The clap for carers campaigner has suggested it’s time to end the weekly national round of applause, as it is starting to become “politicised” and “negative”.
Over ten weeks ago, people around the UK stood on their doorsteps at 8pm for a national round of applause.
Clap for carers was our way of thanking NHS and key workers for risking their lives to help us get through the coronavirus pandemic. It was an emotional moment, which ended in tears of gratitude and hope for many, and we’ve continued to do it every week since.
But the woman who first organised the clap is now calling for this week’s to be the last one.
Annemarie Plas, who started the clap for carers campaign in an Instagram post in March, said the clap is starting to become too “politicised”. She thinks it would be “beautiful” to end the gesture on its 10th week and instead make it an annual event.
“I think it is good to have the last of the series next Thursday [28 May], because to have the most impact I think it is good to stop at its peak,” Plas said last week in a Radio 2 interview.
“Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised. I think the narrative is starting to change and I do not want the clap to be negative.”
She is referring to issues such as the government coming under fire for clapping while also pushing the Immigration Bill, which describes care work as “low skilled”, through parliament. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also said key workers have been “overlooked and underpaid” and there will have to be a “reckoning” once the pandemic is over. And then there’s the fact that Boris Johnson continues to clap after sending out muddled messages over lockdown.
Plas also said: “A clap is something normal people can do, showing our appreciation. But the power is not with us. We can give them respect but we are not signing the cheque – that falls on another desk.
“Stopping clapping does not mean we are not still appreciating them. Some people will still want to carry on, so they should. But we will stop and show our support in other ways – there are other initiatives we can support.”
It certainly sparks a couple of big questions: should clap for carers come to an end? And what is the next step to make sure all our claps action some real change for people?