I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I am to find that grouse shooting will not be subject to the new ‘rule of six’ law made by Dominic Cummings’ government. People in my local have talked of nothing else. “I can see why they’ve banned gatherings of more than six people in their homes,” they all say, “but it’s great that we can all still get together in the pub after we’ve shot a few grouse.” It’s all beginning to make a lot of sense to me.
The bit that actually makes sense is that none of it is supposed to make sense. People understandably accuse the government of being clueless and incompetent and be sure they are both. There’s another game at play, though: keeping people confused keeps them – us – in their places.
I am not the sharpest tool in the box so it doesn’t take much to make me confused. To that end, like Cummings before me, I am making my own decisions to live my life whilst at the same time trying to keep other people safe. Cummings, for example, drove himself and his family to Durham at the height of the pandemic in Britain, supposedly suffering from symptoms. After a few days of peace and quiet, he drove his wife and small child to Barnard Castle for a jolly, to celebrate his wife’s birthday. Sorry – I meant to test his eyesight. He did what what suited him, ignoring the rules he had been instrumental in drawing up. What works for the prime minister (Cummings) is good enough for me.
I am far from convinced the new rules will do a great deal to prevent numbers of new cases surging still further. My guess is that people are by now set in their ways, doing what’s best for them and their families and Cummings’ presumably well-meaning ‘rule of six’ will mean nothing. It will certainly mean nothing to the 80%+ of people who have been told to self-isolate and subsequently haven’t. (Don’t forget that self-isolating in this instance means not leaving your front door for two weeks. I know of people who have gone to the pub and even played football during self-isolation. I’m certainly not condoning such behaviour but let’s not kid ourselves about the rates of compliance. In any event, the government wants someone to blame for its awful record. It’s all our fault, you see.)
“You must obey the law,” says a government that allowed Cummings to drive a coach and horses through one over COVID-19 and now seeks to knowingly and deliberately break international law. As the Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis might put it, I’m only going to break the law “in a very specific and limited way”.
Of course, we should all do what we need to do when protecting ourselves and others. But what the government says it not what it does. Like them, I shall do what I think is right. I don’t need a two-faced lying politician to tell me otherwise.