Andy Richardson: Experts are advising people not to hug their granny this Christmas

He’s no Elvis. Tango Man doesn’t wear Blue Suede Shoes and his hair isn’t what you’d call quiffed.

But, just like The King of Rock’n’Roll, the USA Prezza will soon be leaving the building. The Don is willing to quit, rather than be dragged out by Secret Service officials who deny him burger deliveries and tell him: ‘You’re fired’.

Experts are advising people not to hug their granny this Christmas. When Professor Chris Whitty was asked how he’d spend Christmas, his reply was sobering: “I’ll be on the wards.” Unlike self-appointed epidemiologists, virologists and would-be public health experts, he sees and treats patients on infectious diseases wards and knows what’s going on.

A new report shows that £22 billion has been squandered on an infective test and trace system – that’s right, the one that was world-beating – as a staggering three-quarters of Covid contacts slip the net. It drives to the heart of our inept response to the pandemic. And that’s before we start to look at the contracts-for-mates scandal that has lined the pockets of those with friends in high places.

Around 99 per cent of England is in the toughest Covid tiers as we head towards winter. The economic shock that will stun the UK for some years to come is increasingly more apparent. Yet the impact of Brexit seems to have fallen off the radar as all eyes focus on Covid. The hard Brexit that few voted for but all of us can now look forward to will have an even worse effect than Covid; hard to imagine, but true.

Journalists are holding Government ministers to account though. Naga Munchetty made the classic mistake of asking Robert Jenrick about whether there is a Tier 3 exit strategy. It’s fairly unlikely, seeing as they don’t even have an entrance strategy.

Still, we can rely on Liz Truss to give us all a laugh. The former Remainer-turned-Brexiteer has been telling anyone who’ll listen about her amazing trade deals. Not that her figures stack up. Under the pre-Brexit deal, we’d have made £4.3 billion from trading with Japan, post-Brexit, it will be £2.6 billion. The increase in UK GDP from that trade will be £1.5 billion post-Brexit – though it would have been £2.6 billion pre-Brexit. Truss famously leaves gaps as wide as the Grand Canyon when she’s speaking in public. The gaps between how our economy will perform and how it would have performed may be similarly cavernous.

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