All I want to do is drive a Dacia Duster.
I’m just an old motoring hack with a clean driving licence and some column inches to fill. My medical status or history should not come into it. Renault UK, the organisers of a driving event disagree.
First they enticed me with the possibility of having fun in the new Dacia Duster, there was also the electrified Renault Captur E-tech Hybrid and latest special edition Alpine A110 Legende GT. Not only that, right-hand drive versions of the All-New Renault Arkana would be there, “plus many other models.” However, the last line of the invitation made it clear that I would have to comply with one simple requirement.
“Lastly, please note that it is only possible to attend this event if you have received both COVID-19 vaccinations, with the second one being not less than 14 days prior to attendance.”
What usually happens on these occassions is that invitations are sent by a motor manufacturer to professional journalists and increasingly the’ influencer community’ to come and drive their models. Often it is located at a country house hotel where parking isn’t a problem and the roads in the area are varied. The catering is usually pretty good too. All I have to do is write a review of the vehicles that I drive and put them online or submit them to various publications.
In this instance the driving event was and still is at the rather splendid Calcot Manor. Interestingly the hotel does not require any proof of medical status to use their spa, restaurant or rooms.
Renault told me that they were simply following guidelines. That is their right to refuse anyone from attending of course. “We are following the association of event organisers guidelines at this stage regarding asking attendees to be double vaccinated. Of course these things are changing all the time so it may be updated in the near future. We would ask for the NHS barcode via the NHS app.”
If you don’t see a problem with this requirement, then you agree with discrimination. Renault can hide behind some tepid guidelines and claim they are following orders, but ultimately they must believe in a two tier society.
Every weekend in Paris and other French cities there are marches involving hundreds of thousands protesting against their health passport scheme. We don’t have this in Britain, but Renault seem determined to introduce one, at Calcot Manor in Gloucestershire.
Ideally, no journalist who believes in personal freedom would accept such a loaded invitation, although I have no doubt an influencer would go along with absolutely anything if it meant a free meal. Talking to other journalists, some manufacturers have offered PCR tests, but none have mandated injections. The Guild of Motoring Writers had not come across this situation, but their position is that Renault are within their rights to do this, especially if they believed it was in their employees interests.
Of course I could easily accept Renault’s invitation, turn up and argue the toss, but there are better ways to waste my time and petrol.
Anyway, if I want to drive a Duster, I’ll pop down to my local dealer. They don’t require me to prove my medical status.
At the moment.
We are called Free Car Mag for a reason.