Quite apart from the fact that the Canary Islands are as far from Spain as the UK itself is, given the levels of coronavirus infections it would make more sense for ministers to impose quarantine on people travelling from Bradford than from their sun loungers on the Costa del Corona.
Equally, despite insisting that the post-vacation quarantine is mandatory, the government has also made it abundantly clear that it won’t be policed so, unless a uniformed officer is stationed outside every home, the law relies on individual travellers’ goodwill. In which case, why make it mandatory in the first place?
Meanwhile, on the other side of Whitehall, various other departments have announced their latest attempt to slim down the nation’s expanding waistlines. After months of lockdown, the average Brit has piled on half a stone in weight and now is the time for the Prime Minister – newly evangelical about weight loss since his brush with death as an overweight coronavirus patient – to get the nation to shut the fridge door and get exercising.
To this end, we’ve seen a whole spate of measures to tackle obesity, from a ban on adverts for “junk food” and buy-one-get-one-free supermarket offers to telling us all to join Weight Watchers and get on our taxpayer-funded bikes.
Meanwhile, next week, the very same government will pay us up to £10 each to eat out in the restaurant, café, bar or pub of our choice every Monday to Wednesday for the entire month of August.
So we are going to be banned from seeing adverts from companies trying to sell us unhealthy food, or buying their products cheaply in supermarkets, at the same time as we will be subsidised to buy any food we want – healthy or unhealthy – as long as we eat it in a restaurant or a pub, not at home. You couldn’t make it up. Although clearly this government just did.
We’re constantly told, as we emerge from the lockdown, to use our good old fashioned British common sense. Yet the Government seems to have taken leave of its own senses.
Do Boris Johnson or Matt Hancock honestly believe that millions of overweight Britons who have piled on the pounds over many years are poised, just waiting for a £50 voucher to get their old bike mended or a subsidy to buy a £1,000 electric bike, so they can finally get active? Are they aware that the mere fact of owning a bicycle doesn’t in and of itself make you lose weight? I should know – mine’s happily gathering dust in the conservatory as I type.