CAN we really embrace the joy of six? If I’m being honest, I don’t think so.
After half a year of accepting the need for our freedoms and civil liberties to be curtailed in ways previously unthinkable, I fear the country’s patience may have finally run out.
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Regular readers will know I don’t sign up to the narrative that the Government woefully mishandled the early days of the Covid-19 crisis.
I cast the blame firmly at the door of the totalitarian communist Chinese government who, we must never forget, covered up this pandemic with consequences even they could never have dreamt up.
Boris Johnson and every other major world leader had to desperately play catch-up, beholden to institutional incompetence and untested technology.
No prime minister wants to lock down their country and ours was right to wait until all other options had been exhausted.
With some serious blips along the way (care home deaths, testing incapability and an unnecessary closure of schools), we have been creaking back to life carefully and responsibly while accepting this virus isn’t going anywhere for a long time.
Broadly, that approach seemed to have worked, with widespread public co-operation over dramatic lifestyle changes such as social-distancing and compulsory masks.
Testing has significantly ramped up, so predictably case numbers have increased too.
But hospitalisations and deaths have remained on a downward trajectory.
As the winter months draw in, a second spike is unfortunately inevitable, but that doesn’t mean a full-blown second wave.
We have come so far and learnt so much.
That’s why making gatherings of more than six people, whether inside or outdoors, illegal feels a draconian step too far, too soon, opening up the unsettling possibility of another economically devastating national lockdown, which must not be contemplated.
It’s only early September. We’ve just had three months of summer and there’s more glorious weather to come.
The reaction feels out of proportion and borderline hysterical.
That’s before you get to sinister talk of health passports, 10pm curfews and Covid marshals.
Surely an authoritarian approach risks alienating demographic groups who the Government will desperately need to co-operate as winter’s dark days set in?
You know, like the young folk who Matt Hancock suggested risk killing their grans if they continue to party with their friends.
Possibly the only positive thing about 2020 for me is the fact I’m living through this ongoing nightmare at 37, rather than 27 or 17.
I’m regularly called selfish for dreaming of spending Christmas with my family in New Zealand (not gonna happen), for salivating at the prospect of being at an Alanis Morissette concert surrounded by 10,000 revellers at London’s 02 Arena (delayed till October 2021 at the earliest), and for hoping to one day book a holiday without the stress of the location being removed from the air-bridge list at a moment’s notice (take a breather, Grant Shapps).
But my minor woes don’t compare to what Generation Z have had to give up.
Zoomers, as they’re known, have missed the chance of going to their school leaving ball, been forced to cancel gap years and won’t remember taking their first legal sip of vodka in a nightclub on their 18th birthday.
While it can be easy to slag off this snowflake generation — and I regularly do — they really have had the raw end of every aspect of this deal.
They’re not in offices where they get to have social interaction — in fact, their job opportunities are likely to remain bleak for years to come.
They’re not earning money to be able to afford to go to pubs and restaurants.
If they’re anything like I was at 18, the vast majority of their socialising takes place in homes or parks.
So I find it really hard to blame those under 30 for causing the recent spike in cases.
And I will find it even harder to blame this demo- graphic for flouting the nonsensical new rules, which they are very likely to do.
This week, a caller to my talkRADIO Drivetime show went viral.
Simon from Lincoln proposed a “full-scale national lockdown enforced by the military” until next spring.
More proof that a spookily successful propaganda campaign about the need to stay home and save lives has become ingrained in our national psyche.
The reality is many more deaths could soon be caused by poverty, mental- health issues and a cancer timebomb unless we are prepared to take calculated risks to return to normal life, which the Government must encourage.
Sadly, the rule of six plays into the hands of the panic-stricken.
IT’S becoming obvious new BBC Director-General Tim Davie will have to get much tougher if he is to have any hope of keeping his wayward and blatantly biased presenters under control.
Naga Munchetty proved she isn’t listening to weak warnings from the corporation, after she chose to pocket thousands from big business for the second time in a matter of weeks.
The Breakfast presenter decided a corporate gig for NatWest is more important than being an impartial news presenter on a £190,000 salary paid out of the licence fee.
A staffer at the corporation asked: “How can she remain impartial if she’s doing corporate gigs for a banking giant in her free time?”
Answer: She can’t.
Then the BBC’s Europe Editor Katya Adler showed how damaging rogue Twitter use can be after she branded Michael Gove “delusional”.
She was found in breach by the Beeb’s own complaints unit.
The consequence? Likely a pat on the back from her Government-hating, remoaning colleagues.
Mr Davie, this simply isn’t good enough.
Sort it out!
I DON’T believe for a second we’ve seen the last of the Kardashians’ soul-baring reality rollercoaster.
But times have changed since 2007 – the big money in broadcasting has moved to social media and streaming, which is likely where they will end up.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Kim and her clan were trying to keep up with Harry and Meghan’s £112million Netflix deal.
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