Yesterday was ‘Super Saturday’ when English pubs opened again after three months of lockdown – but really what’s the point?
Unless you can find a hostelry willing to flout all the ludicrous official rules about “social distancing” – you’re not even supposed to chat to the barmaid — and are willing to register your name and address with the landlord so that you can be tracked and traced, the experience is likely to prove about as joyless and pointless as going to a brothel wrapped in cellophane.
To add to the general air of misery, two local police forces — Devon & Cornwall and Dorset — originally tried warning that drinkers would be limited to two-hour sessions. After a public outcry, which drew attention to the fact that this was legally unenforceable, they retracted.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock cheerily warned in the Mail that while Britons can “by all means go to the bar” on Saturday – big of him! — they “could end up behind bars” if they break the law.
Not to be outdone, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come up with his own Nannyish veiled threat.
“I’m no killjoy but the virus can still kill. I don’t want to see bars and pubs have to close again. I love going to the pub and enjoy a pint or two.”
And of course, the misery guts bansturbators of the medical/scientific establishment aren’t happy either.
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer: “This virus is a long way from gone, it is not going to be gone for a long time. Nobody watching this believes this is a risk-free next step.”
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief: “Our A & E doctors, nurses and paramedics are desperate not to see so-called ‘pubageddon’ — with hospitals flooded with the drunk and disorderly.”
The political and administrative Establishment, in other words, has taken advantage of the lockdown to turn Britain into the equivalent of a gigantic prep school where the entire population are treated like recalcitrant children.
Instead of being the God-given right of every freeborn Englishman — as it has been since forever — suddenly a simple act like going to the pub for a pint is something you can only do with the government’s permission; and is, furthermore, a privilege that can be taken away at a moment’s notice.
I’ve spoken to regulars Chris and Jimmy. Jimmy hasn’t gone to bed after his night shift tarmacking the roads. He had a shower and came straight here. He described the taste of his first Carling as being like an ‘angel p***ing on the tip of his tongue’ @MENnewsdesk #citybacktolife pic.twitter.com/sUAKwlstwt
— Rebecca Day (@RebeccaDayMEN) July 4, 2020
It reminds me very much of my own school experiences at a barbaric, Colditz-like establishment in the 1970s, when we were given an allowance of two ounces of tuck (i.e. sweets, chocolates, etc.) on Tuesdays and four ounces on Wednesdays. But this could be withdrawn by the authorities for the slightest infraction of the rules. As a punishment you would be put: “off tuck.”
In this scenario, Boris is the headmaster who wants to show what a jolly good egg he is — “I love going to the pub and enjoy a pint or two” — but whose authoritarian instincts nonetheless are to withdraw all privileges for the slightest deviation from the rules (“I don’t want to see bars and pubs have to close again.”).
The official spin on Boris is that he is instinctively libertarian and that he is eager to get the economy and running again. But nothing I have seen or heard in the last three months supports this thesis. That’s because Boris and his woefully inadequate government are now in thrall to a liberal-leftist Deep State which wants to keep Britain stuck in near-permanent lockdown.
I felt this very keenly on a trip to London yesterday to get myself tested for the Chinese coronavirus antibodies.
The testing process — by Pysertesting.com — was as swift and efficient as you’d expect of a privately-run company, staffed by ex-military personnel.
But according to one company source, the government could scarcely have been less helpful or more standoffish. It approached three senior ministers saying: “Here we are! A private company keen to do our bit to get Britain back and running.” Two didn’t even bother to reply, while the third referred them to the National Health Service.
The NHS is a riddle wrapped in a mystery. The “envy of the world”, yet in a state of perpetual crisis. Like a wayward child, it is both our proudest achievement and a source of constant worry – and like many a doting parent, we cannot admit our offspring’s fundamental mediocrity https://t.co/dQYwd3Pj4C
— Madeline Grant (@Madz_Grant) July 5, 2020
The National Health Service — “Our NHS”, as we’re supposed to pretend we call it because it’s such a beloved national treasure — is so sclerotic, inefficient, and corrupt that it charges the taxpayer £200 to administer the same antibody test for which Pyser testing charges £96. Just to be clear for those who can’t do the maths, a Covid-19 antibody test with the NHS — paid for by you and me, through the nose, through our taxes — costs twice as much as the same one done by the private sector.
This attitude is endemic throughout the Civil Service: it loathes anything to do with the private sector, not least because the private sector so cruelly exposes just how sluggish, inefficient, and hidebound the public sector is.
We keep being reassured that Dominic Cummings, Boris’s special advisor, has bold plans to reform the administrative state and make it more efficient. But even if there’s any truth in this spin, these reforms will be a drop in the ocean when set against the damage that has been done, and which continues to be done, by Boris’s lame-arsed decision to surrender Britain’s economic wellbeing and freedoms to an overcautious, self-serving, left-leaning, vaccine-obsessed medical Establishment in the pay of Big Pharma.
If Boris was any use at all he would have ended the lockdown ten weeks ago. Instead, like King Theoden captured by the Wormtongue of the Deep State, Boris is in thrall to Britain’s answer to America’s Dr Fauci. The liberal-left Establishment have no interest whatsoever in ending the lockdown. And currently, it’s the liberal-left Establishment which is making all the running…