THE long road back to ‘normality’, the most costly policy failure of modern times and the descent into dictatorship were raised by columnists in the newspapers.

The Daily Mail

Henry Deedes said Boris Johnson was finally getting the summer started - ‘well, sort of.’

“Most encouraging of all was an announcement that different households would be able to meet up outside, in gardens and other spaces,” he said. “’I know for many people this will be a long awaited moment,’ said Boris. Too right.”

He said, however, that caution dogged every phrase of the long-awaited announcement by the Prime Minister.

“We were warned to avoid meeting people from too many different households. We were told to avoid going inside other people’s homes.Those who have been advised to shield were requested to remain indoors.

“Sir Patrick Vallance was not wild about the ‘R’ rate. Worryingly, he felt cases weren’t dropping as quickly as he’d like.”

Questions aimed at the advisers about Dominic Cummings were dodged, he said, with the Prime Minister saying it was a political matter and not one for the scientists.

“And that was that. Barring revelations in the weekend newspapers that Mr Cummings breakfasts on marinated puppy dogs’ tails, the PM’s aide seems now to have ridden the storm. But at what damage to the Government vessel?

“It’s been a dreadful week for the Prime Minister but at least this announcement gives him a bit of forward traction. It’s been a long time coming but finally, some real light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Guardian

Simon Jenkins said any pretence that lockdown has been led by the science ‘has always been rubbish.’

“It has been an exercise in social control by an initially panic-driven government,” he said. “However laudatory its aim, its execution has been driven by graphic predictions validated by highly selective science.”

He pointed out the discrepancies in policy.

“As lockdown wanes, the policy variation within the UK as well as across Europe is not between different sciences but between different politics,” he said. “Six English people equal eight Scots. The distancing gap between Britain and France is between two metres and one – a gap of political risk, not science.

“It seems increasingly plausible that differences in national death rates are due not to variants in the severity of lockdowns, but to variants in government care and treatment of the elderly.”

He said the UK’s death rate was three times America’s and possibly the worst in the world.

“Thousands of Britons appear to have died after being ejected or turned away from NHS hospitals, either dumped into care homes or having vital operations postponed,” he said, arguing thousands more died at home ‘too scared to go to hospital.’

“Perhaps some lives have been saved by lockdown. If so, it is strange that countries that rejected it, from Sweden to Taiwan, have seen a lower death rate than Britain.

“Britain now faces a double humiliation: the world’s highest coronavirus death rate and the worst resulting economic collapse.”

The lockdown, he concluded, ‘will prove to be Britain’s most catastrophic and costly policy failure in modern times. ‘

The Daily Express

Frederick Forsyth said the torrent of rage unleashed on Dominic Cummings was entirely predictable but the spluttering of a huge swathe of the media who have gone out of their way to condemn him and his wife should raise eyebrows.

“The [lockdown] rules were, of course, vague,” he said. “Regulation Six said road journeys were to be avoided if the purpose was not “reasonable” or even “necessary”.

“But what Mr A thinks is reasonable his tetchy neighbour next door may think is not so.

“There is nothing so merciless as hypocrisy and at the moment our dear old country is drowning in it.”

His final point, he said, ‘worries the hell out of me’.

“We are slowly sliding into a bureaucratic dictatorship and it is underpinned, as all dictatorships by pandemic, brainwashing propaganda,” he said. “I saw it in East Germany – relentless, mindsapping, repetitive.

“Now it is happening here for the first time in my life and I fear, not the propaganda, but the totally unexpected British docility in the face of it.”