What IS going on? From absent judges to temporising government lawyers, Sacha Lord’s case to reopen indoor hospitality earlier mired in delays and dithering

I haven’t been entirely complimentary about Sacha Lord on this blog. I’ve previously condemned the way he rewarded plague rave DJs and I’m not especially a fan of his conduct on social media either.

But there is one thing that’s very much in his favour. He’s one of very few people prepared to put his money where his mouth is – for he is funding this case himself – and take on this government’s Covid restrictions, which don’t always seem to make much sense.

This makes him worthy of at least some respect in my eyes. It takes nothing to mouth off about something on Twitter, Facebook or whatever. It takes something to take the fight directly to those causing the problem.

So far, he’s managed to get the Government to drop plans to bring back the ridiculous 10pm curfew, which saw streets in London, Manchester and elsewhere fill up with the sort of crowds such rules were designed to discourage.

He’s also forced them to drop the substantial meal requirement. This was a rule which meant if you wanted to purchase alcohol, you had to order food with it. Absurdly, there was never any definition of what was considered a “substantial meal”.

The central aim of his legal action, however, was that indoor hospitality was able to open at the same time as non-essential retail – in England’s case this would have been April 12th. This goal remains unaccomplished – they’re not due to open until May 17th under government rules.

When I started looking into this, I suspected that Sacha Lord was just one of these people who promised much but delivered little. But the more I look into this case, the more suspicious it starts to become.

It seems to be mired in constant delays. If it’s not government lawyers dithering and delaying, it seems to be the legal system. The Government appear to have decided they’re going to try and fob him off with small victories, obliviously unaware to the fact they’re exposing how weak many of their arguments are in the first place.

As the man himself, time is money for the hospitality sector. This case should have proceeded with the utmost urgency, for everyone’s sake. These delaying tactics by the government seems only to serve politicians that don’t want to admit they’ve got something wrong.

And worryingly, the legal system doesn’t seem to be willing to hold the government’s feet to the fire over this apparent misuse of the law. The strategy the government has appears to be keep stalling until May 17th, thus rendering his legal action pointless.

It’s unworthy and demeaning of both the government and the courts that they’re getting away with it.

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