Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Plan B has left but Coronavirus Act is a Remainer


 Whilst Plan B restrictions are now lifted in England, the Coronavirus Act, which grants the government sweeping draconian emergency powers, inter alia lockdowns, vaccine passports, work from home orders and mask mandates remains live legislation until 25th March 2022 when it is due to be renewed or it will expire.

The government could terminate the act before that date but has chosen not to do so. That is unfortunate. The efficacy of repetitive vaxxing is beginning to diminish, with Israel, now on her 4th wave of jabs seeing another surge in case numbers.

Conveniently, there appears to be a new Omicron variant that I fully expect propagandists to cite as a reason for those who are not already to be triple vaxxed. I remain unconvinced and will not be rushing to receive a third shot of a vaccine that is only licenced under emergency use authorisation.

Discrimination against people who, exercising their free will, choose not to receive the vaccine must end.

Dr Steve James of King's College Hospital, who pushed back on the subject of mandatory vaccination for NHS workers when asked by Sajid Javid, has become a reluctant celebrity. His decision to collaborate with the #Together movement to take the government to judicial review takes chutzpah. I sincerely hope he succeeds and saves 70,000+ jobs in the process, rather than add them to the 100,000 vacancies already in the NHS.

We have not (yet) descended into full blown authoritarianism and having been given back our civil liberties that should never have been removed, it is time (as it always was) to let people make their own risk assessments.

Those who wish to stay masked are free to do so. Likewise those who would accept booster shots in perpetuity. Others also have the right to follow a different path. Your body, your choice.

Employers with office staff are meeting resistance in cajoling staff back to work in their buildings. After almost 2 years, the novelty of video calling has lost its lustre for me and whilst for reasons that will become clear later in this piece, I am essentially "confined to barracks", for the next couple of months at least, my own experience in my fledging career was that my learning improved exponentially by being surrounded by seniors and absorbing what they imparted, both first and second hand.

Each Employer must determine what is an appropriate mix of office based and home based working for staff at all levels. This must be based on optimal operational effectiveness.

Where it is appropriate and cost effective for staff to stay remote for the majority of the work, they should (notwithstanding many enjoy the community of an office environment even if output is broadly identical). Equally, some roles are severely diminished in terms of operational effectiveness unless done in an office environment.

COVID-19 has given everyone an opportunity to reset their priorities and expectations. We do not all have too return slavishly to "the old ways" but for many, that will be the right thing, both for the Employer and the employee, not least for their mental health. Some employees may wish to seek pastures new, including freelancing to facilitate continued remote working. That is a valid choice.

I have said for some time that the NHS had essentially become the National Covid Service. I was wrong.

On Monday, my wife, who is chronically ill had an acute issue that required a 999 call and ambulance to King's College Hospital. She remained in hospital until yesterday evening and for the first 3 days, including overnight, the nurse in charge of the ward allowed me to stay.

The vast majority of nurses and other staff on both wards (the second was a specialist ward for pre and post operative care) were caring. Whilst medication did not always get delivered on time and there were other micro discomforts, broadly, care was on the excellent side of good. The low point was a junior member of staff asking one patient at a time if they would like a hot drink, then bringing it back, before moving to the next patient, leaving behind something resembling Bovril with a dash of milk. Funny yes, efficient or effective? Not so much.

My wife is now recovering and should be back to mere chronic ill health by the end of March.

I have no idea who was and who was not vaccinated. Nor could I care. More importantly, neither could my wife or any of the other patients on either ward. Frontline NHS staff must be left to deliver care without the stress of worrying about the prospect of unemployment.

Whilst the NHS requires the level of fundamental root and branch reform to improve outputs, (including efficiency, effectiveness, mortality and operational outcomes) that no government will ever dare risk undertaking (not least as it would take 10 years), dismissing 70,000 people will only further erode current performance.

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
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Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames