Don’t let variant fear delay our freedom
DRINKERS, diners and shoppers are predicted to spend an extra £836million next week as Britain bursts exuberantly out of its 18-week captivity.
Friends and family from different households can meet indoors. We can go to the cinema, a museum or even on holiday.
But it’s still just a taste of honey. Only after June 21, when all restrictions are to be lifted, can our stifled lives and gasping economy start breathing again.
So it was troubling to hear Boris Johnson suggest yesterday that full liberation may be postponed because of the Indian coronavirus variant. Why?
There’s no sign that this strain is more vaccine-resistant, or increases hospitalisations or death rates. And it appears mainly to affect younger people, who are in least danger.
By accelerating second jabs for the over-50s Mr Johnson is doing the right thing. But further lockdowns - even locally - must be resisted at all costs.
We have seen the immense collateral damage caused by Covid restrictions - in mental and physical health, education and on business. The balance of risk demands no more lockdowns.
The vaccines are proving a spectacular success. Let them do their work and let us get back to ours.
Peace process in peril
THE people of Northern Ireland are tragically familiar with the concept of punishment beatings - retribution by paramilitaries against those who stepped out of line or refused to do their bidding.
Little could they have imagined that they would be subjected to something similar by the European Commission, in apparent reprisal for Brexit.
The Northern Ireland Protocol was always a chimera, effectively leaving the Province in the single market and placing a border down the Irish Sea. But by its officious and inflexible interpretation, Brussels has made a bad situation infinitely worse.
Once ‘grace’ periods come to an end, there is a real danger that supermarkets will suffer serious shortages and that civil unrest - already rising - will reach a crescendo.
Following their meeting yesterday, Boris Johnson and Irish premier Micheal Martin must now press the Commission to use a far lighter touch.
Mr Johnson has threatened unilaterally to suspend the protocol, but an agreed compromise should surely be possible.
Allowing sausages to go from Melton Mowbray to Belfast without requiring reams of paperwork poses no threat to the single market. But with the marching season imminent, not allowing them presents a real threat to public order.
EU negotiators said repeatedly during Brexit talks that their priority was to maintain peace in Ireland. Now is the time to prove it.
Left’s race hypocrisy
CALLING for a British Asian woman to be deported is the sort of menacing racism the Left would normally denounce unequivocally. Yet when Unite union official Howard Beckett was suspended by Labour for saying Home Secretary Priti Patel should be thrown out of the country, the Corbynistas rose as one to his defence.
In their twisted world, racism doesn’t count if the victim is Tory. This ugly hypocrisy shows how Labour is losing its soul - and explains why Boris Johnson is soaring in the polls.
In a remarkable turnaround, however, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner (recently reprimanded for calling a Tory MP ‘scum’ in the Commons) says she might have voted Conservative herself if she were an 18-year-old living in Stockport today.
It’s not too late, Angie! Toryism is a broad church and Red Wall converts are all the rage. Follow your younger instincts.