Andy Richardson: 'Bah, humbug'
It’s just one week since Oliver Dowden, the man purportedly in charge of culture, sport and fun stuff, declared his latest wheeze.
Calling it Operation Sleeping Beauty, the man who inspires little confidence among the performing arts declared he’d get pantos up and running before Christmas. Oh, yes, he will. Oh, no, he definitely won’t.
Mr Dowden seemed not to have heard the loud voices, emanating throughout spring and summer, telling him he needed to make decisions more than a month ago. Pantomimes take a long time to organise and sell – and raising false hope in September long after deadlines have passed doesn’t even grab a good headline. Like telling us the moon is made of cheese, nobody bought it.
Still, Mr Dowden was sure we’d be back. Funny, then, that gatherings of six people or more are no longer allowed, which would make for a pretty lame panto season. Perhaps Mr Dowden will create a new ruse called Operation Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Michael Gove could play Grumpy, Oliver himself could play Dopey, Boris could play Happy and Gavin Williamson could play Sleepy.
Still, the loosening of the reigns that has led to the predictable upsurge in cases – and, lest we forget, the effect of schools and universities has yet to be felt – means Christmas is off. Boris may not be able to play Happy, he might instead be cast as Scrooge. The irony of the nation’s cheerleader in chief being forced to cancel Christmas is not lost. He’ll just have to entertain us by breaking the odd international treaty, for giggles. As his own newspaper and number one cheerleader, The Daily Telegraph, reports, Government policy is irrational and inconsistent. Pantomime one week. Christmas cancelled the next. Bah, humbug.
We were told we had turned the corner by Mr Johnson. The corner, apparently, was the one marked ‘danger’.
Still, Boris has a joker in the pack. Operation Moonshot will cost £100 billion – that’s just £30 billion short of the annual cost of the NHS – and feature as-yet-non-existent technology. Sounds great. Just like the test-and-tracing app. And by the way, how’s that going?
Still, as Matt Hanock tells us it’s all our fault. The reason people are being sent hundreds of miles to Scotland for tests, rather than their local centre, is because the wrong people are having them. Silly us for having too many tests.
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