Andy Richardson: 'Time to end the one-rule-for-them, one-rule-for-us system'
Our friends across the border can breathe a sigh of relief.
A punitive five-mile, ‘stay local’ restriction has ended in Wales, allowing traffic to flow across the border. The hospitality industry, tourism and others had waged a war with the Welsh Assembly, watching on dismayed as England eased restrictions while they remained locked down.
Perhaps some of the signs just over the border, reading ‘Turn Around And Go Home’ will be removed. Those who created them may have had their hearts in the right place, but their diplomacy skills were lacking.
The arts can breathe a sigh of relief having stared into the abyss for weeks and received nothing but a meaningless roadmap. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has come to the rescue, under intense pressure from the industry, with a billion-plus announcement. Though the devil will be in the detail, it will save jobs, livelihoods and venues that would have closed.
The million-dollar question, however, is when the Government will allow them to re-open?
They have given the airline industry a pass and permitted thousands to sit side-by-side on long-haul flights, while also allowing instructors and learner drivers to sit together in confined spaces. Though the cash is welcome and received with good grace, it’s time to end the one-rule-for-them, one-rule-for-us system. Inequality is a bad look.
The Government has started the week well, however, and in addition to supporting the arts, it is also looking to support human rights. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will take action against those who violate human rights or profit from such. In the post-Brexit landscape, it can operate independently to work with the US, Canada, Australia and European Union.
Such positive manoeuvres were required. After Boris Johnson’s father fled to Greece, further undermining the PM’s moral authority, and as the deadline passed to extend the Brexit negotiations, heightening the probability of a no-deal crash out with all of the economic troubles that will bring, the Government needed a lift.
With Covid-19 infection rates falling, the boss of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, has suggested the Government finally tackle the social care sector, getting that work done in the next year. He is right.
Clapping care workers is nice, but what they need is a better deal to protect the elderly and vulnerable. If they are truly our heroes, this is the time for action.
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