“Time to remove all protective measures” is a lot harder to sell than “Time to remove all restrictions”, but it is the truth millions of people are experiencing every day. Language matters, a health expert explains.
First published: February 2022.
Professor Stephen Reicher, Professor of Social Psychology, School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, Member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) subcommittee on behavioural science:
“The Government have long described all COVID measures as COVID restrictions and the media have largely accepted this description.
“This allows them to remove support and protections under the guise of ‘ending lockdown’ and ‘setting us free’.
“However... as is particularly clear in the recent announcements to remove mask mandates, remove funds for self-isolation and remove free tests, when you take away support and protection, you actually reduce choice for the vulnerable and the poor (who can’t afford to keep themselves safe).
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“We thereby create a situation in which the rhetoric of ‘removing restrictions’ creates a reality in which restrictions are increased for those who are not privileged.
“So, whenever we hear the term ‘removing restrictions’ and whenever an interviewer asks a question about the impact of ‘removing restrictions’ it needs to be challenged.
“For once you have accepted the Government framing, you have denied the experience of the people.”
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- Text: This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 24 February 2022.
- Cover: Adobe Stock/annebel146.