Andy Richardson: A stitch in time saves nine

Leaving the pub before chucking out time seems a small price to pay to avoid the horrors of Spring.

Boris Johnson has ordered early closing at pubs in an effort to reduce social mixing
Boris Johnson has ordered early closing at pubs in an effort to reduce social mixing

In finding the balance between safeguarding lives and the economy, such measures appear fair.

Of course, if we’d got a test and trace system that worked – hello Germany, hello South Korea; fancy sending your guys over to show us how that’s done? – the cases would be lower, the risks smaller and the forthcoming death rate less severe.

As we head into the season that welcomes respiratory diseases like a bear welcomes honey, the UK finally seems to have woken up to the fact that a stitch in time saves nine.

Our people-pleasing Prime Minister let the scientists spell it out, which, given some of his earlier yeah-but-no-but, go-to-work-don’t-go-to-work press conferences, might have been a smart move.

More Covid-19 coverage:

For once, Grant Shapps was right. Keep the PM out of sight and let the experts do the talking. All the more time for Boris to build a toy bus or go jogging.

While landlords and restaurateurs may bemoan their inability to sell booze after 10pm, they might look towards theatres and nightclubs to observe how bad things could be.

The entertainment sector has been shut since March. Theatres have lost their two profitable seasons, spring and autumn, while the absence of Christmas pantomimes means huge job losses are inevitable among its 300,000 workers.

Closures loom. Against that backdrop, closing a little early to prevent death among the elderly doesn’t seem so bad.

While Brexit split the nation into two camps, Covid has created more factions than an Extinction Rebellion splinter rally.

False positives, graph fetishists, extistentialists and anti-maskers are among the warring tribes.

Former PM Theresa May was a diligent and hard-working leader. While she was as bad at selling as a dolphin – if she’d come up with the phrase oven-ready she may still be at Number 10 – she paid attention to detail, led by example and respected the rule of law.

Those points were made in an excoriating attack on the Government’s plans to ignore the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Why should other nations trust us on anything if we break the law? Fair point.

Sir Keir Starmer faces a big task in persuading voters to reconsider Labour or view it as a party of patriots.

Like fellow lawyer and Labour leader, the late John Smith, he must start with basic reforms.

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