This morning I wrote a letter to my MP to, hopefully, express the dangers surrounding the numerous “vaccine passport” systems being proposed in this, and other countries.

Discussion around these passports, in my mind, seem to miss the main danger. A cynical mind might say that this omission is deliberate, but I am going to assume good faith for now, at least until it is proved otherwise.

My letter is below:

I am writing to you to express my strongest objection to Tory plans for the introduction of a vaccine passport in the UK, something the Labour leader also opposes. 

Internal vaccine certification is something alien to this country, and with the wide uptake of the Covid vaccine, seems to me unnecessary. After all, if we are at herd immunity, what does it matter whether a particular individual is vaccinated or not? 

It is my belief that requiring us to prove our medical status to anyone who demands it from us is a massive invasion of privacy. It is also my belief that they will be divisive, with those unwilling or unable to get the vaccine being treated as “untouchables” and effectively barred from civil society.

However, fundamentally it is my belief that vaccine passports are clearly meant to be a form of coercion and control. 

Coercion because it is clearly meant to threaten those reticent to take up the vaccine with being effectively “unpersoned” unless they undergo a medical procedure, a practice outlawed in the Nuremberg code of medical ethics. 

Control, because every scan of the bar code will inform a government database of your location, who you’re with, and what you are doing. This is essentially an ID card system by the back door.

It is my firm belief that we are on a dangerous road to a very dark place. Not only are we moving to a world where we allow the state to effectively mandate citizens undergo medical procedures, but we are letting the fear of a virus take us to a world where, with widespread adoption of this system, the government could essentially place political dissidents in internal exile with the press of a button.

Imagine a world, ten years from now, where you have to prove your vaccine status for anything that requires you to come in contact with other people. The government is already talking about pubs and concert venues, but logically, why stop there? Why not shops or public transport systems as well? After all, you will be mixing with just as many, if not more people. You are obviously going to need it to leave or enter the country.

Now, imagine you have the “wrong opinions”. Perhaps you attend an environmental protest, or you write something on social media critical of the government. Any one of a million things that are perfectly reasonable in a liberal democracy, but which inconvenience those in power.

Well, will you look at that! Your vaccine passport suddenly stops working. Now that person has been removed from interacting with society, and all without any of that messy “due process” business!

This is not paranoia, or science fiction. This system exists, right now, in China, and it is called the Social Credit system. There, every citizen has an app on their phone which is scanned numerous times a day to prove, not their vaccine status, but whether they are a “good citizen” or not. Have the “wrong opinions”, or post something on social media critical of the government and look at that! Your score drops, and you are suddenly barred from participating in society. 

The proposed vaccine passport system is obviously, on the face of it, different. However, it is functionally the same mechanism as the Social Credit system. That system is the mechanism by which the Chinese government exercises totalitarian control over their citizens everyday lives and is not something that a so called “free” society should ever seek to emulate!

I therefore urge you to oppose any form of vaccine certification.

The Dear Leader has requested that we all reflect on the last year, as today marks the one year anniversary of when the country I am currently stuck in went into its first (of many) lockdowns.

One year. One fucking year.

One year of dodgy models and disingenuous press conferences.

One year of the theft of hard fought for liberties, and of ever shifting goalposts for when we will get them back.

One year of shattered lives, livelihoods and and stunted futures.

One year spent minimising non-covid deaths.

One year of our lives stolen from us.

Urgh. I could go on.

Mine is a minority view, or so it would seem. Covid is a real virus of course, but it is increasingly clear that the hardship we all face now is down to government policy, not as a direct result of the virus.

Truthfully, I am not even slightly concerned about the virus these days. Do I want it? No. Of course not. But hiding inside the house, not seeing friends and family, not travelling, not doing any one of the number of things, now verboten, which give you a reason to get up in the morning, is not a way to live your life. Especially for a virus which, while serious if you’re unlucky enough to get a bad case, is far from being airborne Ebola or the Zombie plague.

We have several highly effective vaccines now, and say what you want about the government, they have at least done that right. All the elderly and vulnerable have had their dose, and death rates are plummeting as a result. All the data indicates we should really already be almost back to normal. So, why are restrictions tightening rather than relaxing? Why are we talking about internal Covid passports, mandatory vaccinations, ongoing travel bans, and masks and social distancing until 2023 or beyond?

Whenever a minister is pressed on the question of exactly when we will get our freedoms back, they always avoid the question, dissemble or deflect. The goalposts are constantly being shifted. Whenever we reach one of their arbitrary criteria, and we see the end in sight… Lucy moves the football… and the funny thing is we all know she’s going to move the football. Each time we all go along with the lie, we try convince ourselves that she won’t, and run at that football all the same. We pretend it will all be ok.

It’ll all be ok if everyone just obeys the Rules!

“The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.” 

Elena Gorokhova, A Mountain of Crumbs

I want my God given freedoms back, if it’s all the same to you. They were never yours to take in the first place! But, the medium is the message and the message is crystal clear.

We’re not going to get our freedoms back unless we take them back.

Sadly, if the polls are to be believed, a large swathe of the population are in favour of these restrictions, and the only thing our useless opposition leader would have done different would have been to go tougher, harder and earlier… Charlie big potatoes loves to stand behind that podium. Never mind the decimation of the working classes his party ostensibly is meant to represent, ah yes, but those class traitors in the North voted the wrong way didn’t they? This was meant to be your time, wasn’t it Keir. I guess they get what they fucking deserve, don’t they?

I can only wonder what world the supporters of all this lockdown insanity are living in. I can only imagine it’s a world where they live in a comfortable house, with a comfortable family, where they can comfortably work from home. Or a world where they can play video games all day, getting fat on a year long tax payer sponsored holiday from a job they hate. Charitably, I can only imagine that the fear pumped out in the media has warped their perception of reality, and with everyone around them reflecting their emotionalism back at them, I guess I can understand.

But am I crazy? I’m looking at all the data, and the outlook is better not worse. We have a vaccine. Covid isn’t as deadly as we thought last March. We won. Well done! Take the W, Boris, and let us get back to our lives!

But no.

It seems to me that we are held captive, not by the virus, but by fear. Held captive by emotionalism. Held captive by a “safety at all costs” government, myopically obsessed with covid (and the future public enquiry), as if it was the only thing going on and the only thing anybody ever dies from. Held captive by, frankly, a bunch of hysterical pearl clutching cowards who are afraid of the fucking flu.

Bah. I’m angry, and I’m running my mouth. My blog.

Look, it looked bad back in March 2020, I get that. I got caught up in that wave of emotionalism as well. However, as more and more data came out, the outlook kept on improving… and yet, here we are. One year on, facing increasingly authoritarian measures, not a cautious and proportional response based on a realistic assessment of the threat.

If you’re vulnerable, I get it. But we have the vaccine now, and Covid isn’t the only thing that can bump off someone who’s clinically vulnerable. Nobody wants someone to die, but unfortunately that’s just a fact of being alive and mortal. If you care about someone who’s vulnerable, I get it. We all have elderly parents and grandparents, I’ve not seen mine in over a year, and given that two of my more elderly relatives are in failing health I doubt I’ll ever see them again. Nobody is saying don’t take precautions or exercise good judgement.

But honestly, for the rest of you, I’m out of sympathy. All you fit and healthy folks virtue signalling with your mask selfies. All you Karens glaring and spitting passive aggressive venom when someone dares to walk slightly too close past them on the street. All of you who are so scared to go outside, and because of that fear, want to place restrictions on other people… except of course unless they’re delivering your Amazon packages or Waitrose tender stem broccoli.

Fuck all of you. You are all cowards. You want to limit the lives and opportunities of others because you feel scared.

Sorrynotsorry, but it’s time for you to put on your Big Boy pants, harden the fuck up, and go outside.

It’s strange to think, as 2020 moves into middle age with widespread civil unrest, that a global pandemic would be the least dramatic thing to happen this year. The simulation appears to be glitching all over, and while the lockdown is easing up agonisingly slowly, most of us are still mostly locked in our houses.

Still, it’s important to focus on stoicism, do what you can, enjoy what you can, and make the most of things.

Here’s some of the lessons I’ve learnt, in no particular order.

You’re right to follow your gut

I’ve always had a habit of running speculative “what if” scenarios in my head, I find it quite an entertaining game to imagine what I’d do if some unexpected situation were to happen. Depending where it falls on the threat matrix, I often looked at what I could do to hedge against them to a greater or lesser degree.

For example, I have a grab bag with everything I need to survive for a few weeks and restart my life, ready to go. Not because of zombie apocalypse or collapse of civilisation, but because, for example, fires happen.

I routinely operate on the 10th man rule, so, if everyone and everything is telling me that it’ll all be fine, I speculate that maybe it won’t be. This habit has served me well in the past.

As a result, long before lockdown or the virus was even mentioned on mainstream news, I had already told family and friends to stock up on food and to renew their prescription medications. A few people called me paranoid, but I figured I was just being prudent.

Worst thing that could happen if you prepared and nothing happened? You’ve got a full larder. Worse thing to happen if something happened and you didn’t prepare….

You have millions of years of survival instincts behind that feeling in your gut. Listen to it, even if people are telling you not to.

Taking stock

The initial excitement settled into boring routine.

While in many respects, lockdown has been frustrating – everything shut down, twitchy dot people, shortages and queues – having a period of forced slowdown has actually been quite refreshing.

Like many of you, the change in routine has forced me to slow right down. Lockdown has made me take stock on where I am, and what I want to do next.

Early morning workout buddy

For a start, nobody is doing anything, so I was able to completely shake that feeling that I was somehow “missing out”. I can’t go anywhere, or do anything particularly exciting, but then neither can anybody else.

I’ve found it quite refreshing not feeling like I have to do anything.

We’ve all been made to slow down, enjoy the simpler things.

One thing, I’ve done more reading than I’ve done for a long while. I’ve gone down various rabbit holes of YouTube, learning random skills that I’ve been meaning to swot up on but never got the time to.

I have saved a bunch of money. Somehow. I suspect largely through not routinely going to the supermarket when hungry after work (since shopping these days is such an unpleasant experience, I’ve been only going when necessary, ordering a lot online, and actually planning meals).

The gym has been closed, so I’ve really focussed on training what I can, as well as diet. I have been extra disciplined (and not having office snacks), and as a result am now at my ideal competition fighting weight.

As things are starting to open up, I’ve spent more time with family and friends. But before that, one thing I’ve realised, through the weeks of solitude… I really do like being by myself.

What next..?

Not sure. 2020 is far from over, and stuff around the world just seems to be getting crazier and crazier.

I intend to keep up the good habits I’ve formed since lockdown – spending less on stuff I don’t need, training and diet.

I’ll still travel, of course, but I’ll also focus on simple pleasures. Family. Friends. Spending more time with other humans, even if I need to travel a long way to see them.

Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, remote work is going to be the new normal.

I’m definitely not going back to the office.

This is going to be a bit of a battle, but I’m prepared to stick my heals in on this one. I’ve been remote only for over a decade, and my short stint of being back in the office has reminded me just how much they suck – strip lit boxes almost designed to destroy your focus.

Contrast this with remote work and the quality of life improvements you get – freedom, more time, ability to cook a decent meal and train, even simple things like being able to be in for deliveries… oh, and not to mention being geographically independent, letting you travel and live cheap.

Speaking to my peers at work, as well as wider contacts in the industry… nobody in IT is going back to the office after all of this.

It’s a generational battle, in that the institutional members of the organisation seem to desperately want to get back to “normal” as it was in the “before time”.

But those times are gone. Holding out is only putting off the inevitable… if, for no other reason, that hiring talent (already a problem) is going to be impossible if you require them to be present in the office.

Skilled IT workers have had a taste of their life without the commute, spending time extra time with family and loved ones, and not having to sit all day at a desk under florescent lighting.

Another day in the office