Opinion with Jane Wenham-Jones: Liars in public life, loo roll scrum and cutting back Christmas

Covid - Lockdown 2

SO here we go again! Lockdown Number Two has begun and the “clinically extremely vulnerable” have received their letters from Matt Hancock, on how to protect themselves. Including the advice to “try to stay 2 metres away from other people in your household”.

While this may be relatively simple/a blessed relief if you have a large house/been married a long time, it is wholly impractical if you live in a small flat with young children. Which is the (possibly literal) fatal flaw in the plan. While the extra-susceptible are urged avoid the shops, eschew public transport and only work from home, anyone sharing their domestic space is not! According to the instructions, their kids should still go to school, and their partners or housemates can still go into their places of employment – even if they are key workers at high risk – or join the scrum stockpiling paper for the loo.

Doesn’t that rather defeat the object? Surely for the sake of four weeks, the entire household should keep their heads down, since it is that clinically vulnerable group who are most likely to fill the hospital beds? Indeed, if the Vulnerables had been ordered to stay indoors a little longer – I did suggest it, but Boris ignored me – then we might not be looking at an NHS crisis at all…

I AM A LITTLE BIT in love with Rory Stewart. And never more so after reading his splendid analysis of our Premier’s tenuous relationship with the truth. The former MP, when reviewing The Gambler, the recent biography of Boris Johnson by Tom Bower, has declared that our Prime Minister has “mastered the use of error, omission, exaggeration, diminution, equivocation and flat denial. He has perfected casuistry, circumlocution, false equivalence and false analogy.” And he doesn’t stop there. Mr Johnson, Mr Stewart declares is “equally adept at the ironic jest, the fib and the grand lie; the weasel word and the half-truth; the hyperbolic lie, the obvious lie, and the bullshit lie – which may inadvertently be true.”

In fact, he concludes, Boris Johnson is “the most accomplished liar in public life”.

Here, I would have to take issue. Like many of us, I’m sure, I have been glued to the coverage of the US elections, with my heart in my mouth. In the interests of accuracy, I feel the good Rory should temper his words. The most accomplished liar in public life… in Britain?

UNABLE to drag myself from the Trump horrors, I fell asleep on Wednesday night with the radio on. When I woke in the early hours, I thought I was still having a nightmare until I realised I was listening to one of the Trump Juniors. Eric Trump – clearly as deluded as his father – was ranting on about fraud and corruption and vote-stealing, sounding like a petulant schoolboy as he finished with the whining conclusion that “it isn’t fair”. I fear we haven’t seen the last of the Trumps in politics and can look forward to the spectacle of Eric attempting to claw his way back into the White House in 2024. Someone should tell him in the meantime, that life ain’t fair. If it was, his father would never have been President in the first place.

AND because there is no justice, people are still dying of this damn virus, while others complain about having to wear masks, break the rules and most mystifyingly bleat on about “saving” Christmas. Christmas is one day of the year, for which we overspend and overeat. Couldn’t we see this as a golden opportunity to do things a little differently? Scale it down, perhaps? Give the kids a few trinkets, but have a national pact for the rest of us to remember its true spirit for once – for the religious, what could be more Christian than saving lives? – rather than maxing out the credit cards on tat. The benefits will be endless. You’ll save money, can spend the day vegging out on the sofa, and will only have to see the relatives on Zoom. Meaning that you can cry: “Oh no, the internet’s going!” as soon as you‘ve had enough of Great-auntie Flo banging on about the price of sprouts.

I’m thinking a nice Government slogan.  Maybe along the lines of Keep it Small & Keep it Simple (KISS). And definitely avoiding anything over-complicated like Give Over Our Noel, Take Heart Eternally & Pursue In Slighter Style.



  1. I agree – the new rules are hard to make sense of! And much too late! Thanet is becoming most infected area on Kent so total lockdown seems more sensible than fiddling around counting your friends and then sending your kids to mingle with hundreds of others. See you at Xmas Jane if we’re lucky xx

    • If you can’t understand 2 meters or wear a mask or wash you hands you must be thick. Try thinking for yourself and stop depending on others. Use your brain and have a bit of common sense .

      • There are one or two hitherto unrecorded symptoms of coronavirus.
        One is “common sense”. The virus has caused it to fly out if the window.
        As Derek says. It’s all very simple. If what you’re doing is likely to help spread the virus, then stop doing it!

  2. So many highly qualified experts across the world making the case that lockdowns kill more than the virus. Psychologist Emma Kenny has just said that it is impacting on mental health levels in every single area of our society – suicides, self harm, depression – and safeguarding of children has fundamentally failed. “The government is the biggest gaslighter, coercive controller and abuser of our children.” And I would say any politician of ANY party who goes along with this. Many medical experts, including Graham Hutchinson, ex senior chief biomedical scientist for Public Health UK, say masks don’t work and cause illnesses themselves. Normalising photos of pictures of people in masks is very questionable. Many will not wear them because they do not work and impair health. Lord Sumption, former Lord Chief of Justice, says the British public hasn’t began to understand the seriousness of what is happening to our country, and I would that’s why some brave MPs voted against the recent lockdown, with the data presented been shown to not be accurate. Lots of alternative common sense views out there. And do remember the amount of false positives in the testing. Accountability will be really interesting one day when the legal cases roll.

    • So nice to hear a real balanced view of the goings on. The most recent Cambridge Law Faculty video featuring Lord Sumption’s summary of the past 8 months of Covid19 handling in the legal sense, really should be compulsory viewing for anyone still sticking up for the powers that be. Thank you, you’ve saved an iota of sanity here for me

      • Agree, Lord Sumpton has done some excellent work and many do not agree with the official narrative. Pity there are not opinion pieces on that here. Angry comments designed to shut people down, where the evidence has not been explored, contribute nothing but raised blood pressure. Just shows the fear hypnosis has worked for some. But certainly not the millions waking up to the absurdity of it all.

  3. To much pandering to the older children, they should be told to obey rules or suffer the consequences, and as for their mental health what a load of rubbish, parents, get your acts together teach them from an early age to stand on their own two feet, this generation of kids are to dependent on Mum and dad,

  4. I fully agree with you Jane. This is more like a mockdown than a lockdown. My mother in her 90s lives in Ramsgate she had children who were with adults knocking on her door on Halloween evening, five lots of callers in all children and adults. None wearing mask.

  5. I agree mostly with Jane. However Boris in his own way has divided this country with lies as has Trump. We now have anti maskers and anti virus people running wild with incorrect information. Lots of people just don’t care about anyone else in this area. I go shopping and barged out of the way by them. Trying to keep a good distance away is nigh impossible. One reason we have the second highest rate in Kent. Twits galore.

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