January 31st, 2020. The date we finally regained our independence from the quasi-dictatorial institution known as the European Union. The day we would finally be free from the shackles of EU red tape. The day we could finally retake our sovereignty and regain our place on the world stage as a sovereign nation. But then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Things started to look up with the advent of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. We could finally see an end to this epidemic, not just in Britain but across Europe and the world. But politics is at play once again. The European powers from above have managed swoop in just as our vaccine distribution is being deployed. Why must this institution attempt to undermine any advance our country takes?

Opting out of the EU Vaccine scheme was one of the best decisions this government has taken. We are a sovereign state who managed to secure supply long before the EU, we supported our vaccine suppliers long before the issue had crossed the minds of European bureaucrats. Why shouldn’t we benefit from a British development? At the same time, the EU responded as should be expected from a failing institution, it demonised us. It painted our vaccine as unsafe, as something that should be confined to the backwaters of history.  The EU vaccine scheme wanted to punish this nation for having faith in British-designed jabs. It wanted to take away the hard work that our British scientists have done. Ultimately, the EU vaccine scheme suffered the same shortcomings of the EU as a whole, that being the idea that each individual country will serve all mighty EU before protecting and assisting their own. We saw this time and time again, be it free movement pre-Brexit or mass tariffs on non-EU imports. The EU experiment fell at its first hurdle, countries will only ever act if it benefits them. But enough about why the EU failed, we could discuss that till its demise. The EU vaccine scheme is the current on the long list of failings. When Britain opted out of the Vaccine Scheme, it secured its rightful place among all nations, instead of among a group of a select few. Under Labour’s proposal, Sir Keir Starmer would have dragged us into this bureaucratic, red tape filled, pompous, self-congratulatory discussion where little to no progress is made. He, and other EU leaders would prefer to slow down British progress when places like Israel and the USA steam roll ahead.

Notice now how it is only the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine that has been demonised. According to a BBC report from the 16th of March 16, 2021, twenty-two people who received the Pfizer vaccine have also developed blood clots. Now, if the amount of people who received the Pfizer vaccine was larger than the Oxford one, then the lack of halting would be understandable. But no. The actual figure is significantly less. This leads us to the question of why the EU has halted the Oxford vaccine. The answer? Scapegoating. By halting the Oxford vaccine, it allows these countries to justify why their roll out is so much slower than ours and gives a perfect answer to why they can’t get access to the much more easily deployed jab. It gives the larger EU countries the ability to take a step back and claim that they are doing what is safest for them, whilst also allowing them to justify why their scheme has failed.

It is a very sorry state of affairs when an institution is playing politics with the lives and livelihoods of their citizens. Many people have sadly died from this horrific disease and now is not the time to be putting politics in front of that. We are currently in a post political world, and the EU and member states have no right to be putting petty political squabbles ahead of meaningful progress into saving lives.  The end of the pandemic is in sight, in Britain, but without the AstraZeneca vaccine the finish line is a lot further away from the EU.