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It's the final hurrah for Britain's Clap for Carers tonight. Hooray! It's about bloody time this virtue-signalling claptrap ended

Guy Birchall
Guy Birchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

It's the final hurrah for Britain's Clap for Carers tonight. Hooray! It's about bloody time this virtue-signalling claptrap ended
The founder of the weekly show of fealty to the NHS which sees the public applauding like Pavlovian performing seals says this week should be the last time because it has become “too political” – but it was always political.

The woman who started the Clap for Carers movement, which has seen the UK population obediently applaud every Thursday at 8pm since March, has said she wants tonight to be its curtain call.

Annemarie Plas believes the weekly event has become “politicised” and says she won’t be doing it after this evening, wanting it to go out “at its peak”

Become politicised? Please. It’s been political from the start. How could applauding a state-funded organisation that the entire nation has been placed under lockdown to protect, not be a political act? Let us not forget, in the government’s original slogan, “Protect the NHS” came before “Save lives”, which strikes me as the wrong way around.

One wouldn’t place the protection of the Post Office above delivering letters, but of course we British have a complete rationality bypass when it comes to “our NHS.” This is why all it took was a few tweets to get the entire country to clap like we’re a bunch of performing Pavlovian seals at a North Korean rally. What’s next in the pipeline? Hum for HMRC or whistle for the Food Standards Agency?

I don’t wish to stereotype, and I freely admit that I might be wrong, but Ms Plas is a 36-year-old Dutch yoga teacherliving in London, so I’m guessing she hasn’t got her politics from Ayn Rand. What she means by “politicised” is that she’s finally got fed up of seeing the likes of Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and Rishi Sunak gleefully joining in with this virtue signalling nonsense and she doesn’t want “her” brand tainted any further.

She says: “I think the narrative is starting to change and I don’t want the clap to be negative.” One wonders how exactly clapping becomes negative, unless it slows down to an ironically torpid pace. 

It is also worth noting that it is only now, after the government has been on the receiving end of some very bad press, that she feels the weekly applause has become “politicised.” I don’t recall her worrying about “politicisation” when the movement was co-opted by the #YouClapForMeNow crowd to imply that most British people were a bunch of knuckle-dragging racists and the government was still getting an easy ride in the press owing to Boris Johnson’s unfortunate hospitalisation.

It would be completely remiss of me to suggest that she doesn’t want unedifying images of Dominic Cummings, the newly crowned “most hated man in Britain,” joining in the fun. 

You see, Ms Plas now wants to turn her movement into an annual event where we all clap on the third Thursday of March every year to remember these halcyon days when we were confined to our homes. With a view to achieving this, she has a charity consultant and a PR firm on board to help get these things going. I’m sure this is all completely out of altruism and human kindness, and nothing to do with cashing in on its popularity by getting involved in the ludicrously lucrative charity sector.

She reveals: “We want to make it into an annual moment, which would be the last Thursday of March every year. It will have the signature clap in it, and also other ways in which we can connect communities. We now have to step back a little bit, and to give us some space to create [these] new initiatives.”  

Those with memories longer than the average carp might recall her previous statement on the movement, where she said “everybody has adopted it, we mutually own it.” So I assume we won’t be seeing any branded official merch in the near future then, or if we do, I’m certain all the revenue from #ClapforCarers stuff will be mutually shared.

While this whole show may have started off with the best of intentions, it quickly became just another way for lockdown Karens to police people’s behaviour. Members of my family and some friends have all been subjected to mild derision from the virtue-signalling Stasi for failing to join in.

My cousin told me a friend of his drove past the house he’s in with his family and “noticed they were the only people on the street not applauding.” There’s something distinctly un-British about that observation. It also, perplexingly, became the only time it was okay to completely flout social distancing, as the ludicrous display by idiots and the police on Westminster Bridge last month showed. 

Even worse, it seems that the carers for whom we are supposed to have been clapping have at times neglected their duties to participate in this ridiculous display. A video has been circulating online recently showing staff in a hospital organising themselves for the weekly clap, filmed by someone who’d been waiting to see a doctor. She’d already been there for over an hour but rather than treat her, the staff were busy getting ready to film the clap and then doling out mops for a TikTok video.

I for one won’t be sorry to see the back of this attention-seeking nonsense. This isn’t to denigrate the great work done by doctors, nurses and carers all around the country, but the whole arrangement had an air of “bread and circuses” about it.

It always felt like a way of placating the masses that have been confined to their homes, a faux show of unity to try and justify the wanton destruction of our civil liberties and economy just to ensure our bloated, poorly run health service didn’t implode. We don’t need another round of applause. We need our bloody freedom back.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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