Beam me up snotty

Essex and London’s move to Tier 2 of the wedding cake of coronavirus restrictions has prompted the usual barrage of opposition from people who seem to think if we just ignore it, the pandemic will go away, or in the case of Thurrock Council, that there is an invisible Star Trek-stylie force field protecting the borough from the the areas surrounding its boundaries.

These are inevitably the same people who will blame anyone but themselves when things get even worse.

And none of it is a surprise, because even politicians can’t put their party prejudices aside and present a united front for the sake of the greater good.

If we were to be invaded by space aliens intent on world domination, they wouldn’t need to do much because we would be too busy arguing amongst ourselves.

Ian and Nicola, the SNP Krankies, would insist it’s all Boris’ fault that Scotland was being overrun by lizard creatures with long poisonous tongues in the first place and if they were an independent country the aliens would have ignored them, Kier Starmer would say the Government should have done something before we even knew the lizard ships were heading our way, Farage would say the EU must have somehow tried to nick the fishing rights on the lizard planet, Priti Patel would try to deport them and the last remaining member of the parliamentary Lib Dems would ask if he could possibly sit a little bit closer to the House of Commons toilet.

With them setting that sort of example is it any wonder we’re all going to hell in a handcart?

I don’t want to live under Tier 2 or 3 – I saw my eldest boy for the first time since March last Monday. I had to go to a service station on the A1 to do it and even then I wasn’t allowed to hug him because he’s scared of giving me COVID-19. With new restrictions coming in it’s anyone’s guess when I’ll see him in person again.

Two of my grandkids live 120 miles away from me in The Midlands. I’ve not seen them since Christmas and missed both of their birthdays.

If people had behaved with an ounce of social responsibility over these past few months there may not have been any need for a tier system, some of us might have been able to see our loved ones and one of my oldest friends might still be alive.

But the infection rates speak for themselves so instead of denying it, can some people please just stop acting like arses and get on with it?

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It goes without saying that businesses are going to need more support if we are to avoid a total collapse of the economy, but we can’t just keep putting our hands out and expect Sunak’s magic money tree to drop cash into them.

There’s also the problem of businesses that are presently falling through the net and not receiving any Government help at all. Something needs to be done for them.

No room for fundamentalism of any kind

The murder and beheading of a French schoolteacher who had shown pupils a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad as part of a class dealing with freedom of speech in relation to the Charlie Hebdo case is utterly shocking.

Samuel Paty had advised muslim students to look away if they thought they might be offended yet he had subsequently received threats and I couldn’t understand how someone living more than 60 miles away with no connection to the school knew anything about it.

He even had to ask students to point the teacher out to him on Friday afternoon before he killed him.

The only way seems to be that a parent of one of Mr Paty’s muslim students had posted videos online demonstrating his anger, accusing the teacher of showing naked pictures of the prophet and calling on people to go to the school and protest.

Now if that’s not an open invitation or call to action for some fundamentalist to extract bloody retribution I don’t know what is, but it’s up to all of us not to allow the far right to tarnish the many peaceful, kind and, yes I’ll say it, normal fellow human beings with the same murderous brush.

Fundamentalism of any persuasion is a dangerous, intolerant and twisted perversion of how we should be able to exist.

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Edward Case

Columnist