Following pressure from UEFA, the Government will allow several thousand football VIPs to attend the Euro 2020 finals in Britain without having to quarantine. Meanwhile, ordinary Britons and other NVIPs (Not Very Important Persons) will still have to quarantine for 10 days if they arrive in the U.K. from amber list countries.
This absolutely flagrant double standard – one rule for thee and another for VIPs – has united everyone from David Davis to Caroline Lucas in condemnation of the Government. Davis said the decision was “morally inconsistent”, while Lucas called it “deep hypocrisy”.
How has the Government attempted to justify the decision? Well, as one source told The Telegraph, “It’s important to be able to host international events such as the Euros, and there will be strict mitigations for those attending in order to protect public health, similar to those used at the G7.”
To be fair and reasonable to the Government’s position, this makes absolutely no sense. On 14th June it was announced that the full re-opening would be delayed by four weeks due to a supposedly alarming rise in cases. Here the Government’s top priority was keeping cases down, even if that meant cancelling weddings, concerts and other live performances.
Now the Government is saying, “It’s important to be able to host international events.” But why isn’t it important to be able to host weddings and concerts? I suspect some of these events even have had international guests (you know, people travelling from abroad to see their friends get married).
The Government’s position seems to be: it’s of course very important we don’t do anything that could risk another epidemic, unless that thing happens to be an “international event such as the Euros” in which case it’s of course very important that we host it. You’re keeping up, aren’t you?
But it gets better. The VIP exemption was negotiated by Dan Rosenfield, the PM’s chief of staff, who happens to be “an avid football fan”. So now policy is decided based on the hobbies of political appointees? “Sorry your concert’s been cancelled but our chief of staff doesn’t really listen to music.”
How can the Government get away with simply making things up as it goes along? I guess it’s down to the lack of any real opposition. In the vote to extend lockdown, almost every Labour and “Liberal” Democrat MP again voted with the Government. And it’s hard to hold a party to account when there aren’t any other options.
Stop Press: Ross Clark has made a similar argument in the Sunday Express.