One of the few pleasures left during Lockdown Mk III is to follow Debbie’s example and read as many of the newspapers as you can tolerate. Even the ones that raise the blood pressure or make you wonder about the sanity of those inside the M25 are fun — you can trace their convoluted reasoning about the progress of lockdowns, the suitability of Boris as a leader or which way is up. They stand on their heads to prove to their loyal followers that Brexit is a disaster, that either Gove, Hancock, Patel, Truss, Starmer, Blair etc etc is sure to be next PM. The realities of Brexit and lockdowns are making MSM excuses less and less credible but still they handwave and babble. Two names that keep cropping up are the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary. After Sunday the handwaving can stop, at least as far as the Home Secretary is concerned. 

A piece in The Mirror caught my eye this Sunday morning: Priti Patel has expressed an opinion on the two women harassed for drinking coffee while out exercising together after travelling some to an uncrowded area. They had driven five miles. I know in London five miles is considered a long way, not least because if you travel that far you will pass a couple of million people. In the country we live further than that from our nearest supermarket and if you walked it you might pass a few dozen of your neighbours. So is five miles local? Or not? Think carefully, Home Secretary: get this wrong and you’ll be out of the race. The next edict from Ms Patel’s office will probably say something like ‘local is a word that can have many meanings. In any given circumstance it will mean what the nice policeman says it does.’ If that happens then she might as well scrub herself as a contender.

And they’re off!!!!

The next Prime Minister Stakes race is definitely hotting up. Matt Hancock on Follow The Science fell at Covid Brook after last year’s bad stumble along Power Cut straight, and Priti Patel has come a cropper at Stupid Enforcement Corner. Last year’s winner, Balding Boris, trails the field on Princess Num Nuts, handicapped by double the cost of energy in his backpack and carrying a lot of excess weight. Coming up on the rails is Esther McVey on Lockdown Sceptic surging ahead of Liz Truss riding no-hoper Build Build Build, a mount no-one in East Anglia fancies. Still flogging along at the rear is Michael Gove, much fancied last year on Dead Duck … But here comes a challenge!!! Riding in the colours of the International Billionaires’ Consortium, it’s… it’s… I can’t see the name on my card.…

Sorry about that. If you’re bored, try to work out what words in the above paragraph failed Daily Mirror comment moderation.

Where do they get these people? Priti talks about clear rules and she hasn’t even defined ‘local’.  And are you allowed to sit down while taking exercise or do you have to jog on the spot if you want a bit of a rest? Is a cup of coffee really a picnic? No wonder the police think they can make things up. And on that same Sunday in the afternoon the Health Secretary says he backs the police. Of course he does, until he finds their behaviour looks like costing him votes.

Consider this. When laws are so vague that they depend on individual policemen interpreting them then they are not laws at all. First comes arbitrary application. Then comes the nod, the wink, the rustle of paper money, backhanders, the rules of law enforcement familiar to anyone in the third world. Is that what we really want? I don’t know about you, Matt and Priti, but I don’t. Arbitrary law is not law at all, it’s the slippery slope down to corruption. Thank goodness we’re not there yet. Stop being so stupid, both of you, before things really get out of hand.

How far is local? Your guess is as good as mine.


Photo by Helen K

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