LET the unique tier torture of 2020 begin again.

Battle-weary Manchester, after more than four months of a devastating draconian local lockdown, is being given false hope its time in Tier 3 could nearly be up.

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Defiant London, with marginally increasing rates of Covid in some boroughs, is threatened with being placed on the naughty step by being booted out of Tier 2.

Boastful Cornwall, basking in its Tier 1 status, is warning pesky visitors not to ruin the fun.

Decision Day on Wednesday could determine whether thousands of businesses go under; whether a young actor gives up on a lifelong dream to pursue a creative career; whether your local pub will ever reopen; and whether far too many people continue to die at home from heart disease, strokes and other usually treatable afflictions.

I’ve lost any hope that such critical decisions will be made sensibly.

We know now the hysterical and prissy wusses of Sage, who view the world through the prism of coronavirus, will find whatever data they need to convince the Government to get tougher.

As I have been warning for weeks, the highly damaging national lockdown announced by Boris Johnson on Halloween was triggered by falsehoods.

First there was the out-and-out fib that the UK was on course for 4,000 coronavirus deaths a day in December — the centrepiece of a doomsday scenario presented by Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance based on incorrect figures.

Now the Office for National Statistics has downgraded the incidence rate modelling that underpinned the lockdown from 9.52 to 4.89 per 10,000 people.

At a time when the Government is necessarily desperate to reassure people to get vaccinated, transparency and honesty about the way the decisions regarding tiers are made is of utmost importance.

If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you feel a disconnect from what you’re seeing where you live and the way it is presented in the news.


So I shake my head and laugh when they start talking about shutting down London again because, let me assure you, the capital isn’t open. Not even close.

I genuinely wish the bozos making these calls could step away from their dodgy data and spend a day walking around the city with me.

What was a quirky novelty in March is like a dystopian horror movie in December.

Forget the pictures of people storming into Harrods at the weekend — an obvious consequence of shutting down all non-essential retail for a month just before Christmas — the beating heart of our economy remains a ghost town.

On Monday night I walked through the West End and City surveying the occupancy in restaurants during the peak hours between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.


The busiest had four tables occupied, but most had just one or two. There’s no way any of them are making a profit.

Lockdown doves in the Cabinet like Michael Gove might think that’s a very good thing: Aha, the tiers are working!

But the idea that the Government can flick a switch in April and see London, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester return to life as we once knew it is increasingly delusional.

Sometimes it’s as if our leaders think the one hold they have over us is to enforce closures, rendering our common sense useless.

The growing independent scientific consensus, however, is that the stop/start cycle of lockdowns are disastrous — just look at the abject failure of Wales’s so-called circuit-breaker.

Of course I accept it’s going to take quite a few weeks of the great vaccination effort of 2021 before we return to any semblance of normality.

But until then the best way to ensure compliance is to shift away from the current authoritarian approach and trust the British public to follow the spirit of the guidance with an ample dose of common sense.

Otherwise, don’t be surprised to see an explosion of resistance during this long dark winter.

Not o-Kay

KAY BURLEY hectoring any Government minister over breaking the Covid rules is like David Beckham hosting a public advertising campaign on not breaking the speed limit.

Wootton's week

You're no Queen, Nic

DO you get the feeling Scheming Sturgeon fancies herself as Nicola, Queen of Scots in her post-independence fantasy world?

I only ask because the SNP leader’s annoyance at Prince William and Kate making a delightful goodwill visit to Edinburgh – a city they will one day preside over as King and Queen – was borderline deranged.

The royal couple’s nationwide train trip to thank those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in a very difficult year is essential work.

It’s certainly as essential as Queen Nic’s visit to an Edinburgh hospital, which doubled as a photo opportunity for her to try to claim credit for a successful vaccine rollout spearheaded by the UK Government she so despises.

I do wonder if the First Minister may have overplayed her hand this time, though.

Attacking BoJo, Rishi and Gove is one thing, but gunning for the apolitical Cambridges who love Scotland?

That shows her brutal true colours.

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