June 21 must remain ‘Freedom Day’ — the alternative is potential economic meltdown

THE Cabinet is reportedly locked in fevered discussions over whether “Freedom Day”, aka June 21, will be delayed because of whatever same-iant they’re fretting about now.

Laughable really, because if any of them bothered to leave the Westminster bubble and tour the country they purport to lead, they’d notice that the majority of people took back what little “freedom” they could weeks ago.

The majority of Brits took back what little ‘freedom’ they could weeks ago when the weather started improvingCredit: PA

In short, few are listening any more. Take masks. If worn at all, they’re often wedged under the chin or hanging off one ear. Technically, it’s still “wearing a mask”, right?

Meanwhile, many of the small shops who fervently implemented the strict “Covid rules” that were a condition for re-opening earlier in the year have since relaxed their stance.

There are no longer strictly managed “one in, one out” rules, trollies/baskets are rarely disinfected between use and I have lost count of the number of people I’ve seen shopping bare faced.

After all, why should a shop assistant be expected to police those who wilfully choose not to follow the national restrictions? Particularly when the daily death rate is so low and they no longer make any sense.

And what about inside people’s houses? The rule of whatever-it-is-these-days (Six? Eight? Whoever you appreciate?) has changed so many times that few people actually know what they can or can’t do.

Aside from the fervent lockdowners who treat every minor transgression of “the rules” as a murderous act, there can be few who, hand on heart, can say they haven’t breached the restrictions behind closed doors.

A minicab driver blithely told my friend that he was holding his daughter’s wedding in his garden this coming weekend. “How many people are you allowed to have?” she asked.

“Thirty, “ he replied. “But we’ve invited 150 in five different shifts throughout the day.”

When she pointed out that some might stay longer than they’re supposed to, he just shrugged and replied, “What can I do?”

So, it’s fair to say that the only effect of delaying “Freedom Day” will be potential economic ruin for all the major industries that have to abide by the rules.

A couple of weeks ago, airlines clung to the green shoots of potential recovery when Portugal was placed on the green list for travel.

This, they hoped, would be the start of Europe opening up to travellers, idle aeroplanes being dusted off and furloughed cabin crew returning to work.

Then the UK Government swiftly moved it back to the amber list, forcing thousands of holidaymakers to rush to the airport all at once.

And for what? Over fears of the “Nepal variant” when just ONE strain was detected in Portugal at the time.

It would be laughable if it wasn’t so damaging to an industry that, thanks to this knee-jerk move, has seen an eye-watering £2billion off the value of airlines — with bosses warning that at least half of the 1.6million jobs in the sector have already been lost or were now at risk.

A long-haul cabin crew of my acquaintance says he has now been furloughed until July 31. How is that financially sustainable?

Interestingly, when one returning holidaymaker said “the way the Government has treated Portugal and the islands is shambolic and disgraceful  . . . because all these guys are depending on British tourism”, there were plenty of sanctimonious responses on message boards.

The UK Government swiftly moved Portugal back to the amber list, so Brits have been enjoying British beaches

The UK Government swiftly moved Portugal back to the amber list, so Brits have been enjoying British beachesCredit: PA

These were along the lines of “stop being drama queens”, that they’re putting the health of Brits in jeopardy by going, that Portugal doesn’t rely on their custom and that they, the messenger, will never go on holiday abroad whilst there’s a pandemic.

But all countries do make money from tourism and many of the independent businesses that rely on it will shut down for good.

Equally, if you’re someone virtue-signalling that you’ll never get a plane again until Covid is defeated, then you’ll be staying home for ever because it’s never going away. We have to learn to live with it.

And what about the theatres, where countless performers are back rehearsing in the hope of attracting full audiences over the summer? And major events like weddings, concerts and festivals?

And hospitality venues that need diners/drinkers from all over the world, not to mention foreign staff?

All of these industries rely on the general public being “free” to make their own, common-sense decisions again.

When it really mattered, we did as we were told by staying home to protect the NHS.

Then the vaccine roll-out started, the vulnerable were jabbed, and the Government started to talk about “infection rates”, even though the stats included those with minor symptoms and at no risk.

And now they’re still suppressing our freedoms to focus on giving the jab to the young. Whatever next . . . pets?

How, pray tell, is a country of 66million people STILL being held to ransom by a virus that is 99.9 per cent survivable, where the vulnerable have been vaccinated against it and the daily death rate is in single figures?

No. June 21 must remain “Freedom Day” as billed. The alternative is potential economic meltdown.

HAVING just signed up for The Mousetrap in London’s West End, former Bouquet Of Barbed Wire star Susan Penhaligon has described her acting trajectory.

“What happens to an actress like me is that you go from playing the daughter to playing the mistress, to wife and mum to granny,” she says.
“Then you play the old bag!”

Susan Penhaligon, has described her acting trajectory

Susan Penhaligon, has described her acting trajectoryCredit: Alamy

Meanwhile, the trajectory of the male movie star still begins with heart-throb, progresses to action man and, when jumping off buildings is no longer feasible, reverts to heart-throb with a female love interest at least 30 years younger.



RUBY GOSWELL may be 94, but when an Amazon courier delivered booze to her home in Bletchingley, Surrey, he wouldn’t hand it over until she’d proved she was over 18.

Daughter-in-law Janet, 68, says: “It is almost a form of harassment to ask elderly people for something like that.”

Au contraire. I’ve been known to lurk at check-outs for days, possibly weeks, in the vain hope that staff will question why I am buying wine at such a young age.

But sadly, they clearly all go to Specsavers.

AMAZON boss Jeff Bezos will beat his billionaire rivals by being the first to fly to the edge of space on July 20.

Is it just me or does his capsule Blue Origin resemble an erect penis?

Is it just me or does his capsule Blue Origin resemble an erect penis?

Is it just me or does his capsule Blue Origin resemble an erect penis?

Begging the questions: Is this to do with aerodynamics? Or a subliminal message from the designer?

TENNIS player Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open rather than do post-match press conferences has prompted many column inches about the sports media and those they write about.

Matt Dickinson, chief sports writer for The Times, remembers then-England goalkeeper David Seaman being paid to open Legoland and talk to the media afterwards.

I’m only talking about Lego, Seaman said

I’m only talking about Lego, Seaman said

It was 1996 – the start of the bitter, nine-year rivalry between Man Utd and Arsenal.

As the latter’s goalkeeper at the time, Seaman was asked by a reporter who he thought might win their next encounter.

“I’m only talking about Lego,” he said. To which the reporter replied:
“If an Arsenal Lego team played a Man United Lego team, who would win?”


AFTER always saying she’d never write a memoir, financial woes have forced Prince Andrew’s former girlfriend Koo Stark to finally put pen to paper.

Their relationship hit a rocky patch after it was revealed she’d appeared topless in the movie Emily. But she says that, far from being ostracised by the Royal Family, they could not have been more supportive.

The Queen, she says, invited her to a picnic so they could be photographed together by the paparazzi.

“Her Majesty made a point of snapping open the News Of The World [headline: Queen bans Koo.] Her actions spoke volumes as she poured tea.”

Sounds like the Palace isn’t quite the stiff, unwelcoming place to outsiders that the Sussexes have painted it to be.

Matt Hancock says Covid data suggests vaccinated groups make up minority of hospitalisations but too early to make a call on June 21


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