RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: There's nothing normal about the new normal

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: There’s nothing normal about the new normal

Compare and contrast two pictures in yesterday’s Daily Mail. The first featured hundreds of revellers milling around the narrow streets of Soho, in Central London.

No one was bothering to observe social distancing rules, despite a hi-viz police presence.

The second was a forlorn photo of a wedding at St Anne’s Church, in Aigburth, Liverpool. The bride and groom walked down the aisle watched by a mere couple of dozen guests, in compliance with government diktat.

Having been known to take the occasional drink in Soho myself — although not for the past few months — I wasn’t surprised at the size of the crowd. Old Compton Street, epicentre of London’s gay scene, didn’t look much different to your average Friday night, pre-lockdown.

At the best of times you often need a sherpa to guide you through the huddled masses to the relative calm of the Charing Cross Road — even after midnight.

Compare and contrast two pictures in yesterday’s Daily Mail. The first featured hundreds of revellers milling around the narrow streets of Soho, in Central London (pictured), writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN

With Covid precautions in place, the Old Bill had obligingly closed surrounding streets to make more room for drinkers denied space in pubs and clubs, and to allow restaurants to put tables on the pavement.

If you expect me to disapprove, however, you’re going to be disappointed.

Yes, I know all the warnings about the danger of a second spike, but I do understand why so many people were apparently willing to take their lives in their hands after being cooped up for so long.

Anyway, Covid-19 is a long way down the list of health hazards in Soho. You’re more likely to get sclerosis of the liver first, or choke on an artisan pizza.

Whatever the inherent, or non-existent, risks, it was a relief to see some real life back on the streets.

To be honest, having given the Government the benefit of the doubt from the outset, I’m rapidly reaching the point where I don’t trust a word ministers have to say on the subject.

We may never know whether plunging the country into deep freeze helped, hindered or had no effect whatsoever on the spread of the virus. In the final analysis, lockdown evangelists and lockdown sceptics will both claim to have been vindicated.

The second was a forlorn photo of a wedding at St Anne’s Church, in Aigburth, Liverpool. The bride and groom walked down the aisle watched by a mere couple of dozen guests, in compliance with government diktat (pictured), writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN

What we do know, however, is that enforcement has been spectacularly inconsistent, to say the least. Look at the way in which Black Lives Matter protests have been allowed to go ahead, while the police delighted in harassing renegade dog walkers and sunbathers.

My worry now is that the same will apply to the partial lifting of restrictions. I warned you that the ‘new normal’ would be worse than lockdown. So it is proving.

Yet again, the law only applies to those prepared to abide by it. So while mass gatherings like Saturday night in Soho are tolerated without sanction, the rest of us are still expected to do everything by the book.

That’s why the photo of the socially distanced wedding in Liverpool was so sad. The guidelines for holy matrimony are simply baffling, arbitrary and completely unnecessary. Bureaucrats and ‘experts’ are having a field day.

But if hundreds can gather freely and randomly outside pubs, why on earth should properly organised weddings be limited to just 30 guests? Not only that, but they must be drawn from just two families. Why?

We’re not all Mormons. What if you don’t have 15 in your extended family? Can you bring in a couple of ringers?

Ministers must know the rules for weddings, travel and much more besides are unfair and unworkable.

Why can cinemas open, but not theatres? As Andrew Lloyd Webber asks: what’s the difference between a plane and a theatre?

If people can sit on charter flights to Las Palmas, why can’t they watch Les Mis? Answer came there none.

Rather than do the right thing, the Government prefers to throw money we haven’t got at the entertainment sector to keep theatres and live music venues closed.

What we do know, however, is that enforcement has been spectacularly inconsistent, to say the least. Look at the way in which Black Lives Matter protests (pictured, in Cardiff) have been allowed to go ahead, while the police delighted in harassing renegade dog walkers and sunbathers, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN

Ministers go along with this patronising nonsense because they are only interested in covering their own backsides in advance of the inevitable public inquiry. Best to blame ‘the science’.

Of course there’s a risk in returning to normal. But it has to be better than the ridiculous ‘new normal’.

Life is full of risks. We should be able to assess those risks ourselves. Unless ministers stop treating us like naughty five-year-olds, they will find it comes back to bite them on the very backsides they are trying to protect.

If hundreds of revellers are free to party mob-handed in Central London, then the rest of us must be allowed to decide how many guests we invite to a wedding.

Morris dancers are the latest casualties of the Summer of Stupidity. Their official association has banned blackface in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.

The Joint Morris Organisation (JMO) said it could ‘cause deep hurt’. Needless to say, the decision hasn’t gone down well. John Ellis, of the Hampshire-based Hook Eagle Morris Men said: ‘This is not the Black And White Minstrels. It isn’t about race.’ Indeed. The traditional blackface is a disguise dating back to the 15th century.

But when it comes to ‘celebrating diversity’, English culture is considered worthless and disposable. I wonder how the news will go down with this column’s old friends the Britannia Coconutters, a Morris dancing team from Bacup, Lancs, who have long been the target of self-appointed anti-racism campaigners. If any member of the JMO committee is brave enough to relay the decision in person he can expect to be greeted with Bacup’s version of the Flying Arkwright, first perfected by cartoonist Bill Tidy’s ultra-violent Cloggies.

That’ll give a whole new meaning to ‘taking the knee’.

Morris dancers are the latest casualties of the Summer of Stupidity. Their official association has banned blackface in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN

What, exactly, is a ‘socialite’? I thought it might be a socialist with the red meat missing, like Tony Blair’s Labour Lite.

Turns out it’s a woman who spends her life flying round the world in private jets, going to parties and drinking champagne, all at someone else’s expense. Like Tony Blair. I could do that, gissa job.

Mind you, in the case of Ghislaine Maxwell, socialite seems to be a combination of sociopath and parasite.

Two young women lured into sex fiend Jeffrey Epstein’s New York mansion claim that Prince Andrew molested their breasts with a Spitting Image puppet, something Andrew denies.

But which puppet? Let’s hope that it was Prince Charles, or Prince Philip, or Roy Hattersley, even, and not Her Maj. Maybe it was Mrs Thatcher.

‘And for the vegetable?’

‘He’ll have something from Pizza Express.’

A word in your shell-like… 

Scrabble is coming under the evil eye of the woke brigade, which wants to disqualify all words considered to be ‘problematic’.

I can see the point in eliminating the N-word from the game, and maybe a few more derogatory racial terms.

But they’re not stopping there. They want 238 words eliminated, including ‘wrinklies’ and slang for homosexuals.

If you ban the N-word and gay slurs, where will that leave Scrabble aficionados in the rap community?

At this rate, we’ll soon be limited to using just 238 words, which is probably the extent of Donald Trump’s vocabulary.

We’ll have to make up new words, like Jack Regan in The Sweeney, while playing Scrabble with his girlfriend.

‘What’s a GNHOPS?’ she asks Jack.

‘It’s what a one-legged gnome does!’

  • Someone called Anneliese Dodds, who claims to be Shadow Chancellor, wants to impose a wealth tax. Never heard of her. Is she one of the Diddy Men? If Doddy does ever make it to the Treasury, we’ll have to call her Dickie Mint.
  • Estate agents are dropping the term ‘master bedroom’ so as not to offend either BLM or the #MeToo movement. They claim that ‘master’ has unsavoury associations with both the slave trade and sexism. It’s not ‘master bedroom’ which bothers most women, it’s what might be going on in the mistress bedroom. 

Someone called Anneliese Dodds, who claims to be Shadow Chancellor, wants to impose a wealth tax, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN

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