Just when you thought it was safe to go bowling, the Prime Minister has made it clear, all bets are off. The people of Manchester and elsewhere, cannot meet with with others, at home, in the pub or in restaurants. No skating, no trips to the casinos, no facials. The army is on standby to enforce law and order. The music will be turned off at illegal raves in Manc. The flashing lights are going out at Daisy Nook. We may not see them lit, in our lifetime again, or at least before Christmas.
Matt Hancock made it clear this morning, the real problem is not the result of people going to pubs or restaurants or illegal raves for that matter. The problem is that of families visiting each other's houses. Contact tracing has shown, the vast majority of infected people, have mainly been seeing friends and extended family, living nearby. Close, close relatives in extended kinship groupings, the obvious target.
The restrictions were announced, just three hours before the start of Eid al-Adha, the "Festival of the Sacrifice". The Prime Minister was accused of discriminating against Muslims. The Grinch who stole Eid, the claim. The pub ban additionally offensive. The government response "we also screwed up Easter and may cancel Christmas as well" suggests plans are in hand to mess up with Yom Kippur, in the name of impartiality.
The second wave is coming from Europe, "we must be prepared" the warning from Johnson. The latest slogan is "hands, face and space". Be alert for more government warnings. "Hands, Knees and Bumpsadaisy" a more catchy slogan. "We apologize for bumping into you, in the name of social distancing" a more simple SOCO, the single over-riding communications objective.
So what of strategy, the underlying challenge, "the return to normality"? This is confusing setback. The Prime Minister has slammed the brakes on the easing of lock down. The risk is, he may have also hit the brakes, on the speed of the recovery ... there will be more pressure to extend the furlough scheme until the end of the year ... over one million jobs are at risk ...
The Saturday Economist
John Ashcroft publishes the Saturday Economist. Join the mailing list for updates on the UK and World Economy.
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