Over the weekend, I read in the Belfast Telegraph about a forthcoming event called Emerge. It’s taking place at Ormeau Park in south Belfast on September 17th and has the likes of Mella Dee and Eats Everything on the lineup. So why did it catch my attention, you might ask?
Well, the event is being used to promote young people getting the Covid-19 vaccine. And the event is receiving £75,000 in funding from two different government departments in Northern Ireland. And further to that, it might be showing how devolution is splitting the UK’s approach to this issue yet further.
After a summer of displaying remarkable incompetence whilst on holiday, the aforementioned remarkable incompetence is now back at No 10 Downing Street – hence why the newspapers are full of talk about vaccine passports once more for England. Last week, Scotland’s First Minister revealed she wanted to see them there, too.
Northern Ireland’s government hasn’t explicitly said anything on the subject of vaccine passports – but due to the political system there, it would need what’s known as cross-community support to pass. And some parties in the Executive, such as the DUP, are not keen on the idea.
So they’ve had to think about different options – and one of those they’ve gone for has been to effectively help bankroll this festival. And I can’t help but think both approaches to this issue just end up treating young people like idiots.
At no stage during this vaccine rollout have the younger population been treated with any kind of intelligence. For starters, younger generations get their news online via social media. They don’t get it from the News At Ten. An online resource explaining simply and clearly why taking the Covid vaccine is a good idea for the young is desperately lacking.
This void has been filled in the way it has from the start – with misinformation and nonsense. Lay the facts out in plain English and let them make a decision. With this approach, I’m absolutely confident that the huge majority would choose to have it. Speaking from experience, I think selfishness is actually more prevalent in older generations, not the young.
The threat of being effectively banned from certain aspects of society is not the best option on the table here…