Dr Luke Evans (Con) “While masks are of course inconvenient, they are a relatively easy way of reducing the risk of not only covid, but other viruses such as flu. Let us not forget that the number of flu admissions places a huge amount of pressure on the NHS, so a reduction in both conditions—as evidenced—makes sense to me.”1 Hansard 14th December 2021
Andrew believes making mask wearing compulsory is an infringement of liberty. Let’s see if Andrew’s position is coherent.
Enoch Powell was a philosopher-politician and a true libertarian. In 1973 he argued against mandatory helmets for motor cyclists because suicide wasn’t illegal.2 Powell’s position was that reckless behaviour sometimes results in death but so what? That’s the price of reckless behaviour sometimes. Wearing masks during a pandemic isn’t being reckless with your own life, it’s being reckless with the lives of other people. In brief, it’s a Public Health issue.
Let’s imagine Andrew’s infected, unknowingly, with Covid-19’s new potent form, Omicron. A simple way of reducing his capacity to infect others is to wear a mask.3 He’s against this and refused to vote for mandatory mask wearing. He claims it’s an infringement of his ‘liberty’. The liberty to infect others.
Covid-19 effects people differently. The impact ranges from nothing to death. The Public Health response is to protect the population from known danger. Protective measures includes wearing masks.
Dr Evans said masks are “inconvenient” but “a relatively easy way of reducing…risk”. Not a magic bullet but important during a pandemic. Andrew is indulging in political posturing.
Responsible leadership demands that the public good triumphs over personal inclination. This is especially true for our MPs.
1 Parliamentary debate on Public Health with four votes on regulations for the current pandemic Public Health – Hansard – UK Parliament For the actual resolution on face masks see “That the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI, 2021, No. 1400), dated 9 December 2021.” There were 41 No votes including Andrew
2 MOTOR CYCLISTS (HELMETS) (Hansard, 5 April 1973) (millbanksystems.com)
3 Now mask wearing has been legislated for there’s no reason to believe he won’t obey the law.