On 23 June, the Government offered up a perspective on masks: ‘the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small’.

As we now know, the world can change very quickly. The new norm dictates that the same goes for science. Not real science, but the post-fact flavour. The bunkum perspective of charlatan city central. As a consequence, wearing a mask will become compulsory in UK shops on 24 July.

Now, were this so crucial for the prevention of transmission, why would we wait a full 10 days before implementation? Probably a nod to our movement towards 24/7 control. These clowns do love their symbolism.

Let’s ask ourselves a simple question: are shoppers going to be at risk in shops during the next 10 days? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then waiting 11 days is senseless. If ‘No’, then the law is utter tosh.

Unless COVID has signed an agreement to stay out of the shops until Government lawyers have drawn up the latest chapter in its Andrex tissue of barmy, unenforceable law.

After all, there are not enough Old Bill to police our wider communities, let alone our retail outlets. Unless Doreen from the pound shop is planning on applying rear naked chokes while Darren retrieves a chewed Bic from behind his ear and writes you up a fixed penalty on a ripped till receipt. Transport companies know only too well about how risible the whole masquerade is. People are simply flashing ‘exempt cards’ downloaded online that are accessible to all, and buses are signposting requests not to ask drivers to intervene with those not wearing them.

The police will in any event be shuddering in their size-12s this morning at the prospect of yet another hospital pass being sliced over to them. They know that this whole exercise will end with them taking bucket-loads of grief from the public.

Presumably though, visitors to pubs and restaurants won’t be forced to muzzle up even though the enclosed space of a pub has surely got to be riskier than a comparatively airy supermarket? People talking, putting glasses and forks to their mouths. It all sounds risky if, as we are led to believe, we are still amid a crisis. Clearly, masks would not work in this setting. You might argue then, that a requirement for masks in shops means that pubs and the like should not be opening at all?

But hey, this is about stimulating the economy and getting us back out of this whole self-harming hole. These truth-twisters will be panel-beating any inconsistency that fails to fit their wacko narrative of good Government.

It’s all whimsical twaddle if you are seeking a scientific rationale.

The genesis of this whole mess was the Boris strategy of forming a cabinet from a gang of compliant lickspittles. Throw in a major crisis and, Ladies and Gentlemen, we were always going to be staring down the barrel of fun.

We were tossed into lockdown on the basis of gossip science, and we were yanked back out on the basis of even less. Now, the Government announces enforcement of a wheeze that scientists state does not work. It’s like putting up wire fences to stop mosquitoes.

And even if they did work, why make them compulsory at a point when infection rates have fallen to their lowest? And all of this follows Gove’s assertion only the previous day that mask-wearing would not become mandatory. In the space of 48 hours, they’ve flip-flopped from ‘it doesn’t work’, to ‘we’re considering it’, to ‘definitely not’, to ‘we’re doing it compulsorily in 10 days’.

It seems to me as if they are making it up as they go along. And of course, they are.

Good news for shoplifters, though, who were previously shielded only by fortuitously placed 1-megapixel CCTV filmed at a distance of 30 yards. And especially since any copper in the vicinity will be out tasering unmasked bandits. It was not so long ago that wearing a face covering in a public gathering would have attracted a public order fine. What a time to be alive.

You do wonder, however, whether this latest piece of shooting from the hip will serve only to hasten the demise of shops that were already close to folding. Well, maybe the mandatory muzzling will encourage the reticent ones to now come out? Perhaps it is one of those confounding masterstrokes that will have us all nodding appreciatively at a point of future reminiscence?

You can add a monster dollop of doubt to that prospect, but at the moment it’s one day at a time, sweet Jesus. Merle Haggard would have appreciated that sentiment, I’m sure.

But let’s be frank; the movement towards masks is anything but medical. Yes, the social media machines are pumping gas into the empathy discourse and the one-love mantra that ‘my mask protects you’.

Imagine the direction of travel of this whole romp: bolstering camaraderie via a Government directive and we ate all going to cohere under one central authority. We’re following our leader in the face of an unseen enemy, and because we want to.

Forget the pale blue surgical mask, pass me a red MAGA hat.

But back to the reality of the permanently warped. Why is there a push on masks when they don’t work and when the virus is on the decline?

Well, for the clowns in Government, the last thing they now need is for the crisis to just go away.

That will need to be continually beefed up 24/7 by high-profile symbols and markers because as the economic downturn starts to bite, we will need to be pre-occupied with distraction and to believe that it was all unavoidable. Yes, they want the economy kicked back into gear, but the climate of fear is an essential cloak in the retrospective rewrite of what has gone down, or more appropriately what has gone down the pan. What could be more in your face than a face mask on your face? It injects a sinister pseudo horror-tinge into proceedings and a persistent and immediate reminder of danger.

For others, they will be further symbolic of a muzzled, restrained, and silenced population.

The masks are going to be covering not just faces.


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