With new variants and constant u-turns it’s hard to know what to do for the best, says Fleet Street Fox. But the government has made it perfectly clear
The annual declaration by the Prime Minister that Christmas should go ahead as planned is swiftly becoming a festive tradition.
Recent history has shown it is followed by a gift-wrapped ban on household mixing, the twinkling fairy lights of forcibly separated families, and the merry jingle of a Downing Street lock-in.
In fact, the sight of Boris Johnson stepping up to a podium and glumly announcing that everything he said two weeks ago has turned out to be wrong creates exactly the same feeling in the hearts of watching children as watching the first snow flake fall, and then seeing it melt on contact with the ground.
If the PM had any sense of occasion, he’d pay Noddy Holder to burst out of the Downing Street curtains yodelling: “IT’S CHRIIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAAS!” And then we’d all know exactly where we stood.
There remains, however, a confusing degree of variation in how we’re supposed to observe and participate in the upcoming festive season, with constant mutations of the rules that are actually guidance, but still called rules, and some of which you can be prosecuted for and some you won’t.
So far, we’ve survived the Barnard Castle variant, which damaged the eyesight so much you couldn’t drive but had to self-diagnose while driving; the Hancock variant, in which you could snog anyone you’re not married to so long as it was necessary for work; and the Nimco variant, that made support bubbles deflate quicker than an anti-vaxxer’s confidence after being moved to the ICU.
Now, after failing to vaccinate members of the government from the urge to present themselves as freedom fighters, we have been struck by the super-mutant OhmiGOD variant, which originated in Downing Street and makes people do whatever the hell they feel like because why should they care, right?
But as politicians are very fond of saying, let me be perfectly clear – the rules have been widely published, and apply to everyone equally. They are as follows:
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
1. You should minimise all social contact, except at Christmas parties where everyone deserves a good knees-up, according to multiple government ministers
2. Only gatherings that are absolutely necessary for work should take place, according to other government ministers, but this may include Secret Santas, quizzes, and boozy leaving-dos
3. There is no requirement to ban household mixing, except when London was in Tier 3 last year when the Prime Minister’s household reportedly mixed quite a lot but no-one else was allowed to
4. Mixing your drinks IS allowed, but don’t forget it is NOT advised to mix the grape with the grain. Banging heads all round
5. The guidance is that you should go on holiday, attend the nativity play, and hold Christmas parties, especially if any of these things are being paid for by a millionaire friend of the family and the polls say you’re bullet-proof.
6. When it comes to mistletoe, your father is allowed to be ‘handsy’ beneath it, although this is also indecent assault and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison
7. You can snog anyone the co-chairman of the Conservative Party Oliver Dowden approves of, but you shouldn’t snog too much in case it upsets Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey
8. Health Secretary Sajid Javid says you can snog absolutely anybody, so long as you do so cautiously, with just a bit of tongue
9. After you have avoided jail, disciplinary action, or a firm slap, obtained written approval, and had Sajid measure the amount of tongue slipped to a colleague and classified this as ‘cautious’, you must wear a mask on your bus home or face a £200 fine
10. If you (against all odds, considering your foreplay) get to fourth base, you can have as much sex as you like with approved people, but not too much, while remaining cautious, but must make sure you wear a condom when you return to your own house.
Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock)
None of these rules apply if you are exempt by way of:
a) voting Tory
b) backing Brexit
c) donating to the Conservative Party
d) listening to Talk Radio
e) watching GB News
f) once meeting someone who does any of the above
11. And finally, of course, you are exempt from every rule ever written if you are put in genuine distress by not having to do much to not kill other people, or you are called Boris.
If you are caught breaking any of the rules, accused of not understanding them, or if it is gently pointed out by a psychiatrist that you appear to be living in an alternative reality where the laws of physics, chemistry and biology are apparently as optional as your moral compass, there is a quick-fix solution.
You just insist you followed all the rules, while making the rules as confusing as possible, so that nobody knows what the rules are and whether you followed them or not.
You then add that you “do not recognise” any of the logical and factual things being put to you, which makes those questioning you start to question reality itself, and merely despair of you.
The sum of all this unaccountability is that the country that has been entrusted to your care does not know which way is up, its people are left to fend for themselves, and the noisy minority of ar**holes can claim to be the silent majority who wishes everyone else were dead and does all they can to make it happen.
It doesn’t matter, because you can blame fat people, old people, sick people, or stupid people, and the voter doesn’t realise you’re talking about them, so will keep giving you 50% of the vote even in mid-term by-elections in a badly-handled pandemic, with 150,000 dead and consequence-free law-breaking in the building where our laws are written, by the people who write them.
Merry Christmas, everybody. Look to the future – this lot have only just begun.