Boris Johnson is probably the most gutless individual to lead a major political party in this country in years.
That man is terrified of the right-wing media and the fury of his own backbenchers. The decision, yesterday, to reverse his position on vaccine passports comes because of a backlash from The Daily Mail and The Telegraph and from his own MP’s.
At every stage in the national fight against this virus, Johnson has had one eye on what these two constituencies have been screaming for.
Had he been allowed to simply follow them we might never have had the first national lockdown, and this bug might have been allowed to burn its way across the country uncontrolled as it was elsewhere.
Vaccine passports are a controversial idea. But that’s where leadership has to be at its strongest.
It’s a sensible policy and easily implemented.
There is a half-suspicion that aside from his basic cowardice that he’s got one eye on the politics of it; he thinks he can force the SNP into either backtracking with him or dealing with the anger of the Scottish electorate for imposing something on our citizens which he refuses to impose on his.
It is brutally cynical.
And it has not shifted the Scottish Government one millimetre.
They are determined to proceed, as ministers made clear yesterday when they did the rounds of the Sunday studios.
This policy has been passed by the parliament, and the objections of Neil Doncaster and Ian Maxwell – who’s arguments in the papers today are some of the most disingenuous and dishonest I’ve ever heard – aren’t going to change their minds.
What they have been allowed to do – our football “governors” is decide on the form this policy will take.
That’s what’s come to dominate the debate.
These people who can’t even control one of their member clubs are now steering a key government health measure, and of course their idea is idiotic.
The “proposal” which is being touted is frankly bonkers and unworkable nonsense. Doncaster, Maxwell and Yousef’s suggestion that the only way it would work would be random “spot checks” is manifestly ludicrous, rendering the whole idea redundant.
It is an example of how our own government has bowed to pressure groups and special interests, at the expense of public health.
The Scottish Government either believes these passports are necessary or it does not.
It either thinks protecting the public calls for them or they are just for show.
The idea that there’s some halfway house between using them and not is laughable and actually weakens the public case for using them at all.
Those who are screaming about civil rights will certainly have a case if random checks are the road the government goes down.
Will there be disruption if everyone has to be checked?
Yes and no.
I’ve sat in venues which hold large numbers of people and seen tickets being scanned outside the building.
I’ve seen perimeter searches take place; they were common in the aftermath of 9/11.
They can be made to work.
If people are told that they need to have their passports ready for checking at the gates or at the perimeter it can be processed quickly and easily.
“Random checks” are never random.
That makes them blatantly discriminatory.
There will always be a subjective element to them which singles out some people at the expense of others.
They will absolutely cause more aggravation and aggression at the checking points than simply checking everyone.
I don’t think they make the logistics easier; they make life infinitely harder for those who are responsible for implementing the policy.
If this nonsense is the decision made by those in office at Holyrood they will have proven themselves just as craven as the government in Westminster.
They know this policy is necessary but they want to do it in such a way so they won’t take the flak for it.
So they are palming off the responsibility for public health in Scotland to a bunch of stewards at Celtic Park, entrusting them with the task of deciding who gets checked and who does not.
Honestly, the whole idea might as well be in the bin as do this.
There is no merit to this plan whatsoever.
I understand why the incompetent dolts who run Scottish football are in favour of it; they are pandering to their audience.
But why is this government pandering to them?
This proposal undermines the entire case for vaccine passports and their use as a point of national policy.
We either require them or we don’t.
You cannot argue in their favour and then implement them at random, it’s absurd.