MPs

Latvia Bans Unvaccinated MPs From Voting

If you thought vaccine apartheid had reached a new low in Austria, think again. In Latvia, MPs who haven’t been vaccinated or have natural immunity, having recovered from COVID-19, will have their pay suspended and no longer be able to take part in parliamentary votes. Euronews has more.

MPs approved the measure in a vote on Friday with 62 votes in favour in the 100-seat parliament.

“From November 15th, an MP will be entitled to participate in the work of the Saeima [Latvia’s Parliament] only if he or she has presented an interoperable COVID-19 certificate confirming the fact of vaccination or illness,” the statement from the parliament press office states.

“The payment of a monthly salary and compensation will be suspended for a Saeima MP who will not be entitled to participate in the work of the parliament,” it adds.

The measure also applies to local government lawmakers and will come into force as the country exits its latest one-month lockdown.

Since October 21st, all non-essential stores – as well as cultural and leisure venues – have been closed with public gatherings banned and private gatherings only allowed among one household. A nighttime curfew from 20:00 until 05:00 is also currently in force.

Starting next week, the country will enter a “green mode” with different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Only 53.6% of Latvia’s 1.9 million population is fully vaccinated, well below the EU average of 64.9%.

The country is currently categorised as of “high concern” by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The public health agency noted that the hospital admission and occupancy rates in Latvia over the past week were among the highest in the 31 countries in the EU/EEA region.

The country has reported 236,765 infections since the beginning of the pandemic and 3,646 deaths.

What a horror show.

A New Direct Democracy Initiative for Those Fed Up With Two-Faced Politicians

David Seedhouse, Honorary Professor of Deliberative Practice at Aston University and a contributor to Lockdown Sceptics, is launching a new direct democracy initiative called Our Decision Too. In an article in today’s Conservative Woman he explains why it’s needed.

If someone were to ask me: “Excuse me, friend, how do we bring about meaningful democracy in 2021?” I would also say: “Well, sir, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here.” 

I wouldn’t start from a system where every few years millions of citizens have just one opportunity to vote for a single individual who must represent not only their views about policy but the views of every other constituent as well. This is quite obviously an impossible task. 

I would not start from a system where MPs are obliged to vote in line with their party’s mandates.  

I would not start from a system where political parties publish gleaming manifestos only to ignore them as soon as they win power. 

I would not start from a system where a cabal of bureaucrats with their own interests to advance advise MPs who can know only so much. 

I would not start from a system where lobby groups, cronyism, inter-party fighting, blatant corruption and the personal interests of politicians create an unbridgeable chasm between government and the people. 

In fact I would not start with a system where there are political parties at all. Tinkering will not bring about meaningful democracy. The political elite will not endorse meaningful reform in a million years. So we need to do what they do to us – ignore them and make our own decisions. 

Lockdown Sceptics featured the project two months ago when it first started out. Now it has been given its own website and David wants to grow the membership from its current level – over 1,000 – to many more.

40 MPs Call on Boris to Ease Travel Restrictions

Forty Conservative MPs have written to Boris Johnson urging him to ease travel curbs and bring back foreign holidays as pressure grows to lift the lockdown ahead of schedule as cases, hospitalisations and deaths plummet. The Mail has more.

Boris Johnson faced calls to lift lockdown faster last night as Covid infections, hospital cases and deaths hit a six-month low.

Four NHS regions – covering 29million [sic] people across southern England – reported no deaths on Sunday. Just 23 fatalities were logged elsewhere.

The average daily death toll is now 63 – 95 per cent below January’s peak. It stands at the same level as late last June – shortly before the ban on indoor socialising ended following the first national lockdown.

However, customers must still wait a minimum of seven weeks before pubs, restaurants and hotels can fully reopen. Foreign holidays are also banned until at least May 17.

It came as forty MPs, including former Cabinet minister Karen Bradley, sent the Prime Minister a letter urging him to avoid delaying the ban on travel.

The group of cross-party MPs warned that the country would not fully recover without a thriving tourism, travel and aviation industry and told the PM that foreign holidays were essential for the country’s economic rebound.

They stressed that it was ‘paramount that the restart of international travel provides the opportunity for businesses in the aviation, travel and tourism industries to begin their long journey back to recovery’.

Worth reading in full.