Tue 19 Jan 2021: Priorities

Most people, myself included, are irritated and just tired of these restrictions, and while the general spirit of the restrictions is being mostly stuck to people are cutting corners whenever they feel like it. And so they should. The restrictions on our liberties were sold to us initially as just for a few weeks, and almost universally accepted. Those few weeks became months, again almost universally accepted, and then things began to slowly go back to normal. The reimposition of harsh restrictions grates, for two main reasons. First, while we could accept this sort of rushed legislation without proper parliamentary oversight for a short period, it wasn’t short. Parliament hasn’t ever had a proper debate going through the pros and the cons of the biggest restriction in our civil liberties that I can think of. That is just un-British. Second, and I’m sorry to keep banging on about it, the evidentiary basis has not been clearly laid out in public. Everyone knows that the schools were massive plague pits, but it took the government four months to cotton on. Everyone knows that pubs and restaurants put a great deal of effort and resources into opening safely, but that was all wasted because the government flailed around at random. Everyone knows this because it’s what we can see and experience ourselves. We might know different if only the government bothered to tell us. But they haven’t. They are not ruling by informed consent, they are ruling by diktat. That is un-British.

But on to more immediate matters, and my headline.

Cressida Dick, the head honcho of the Metropolitan Police is today “baffled” why her staff aren’t getting priority for vaccinations. The vaccine priorities are one of the very few areas where the government has explained things well. Various groups of people are going to get their shots in an order that tackles the most vulnerable first, thus having the most impact first, thus letting us get out of this shitshow quicker. Police officers are young and fit compared to those who are now being vaccinated, and at far lower risk of consuming medical resources if infected, therefore they are not a priority. She’s not the only one demanding to be treated all special like. I’ve seen demands that train drivers be prioritised even though they spend much of their working day in the cab, a metal box sealed off from the general public. Electricians, plumbers and gas fitters, because they sometimes have to go into peoples’ homes to work. Shop staff. Maybe IT staff like me should be prioritised, because without IT none of those people can do their jobs!

In reality I think that the government has not only communicated this well, they’ve got the job priority list right. The priority list is almost exclusively the old and the ill without regard for occupation. The exceptions where your job matters are workers in care homes (because the most vulnerable have a great deal of exposure to them) and medical staff (because they are exposed to a large number of plague carriers and because they are a resource that everyone who does get sick will need to consume). Only once everyone over 50 has been vaccinated will any other occupational priorities be considered. If then the priority is to get back to normal as quickly as possible – and it should be – then the top of the priority list would presumably be something like teachers and shop, bar and restaurant staff – ie those who most come into contact with other households. The rozzers would be waaaay down the list.

If someone could read this out to the obviously illiterate Ms Dick I would be grateful. Please let me know if she needs a version that only uses shorter words.