Dan Wootton: Vaccine passports create a two-tier society

GB News presenter Dan Wootton gives his take on the day's top stories.

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Imagine working for the BBC and reading this headline in The Daily Telegraph this morning: BBC to send enforcers to homes of over-75s who refuse to pay licence fee. I would feel ashamed. And it was no exaggeration, either.

The corporation is coming after the 260,000 members of our greatest generation who have, as yet, been unable or unwilling to pay their licence fee. Now we know the many heart-breaking stories of why so many just can’t afford to do that.

War pensioners forced to choose between paying for heating or the TV, which is so often their lifeline to the wider world and the thing that provides them company.

The BBC is a vast organisation full of astronomical waste and there is absolutely no excuse for them to fail to pick up the bill for the over-75s. The fact they didn’t says so much about their priorities. But to go to the lengths of hunting down non-paying pensioners as the Beeb Police is grim.

Lord Botham is right to accuse the BBC of using “Orwellian language” and “threatening to send round the boys”.

A BBC spokesperson used the usual corporate speak to try and justify the decision, but the result is the same. They said: “From the autumn, subject to covid restrictions, customers who have not made arrangements may receive a customer care visit from a specially trained support team to assist them in becoming correctly licensed. We are now planning how we arrange customer care visits and are looking at a range of options."

Nine out of ten over-75s have already agreed to pay the BBC poll tax. Isn’t that enough for them? Do they not realise that forcing many of the remaining ten per cent to pay up will see them forced to make unconscionable sacrifices? And what about the 80 and 90-year-olds who refuse to pay? Are they really going to be fined £1,000 or jailed? Shame on the BBC.

Vaccine passports

The government is right to rule out the use of mandatory vaccine passports. According to the Daily Mail, they will not be compulsory at mass gatherings like sports events and concerts following Freedom Day as originally was planned. But ministers should go one step further and ban private organisations like the Premier League from using them too.

Vaccine passports create a two-tier society. While I am personally very much pro vaccines, I respect the right for individuals to make a choice about what goes in their body.

To suggest that choice precludes them from living in wider society is a dangerous path to go down. Especially given the most vaccine resistant come from unprivileged and ethnically diverse communities.

The way to win hearts and minds is with positive education, not banning people from being part of events in a free society.

Matt Hancock

Apparently the country’s biggest Covid hypocrite Matt Hancock is already planning his political comeback.

The bloke’s arrogance knows no bounds. But he’s facing a backlash in his own constituency, with some moves afoot to deselect him before the next election. As the Conservative counsellor Ian Houlder put it: “I am furious. I do not include his personal affair, which in anybody’s mind is quite sordid, but he has been standing up there for a year pontificating to everybody in the country. That’s what I found really contemptible.”

Counsellor Houlder went on: “Think of people who haven’t been able to bury their mothers or fathers. There he is, just groping away, hands everywhere, tongues everywhere, out of his bubble.”

Perhaps rather than plotting a Cabinet comeback, Mr Hancock needs to focus on winning over his Tory party base back home.

Platinum Jubilee

I’m delighted to hear about the plans for a massive event outside Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next June.

A special Bank Holiday will culminate with a street party that’s described as a sensory explosion of colour, carnival, music and theatre, featuring misbehaving corgis and the Queen’s image on a giant helium balloon.

Nicholas Coleridge, the co-chairman of the organising committee, said the enormous event will act as a “reopening ceremony” for Great Britain and an “opportunity for the country to emerge, re-energised and renewed, expressing optimism and confidence”. We’ve never needed that more.