Robin Swann would never win an award for his people skills or for being an effective communicator. As Health Minister for Northern Ireland, he is a divisive character who happily, and regularly, blames everybody else for his own high levels of incompetence. A “Health Minister” who called for gyms to be closed and fast-food outlets to be kept opened. A “Health Minister” that closed health stores, deeming them non-essential services, whilst supporting the reclassification of off-licences as an essential service. A “Health Minister” that criminalised and banned kid’s outdoor sports, a decision not based upon scientific or health evidence, but because allowing them to continue ‘went against the stay at home message‘ and a “Health Minister” that said he would send cancer patients home to die in order to treat a Covid patient.
But he’s a lot more than just divisive and incompetent, he’s also a man of many faces and someone who publicly says one thing whilst privately planning the complete opposite.
Swann the Incompetent
Signs of his incompetence were noticeable quite early on in the pandemic when at a press conference on the 19th March 2020 he would warn that the “scale of the surge coming towards us is of biblical proportion“. At the time of Swann’s ‘biblical warnings’ there had been 1 death in Northern Ireland.
The same day Swann would predict there would 15,200 deaths in this “surge coming towards us”.
The following day, 20th March 2020, on the Stephen Nolan show Swann would revise his estimate down from 15,200 to 14,000 deaths.
He was told by the scientists that the 14,000 estimate was “not a realistic scenario” yet that didn’t stop him doing his best to pass it off as if it were just that.
3 days later on the 23rd March he would warn of the following:
In a few short weeks, this onslaught could very rapidly dwarf the impact of the Troubles on our society
There were 3,637 deaths related to the Northern Ireland Troubles. When Mr Swann made this comment there had been 2 deaths in NI related to COVID-19.
On the 1st April he revised those figures down again from 14,000 to 3,000 deaths. According to the Irish News, Mr Swann said:
He said that in a worst-case scenario, 3,000 people could die over 20 weeks of a coronavirus epidemic.Irish News 1/4/20
Mr Swann would again go on to revise this figure down even further, this time to 1,500 deaths “in the first wave” less than 20 days after his original 15,000 deaths statement.
Health Minister Swann also revealed that science experts have revised down the most reasonable worst case scenario death toll from 15,000 to 1,500 for the first 20 weeks of pandemic.Robin Swann as per Newsletter, 20/4/20
Swann the Deceitful
When we went into this at the start, I said at the time that once we had Northern Ireland modelling available, I would make it available so that people could understand what we were actually looking at.Robin Swann – Stephen Nolan Show 1 April 2020
When the modelling did become available, Robin decided against showing it to the public like he’d promised, due to it not being as doom-laden as he had wanted us to believe it was. Not alone did he decide to go back on his word, but he asked his Executive colleagues to also keep the modelling a secret. And they agreed.
On the 18th August 2020 Robin Swann, having massively exaggerated the threat posed to Northern Ireland many times over as outlined above, would take to the TV cameras to challenge those who claimed he was…wait for it…exaggerating the threat.
So let me address the doubters and critics in our midst. There will be some that accuse me of exaggerating the threat.Belfast Live
So in a matter of weeks Swann’s estimates went from 15,000 to 1,500, and he believes he wasn’t exaggerating. Well if he wasn’t exaggerating then he was lying. Let’s put it this way, he wasn’t being honest with the public. This example of contempt towards the people of Northern Ireland leads me on to the purpose of this report. Robin Swann has again been caught out being dishonest, and I will lay out how.
Swann the Dishonest – The Timeline
3rd December 2020
In regards to your point in regard to linking the uptake of the vaccine to some sort of access to recreation or even getting into economic or retail settings and things like that, it is not the intention nor will it be the policy intention of either my department or the Executive.Robin Swann, 3rd December 2020
24th February 2021
It’s not something that has been considered or discussed either in any detail within my department or at the Executive as well.Robin Swann, 24th February 2021
4th March 2021
It’s not something, and I be honest with you, it’s not something from a political point of view, personal point of view, that I think we should ever develop in Northern Ireland that we would to provide certification of vaccination to enter a cinema or to enter a restaurant. That’s not something that sits comfortably with me.Robin Swann, 4th March 2021
21st April 2021
But the utilisation of Covid vaccine passports to access hospitality or close-contact services is not something that sits comfortably with me.
But there’s a necessity, or a possibility, for the utilisation for international travel, but not for accessing domestic services and support.Robin Swann, 21st April 2021
Yet we now learn from Robin Swann himself that on the 22nd April 2021, actually the day after he was quoted by Belfast Live saying he only wanted Covid passports for large events and travel, he had written to Executive Ministers “asking for this matter [domestic vaccine passports] to be taken forward by the TEO (The Executive Office)…”
Yesterday, 27th September, the Executive agreed to the following,
The Executive has also decided to remove the requirement to socially distance in indoor seated venues such as theatres, concert halls and cinemas. For this sector we advise that additional mitigating measures are utilised, including proof of being fully vaccinated, or proof of a negative lateral flow rapid test, or proof of natural immunity from a positive PCR test undertaken in the previous 30-180 days. (emphasis added)NI Executive, 27th September 2021
Now cast your mind back to what Swann said on the 4th April,
On the 27th September, he again displays his tendencies to hold public and private positions on matters, as he declares that it is actually “regrettable” a decision on vaccine passports for “indoor seated entertainment venues” hadn’t already been made.
I would ask people not to be distracted by the pragmatic decision taken last night regarding indoor seated entertainment venues.
With furlough ending, I believe it was not practical or fair to ask that sector (cinemas etc) to wait weeks while the technology and regulations for a domestic scheme were put in place.
Again cast your mind back, only this time to Swann’s statement of 21st April when he displays discontent with vaccine passports to access “hospitality”.
Fast-forward to today, 28th September, the BBC quotes Swann as saying,
Such provisions on a voluntary or mandatory basis could assist the relaxation of remaining restrictions on live entertainment and hospitality
Robin Swann, 28th September, BBC News
What all this points to is a man that has a public face and a private face. A man that says one thing to the public whilst he does the very opposite when they aren’t looking. A man that outright dismissed vaccine passports for accessing hospitality at a time when he was demanding that vaccine passports be mandated for hospitality settings. A man that stated he didn’t want vaccine passports to enter cinemas at a time when he was working on introducing vaccine passports for cinemas. A man who promised to make public the modelling, only to then decide against doing so when it didn’t show what he wanted it to show. A man who is on the record for massively exaggerating the risk of Covid at a time when he attacked people for claiming he was massively exaggerating the threat of Covid. A man of incompetence jacked up on power and egotism. A man that simply cannot be trusted.
The same delaying tactics we are seeing with vaccine passports are the same tactics employed before masks were introduced. They first throw the idea out there but make it appear they are hesitant about introducing it when they have already decided to do so. It’s part of the conditioning process designed by the “Behaviour Change Group” and another example of the contempt the political class holds towards us, the under class.
PCR positive cases are plummeting at the time of writing in Northern Ireland. And that is at a time when we don’t have vaccine passports, when mask adherence is in quick decline, kids are back at school, people are back at work and society is just getting on with things.
Sweden didn’t lock down, didn’t mandate masks, haven’t introduced vaccine passports, kept schools and gyms opened throughout, kept kids sports running, didn’t close bars and cafés, and they have a far lower rate of infections per 100k than we do. In a sane world, we would seek to learn from Sweden and ask ourselves if they didn’t have all these NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) and did better than us, then maybe the NPIs aren’t working. No, no. Instead, our deranged leaders believe that the fact there is no evidence the NPIs are working is evidence the NPIs are working. We have been told they are “following the science” yet there is nothing scientific about masks, lock-downs, school closures, gym closures or vaccine passports. These interventions are political interventions that come with a set of costs that haven’t been calculated. Whatever their costs, and they may well be greater than the costs had we not employed them, they will be blamed on COVID, NOT the incompetence of ministers.
Unless we dethrone Robin Swann and Michael McBride, they will continue to exert their fearmongering authoritarianism on us for years to come. Remember, without COVID, these men will fade back into irrelevance. They will be forced to give up their power and the attention their positions have afforded them. Once people have power, they don’t give it up without a fight.
We need to start following the same science that Sweden and Florida has been following – the post-COVID pandemic response plan once adopted by the World Health Organisation. For as long as Robin Swann and Michael McBride are running the show, it’ll be more of the same this year and next.