The “Health Minister” for Northern Ireland Robin Swann is not a person who many would casually associate with truth-telling. We have recorded him lying to the public, and spreading fear, many times, such as when he claimed to be opposed to Digital Health IDs, or when promising to publish the scientific modelling on the projected case and death data then keeping it secret when it didn’t show what he wanted it to show, or when he claimed that we would have “deaths of biblical proportions” from COIVD-19 at a time when we had a single death, and so on.
So it comes as no surprise to the team at CitizenJournos to now learn that Mr Swann has been dishonest again and now hoodwinked his Executive colleagues into voting for something they didn’t necessarily support.
A few days ago on Twitter, Justice Minister Naomi Long made a startling revelation. She claimed that the terms of the Digital Health ID agreement that she and her Executive colleagues voted for on the 17th November as proposed by Mr Swann had now been changed without her knowledge.
Initially, the agreement was that Digital Health IDs would need to be shown when entering licensed and unlicensed hospitality venues. That’s what everyone bar the DUP signed up to.
However, at some stage on the 26th November, Robin Swann announced that cafés and restaurants, not selling alcohol, would not require proof of a person’s health status to be permitted entry. When challenged about this on Twitter, Naomi Long said it wasn’t what she voted for.
Naomi again reaffirms what the Executive agreed upon was not what Robin Swann was now rolling out.
You can check what was announced earlier this week (as agreed by Executive) and the changed plans announced yesterday to verify what I’ve said is accurate.Naomi Long
When accused of ‘digging a hole for herself’ Naomi retorts that she ‘knows exactly what she voted for’ and it wasn’t this!
DUP MLA Paul Frew, who opposes coercive measures for vaccinations and also opposes the “vaccine passports”, manages to tease out from an angry Justice Minister a startling and blunt charge against Robin Swann. (By “others” it is clear who she is referring to)
The fact that others have changed the implementation plan without returning to the Executive doesn’t change that.
Naomi is understandably angry, as she voted for a set of proposals that she believed in and then defended her vote publicly. That Swann had changed the scope of those proposals and that she and her Executive colleagues were left looking dazed, humiliated and caught off-guard, is not entirely her fault.
However, she and her colleagues do hold some responsibility for not holding Swann to account for his actions and for failing to demand that he offers evidence for his proposals before they vote on them.
Having failed to scrutinise Swann and his agenda, she was left trying to defend the indefensible and therefore rightfully pointed fingers at where the real blame lies. It doesn’t lie with her. Disagree with her on her vote if you chose, but she isn’t responsible for being duped by the Health Minister.
Whilst the actions of Robin Swann don’t come as a surprise to us, we are astounded that the Justice Minister decided to make his underhandedness known in such a public fashion. This points to just how annoyed and angry his actions have left her.
We disagree with the Justice Minister on many things, however we acknowledge that she does at least make an effort to engage with people on social media, to answer their questions and to explain her actions. On that, she is to be commended. Because she engages on social media, she comes in for a lot of abuse, and it is therefore understandable she can be sharp and rude at times. We can all be.
In a democracy, proposals are voted on by elected representatives and if they receive majority support these are taken forward and adopted into law. What happens under a Robin Swann led government is that democracy is afforded lip service only. Placing so much power into the hands of one person who has already been shown to be dishonest and who has now publicly humiliated his Executive colleagues whilst making a mockery of the democratic process, is blatantly very dangerous. The damage that these dishonest actions by our Health Minister will have on trust in public health and our democratic process will long outlive COVID-19 hysteria and will ultimately only add to the suffering, both physically and mentally, of many of our people.
Our system of governance is based upon trust. We are supposed to trust politicians, who trust public health experts, who themselves trust the CMO & CSA who trust Sage who trust the WHO and so on. Robin Swann’s actions are undoubtedly allowing distrust in that entire process to take deep root.
It matters not that Swann has no evidence that the Digital Health IDs will reduce infection rates, and it matters not that he has continually lied about introducing these health IDs into Northern Ireland – the Executive overlooked all of that and have now been forced to learn a hard and embarrassing lesson. A lesson that we have been trying to help them with all along, that Robin Swann is not to be trusted and that EVERYTHING he proposes must be evaluated for evidence and scrutinised for truthfulness. We hope they will now pay head to their new learnings, but we very much doubt they will.