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Normalising the abnormal: From ‘We’re not planning Covid passports’ to ‘They may be needed long term’ in 3 easy months

Neil Clark
Neil Clark

is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

Normalising the abnormal: From ‘We’re not planning Covid passports’ to ‘They may be needed long term’ in 3 easy months
It’s now being suggested that Covid vaccine passports may be needed for the long term in the UK, just three months after the vaccines minister explicitly denied there were any plans to introduce vaccine passports.

There is nothing more permanent than a temporary government programme, the old saying goes, but in light of the past 13 months, we should actually update that to “there is nothing more permanent than a temporary government programme which the government denies it is planning to introduce in the first place.”

The UK government didn’t want to do lockdown in March 2020, or so we were led to believe. The truth, as I highlighted previously, was that the government had already struck a £119-million contract with a major US advertising company urging people to ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ a full three weeks earlier.

Also on rt.com Covid-19 reverse psychology: Did Johnson play the left by ‘pretending’ he didn’t want a lockdown so it could get public support?

And when lockdown was introduced it was famously for just three weeks. To “flatten the curve.” Strictly temporary. Thirteen months on, we still can’t sit inside a pub, or leave the country to go on holiday. And councils are recruiting ‘Covid marshals’ to enforce the rules into 2022! Imagine if someone had told you in March 2020 that in May 2021 this would be the case. You probably would have said they had been listening to too much David Icke. But that’s what’s happened. No wonder there was such a ferocious Matthew Hopkins-esque witch-hunter campaign last spring to ban Icke from social media.

Let’s talk face masks. Last spring we were told they weren’t of much use. The government wouldn’t be mandating them. But then we began to see a campaign to get the government to mandate masks.

As late as July 12, Michael Gove ruled out the government making them compulsory in shops.

And guess what happened? On July 14 the government announced that masks would be compulsory in shops. But of course, it would only be a temporary measure, and limited to shops.

Ten months on, face coverings are not only still compulsory in shops, but the mandate has been extended to many other places too. And note well, the government roadmap for the removal of restrictions makes no mention of if/when the mask mandate will ever be repealed. The Daily Telegraph reported this week that masks are likely to remain compulsory even after restrictions are supposed to be lifted on June 21. In March, Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said face coverings (and social distancing) would be needed “certainly for a few years.” “People have got used to those lower-level restrictions now, and people can live with them, and the economy can still go on with those less severe restrictions in place,” she said. So much for “it’s only for fifteen minutes a week for a few weeks when you do the weekly shop in Tesco’s”. 

Now it’s the turn of vaccine passports. Again, to even mention them in 2020 would have got you smeared as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ (or worse), even when the World Economic Forum was openly promoting its ‘Common Pass’ health passport scheme on social media.

Also on rt.com The future is ‘CLEAR’ and it’s Dystopian: Virus hype ushers in a Covid 19-84 nightmare of restricted access

At the turn of the year, though, even ‘mainstream’ voices began to express concern about the direction of travel. On January 12, UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi tweeted, in response to a Daily Telegraph report that vaccine passports would be trialled by thousands of Britons: “We have no plans to introduce vaccine passports. No one has been given or will be required to have a vaccine passport.”

Pretty categorical, eh?

Fast forward three months to April 5 and we have this on the government’s ‘Roadmap Reviews’ update:

The Government believes that COVID-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure. 

Note how we’ve gone from calling them ‘vaccine passports’ to ‘Covid-status certification’ – because test results could be used for those who don’t have the vaccine. And note, too, the words “as a temporary measure.” A few days earlier, Culture Minister Oliver Dowden had also stressed this, saying of vaccine passports/Covid health certificates:

“Of course we would never look to do this on a permanent basis, it's just whether it might be a tool in the short term.” 

But now, a month later, the idea of vaccine passports being a permanent feature of daily life is being mooted.

“I think they’re here for the long term, we’re finding our way forwards on these both internationally and domestically. But I think the system is going to settle down nationally and internationally as a long-term form of certification and protection,” Professor Christopher Dye, professor of epidemiology at Oxford, told MPs on the Science and Technology Committee this week.

Dye’s main concern seems to be about the language used to describe vaccine passports. “I think we need to describe this in terms of neutral language, and the term ‘passport’ and ‘certificate’ has been difficult,” he said, adding: “A word like ‘pass’ is more neutral.”

I’m sure if William Shakespeare had met the professor he’d have replied: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and a vaccine passport as sour.”

See how it works? Whether we call it boiling the frog, gradualism, or salami tactics, the strategy is:

(a) to rule something out, with Establishment/Deep State gatekeepers smearing those warning of it as ‘cranks’, ’conspiracy theorists’, or ‘crackpots’ (or all three) 

(b) It is confirmed that ‘Yes’, it will be implemented (and the ‘cranks’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’ were actually right). But don’t worry, it’s only a temporary, limited measure – so what’s your problem?

(c) Once people get used to the measure, ‘temporary’ becomes not so temporary and ‘limited’ becomes not so limited.

The result is that an extreme, abnormal measure which no one would have supported a few months back, now, because of the strategy used to implement it, becomes accepted – and normalised.

With vaccine passports we need to be aware there is still the psyops element, that the powers-that-be currently want us to think their introduction is inevitable in order to drive up vaccine uptake among younger groups – which would then make vaccine passports workable. There is still a chance that the scheme won’t be implemented, and its supporters are currently calling high, when they hold no picture cards in their hand. 

But if vaccine passports are introduced, even for the most limited circumstances, we can be sure of two things. The scheme won’t be ‘limited’ but will be expanded over time into a full-scale digitalised Chinese-style social credit restricted access system, AND it won’t be ‘temporary’.

‘Covid certificates for just one year’?

If that’s how it gets ‘sold’ to us, prepare for the longest year in history. Don’t forget, income tax was only meant to be a temporary measure, too, when first introduced in 1799. All the government needs – and has ever needed with vaccine passports – is a foot in the door.

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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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