker refused to be cowed by the interviewer’s infantilism: ‘Krishnan, my father died at 46. I didn’t expect the world to stop for me. I was very sad, the world went on. If we’re going to start citing our personal situations for doing something or not, we’re getting into very dangerous territory . . . I’m not getting into this game where somehow a death from coronavirus is different from a death from cancer or a death from heart disease . . . But somehow you’re not allowed to die from coronavirus, ever. We cannot cancel life to preserve every life.’

Spot on. Charles Walker’s full interview is below, from 03:30. It is a stirring performance; however, be warned that he is immediately followed by Devi Sridhar of Edinburgh University, admirer of the merciless clampdowns in Australasia, and who regularly is welcomed on to alarmist TV programmes including GMB, features frequently in the lockdown-loving Guardian and advises the two-bit tyrants of the Scottish government.

‘What do you say to the Charles Walkers?’ was the softball lobbed by Guru-Murthy, offering Sridhar a free hit: ‘It sounds like a child having a tantrum because they want a unicorn for their birthday and no one has given them a unicorn.’

A hitherto obscure academic, whose star unexpectedly has soared while cosseted on full pay for the past year, disdainfully deriding an impassioned plea for liberty and freedom as a ‘tantrum’ . . . no surprise there.

Convinced of her own ethical eminence, Sridhar went on to affirm her self-regard: ‘Our job as experts is not to be popular . . .’

She need not worry: being a supercilious scientist and zero-Covid zealot, Devi Sridhar will always be welcome on Good Morning Britain and Channel 4 News.

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Gary Oliver
Gary Oliver is an accountant who lives in East Lothian.

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