Are Tory ministers vying with one another in a contest to portray the most libertarian, populist views in the face of scientific and medical evidence and advice? First we have Jacob Rees-Mogg’s arrant nonsense about the Tories not needing masks because their convivial spirit is preventing the spread of Covid.
Then the care minister, Gillian Keegan, bizarrely opines that wearing masks is virtue signalling and should be purely personal choice (Tory minister says face masks should not become a ‘sign of virtue’, 22 October). It could be mildly amusing if it weren’t for the gravely serious consequences of such ignorant nonsense.
Would they have said the same things about wearing seatbelts or crash helmets?
Dr Karen Postle
• I despair that we now live in an Orwellian world where “virtue” is castigated and hijacked as a term of abuse. In my Chambers dictionary, virtue is defined as “excellence; worth; moral excellence; the practice of duty”, all good qualities, surely. Gillian Keegan says she wears a mask if the person next to her is doing so, “because obviously they’re concerned about themselves”. No: as only medical-grade masks are thought to confer much protection on the wearer, they are actually concerned about spreading Covid to others, including Gillian Keegan.
• Gillian Keegan said it was “not very comfortable sitting there for hours in a mask”. I work in a hospital, where we have been obliged to wear masks since the start of the pandemic. I am sure everyone is in agreement that they are not wildly “comfortable”, particularly when rushing around on one’s feet all day (in a physical and demanding job), but we wear them for the protection of others.
Nurse, Yeovil district hospital
• On Monday morning Sajid Javid announced that he will wear a mask in parliament for the budget speech. Presumably that is because he accepts expert advice that in doing so he is helping protect himself and those in his vicinity against contracting Covid-19. But will the health secretary suggest, let alone require, that his parliamentary colleagues and, by implication, the rest of us, do the same for the same reasons? No, he won’t. Why not? Because he is a prisoner of the bizarre political ideology expressed in the curious babblings of the Rees-Moggs of this world. What a government! What a farce!
• So Rishi Sunak does “wear a mask in other settings, such as crowded trains” (Sunak refuses to commit to wearing mask in crowded Commons, 24 October). Somehow I can’t picture him on a crowded train.
• I’m in London visiting family, and am appalled, horrified and terrified by the behaviour of the British public. Every bus and underground train I’ve been on has an unacceptably high proportion of maskless travellers, although there are continual exhortations to wear one. Apparently many here are so childlike that they are unable to act in a safe and responsible manner without nanny Boris making them. When I return home and people ask if it’s OK to visit this country my answer will be no. It isn’t safe at this time. The kids are not behaving and nanny is on vacation.
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