Real life

Was endorsing Boris one of my worst misjudgments ever?

5 December 2020

9:00 AM

5 December 2020

9:00 AM

Now that our social lives are a Venn diagram that only mathematicians can understand I am officially becoming a recluse.

I’ve been getting to this point for years, but since the latest Covid rules mean that what we can and can’t do until ‘vaccine freedom day’ can only be understood if you have a head for shaded charts, I am resigning from polite society, in so far as I was ever in it.

Boris may as well have announced 375 tiers and a rule saying anyone who wants to celebrate Christmas needs to sit inside an actual bubble and roll themselves along the floor. I have no idea what the government is on about any more. I couldn’t care about what I can and can’t do even if I wanted to because there is no way to understand it if, like me, you have dyscalculia — why should I say I’m rubbish at maths when these days I can have a disability?

Before that was an option, I earned notoriety at school for being rubbish at maths. Either way, I cannot work out who to have for Christmas dinner now it involves charts.

My mum rang me to ask what to do. ‘I don’t know, Mum,’ I said. ‘I honestly don’t know.’


On the one hand, we can be in a bubble: Mum, Dad, the builder boyfriend and I. Or is that a double bubble? On the other hand, we are in different tiers. They’re in tier 99, or whatever, on account of having a postcode linked to a Midlands city with a claim to being the epicentre of the Covid storm, even though they’re miles outside it.

We’re in Surrey, county of many tiers, where last time I checked every village seemed to be at a different threat level. I have no desire to start scrutinising maps coloured different shades of red and orange to find out what zones we’re in now.

Attempting to go several steps further to find out whether two bubbles can intersect with two tiers would involve me bursting my brains and spilling them over the floor. I’m not doing it. And then there’s the issue of age, a subject that has prompted doomful pronouncements by public health officials: invite your parents for Christmas and kill them stone dead!

‘Shall we come?’ asked my mum. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘What does Dad think?’ ‘He doesn’t know either.’ And that really frightened me. Because Dad used to do all my maths homework.

If he doesn’t know whether he and Mum can come to my house for Christmas, then nobody does. And if it came to me trusting my dad or the Prime Minister to interpret the Prime Minister’s rules, I would go with Dad not only because he’s so technically able but also because he has never, so far as I know, got engaged to someone who likes Chris Packham.

Let’s face it, Boris has been acting a bit strange lately. It pains me to say it because I’ve argued in his favour many times over the years. I’ve put my reputation for borderline sanity on the line by singing his praises and trying to convince people he’s a proper Tory and a shrewd operator — it’s all a ruse, the whole buffoonery thing!

But ever since he got involved with the animal rights activist who counts Chris Packham among her friends, I’ve had a horrible feeling. Oh no, I keep thinking, what have I done? I’ve told people I trust this guy and now he’s engaged to someone who was refused a visa to the States. After she had a reshuffle of his aides at No. 10, it occurred to me that this endorsement of mine might turn out to be the worst misjudgment I’ve made since the time I decided to answer an email from a ragwort enthusiasts’ group.

Either the Puffin Protector in Chief is calling the shots, which is not a metaphor she would approve of, or the PM is becoming a fully fledged enviro-mentalist.

And on top of that, it looks as though he’s making up the Covid rules as he goes along. If he does know whether people of a certain age will be allowed to travel outside zone 99 in a few weeks, then could he produce the relevant diagram in time for me to order the turkey? Oh, never mind.

I’m hoping Carrie Symonds might read this because it comes up on her press digest now I’ve mentioned her name. Perhaps Ms Symonds, seasoned political operator and renowned lover of Dilyn the dog (I happen to know she likes that), could tell him indoors to get his act together and work out whether retired folks will be allowed to travel 110 miles for a turkey dinner? Or do we have to promise to eat nut roast?

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