WE have to be thankful for the four-nation Cobra meeting yesterday. At last, the children are sort of playing together nicely, having spent the past five months calling each other names from the opposite sides of the playground and claiming to be the very bestest when it comes to beating the beastly Covid.

But where does that leave us? What we have is fast-rising infection rates, which Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, says could lead to 200 deaths a day by November, and a need for urgent action.

Yet, while the our government leaders are holding hands, can we trust them to get it right this time? Boris Johnson said: “If the British public do what we did before we will get this virus under control.”

Yet, what the clown prince of politics fails to understand is the strategy failed desperately. What we have to do is something different.

And so we come to the new nationwide decrees. We’ve got to be out the pub door a good two hours before Cinderella. Of course, the virus doesn’t emerge through the doors at one minute past; the time restriction is arbitrary. But will this new law find agreement amongst the public and pub owners? That’s about as likely as the PM revealing the number in his family.

Yes, it’s about containing the drunk and unruly. But the pubs and restaurants I’ve viewed recently are running ships that are tighter than Captain Bligh’s waistband, where tables are spaced and sanitiser flows faster than Prosecco.

Yes, we need to halt house parties. But what if a couple in a relationship, who work from home, want to see each other in their own homes? They can meet in a restaurant, or snog on a park bench, but not on each other’s sofas? Is this a "household gathering"?

And what of the major problems to come; the groupings of young people at university, sharing flats, who will then go home to their parents?

I want to go along with your new rules, Nicola, and your's too, Boris, but people will need to be convinced that while you can have 15 people attend a wedding, 30 can appear at a funeral. Does this mean it’s half as important to celebrate a union as it is to herald a departure?

We would hope sports crowds could return. Well, there seems no reason why the likes of Celtic and Rangers couldn’t absorb 10,000 fans at a safe distance.

But the problem would be pre/post match connections. Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, points out, however, that research has shown that 97 per cent of “super-spreading" events occur indoors, and that outdoor transmission is minimal.

What we need is clarity. And informed honesty. When Home Secretary Priti Patel went on Radio 4 to explain the new rules on meeting up she declared that two families stopping to chat on the way to the park was "absolutely mingling" and therefore, quite literally, now a crime. That is nonsense. Accidental meeting is not criminal.

What we have to do is continually assess if the laws are fair. Who do they serve? We know of the intricate balancing act going on between economic survival and the potential loss of lives.

But if a government is to restrict freedoms it has to be about proportionality. If we’re talking about a six-month strategy what of the grandparents who can’t see their families, even if the families have done their utmost to be Covid compliant?

We’ve listened to the rhetoric. We bought into bubbling, moonshots, whack-a-mole. We also need to continually ask questions, for example of the Johnson Government’s links with Serco’s £45m test and trace contract, given accusations of Tory party links and poor performance.

Satirist Jonathan Swift once said; “All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. ” The quote is a stark reminder that we need our governments to adjust laws, to ditch the harsh command style and to make the new restrictions as reasonable as possible, to allow the population to act as sensibly as possible.

Nicola Sturgeon has gone the extra step, as expected. And let’s hope the tougher approach is right. And those causing real, potential harm should be punished. House parties etc can’t be tolerated.

But while we’re afraid of Covid, there’s a real worry our ever-more authoritarian governments aren’t really acting on our best interests.

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