A few days ago, we detailed the many faces of Northern Ireland’s Health Minister, Robin Swann, drawing attention to how in just a few short months he went from a position of “It’s not something…[vaccine passports] that I think we should ever develop in Northern Ireland” to one of “I want a domestic vaccine certification scheme to be in place for use as soon as necessary“.
Robin Swann: The Distorter
Following on from this well-read article, the corporate media then took the opportunity to challenge Mr Swann on his flip-flopping at the opening of a new Laboratory Information Management System at the Ulster Hospital on the 29th of September.
“I’ve heard commentary today especially in what I said in April and I think it’s always important when we look back over the last 18 months that we actually put things into perspective,”
“In April, we didn’t have the Delta variant, now Delta is our major variant and more transmissible than the Kent variant which was dominant at that point.”Robin Swann
Here, Robin is attempting to explain his volte-face on vaccine passports. In fact, it’s not so much a volte-face as a head transplant, as his positions between April 2021 and September 2021 are polar opposites, or should I say his public positions are polar opposites.
However, like most things about Robin Swann there are glaring contradictions, this time such a contradiction exists between his latest statement and a statement he made in April.
In his latest statement he acknowledges that in April he was opposed to vaccine passports, and indeed he was, at least publicly anyway.
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
*Note the date of the 21st April.
However, in a statement he made on the 28th September 2021, he claimed that as far back as 22nd April 2021 he was pushing for vaccine passports!
So on the 21st April, he is against domestic vaccine passports (publicly) and yet on the 22nd April (privately) he wrote to The Executive Office (TEO) “asking for this matter to be taken forward“.
These positions aren’t compatible with each other, therefore his public position in April was a lie. He was telling the public one thing, whilst behind their backs pushing for the complete opposite.
Today, Robin Swann is trying to tell us that his position on vaccine passports only changed due to the arrival of the Delta variant.
In April, we didn’t have the Delta variant, now Delta is our major variant and more transmissible than the Kent variant which was dominant at that point.Swann, 29th September 2021
Another Swann contradiction has now presented itself. He is now arguing that his support for vaccine passports changed when the Delta variant took hold. He points to April and acknowledges, “we didn’t have the Delta variant [then]”. So why then did he write to The Executive Office (TEO) on the 22nd of April asking that they proceed with vaccine passports when we didn’t have the Delta variant, if he’s now arguing that the Delta variant is what changed his mind? Recall that the Delta (Indian) variant was first recorded in Northern Ireland on the 6th of May 2021.
It’s worth noting that when he requested the TEO advance the concept of passports in April, there was 64% of the population vaccinated. Today with his new urgency there is 90% vaccinated. If vaccine uptake was the sole reason for Swann’s urgency in seeing vaccine passports implemented, then we must ask why he waited until cases were declining and 90% of the population are vaccinated before becoming vocal on the matter publicly?
*Population 18+ Northern Ireland = 1,454,402
And we must also ask why Robin Swann has seemingly not mentioned domestic vaccine passports publicly from April 21st to September 28th? Why the great urgency now?
Robin Swann: A Walking Contradiction
Robin Swann is a walking contradiction. As “Health Minister” he called for fast-food outlets to remain opened, whilst also demanding that gyms be closed. He supported off-licences being deemed ‘essential services’ whilst legislating for the banning of outdoor sports. He supported the closure of schools, criminalisation of kid’s sports and suspension of urgent cancer surgeries. After telling us that when the modelling on the potential risks posed by COVID was made available he would share it with us, he then decided to keep it a secret when it painted a less frightening picture than he’d hoped for. When the modellers told him their ‘worst-case scenario’ was not likely to occur, that didn’t stop him pushing it as if it were inevitable. He warned of ‘deaths of biblical proportions‘ when at the time there had been a single death with a positive PCR test. He told us he was against vaccine passports on the 21st April, when on the 22nd April he wrote a letter urging TEO to implement them. He told us on the 29th September that he only changed his mind and supported vaccine passports when the Delta variant took hold yet the Delta variant hadn’t taken hold until May, and he urged that the passports be implemented on the 22nd April. This list could go and on…
In short, Robin Swann is a liar. He isn’t misinforming or spreading disinformation. He is lying about his position on domestic vaccine passports in the same way he lied about making the modelling public.
It has often been noted that he and the CMO Michael McBride take their lead from Scotland, a fact that was recently touched upon by Brendan Hughes of Belfast Live.
Throughout the pandemic Stormont has tended to follow the choices of other jurisdictions rather than lead the way.
I also noted this in March this year,
It is therefore quite a reasonable question to ask, “Why now?” Why the sudden urgency from Swann to implement vaccine passports when cases are plummeting and 90% of the population are vaccinated? Why not during the summer, when cases and deaths were increasing? I will close with this from a source close to the DOH whom I asked for an opinion on Swann’s timing and urgency,
‘He wants the infrastructure in place, it currently isn’t. The South has it in place, as has Scotland and Wales, and it can be turned on and off like a water tap. These “passports” are not about controlling a virus, they have far greater long-term possibilities for controlling the movement of people and if not implemented now there is a fear a great opportunity will have been missed. His rush now is more to do with the window of opportunity closing due to high vaccination rates and declining cases.‘