Saturday, October 16, 2021
HomeCOVID-19The curious case of the Baker Street mask diktat

The curious case of the Baker Street mask diktat

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AAH, London. Tourist heaven. Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds, 221B Baker Street. Hang on. Baker Street? Something is afoot. The Baker Street Museum declares that wearing a face covering is a requirement which even those with a medical exemption must obey. Alas, not even Sherlock Holmes has deduced how to escape from overzealous mask enforcers.

You may well ask who has imposed such a rule which sails close to the wind of equality laws. Pulmonologists? Virologists? Psychiatrists? Nope. Whilst government guidelines are cited (a strange interpretation of ‘be mindful and respectful’ to those who cannot wear a face covering for medical reasons) the decision has also been reached by feedback from museum visitors. That’s right. Joe Bloggs from Bolton and Jane Doe from Cardiff hold sway on which activities the disabled may enjoy. The 2010 Equality Act, you say? You idiot, Watson.

Neither autism nor COPD is an exception. Even those reliant on lip-reading will not be granted a mask-free companion. On second thoughts, speaking will probably be frowned upon in case droplets of disease-carrying saliva fly across the room like blood from a corpse under dismemberment. Rather, visitors may file through the museum like silent mourners viewing their supreme leader as he lies in state.

Yes, the government vampires have sucked all the joy and spontaneity out of life, yet they have been aided and abetted to a depressing extent by those eager to go one step further than even our masters have demanded.

Where will it all end? With the disabled further marginalised, stigmatised and excluded? Each small step takes us closer to tyranny. Have we learnt nothing from history?

As Holmes commented: ‘You see, but you do not observe.’

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Mary McGreechin
Mary McGreechin is a medical historian and researcher from Glasgow.

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