HAVING cancelled my TV licence several months ago, I’ve not missed the BBC. Indeed, when news of its latest woke lunacy appears (such as the connivance with Sadiq Khan’s fireworks for Black Lives Matter) I’m comforted in knowing I’m not paying for it. I can still listen to the BBC’s radio output, which has its uses; the only way to switch off the Today programme on my alarm clock is to get out of bed, and that’s a strong incentive to be up and about. Occasionally, I listen to a little of it to remind myself why one shouldn’t be paying £157.50 a year toward the salaries of its smug and biased presenters.
On Monday, I heard Mishal Husain interviewing someone about the recruitment of retired medical staff to administer Covid vaccine. Ms Husain noted the list of 21 requirements that vaccinators need to meet to do the job and wondered whether they might all be essential, mentioning fire safety training.
A lot of the requirements sound eminently sensible. When your turn comes to have the jab, it will be good to know that the person with the syringe understands vaccination, the specifics of the Covid vaccine, infection prevention during vaccination, anaphylaxis, resuscitation (just in case!) as well as how to handle and store the vaccine. In September, the government put out a consultation asking for views on using people not usually authorised to vaccinate to undertake this task. The list of requirements for vaccinators suggests there have been second thoughts on this.
Alas, there is plenty of nonsense in the requirements. Vaccinators are required to prove they’ve achieved ‘Fire safety, level 1’ training though this is a bit of bureaucratic nonsense that can be done online. And everyone’s old friend, health and safety, is also required (again available online). Data security training requirements are another example of the uber-cautious mentality brought about by organisations terrified of litigation and triple-covering their corporate behinds.
However, Mishal Husain chose not to mention the most egregious and politically correct hoops through which prospective vaccinators need to jump. Firstly, one has to be versed in Preventing Radicalisation (level 1). Your 25-minute online training will enable you, amongst other things, to ‘be able to recognise potential indicators that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation or at risk of involvement in acts of terrorism’. Who knew that spotting wannabe jihadists could be taught so quickly? And the vaccinators must be up to date in Equality, Diversity and Human Rights. Naturally, the NHS has a course for this. You need a password to gain access to the benefits of this training but the package promises to teach you ‘the importance of valuing people as individuals and treating everyone with dignity, courtesy and respect’, because otherwise you’d regard everyone being vaccinated like something nasty stuck to your shoe.
The embarrassment of this nonsense has dawned on the powers that be and there are as yet unconfirmed moves to reduce this requirement list. But if diversity and preventing radicalisation training are unnecessary in an emergency, then they can’t really be essential to the job in any circumstances. For all the claims that diversity improves organisational performance, there isn’t any credible evidence to support this, whether it’s quotas for women in boardrooms or the Affirmative Action programme in the US. One could just appoint the best person for the job if you believe in such old-fashioned notions.
One might hope that some small good would emerge from the Covid crisis, such as the recognition that bureaucratic and politically correct jobs and job requirements are not only pointless but get in the way of doing something useful when it most needs to be done. However, the madness continues. West Midlands Police are currently advertising for an Assistant Director, Fairness and Belonging ‘to lead, develop and deliver a first class diversity and inclusion function’. This job is so, ahem, demanding that it will command a salary of £74,000 a year, nearly double that of the average police constable in the West Midlands. Still, gotta have something for all those gender and black studies graduates to do, eh?