Are we seeing a real life version of Cinderella being played out in Britain at the moment? If my suspicion is correct, the British public is playing the title role whilst wicked stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella are being played by Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon and Wales’s Mark Drakeford. Oh, and Northern Ireland’s Paul Givan, but no one ever seems to remember him.
Anyway, Cinderella has been told by Anastasia and Drizella that they may not go to the ball on New Year’s Eve. And now, Boris Johnson – a man who looks like he brushes his hair with a balloon – appears to have assumed the role of the Fairy Godmother, saying Cinderella shall go to the ball. And unlike in the original story, they don’t even have to be home by midnight.
Instead, they must simply “remain cautious” and party outside if possible, according to the Fairy Godmother’s loyal stooge. And it’s meant a very curious situation now exists where nightclubs in England look set to remain open for New Year’s Eve, whereas the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland have closed them.
The question which comes to mind, quite simply, is why. Are Britain’s devolved nations seeing a completely different set of data to England? A quick search on Google shows all four countries are on a relatively similar trajectory as far as case numbers are concerned. Deaths have fallen slowly recently, although hospital trends are less clear.
How can Boris Johnson come to one conclusion whilst Mark Drakeford, Nicola Sturgeon and Paul Givan have come to an entirely different one? This simply doesn’t make sense. Both positions cannot be correct – logically, one side will be proven over the next few weeks to have either been far too cautious or not cautious enough.
And given the way politicians seem to have long dispensed of the pretence they put science at the forefront of their decisions – the failure to publish the evidence that nightclubs are like a coronavirus petri dish nearly two years after the pandemic started is testament to that – I’m finding it very hard to work who’s got the measure of this.
Still, for Wales and Scotland, a similar situation now exists to the one across the Irish Sea earlier this year. So for England’s border cities like Bristol, Liverpool and Newcastle, their gains are the losses of Cardiff and Edinburgh…