RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Roll out the barrel, it's the New Normal…

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Roll out the barrel, it’s the New Normal… but the hasty, ill-thought-out relaxation of the lockdown rules is a model of incompetence and contradiction

Lockdown was partially eased in England yesterday, but don’t all cheer at once. Some of the ‘temporary’ restrictions were also enshrined in law. 

For instance, visiting a different household for sex, or any other purpose, is being made illegal. How are they going to make that stick? 

There is no force on earth which will stop determined human beings making love — as Professor Neil Ferguson, the Government’s own Covid adviser, proved beyond doubt. 

He was caught with his paisley Y-fronts down after inviting his mistress round for a little lockdown-breaking legover. 

Labour MP for Canterbury Rosie Duffield resigned as a Labour whip when it was revealed she’d broken the rules to meet up with her married lover. 

While Ferguson was rightly reviled for his hypocrisy, Duffield has received a more sympathetic hearing, although not from her boyfriend’s jilted wife. 

Still, in the scheme of things no one bar the permanently faux-furious covigilantes could really care less. 

There’s not a parliament on earth that can successfully legislate against extra-curricular hanky-panky. 

One of the funniest stories over the weekend was about a Dorset copper, Inspector Billy Bulloch, who has been caught going at it like rabbits with assorted, unnamed members of the public while he was on duty. 

Bulloch by name, bull by nature. But if they can’t prevent police officers rutting in defiance of the social distancing regs, what chance have they got of stopping anyone else? 

The ban on slap-and-tickle, however ridiculous and doomed to failure, is little more than a sideshow. It’s what comes with it which worries me. 

Frankly, I’m more bothered about the New Normal than I am about having been confined to barracks for the past couple of months. 

The hasty, ill-thought-out relaxation of the rules is a model of inconsistency, incompetence and contradiction. 

For instance, English car showrooms reopened yesterday, but salesmen are banned from taking you on a test drive. 

Unaccompanied test drives are permitted, but would you trust a punter, who’s just wandered in off the street, with the keys to a 50-grand motor? 

What’s to stop him simply driving off in it, never to be seen again? More to the point, who in their right mind would want to buy a new car now? 

Councils across Britain are cynically exploiting the corona pandemic to advance the most brutal anti-car agenda. 

Egged on by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, and epitomised by London’s opportunist mayor Genghis Khan, they’re banning cars, widening pavements and building hundreds of new cycle lanes. 

Driving has never been more expensive or frustrating. That’s the whole point of these policies. 

What with congestion charges, low emissions charges and punitive parking fines, pretty soon the only people who will be able to afford to travel by car are those like Khan who have access to an official £300,000 Range Rover. 

I couldn’t help wondering what people queueing outside an Ikea yesterday were doing there. It wasn’t for the meatballs. 

What were they planning to buy and how — once Genghis and his gang get their way — do they intend to get it home? 

You can’t lug a wardrobe or double bed on the back of a pushbike or the top deck of a bus. 

When I saw a graphic detailing ‘How Your Town Centre Could Look’ post-lockdown yesterday, my heart sank. 

More road closures, wider pavements, extensive pedestrianisation, street marshals to enforce social distancing, exclusion zones outside shops. It is going to be a hi-viz heaven, a jobsworth’s paradise. 

And when you give someone any modicum of authority, they will always, always abuse it. 

Who wants to queue up outside a shop for hours, being barked at by a Warden Hodges wannabe with a loud-hailer? 

Pedestrian precincts were already carpeted with tumbleweed, even before the lockdown, as shoppers were deterred by sky-high parking charges, wheel clampers and tyrannical traffic wardens. 

Far from being the salvation of the High Street, the New Normal will not only be the final nail in its coffin, we’ll all lose the will to live. 

And don’t get me started on airports, which have been a nightmare since 9/11. 

Who wants to spend eight hours on a transatlantic flight trapped in a face mask, before being ordered into quarantine for a fortnight at the end of it? 

Unless the two-metre rule goes, forget going for a pint or a curry. 

The daftest idea I’ve seen so far is the notion that restaurant customers should encase themselves in transparent plastic barrels to prevent them from infecting fellow diners. 

Why stop there? Why not make everyone wear a Buzz Lightyear space suit whenever they leave the house? 

I hesitate to joke about all this. It’s probably only a matter of time before wearing plastic barrels in public is made compulsory — no doubt starting with anyone gearing up for a bit of how’s your father with someone from a different household. 

Any country which tries to make consensual sex illegal has already lost the plot. Now please wash your hands. 

In recent years, the Last Night Of The Proms has resembled a Remoaner Rally. Now this season’s concerts have been cut back and may go ahead without live audiences, the Promenaders will all have to sit at home waving their EU flags. 

Watson should never be allowed anywhere near ermine, as this column has argued consistently thanks in no small part to his role in the historic sex crimes scandal

Time for Watson to face the music

Nonce Finder General Tom Watson will not get a seat in the House of Lords, according to the respected political journalist John Rentoul. 

Watson’s nomination, by Jeremy Corbyn, has been blocked by the independent appointments commission, along with ex-Speaker John Bercow and Corbyn’s former aide Karie Murphy. 

The commission won’t comment on individual cases, but let’s hope the report is true. Nominees can be turned down if their past conduct can reasonably be regarded as likely to bring the Lords into disrepute. 

Watson should never be allowed anywhere near ermine, as this column has argued consistently. 

He’s one of the most malevolent, malignant individuals ever to soil British politics, responsible for trashing the lives and reputations of blameless men wrongly accused of ‘historic’ sex crimes by fantasist and now convicted paedophile Carl Beech. 

Watson abused Parliamentary privilege and his position to badger the police and the Crown Prosecution Service into pursuing these ghastly, false allegations. 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to stop him being made head of UK Music, the music industry’s umbrella body, despite having none of the qualifications demanded in the job advert. 

His appointment was a stitch-up, greeted with disgust by distinguished songwriters, musicians, publishers and record label executives — including Cliff Richard and Paul Gambaccini, who were both caught up in the Watson-inspired, post-Savile witch-hunt.

Disgracefully, in the face of overwhelming opposition, the board of UK Music is still refusing to sack him and Watson, lacking any shred of decency, shame or self-awareness, will not stand down. 

If he’s too disreputable for the Lords, he’s certainly unfit to lead a body representing one of Britain’s most valuable and prestigious industries. 

Unless Watson resigns, wealthy organisations such as the Performing Rights Society and Phonographic Performance Ltd — who bankroll UK Music to the tune of £1.3million a year — should pull out their money and set up an independent lobbying group of their own. 

By sticking with Watson, the UK Music board and his cheerleader, PRS chief executive Andrea Martin, have dragged into the gutter the industry they are paid to protect. 

They, too, should go. 

Sooty: An apology…

Tory MP Roger Gale writes to say that he never attended a formal lunch with ex-Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie and nor did he work on The Sooty Show. 

Kelvin insists the lunch took place and he did wave off Gale with Harry Corbett’s trademark: ‘Bye, bye everybody…’

Since Sooty was unavailable for comment yesterday, I am, however, happy to take Gale’s word that he never worked on the show and apologise for any distress it may have caused. 

I’m not sure what he’s most upset about — being associated with Sooty or Kelvin MacKenzie. 

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