Letters: Regulating access to every kind of public activity with Covid passports

·9-min read
Some supermarkets are having trouble filling their shelves due to people being pinged and having to take time off work - Getty Images/Matthew Horwood
Some supermarkets are having trouble filling their shelves due to people being pinged and having to take time off work - Getty Images/Matthew Horwood

SIR – I fully support the Government’s policy on Covid passports, which are essential to Covid security.

The system must be rolled out to every premises that we routinely use, and people’s documents must be checked at every opportunity. Only those who are vaccinated must be given the right to use shops, public transport or places of entertainment.

The behaviour of the unvaccinated is contrary to the interests of society and they must in effect have their citizenship withdrawn. None must hold a position of responsibility such as that of a doctor, teacher or lawyer, because they are a threat to the nation’s health. Ultimately we must consider placing them in protective custody.

Am I exaggerating, or is this the thin end of the wedge?

Mike Tickner
Warminster, Wiltshire

SIR – If Covid passes are a “conspiracy against freedom” (Madeline Grant, Comment, July 21) then, surely, so are driving licences. Both, essentially, do the same thing: certify that you are capable of moving freely through society without injuring or causing the death of yourself or other people.

Why should one be deemed acceptable but not the other?

Patrick Miller
Seaton Carew, Co Durham

SIR – What is the difference between the Government coercing British society to have the vaccine and the Chinese Communist Party’s “social credit” system?

Both seem to mean that you are disadvantaged if you don’t do as the state expects of you “voluntarily”.

Paul Gaynor
Windermere, Cumbria

SIR – In the spring (Letters, April 5), in response to Lord Greenhalgh failing to rule out Covid certificates for churches, I asked whether sidesmen would be retrained as bouncers so that only those with the right papers would be allowed entry.

Four months later, it is barely credible that vaccine passports are being discussed for entry to public worship. Will there be a two-tier system – some churches open to all, while others insist on the right papers?

Dr Penelope Upton
Lighthorne, Warwickshire

SIR – Will the Government tell tourists and British subjects vaccinated overseas how many more years its bureaucracy needs to recognise our fully vaccinated status?

If the NHS Covid passport is also the gateway for UK attractions, pubs and restaurants, a visit to Britain to see our relatives will become even more of an expensive prison confinement.

Jonathan Evans
Lantau, Hong Kong

SIR – I have not heard the BBC report the reduction in infections, down 17 per cent over the past few days.

It’s a great shame it is avoiding reporting some good news.

Leslie Mitchell
Dereham, Norfolk

Hong Kong refugees

SIR – As your report “Hong Kong crackdown: Thousands flee city amid surge in terrorism charges” (July 21) makes very clear, Hong Kong is no longer safe. Faced with the prospect of Beijing’s Big Brother rule, thousands of Hongkongers have fled the territory in search of a better life abroad.

For those arriving in Britain, much must be done to support them. “Welcome hubs” are being set up, but information is needed on how the Government plans to protect them from pro-Beijing groups – a particular concern for students on university campuses.

Hongkongers have already faced the erosion of their freedoms by the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party. We in Britain are proud of our freedom and democracy. Now we must use that privilege to support newly arrived Hongkongers who share our ideals.

Lord Shinkwin
Tom Randall MP (Con)
Vice-Chairs, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong
London SW1

Just not cricket

SIR – I watched some of the new Hundred game on BBC Two on Thursday. Any resemblance to the game of cricket was purely

accidental.

Aged about eight, I used to run home to watch the Test match on BBC in black and white. My heroes were Peter May, Denis Compton, Richie Benaud and later Ted Dexter, Colin Cowdrey and the wonderful Gary Sobers.

I didn’t understand many of the rules but it didn’t stop my enthusiasm. I am still learning the finer points, but that is part of the appeal. The ECB is condescending in assuming that today’s young people can only enjoy a mutilated version of the game.

A one-day 50-over match on a glorious Sunday afternoon is the best introduction to cricket but the ECB have annihilated the Royal London competition this year to make room for T20 (bad enough) and this ghastly Hundred game. It simply isn’t cricket!

Christine Morris
Chesterton, Huntingdonshire

Whose cherries?

SIR – My wife bought some cherries and strawberries in a branch of a renowned German retailer. The strawberries, grown in Angus, were called “Scottish”; the cherries, from the Garden of England, Kent, “British”.

Why is this? Surely, they are English.

Andrew Read
Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria

Transgender talk

SIR – Anne Jenkin (Comment, July 23) has done the cause of free speech a favour by opening it up to discussion of very important issues affecting women. Whatever one’s views on the subject of transgender, it is vital that we should all be able to discuss it without fear of being trolled, cancelled or subjected to abuse.

We need (maybe through a parliamentary select committee) to consider the consequences of trans women sharing spaces formerly reserved for women. We must also consider competition in women’s classes in sport and single-sex female spaces in hospitals, prisons and refuges.

These important issues cannot be addressed properly if people who want to air them lose their jobs, are removed from panels or otherwise threatened.

We must also continue to use the word woman and reject ill-focused and insulting terms that are replacing it.

Baroness Deech (Crossbench)
London SW1

People smuggling

SIR – In August last year you reported that France was demanding millions of pounds from British taxpayers to stem the flow of migrants from the Continent. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, then appointed Dan O’Mahoney, a former Royal Marine, as Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, with a brief “to end the heinous crime of people smuggling across Channel”.

In November, Britain and France signed a new accord, and Ms Patel agreed to pay France £28 million to double the number of officers patrolling beaches to stop migrants crossing the Channel. Yet now we hear that Channel crossings this year have already overtaken the total for 2020 and that the Government has pledged a further £54 million to France.

Surely the only way to stop this ever-increasing flow is to return immediately all who arrive on these shores.

During their peak season, the RNLI should be saving the lives of those who have accidents at sea, not recovering those who knowingly put their lives at risk in the world’s busiest waterway.

Geoff Pringle
Long Sutton, Somerset

SIR – Every day we hear of migrants attempting to gain entry to Britain.

They originate from different countries and have passed through more than one other country on their way to Britain. The question is, why? Is it because the British Government is considered to be a soft touch?

Graham Bravo
Watford, Hertfordshire

Survival of the fittest

SIR – Caroline Nokes MP (Comment, July 22) thinks that harassment is a man saying: “You’re stunningly beautiful, can I take you out for a drink?”

I worry for the future of our species.

Carol Hunt
Hereford

Bottled water drought

SIR – Pictures of supermarket shelves empty of bottled water (July 22) should be seen as a good thing. Never has a product been more useless to society and caused so much environmental damage (transport and plastic waste).

It is to be hoped the supermarkets don’t restock this unneeded product. British tap water is perfectly drinkable and there is no need to be lugging gallons of water from shops.

Ewan D Booth
Macclesfield, Cheshire

Buildings that jeer at the heritage of Liverpool

Mann Island with a glimpse of the Port of Liverpool and Royal Liver buildings beyond - John Wells/Getty Images
Mann Island with a glimpse of the Port of Liverpool and Royal Liver buildings beyond - John Wells/Getty Images

SIR - Liverpool earned world heritage status (report, July 21) because of the energy and creativity of the Victorians and Edwardians.

Despite Second World War bombing, many wonderful buildings survived and miraculously escaped the intentions of the modernists.

To the west and north of the Three Graces (the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building), soulless edifices add nothing to our city.

Colin Wilkinson
Aughton, Lancashire

SIR – Unesco taking away world heritage status from Liverpool is actually a good and brave decision.

For far too long in this country, councils and developers interested in their egos and profit margins have pushed redevelopments without understanding the impact they have on the fragile heritage of their cities.

New works can be done without detriment to the historical landscape. Let us hope the decision brings in a more sensitive approach.

Thomas Methuen-Campbell
Swansea

Perry Mason came to Britain thanks to Maigret

SIR – Simon Heffer’s piece on Perry Mason (Hinterland, July 17) brought back memories of 1961 when I was part of a team of programme acquisition executives in offices on the roof of the old Lime Grove studios at Shepherd’s Bush.

The BBC claimed that 80 per cent of programming was produced from its own resources. We were responsible for acquiring the other 20 per cent.

We looked mainly for American comedy and music (Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Bilko, Dick Van Dyke, Perry Como) and long-form drama series (Dr Kildare, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and always had a couple of Western series on the go, like Laramie and Overland Trail.

Perry Mason commenced on the CBS Network in 1957 but four years later it had still not been selected by the BBC or ITV. The feeling was that this kind of courtroom drama would never work with British audiences, though it was already playing on the Continent and in Australia.

In autumn 1960, the BBC produced Georges Simenon’s Maigret, starring Rupert Davies. This was proving a success on Monday nights.

Production of a second series had not yet commenced when the BBC decided to maintain the Monday night slot with a continuing crime theme. So we were asked to come up with some quick suggestions. We decided to go with 13 episodes of Perry Mason. CBS agreed a special royalty of £1,500 for each 50-minute episode.

Perry Mason had immediate impact. More episodes were bought and it was moved to Saturday prime time. The series continued to be shown through the 1960s and beyond.

Bill Gilbert
William Gilbert Associates
Burnham, Buckinghamshire

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