The UK’s top counter-terrorism cop has suggested society stop allowing people to question the wisdom of a rapid Covid-19 vaccine rollout, regarding such skepticism to be life-threatening “misinformation.”
Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu has pointedly questioned whether it is “the correct thing for society to allow” the sharing of “misinformation that could cost people’s lives” — demonizing all doubts about quickly developed Covid-19 vaccines whose potential long-term effects are not yet known and tying them to extremist radicalization efforts.
While he didn’t go so far as to call for a law to be passed banning such content, his suggestion of a “national debate” will presumably light a fire under ministers already mulling such legislation.
Basu also expressed worries about a “sharp increase in extremist material online in the last few years” during Wednesday’s press conference, warning of a “new and worrying trend in the UK” of young people being radicalized. Officials told UK media that Islamic extremists and far-right groups were using “false claims about coronavirus” to radicalize their followers.
Social media users already wary of the rush to roll out the vaccine were disturbed by the attendant rush to criminalize criticism of it.
Some said that there were completely legitimate reasons to criticize the jab.
Im not anti vaccine. Im anti THiS vaccine. Experimental rushed and flawed, sold to us by the self same devious creeps and liars who stand to share trillions #WiSEUP
— Ian Brown (@ianbrown) November 18, 2020
Even some in favor of taking the jab thought the decision to do so should be a “personal choice” rather than a mandate.
I will take the vaccine but believe it’s a personal choice and debate important.The establishment have other ideas:Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said that there should be a discussion about whether it is “the correct thing for society to allow” https://t.co/TIv9RYeBvi
— Darren Selkus Ex PPC Epping Forest (@DarrenSelkus) November 19, 2020
Whatever happened to, ” my body, my choice”?
— alfred setian (@spats402) November 19, 2020
And others argued Basu’s suggestion should horrify anyone who believed in free speech,