The SDLP has moved away from civil rights in its backing for vaccine passports

A letter from Adrian Lonergan:

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 1:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th September 2021, 1:10 pm
Letter to the editor

Those of us who are opposed to ‘vaccine passports’, under any circumstances, do so because we appreciate living in a free society where the state identifies itself to us, the people, and not the other way round.

The latest campaign to introduce mandatory passports is another step towards a society where the state regulates every aspect of our lives.

As someone who has regularly voted for the SDLP in the past, I am disturbed by the party’s transition, from one founded upon the civil rights movement, to one which actively seeks to remove our civil rights in incremental fashion.

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The party has targeted the hospitality and entertainment industry and revealed itself to be prejudiced. There appears to be little understanding, by the party leadership, of the social and financial costs to the business community of administering ‘vaccine passports’.

At the same time, the public are subjected to the tiresome rhetoric about such measures being necessary to ‘relieve pressures upon the health service’. This, however, ignores what is widely known — the health service, in spite of receiving the lion’s share of the financial budget, is under pressure every year because it is badly run and needs reform.

This is a problem which is ignored continuously by those who call for more restrictions on our lives to ‘protect the health service’.

We are now in a bizarre situation where everything, including our civil liberties, is being sacrificed for the sake of an outdated healthcare model.

Should vaccine passports fail to make any difference, what will the next idea be? Will there be any admission by local representatives that greater state intervention in our lives is not always the solution?

Our political class have taken it upon themselves to act as our moral guardians with scant regard for the concept of personal responsibility. Elected representative piously justify this level of intervention by insisting it is for our own good — to help ‘save lives’.

Time and again, however, it has been demonstrated that the gentleman in Whitehall (or Stormont) really does not know what is good for the people than the people know themselves.

At what point do our elected representatives start treating us like adults capable of making informed decisions about our own individual circumstances?

Adrian Lonergan, Belfast, BT7

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