Joy and tiers
IT pains us to dilute the joy of the sensational Oxford vaccine announcement with the imminent ruin now facing so many of our pubs and restaurants.
But for them the tougher new tiers system in place for four months from December 2 will be the killer blow.
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We are baffled by why those venues in the new Tier 3 were singled out. There is precious little evidence they are the major drivers of infection.
We cannot help but fear that the decision is a random bone thrown by Boris Johnson to the hyper-cautious and erratic Sage scientists clamouring for an even harsher regime, so desperate are they to cover their backsides over their early complacency.
This is too momentous a call to be arrived at by haggling. Boris must reconsider, before it’s too late for thousands of businesses which, having fought so hard and made themselves Covid-secure, will be effectively shut down anyway never to reopen.
Venues in London and other cities, if placed in the top tier and robbed of their Christmas takings, will be wiped out. Is the PM certain that is a price worth paying for some minimal effect on the “R” rate?
Where is the evidence he is relying on? How will he judge whether entire cities merit being condemned to a Tier 3 shutdown?
There is happier news for shops, gyms, salons and outdoor sports. Plus the joyous announcement that some football crowds may soon return. But if they are now safe, why weren’t they before?
And there is of course the light gleaming at the end of the tunnel: the Oxford vaccine, up to 90 per cent efficient, heroically invented, developed, tested and produced in Britain in record time.
A jab cheaper than its rivals and far easier to transport and store at ordinary fridge temperatures. We should all be proud of what those scientists have achieved: A British game-changer for the world.
The end of this nightmare is in sight. But the Prime Minister must ensure, before we get there, that the beating hearts of our cities and our capital are not torn out on a whim.
Pay hike fiasco
THERE is never a good time to give MPs a bumper pay rise. Now, however, is the very worst moment.
Boris Johnson has rightly recognised the public rage that will erupt if the independent pay assessors Ipsa award a £3,300 bung, putting politicians on £85,000 a year as they vote to freeze pay for millions of other public sector staff.
That freeze is entirely justified by our ruined economy and the massive job losses in the private sector. But MPs must share the pain — as many accept.
If the rise goes ahead, they can reject it or give it away.
But they should also ask how Ipsa can be so blind to public opinion, the standing of MPs and the state of our finances.
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