1st March 2021
Over at the Financial Times I have a piece today on ‘vaccine passports’ – that is, a system of certification that a person has or has not had the coronavirus vaccine.
That article demonstrates my weakness as a commentator in the traditional media sense, as on this subject I do not happen to have strong views either way.
I do not have an ‘angle’ that will (conveniently) last from between 800 to 1100 words – no ultimate position that I am arguing for and articulating on your behalf for your claps and cheers.
Instead, on this policy (as on many others) I can only see difficulties – and difficult choices.
And these difficulties are, in turn, because of the very nature of certification.
All certification is discriminatory – that is its very point.
Certification enables (or should enable) a state of affairs to be asserted in a manner that then allows a decision-maker to make one decision instead of another.
That is: to discriminate.
The problem is not with discrimination in and of itself.
The problem is when that discrimination is unfair – either directly or indirectly.
Accordingly, it is not a complete answer to the proposal of any form of certification to dismiss it as discriminatory.
For all you are then saying is that a system of certification is acting, well, as a system of certification should.
The more important questions are whether that a policy of certificates would be reliable – and, if reliable, whether the benefits will outweigh the costs and whether it will not create unwanted inequalities, either directly or indirectly.
These are problematic things to consider – and for which there may not be an easy solutions – and in respect of which difficult choices will need to be made.
And to point such things out is a purpose of law and policy commentary.
Not all commentary is cheerleading for one position or the other.
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