IF you’ve already postponed your wedding twice and still face “no dancing” restrictions before July 19, then seeing the hordes of football fans marauding through London at the weekend must have felt like a parallel universe.
Same story for those attending the funeral services of loved ones where social distancing restrictions mean that many of the mourners must remain outside.
Anyone under the impression that sport appears to be taking precedence over everything else? Yep, me too.
And what of that holiday you’ve rearranged several times? Or the trip abroad to see the family you last saw nearly two years ago? Earlier this week, the PM was pessimistic about any foreign travel this year, so it must be so reassuring to know that, while you are being restricted in your movements, government ministers are pulling out all the stops to ensure that “quarantine-free” travel is being arranged for VIPs to fly in for the final of football’s Euros.
Equally, if you are currently self-isolating for ten days because the Test and Trace app reckons you have potentially been in the vicinity of someone with Covid, how come the entire England/Scotland football teams don’t have to do the same after Scotland player Billy Gilmour tested positive?
Meanwhile, the Government’s “pilot programme” allowed 12,000 racegoers a day to enjoy Ascot (albeit down from the usual 60k daily attendance and with social distancing measures in place) and a restricted Wimbledon tennis tournament is set to go ahead too.
Imagine how this VIP treatment of big-money sport must feel if you work in the entertainment industry, or run one of the many venues on the brink of going under?
After threatening to sue the Government if his new show Cinderella wasn’t allowed to open to capacity audiences after the initial Freedom Day of June 21, Andrew Lloyd Webber was offered the chance to be part of this “pilot scheme” seemingly being randomly bestowed upon the noisiest wheels (i.e. money talks.)
But to his credit, he refused on the basis that smaller venues weren’t being given this chance and the theatre industry as a whole has been treated as “an afterthought”.
He’s right, but this is just one of many infuriating inconsistencies.
Throughout the pandemic, Boris Johnson and his Cabinet have enjoyed the goodwill of the British public. For the most part, we’ve done as asked, knowing that all restrictive measures were in place for the greater good.
But now that goodwill is being eroded by contradictions which, in short, appear to boil down to “do as we say, not as we do”.
Rules in the UK, it seems, are for the little people.
The lousy optics of it all started with the G7 summit, when world leaders flocked to Cornwall without having to quarantine and enjoyed rubbing shoulders at a beach BBQ, while French President Emmanuel Macron blatantly shook hands with US President Joe Biden.
And now, despite the UK having one of the most impressive vaccination prog-rammes in the world, we are seeing the Germans flocking to Spanish beaches, theatres reopening to full capacity in New York and packed nightclubs in Berlin.
All the while we are still being held back from unrestricted fun as if we are naughty children who can’t be trusted to use our common sense.
“The British are worrying more than any other country,” says Professor Tim Spector, creator of the Zoe Symptom Study app. “We seem to be much more receptive to the doomsday scenarios.”
Indeed we do. Yet now it transpires that the Government’s decision to delay “Freedom Day” by a month was based on data said to be overly pessimistic and, in addition, a new study has shown that those returning from green and amber- list destinations between May 20 and June 9 brought in zero variants of concern.
Vaccinology professor Brendan Wren says: “Having looked at the data, I cannot see the justification for delaying the removal of restrictions beyond July 5.”
Equally, having looked at the rules being bent in all directions for the rich and powerful, it’s no longer politically tenable to keep the rest of us restricted.
Boris, you have lost the room. It’s time to blow the whistle on restrictions and let us all enjoy the freedoms bestowed on big money sport.
You’ve got to glove a daft cossie
HERE’S Emily Ratajkowski modelling her new, er, swimwear range.
I assume this little number is for the breast stroke.
SPEAKING about her ongoing divorce from rapper Kanye West, Kim Kardashian says she wants a husband who is around more.
She adds: “It’s the little things I don’t have. I have all the big things. I have the extravagant everything you could possibly imagine.
“I’m grateful for those experiences but I think I’m ready for the small experiences that will mean a lot.”
Meanwhile, a new survey says that expensive handbags, shoes and watches are increasingly being factored into the financial carve-ups between warring couples.
Proof, if needed, that money doesn’t insulate you against unhappiness.
SPRINT supremo Usain Bolt and partner Kasi Bennett have named one of their newborn twin sons Thunder.
Quite the name to live up to when it’s called out over the tannoy at school sports day.
No pressure kiddo.
Enid’s a hero
ENGLISH Heritage has updated its online biography of Enid Blyton to state that her work has been criticised for “racism, xenophobia and lack of literary merit”.
The first two accusations are fair enough, but the snobbishness of the third condemnation is something I take issue with.
Writing a book that engages a child’s imagination isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be multi-million selling authors.
At my state primary back in the Sixties, we were forced to read tomes such as Jules Verne’s Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (snore) but at home we were all avidly reading Blyton’s page-turning adventures about the Secret Seven, Famous Five or the exploits of the boarders at St Clare’s and Malory Towers.
To the adult eye, they might have a “lack of literary merit” but, to the generations of kids who remain voracious readers to this day, it’s an achievement that shouldn’t be looked down on.
Pilot a brazen killer
NOW that Greek pilot Babis Anagnostopoulos has admitted to murdering his British wife Caroline Crouch, there is a suggestion that he initially bamboozled the police with his grieving widower act.
I highly doubt that.
From the second he first appeared in front of the world’s cameras to talk about the “gang” who had killed 20-year-old Caroline but not him, I declared across the breakfast table: “He did it.”
Plenty of other people shared this view and, undoubtedly, the police suspected him too.
But, as is the norm with all such cases, they play along with the pretence while quietly collecting the evidence they need and waiting for the culprit to either slip up or confess.
It was Caroline’s smartwatch that eventually yielded the truth about her death, but not before her poor parents had comforted their son-in-law at her funeral, assuming him to be a grief-stricken innocent, rather than the cold-blooded killer he is.
As the family lawyer put it yesterday, Caroline’s unsuspecting mother Susan: “Embraced the hands that took her daughter’s breath away.”
My heart goes out to her and husband David at this unimaginably painful time.
Work gripes so crazy
EARLIER this month, a tribunal ruled that a man “off sick” from work was unfairly sacked after being spotted in the pub.
This week judges have given an employee permission to take her old employers HSBC bank to tribunal for using the age-old phrase “teaching a grandma to suck eggs” because it could be considered to be “based upon sexual stereotypes and constitute sexual harassment.”
Jeez. All of this nonsense is merely hastening the day when companies replace their staff with robots who turn up on time, are never sick and don’t make ridiculous complaints.
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