Boris’s War on the Young: Festivals, Travel Added to Nightclubs and Universities on Vax List

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament on July 14, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested that vaccines may be needed for “mass events” and travel, in what appears to be more targeted attempts to force young people to be vaccinated.

Last Monday — on what was branded ‘Freedom Day’ because the majority of restrictions had been lifted — saw the prime minister make the extraordinary threat to make double vaccination the requirement for entry to nightclubs.

In another direct targeting of young people, reports later circulated that Johnson also backed plans to make vaccination mandatory for students who want to attend in-class university lectures or live in campus accommodation.

Against the draconian threats of depriving young Britons of important cultural rites of passage or entry to common social venues, Johnson attempted to appear more amiable, as he suggested to LBC’s Nick Ferrari on Wednesday that vaccines will “help” young people live ordinary lives.

The proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds in England who have had at least one vaccine is a little over 60 per cent; however, that appears not to be high enough.

On Tuesday, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove called anyone who refused to be vaccinated “selfish”.

“If you deliberately refuse to get vaccinated and there are certain venues and certain events that require a certain level of safety, then… those venues and those events will be barred to you,” Gove had said.

Mr Ferrari raised the issue of younger people possibly refusing the vaccine and asked Johnson if he would likewise call them selfish.

While attempting to distance himself from Gove’s blunt remarks, he instead said he would tell young vaccine refuseniks: “I would put it the other way around. I would say if you get one, you’re doing something massively positive for yourself, for your family.”

Ferrari then asked specifically, “but if you don’t get one, should you be possibly barred from a nightclub?” Johnson avoided answering the question, repeating: “It’s a very positive thing to do, to get a vaccine.”

Asked again if someone should be barred from a nightclub, a sports stadium, or university, the prime minister repeated the same phrase: “I think it’s a very positive thing to do, to get a vaccine.”

He then implied that regular life might be “hindered” without vaccines and might affect going on holiday or to football matches or music festivals, continuing: “As I said the other day: people can obviously see that when you look at things like travel, like massive events, that it’s going to be one of those things that will help you, not hinder you.”

Young people, however, may be turning away from the Johnson administration’s culture of fear, with a poll finding that since Freedom Day, the proportion of young people wearing masks in public had gone from a majority to a minority, representing the lowest uptake of continued mask-wearing across all age groups since the mandate on face coverings was ended.

A separate poll also found that more than half of young people who had downloaded the NHS test and trace app, which pings users and recommends they self-isolate after coming in contact with someone with the Chinese virus, have either disabled the Bluetooth for the app, intentionally avoided checking in, or deleted the tool completely.

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