‘Act like you’ve got the virus’, government urges’

That’s the latest government advice, so when I went into my local Tesco, I coughed continuously, began to sweat profusely and loudly complained that I had lost my sense of taste and smell. For some reason, this seemed to upset the staff and my fellow customers and the manager asked me to leave without even being allowed to buy my copy of the Daily Mail! Political correctness gone mad, I say.

I did manage to catch a glimpse of Britain’s most vile ‘newspaper’, along with the Sun, which appeared to have an uncompromising advice for Boris Johnson:

As I was frogmarched from the store, I glanced at the main headline in which it appeared to suggest that Johnson “must stay at home”. Given his indecision and dithering throughout the pandemic, his failure until 10 months on to regulate overseas visitors to the UK, presiding over the worst death record in Europe and having lied throughout about when the crisis would be over, I thought fair play to the Mail. But, not for the first time, I misread it. It turns out that the comedy character ‘Boris’ was telling me to stay at home and not the Mail telling him to. I think they missed a trick there.

It is hard to believe that Johnson was telling us everything was fine and dandy. Schools were safe, everyone should send their “kids” (he always says kids and not children and it really bugs me) to school as normal. It turns out, he was referring to school buildings which were entirely safe. It was just the people in them who weren’t safe and by the following morning he had changed his tune. Children should not attend school until the middle of February and if parents had to take unpaid leave, the subsequent starvation of their offspring would help the nation deal with the childhood obesity problem. A double whammy, there.

Does anyone really believe things will be returning to normal by the middle of February? Honestly? Then dream on. There were over 68,000 new infections reported yesterday as well as 1325 deaths and 3867 new hospital admissions. Rather than opening stuff up again in February, I suspect we could be closing almost everything down.

I’ve seen the usual tiresome, holier than thou, virtue signalling on social networks, especially from those of, shall we say, advanced years. It’s to be expected, I suppose, given that most of us are exhausted by the sheer length of time COVID-19 has been with us. And much of the country is angry and divided. I would suggest that vast numbers of people are breaking the rules in one way or another, whether that is by going out to buy a newspaper (guilty as charged, m’lud), by leaving our local area for an exercise walk (guilty as charged, again) or some sightseeing or some other form of rule-breaking, no matter how apparently minor it appears to be. Did you see those two women who drove five miles to have a walk and got nicked by PC Plod and were fined £200 each? Yet when former prime minister Dominic Cummings drove from one end of the country to the other with a car load of COVID, and then enjoyed a jolly at Barnard Castle on his wife’s birthday – oh sorry, to test his eyesight – Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt HanCOCK didn’t so much criticise as praise him.

i wonder how much of this faux anger, not least about who is regarded as a key worker and who isn’t, has come about about because more people are still at work this time? I was furloughed in the first lockdown but I am working normally in this one, even though the COVID situation now is clearly far worse. Traffic is noticeably heavier this time, trains and buses are busier. Employers are telling far more workers, who in the UK have some of the worst conditions and the least employment rights in Europe, that they must attend work. Yes, the virus is now at its worst, ever, and more of us are out and about. Personally, I am not complaining about this but when Johnson tells us we “must stay at home”, please bear in mind that he is also telling millions of us that “you must go to work”, whether you are an NHS worker or you flip burgers.

I hope they forgive me in Tesco when I break the rules again to buy my copy of The Observer, particularly as the incident described above never happened, obvs. This isn’t a proper lockdown, like the ones they have in other countries, and unless Johnson can grow a pair and toughen the rules up, this carnage could extend into the summer and maybe beyond.