THE anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and Covid deniers are some of the worst amongst us. There are gradations in their wickedness and stupidity, of course, but this grotesque band all share a few central traits: they’re extending the pandemic and destroying the NHS; they’re killing people and putting all our lives at risk; they’re limiting our freedoms and liberty; and they’re ruining the economy.

There’s a difference, clearly, between the sad, dull conspiracist who simply shatters their family’s lives with elaborate delusions, and those who are dangerous or profoundly mentally ill: threatening teachers for asking pupils to wear masks, or ranting about hanging nurses and doctors. But each and every one of this tribe, whether actively or passively, is making the lives of all the rest of us – the vast majority of society – a permanent bloody nightmare. It’s time to make their lives a bloody nightmare in return.

This gaggle of half-wits, sub-literates, gullible losers and grifters offend on a profound intellectual level. They’ve the temerity to cite ‘liberty’ as their guiding light. Have they read any books? Have they the first concept of what liberty means?

Liberty isn’t the right of the few to ruin the lives of the many. Liberty, if this crowd ever cared to cast an eye over its foundational texts, is about balancing individual freedom against the welfare and happiness of the majority. Adam Smith and David Hume would likely spin in their enlightenment graves at the notion of these fools bastardising the word ‘liberty’.

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We’ve been looking at Covid through the wrong end of the telescope. Far too much effort has gone in to pacifying these delinquent embarrassments. Only a minority in society opposes masks and vaccine passports. In England, even after the absurdly named ‘Freedom Day’ – a term which only played to the delusions of the conspiracy set – 80% still supported wearing a mask.

There’s overwhelming support for vaccine passports. As far back as March, 79% backed them for NHS/care staff; 68% for attending theatres/gigs; 63% for ‘public facing’ jobs like supermarket workers; 62% for pubs/restaurants; and 58% for public transport and sport.

Public opinion is on the side of safety, yet everything seems tilted towards pacifying a screaming, hysterical minority. The UK government has pandered to these people. Conservative MPs reinforce dangerous behaviour with their refusal to wear masks in public.

By its indulgence of Covid crazies, Westminster has, in effect, triangulated the three devolved administrations. How can Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast enforce the rules which need to be enforced when the main centre of power is working in the opposite direction?

If Nicola Sturgeon really took the measures required, then the lunatics would scream ‘dictatorship’ and point to England’s negligent regime which has allowed the ‘bodies to pile high’.

It’s Covid crazies who are perpetuating pandemic. They pose a health hazard: heedless of spreading contagion, risking elderly lives. They’re destroying the NHS.

The British Medical Association says the high proportion of unvaccinated people hospitalised is “seriously limiting” the ability to care for other patients. More than 90% of Covid sufferers requiring the most specialist care are unvaccinated. There’s around six million people on NHS waiting lists across Britain. People are going to die because of selfish fools, unfit to be members of a decent society. France, which has vaccine passports, is faring better than Britain. What is it about safety that’s so hard to understand?

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Everyone needs to be cared for by medics. Nobody should be deprived life-saving treatment. But we’ve lived now, for decades, with discussions about smokers and drinkers being a ‘burden’ on the NHS, and suggestions that they’re undeserving of help. Can the same, then, not be said of the unvaccinated, the unmasked?

Then we come to the economy. It’s in tatters. Among small businesses alone some 20,000 firms have collapsed in Scotland since the pandemic began. So much hot air has been wasted saying that masks and passports and other preventative measures hurt the economy.

That’s ‘through the looking glass’ stuff. Many people are reluctant to return to living their lives normally because they fear the virus. Make bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres, feel safe for the majority – with compulsory masks and vaccine passports – and people will return in much greater numbers. The same goes for public transport, open air sports – anywhere people gather. Even supermarkets?

Not for one moment should we accept the notion of compulsory vaccination. The state has no right to interfere with the body of any human being. But that doesn’t mean that the state cannot make life extremely difficult for this small cabal. They like to make life difficult for others, after all. The abuse, harassment and threats they unleash, not just on social media, but in the street, should be enough to see a proportion of them charged with offences.

Anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, Covid deniers and all other categories of Coronavirus crazies should be squeezed by an iron fist in a velvet glove. If they’re unvaccinated, then they get in nowhere. Might that be stressful and harsh? Yes. If you’re going to act like an idiot and endanger others, what do you expect? If you cannot behave like a responsible citizen then stay at home.

The rest of us have endured two years of this bloody misery. Our lives have been disrupted and we’re now watching our health service and economy collapse. The Covid crazies are the ones now forcing us to go on with this pain. Enough is enough. Time is up. We need a zero tolerance policy. Think seat belts and drink driving as comparators.

They may demonstrate. However, we’ve seen over lockdown that the police had no qualms dealing forcefully with decent protestors making a stand for causes which matter – like women’s rights, for example.

So the Covid crazies should expect no better. Toughen Covid legislation and use powers against them to the full measure of the law. Some may end in court, even jail. Fine. Society must now get tough. Make their lives uncomfortable. The majority can no longer be victimised by lunatics. We need to quickly bring them to heel and curb their selfish stupidity once and for all.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald