Can Europe Make It?: Opinion

Feeling good! Rising to the occasion!

Including one or two points Chancellor Merkel might like to know about UK mass events.

Leonie Rushforth
3 July 2021, 9.13am
Wimbledon Centre Court, June 28, 2021
Screenshot: Joe Pike. Twitter.

"Don't stop believin'/ Hold onto that feelin'... "
Journey ( song released 1981)

A clip of the spontaneous standing ovation of the Centre Court crowd for Dame Sarah Gilbert who led the Astra Zeneca development team at Oxford University, has had over 4M views in 48 hours.

Bemused royalty in attendance, rarely can the middle classes have so enjoyed being virtuously at one in a version of what my fellow-Splinter writer Rosemary Bechler calls ‘the monocultural National Us’, as in this noisy display of national vaccine complacency under a closed Centre Court roof.

This is in the same week that we discover that double-vaccination does not prevent transmission of this latest variant; as the latest Covid wave starts to afflict the NHS (early evidence of which can be seen in the ambulance queue outside the hospital closest to the recent G7 summit in Cornwall); and as schools buckle under the realities of the herd immunity policy playing out in classrooms all over the UK.

On the same day in a timely Twitter thread, social psychologist and Independent SAGE member Stephen Reicher exposed the Government’s approach to the ‘Events Research Program’ of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as not having been designed to yield any scientific conclusions whatsoever about the transmission risks contained in current mass events.

The ‘pilot’, he thought, had “used the good faith and hard work of scientists” as a cover for politically expedient events, “safe or not” – if anything preventing proper comparative research into how to make such mass events safer.

This Splinter was first published in the July 1 edition.

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