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The Government’s new Covid strategy: Codology

Try your hardest, and you will not be able to draw a logical line between anything that the Irish Government announced yesterday, and Covid case numbers. For example, indoor concerts can go ahead, but you must be seated at them. You are, however, permitted to stand up in your seat and dance if a really good song comes on. Facemasks are mandatory. Unless you are eating. Or drinking. Or dancing. In other words, you have to wear them to go to the bathroom. It is laughable.

Covid passports have been extended and will be “enforced”, now, though there is no real mechanism to do so, and nobody can provide any evidence that they impact case numbers in the slightest. Churches are finally fully open.

Nobody can seriously claim, any more, that the purpose of the remaining Covid restrictions in Ireland is to stop or slow the spread of Covid. To believe that, you would need to lack any ability for critical thought. House parties are legal. Mass gatherings are legal. Nightclubs will open and people will sing and dance and kiss strangers. Making them sit down while the music is on will not slow the spread. It is the 2021 version of the “purchase a €9 meal to stop the spread of covid” policy from 2020.

No, the purpose of the remaining restrictions is simply that they are restrictions. They are intended as a political tool to mollify the covid hyper-cautious amongst us, and prevent an outbreak of outrage on Joe Duffy’s LiveLine. Many lives and livelihoods are having ridiculous hoops placed in front of them, simply so politicians can point to the people struggling to jump through those hoops and say “look, we are making sacrifices to stop the spread”. It is nonsense.

The bottom line is this: Any serious attempt to stop the spread of covid 19 has been abandoned in Ireland. The only thing that remains in place is a concerted effort to mitigate the political consequences of covid 19.

It is politically essential for the Government that they not be blamed if, for example, hospitals overflow this winter. Therefore, there is a two-pronged political strategy at play. Prong one is to shift the blame for the surge in cases onto the unvaccinated. This is effective because the unvaccinated do not have any serious political representation, and are generally presented as lepers in the media (witness the Callum Robinson brouhaha a few weeks ago), and therefore cannot fight back. The purpose of Covid passports is not scientific, but political: To remind people that vaccinated people are good, and unvaccinated people are bad.

The second prong is the extension of this, the most absurd set of restrictions yet. It is designed to show that the Government is “taking action” and “proceeding with caution”. Do not blame the Government, in other words, blame anybody – literally anybody – else.

It is telling that this is what we have been reduced to, 20 months into the pandemic. The truth is that every single effort to stop covid has failed.

Lockdowns failed. The vaccines failed (to stop covid). Mandatory quarantine failed. Zero Covid failed. 9 euro meals failed. Limited numbers at weddings and funerals failed. In the war on covid 19, which has been waged for two long years, everybody has lost, except the virus, which has unambiguously won.

The problem is that people like me can say that, because we can’t be voted out of office. Western society is now trapped in a bizarre cycle where politicians are continuing to invest public resources (and private resources) in a long lost war on a virus that has run rings around their every attempt to stop it.

The sensible – and only remaining – course is to get back to normal life, and leave responsibility for avoiding covid in the hands of the public. We all know the threats, at this stage. We have multiple choices: vaccines that make it a little less severe. Restricting our movements. Practicing basic hygiene. These are all things that everybody knows about.

All of them – every single one of them – would be vastly more effective than whatever this latest Irish Government strategy is.



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