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3 Dec, 2020 15:18

‘World-beating jingoism’: Gavin Williamson sparks Twitter fury by calling UK ‘much better’ than US & EU due to Pfizer jab approval

‘World-beating jingoism’: Gavin Williamson sparks Twitter fury by calling UK ‘much better’ than US & EU due to Pfizer jab approval

UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has landed in hot water after he lauded his nation as “much better” than others, citing its swift approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, earning himself ridicule on social media.

A barrage of criticism was unlikely to be what Williamson expected as he pompously declared the UK to be “a much better country than every single one” of other Western nations like France, Belgium or the US.

Speaking to LBS radio host Nick Ferrari, the British minister claimed that his nation became the first in the world to clinically approve the jab, which was developed by US and German companies, supposedly because it has the best scientists and is just as good in every other aspect. 

“I just reckon we’ve got the very best people in this country and we’ve obviously got the best medical regulators,” he said. But commenters on Twitter appeared not to share this sentiment; far from it. 

There was no shortage of comments declaring the minister’s statements nothing but a manifestation of nationalistic arrogance and jingoism. Williamson particularly received a bitter rebuke from London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, who called his words “jingoistic nonsense.”

Some noted that, judging by the epidemic situation in the UK itself, the nation might have gotten the jab first not because it was “much better” but rather because it was “much worse” than others, at least when it comes to tackling the disease. 

Others ridiculed Williamson’s statement, noting that the UK had nothing to do with developing the vaccine itself, since it was developed by other nations. 

The UK approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine ahead of its own jab, which was developed by the British-Swedish AstraZeneca company and Oxford University, and showed an “average” 70 percent efficacy amid some puzzling results presented by its developers and a statement by the CEO saying it would be trialled again.

Others argued that London could not boast being the first to approve the vaccine, since it was arguably EU regulators, who are still in charge in the UK, that allowed such a swift approval in the first place. Some lamented that the UK is about to lose access to this regulative mechanism as it fully leaves the union – another thing which commenters blamed on a British false sense of superiority.

Some took aim at Williamson personally, saying it should be “everyone’s concern” that he is the man in charge of the nation’s education. Others jokingly suggested giving him “his own show,” suggesting the more exposure he got, the more likely the Tory government would be “hounded from office.”

The British public generally showed little appreciation of the UK politician’s overly patriotic statements. 

On Wednesday, the nation’s business secretary, Alok Sharma, faced similar backlash on social media after he said the UK had “led humanity’s charge” against the pandemic by approving the Pfizer vaccine. Earlier that day, Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed to get the jab live on TV to prove it is safe.

Also on rt.com ‘The day UK led humanity’s charge against Covid’: Tory MP Sharma mocked for over-the-top cheer as London approves foreign vaccine

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