The vulnerable are out in force this morning. Today is July 19th. It’s Freedom Day apparently. The government has removed the legal requirement to wear a mask and to maintain social distancing. The vulnerable are worried.
BBC Breakfast and SKY News have been speaking to vulnerable people this morning. These are people with various illnesses that have left them immunosuppressed. They’re not happy about opening up, at least the ones on tv and radio this morning.
One young woman who has aplastic anemia, told SKY’s Kay Burley that the removal of restrictions puts her in danger. She said that people who ditch their masks today, are selfish.
Last week, a man called in to LBC radio to say that his wife was recovering from cancer and that she was vulnerable. He said that as she needed to use the underground to commute, people should continue to wear face coverings on her behalf and on behalf of other vulnerable people.
I had a heated argument with a wheelchair-bound woman in May of last year. Don’t laugh. It wasn’t my finest hour. The woman has cerebral palsy. She works for a local company. I like her, but we got into it over lockdown.
As she saw it, I had a moral responsibility to stay indoors as much as I could tolerate, to lessen her chances of catching covid-19. She said that I was selfish and irresponsible for doing as I liked and not wearing a mask.
I asked her if she was prepared to engage in a bit of quid pro quo and help me pay my mortgage. She looked at me as if I’d gone mad. Game over. By the way, when I say heated, I don’t mean shouting and swearing. It was a robust exchange.
I bet you that most so-called vulnerable folk couldn’t name their next door neighbours if you asked them. I bet you their eyes would glaze over if you asked them when was the last time they had a neighbour over for dinner.
Funny that isn’t it? Those who are demanding that strangers turn their lives upside-down so that they can feel protected, most probably couldn’t give a shit about the people who live around them.
It’s crazy when you really think about it. How dare you ask people to commit financial suicide and incidentally, make themselves physically and mentally unwell, so that you can feel safe? How bloody dare you insist that people have a potentially deadly injection just because you can’t?
If you want to live in perpetual fear and choose to view your fellow citizens as biological weapons, then have at it. That’s your personal choice. But I won’t indulge your fantasy.
Neither will I commit self harm to assuage your irrational fears. I owe you nothing. I have no obligation to you whatsoever.
I’m a very good neighbour. My philosophy is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I turn my music off at 8pm. I turn down the telly. Our dog is trained, meaning that she is quiet. I’m out and about at dawn, when most people are in bed. I don’t make a sound.
I do not engage in any activity that has a negative impact on others. I am selfless by nature.
But I will not wear a facemask in public, just in case there is an immunosuppressed person nearby. Nor will I confine myself to my home. That is preposterous. I accept no responsibility for your wellbeing whatsoever, the exception being when I am behind the wheel of my car.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be so ill that you are vulnerable to infection, you have my genuine sympathy. But tough shit Paddy. Those are the breaks. That’s life. You and you alone are responsible for your health. If you think it’s a bit too risky to go outside or jump on a train, you act accordingly. But don’t expect me to walk on eggshells for the rest of my life. It ain’t a rehearsal you know.