THANKS to the police minister Kit ‘Snitch’ Malthouse, already overwhelmed cops up and down the country are now likely to be hounded by folk dobbing in their own neighbours.
Narking on those next door, you see, is part of our very unpalatable new Covid culture.
So the nonsensical Rule of Six – which perhaps should be renamed the Rule of Snitch – is a boon for the jobsworth busybodies and amateur security guards up and down the country who love nothing better than making life more difficult for others.
According to Mr Malthouse, our over-stretched officers should now be informed if a family decides to host a family birthday party in the back garden with seven relatives in attendance.
A socially distanced dinner with pals is also reason to be grassed up. So too is an in-person meeting of your book club. Or even a barbecue for eight pals in a public park.
But, of course, travelling on a packed train carriage, sitting in a pub surrounded by 100 people and even a grouse shooting party of 30 are all perfectly legal.
While I’ve made clear these infringements on our civil liberties are not justified, what’s perhaps more concerning is the way they will add to an increasingly toxic tell-tale culture.
What happened to policing by consent? Where’s our great British culture of common sense and fairness?
That’s the only way to beat this damn virus in the long-term. We’re not an authoritarian police state. We never should be.
During the first lockdown in March, when the danger was relatively much higher than it is today, virtually the whole country agreed to put politics aside and come together for the common good.
That goodwill cannot be taken for granted, given it might be needed again.
Young people cannot be told they should eat out at restaurants by Rishi Sunak, return to part-time jobs at shops, and attend university lectures, then be warned hosting a small house party at their flat is putting their granny’s life at risk.
That type of messaging simply won’t wash because it doesn’t make any sense.
The Rule of Six should not be policed by officers diverted from dealing with robberies and assault.
Arrests shouldn’t take place if you happen to invite a few more people over to house and are acting as responsible adults.
That sort of action must be reserved for the most egregious abuses, including illegal raves, large house parties and mass gatherings disguised as protests.