THERE were terrible scenes in the UK and around the world this weekend.
In multiple cities and countries, members of the public came out to protest the endless rolling lockdowns and vaccine rules.
Terrible scenes in the UK and around the world this weekend proved that time and again, the Government has underestimated a part of the public mood
In Australia, mounted police on horseback confronted crowds. In Paris, police fired tear gas. And in London, Manchester and other UK cities, police and demonstrators clashed.
In Manchester, a crowd tried to storm a Covid test centre. And in Parliament Square in the capital, arrests were made as police and protesters got into a stand-off.
There have inevitably been a fringe of wack jobs and conspiracy theorists at the rallies. People who believe that the virus is not real or only exists as a means to control the population.
But just because there are loons in the mix, it does not mean the concerns of many should not be listened to. The truth is that, time and again, the Government has underestimated a part of the public mood.
A week ago we were meant to see Freedom Day. But in the days that followed, more than 600,000 people have been pinged by the NHS app and told to isolate.
Too often the whole story has changed. And as the Covid era drags on, this is being noticed by more and more people.
It is a symbol of a serious problem. Which is that every time we get to another goal the Government has created, the goalposts shift.
A generous view would say the situation keeps on changing and that the Government is simply trying to adapt.
But too often the whole story has changed. And as the Covid era drags on, this is being noticed by more and more people. So frustrations are building.
At the very start of the pandemic, US chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said that masks did nothing to prevent the spread of the virus.
Later he and others tried to make everyone wear them.
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But nothing has stoked public discontent like the endless lockdowns. We started with “two weeks to flatten the curve”. Remember that?
People who said then that the lockdowns could be endless sounded mad. Then, as the weeks became months, the mad people sounded like they might be on to something.
More than a year later we were still in a lockdown. And now we have Freedom Day finally arrive, only to discover that it was a fizzle. In vast swathes of life, masks now seem to be expected to be worn for ever.
And no sooner were people allowed into nightclubs than the Government announced you will need a vaccine certificate to enter a club from September.
All the time facts emerge which go against what we have all been made to put up with. For instance, already this year hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren have been sent home to self-isolate for ten days because a single member of their class has had Covid.
And now this week it seems that this was unnecessary. A new study has shown that more than 98 per cent of children sent home didn’t develop Covid even if one of their classmates had it.
How much more disruption of their education can this generation take? And how much will their parents tolerate?
The Prime Minister said the fall in cases was due to lockdowns, not vaccines. A terrible misstep.
All this helps fuel the growing number of people who are just not listening any more. Especially now we have the shifting story on vaccines. As the excellent vaccine programme rolled out, we were told this was the way out of the Covid era.
Then the Prime Minister said the fall in cases was due to lockdowns, not vaccines. A terrible misstep.
And despite the fact most of the country are now vaccinated, it comes to seem as though life is going to continue in this new normal.
We see people who have had the virus, and are double jabbed, being expected to isolate for being near someone who has a positive test.
Society — and the economy — just cannot keep stop-starting like this. Or sputtering along for ever.
We need to have a vision of where we are heading. We need leadership that is going to be straight with us and help us see our long-term future.
The increased number of protests suggests not only that we don’t know where we are headed, but that the Government is not being straight with us.
We keep getting deadlines that pass and promises that are not fulfilled.
Into that gap an awful lot of bad things can flood in. Vaccine suspicion becomes vaccine denial becomes vaccine refusal. It is the same with social distancing, masks, travelling and more.
If the Government does not get a grip then the protests this weekend could be a taste of much worse to come.
If the Government does not get a grip, the protests this weekend could be a taste of much worse to comeCredit: AFP
Covid shake up
A STRANGE story from Indonesia, where a man was arrested for boarding a plane dressed as his wife.
He had tested positive for Covid but instead of self-isolating, got his wife to take a Covid test that proved negative. He then dressed as her and got on the plane.
The man wore a full niqab face veil and was only caught because he went to the bathroom as a strict Muslim woman then came out as a man.
The authorities plan to prosecute him once his quarantine period is over. He now faces a serious prison term. And he probably shouldn’t try to don the drag again for that.