I voted for Brexit – of course I did – but one of the reasons for my vote was the promise that this country would ‘take back control of our borders’ – remember that promise? For five years, we had it trumpeted to us by politicians, day after day.
Yet has it happened now that this country is apparently free of European shackles? Has it hell! Right from the start of the Coronabug pandemic, ministers have been woefully slow to act when it has come to stopping potential carriers of the virus from entering the country.
Last weekend, news of a dangerous new strain of the virus, which could be resistant to the vaccines currently being administered here, emerged from Brazil, yet it was not until yesterday afternoon that the Government got around to banning flights from Brazil and South America.
This is despite the fact that Brazil halted all flights from the UK three weeks ago after the mutant Kent variant was discovered. Faced with government inaction, the airlines were forced to act unilaterally. Back in December, BA took it upon itself to cancel all flights to and from most of South America until the end of February.
That does not stop passengers from Brazil and elsewhere travelling to Britain via third countries in Europe. Thousands of passengers are still arriving every day at British ports and airports, and on Eurostar trains, without any checks on their Covid status.
Only yesterday, travellers from all over the world were swanning through Heathrow with nobody asking them to prove they had tested negative for corona. Despite all those coming from overseas nominally being required to quarantine for ten days, there is little evidence this has been widely enforced.
The overblown team of Yes-men, appointed by Bunter Johnson appear to have no sense of urgency when it comes to policing our borders.
A law insisting that all international arrivals – including returning British nationals – must produce evidence they had a negative test seventy two hours before they travelled was due to take effect today. But sneaky as ever, this craven government extended that deadline till Monday, ensuring that this was only announced on Twitter by Grant Shapps just after eleven last night.
Why did this pratwinkle not issue a proper ministerial statement dammit? Many of us do not have access – or want access dammit – to twitter. I suppose, doing it properly would have been too straightforward and Shapps even ended his message with a stopwatch emoji – just in case we are all too stupid to understand plain English.
Who knows how many more people infected with the Coronabug might have entered Britain by the time the new deadline expires?
Perhaps if this idiotic clown, Shapps had spent less time since March littering the country with ridiculous cycle lanes and more time concentrating on preventing the importation of the bug, we’d be in a safer place.
Still, his complacency is merely a reflection of this government’s callous indifference in failing properly to address the threat of Covid coming here from overseas. On January 31 last year, the much-maligned President Donald Trump banned all flights from China landing in the U.S.
Yet even when it was obvious that corona posed a clear and present danger, our witless government allowed scheduled services between Britain and China – including Wuhan, where Covid originated – to continue to operate.
Nor were there any enforced flight cancellations from Northern Italy, where Coronabug was rife. Back then, the official line being peddled by the chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance was that, since the virus was here already, closing the borders would not make much difference.
As late as May, Vallance resisted travel bans from individual regions on the grounds that they simply did not work. This is the same gloomy Professor Unbalanced, who has spent the past ten months demanding ever tougher curbs on civil liberties in this country.
So while British citizens can be arrested and fined for sitting on a park bench or refusing to tell a copper where they are going, travellers from all over the world have been free to enter this country without having to declare where they have been in the previous few weeks; whether or not they have tested positive or negative for Covid or whether they are complying with quarantine regulations.
All sorts of strange folk from different and often highly infected countries are allowed to hail taxis at Heathrow or travel on the railways to unknown destinations after sailing unchallenged through immigration.
Meanwhile, joggers and dog walkers going about their lawful business in their local park are being treated like criminals by overbearing coppers and the standing army of so-called Covid marshals.
Throughout this crisis, it has been instructive to compare the sympathetic treatment of foreign nationals with the draconian, knee-jerk restrictions forced on the rest of us on the home front. Even now, at a time when we are told the threat from corona is worse than it has ever been, those arriving from abroad have been given an extended period of grace before they must produce evidence of a negative test.
Contrast Shapps’s generous decision to postpone until Monday morning today’s planned deadline – to give people ‘time to prepare’ – with the knee-jerk order issued a few months ago giving British holidaymakers in Europe just a few hours’ notice to get home.
On August 13th, Shapps – yes, that bloody man again – announced that anyone who wasn’t back in this country by 4am that Saturday morning would have to quarantine for fourteen days or face a fine of £1,000.
Around a hundred and sixty thousand people stranded in France were forced to race through the night to catch ferries. Some even had to hitch rides on fishing boats. It was the biggest and most humiliating British evacuation since Dunkirk. Families who had flown to other newly designated corona hotspots in Europe had no option but to turn around and catch the first flight back. Tens of thousands of other planned holidays were lost.
Maybe Mr Shapps had a special emoji minted for that occasion too? Sometimes it seems as if this country is being governed by a Cabinet of ruddy emojis. Mind you, I had to look up the meaning of ‘emoji’ this morning and it seems the word describes those irritating little cartoon symbols some people attach to emails. Thumbs up, thumbs down, that sort of thing.
Perhaps the government could scrap their gloomy briefings of an evening and replace it by by emojis for every occasion – Covid cases are down, let’s have smiley face – Covid cases are up, show us a sad face. Instead of Priti Patel hectoring us on occasion, they could just show an angry face!
Yesterday, the Government sent out a Home Office emoji – sorry I could not resist it – called Victoria Atkins to defend the decision not to close the air corridor between Britain and Brazil earlier. She was asked why it has taken ten months to demand all international travellers produce evidence of negative tests, something other countries have insisted upon for months.
Atkins said that ministers had to balance controlling the virus with ‘not putting too much burden on the economy.’ WHAT? They really do seem to think we are all stupid. That preposterous justification will have been received with incredulity by businessmen and women right across the land. They won’t have known whether to laugh or cry dammit. The economy has always come a very distant second to combating this bug. Countless businesses, many of them household names, have gone to the wall. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost for ever, with many more to come.
High Street shops and hospitality have been devastated by repeated lockdowns. Family-run enterprises are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Cafes and restaurants are surviving on takeaway custom. And how does this Government reward their dogged determination? Yesterday we learned that Bunter’s stormtroopers are planning to put them out of business, too.
Believe it or not, Whitehall is declaring war on takeaway food and drink in an attempt to force people to stay at home. Now they have brought out another pathetic and infuriating advertising slogan that urges us ‘Not to let a coffee cost a life.’
This is pure fear mongering and they seem to have forgotten that as the old song stated, there is an awful lot of coffee in Brazil – as well as an awful lot of the Coronabug. Yet until now, Bunter’s buffoons have not bothered about trying to prevent it spreading in this country.
Any more than they’ve turned away record numbers of illegal immigrants making their away across the Channel from France. Border patrols, who would be better employed carrying out Covid checks at Dover, have been instructed to pick up migrants in the Channel and ferry them ashore.
Do these hapless politicians have any idea whether the Coronabug is rife or not in the camps around Calais? Do they care? Can we be sure that the ‘Kent’ strain was not brought to Britain by dinghy?
Unfortunately, we will never know, any more than we’ll know how many unchecked airline, ferry and Eurostar passengers have helped spread Covid-19 around Britain over the past ten months.
So much for Taking Back Control of our borders.