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ROGER WATSON: Boris’ Covid Travel Chaos Hypocrisy

PRIME Minister Boris Johnson warns us that summer travel will be full of hassles and delays—in other words chaos. 

Yes, we know Boris; you are largely responsible for creating that chaos. But this seems to contradict what took place recently in Cornwall. England when world leaders and their retinues flew into the UK from across the globe and several thousand people descended on Carbis Bay and St Ives. Clearly, they did not encounter a great deal of chaos.

If ever the ‘one law for them and another for the rest of us’ principle—something this government has displayed before—was on display it was over the weekend of the G7 meeting. On the same day the world leaders hugged and huddled around a barbecue, ordinary churchgoers were being subjected to all kinds of indignities and restrictions. The subsequent weekend the same indignities were being inflicted on churchgoers while a rock concert was being held at Castle Donnington. The government guidance is hard to fathom, continually contradictory and confusing and it is hard not to conclude that this is all deliberate.

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If the rest of us congregate, except for some selected and privileged people, then that is called a ‘super-spreader’ event. But when world leaders meet it is called a summit. Nevertheless, there is evidence that the Cornwall summit was, indeed, a super-spreader event

Inevitably, this is being disputed. The government is pulling out the stops in its effort to deny the event was a super-spreader and Felicity Owen, Director of Public Health, Cornwall County Council & Cornwall & Isles of Scilly PCT was interviewed to this effect on BBC Radio 4’s flagship news programme Today on 22 June to promote that view.

Strangely, she said, there was evidence of an increase in COVID-19 cases prior to the G7 summit. But it also appears that there was an increase in testing ahead of the summit. It will be very hard to prove, one way or the other, whether the ‘spike’ in COVID-19 cases in Cornwall resulted from the G7 summit. But the way this news is being managed is another example of the hypocrisy so common in the wake of the pandemic. If those of us on the sceptical side regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for lockdowns question spikes in our cities on the basis of mass testing and false positive tests we are pilloried. But if a director of public health says it—presumably to ensure that she remains a director of public health—then that is OK.

All this serves to make people whose lives are being restricted and whose livelihoods are being eroded very angry. The travel industry is on its uppers with, for example, British Airways losing £120 every second

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The airline industry is not just there for jetsetters, it employs thousands of people and the collateral trade at airports, hotels, shops, trains and restaurants supports many thousands more. Simon Calder, Travel Editor of The Independent explained in his column how mainland European airlines are back in the air and their airports are booming. Heathrow, formerly the busiest airport in Europe, is now 16th and Gatwick has moved from 10th busiest to 106th. 

Calder claimed on talkRADIO that the more people we vaccinate, the worse it gets.

The lockdown protests are becoming more frequent, being better attended and by increasingly higher profile sceptics. 

Unfortunately, too, they are becoming violent. Sadly, to misquote Mel Gibson in Braveheart, the government can take our lives and it can take our freedom. But I sense that they will not be able to do this for much longer.

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