The Guardian’s take on the Christmas holidays: no thanks to Boris Johnson | Editorial
Smeanwhile, time with family is very important to human beings. There has been a spectacular reminder of this truth this week. DNA from the bones and teeth of 35 people who were buried more than 5,700 years ago in a Neolithic grave in the Cotswolds showed that, 700 years before work on Stonehenge began, 27 of the 35 were biological parents of five generations, including young children. The realities of Neolithic life are for the most part unimaginable to us today. In their concern for the family, on the other hand, these otherwise remote communities seem to strongly identify with each other.
What was true in prehistoric times is also true now. This weekend will be his annual incarnation. For most people, the Christmas holidays are the perfect family occasion of the year. Its religious importance has long been secondary to its social importance. For good and for bad, it’s a family time. There will be a lot of lonely and hungry people this weekend, and there is invariably a frightening increase in domestic violence. However, despite the Covid brakes, the spread of the Omicron and the disruptions on road and rail, about half of the British population are still considering visiting relatives.
After the forced isolation of Christmas 2020, this is no surprise. But, at the same time, it’s hardly a shock that greater caution than normal abounds in people’s shopping, socializing and travel behaviors. This year has been very different from the typical Christmas before the pandemic, in part because so many staff across all sectors of the economy have gone down with Omicron, but also because the combined effect of the past 20 months and the high transmissibility of the new variant means that the public is rightly cautious. The possibility of re-containment and a repeat of the last-minute disruption of 12 months ago has added to the collective restraint. The impact on some sectors of the economy has been devastating.
It’s a huge relief that Christmas is happening across Britain. Individuals need their break. Families, communities and nations too. The pressure on the children has been damaging. The stress of the elderly is particularly palpable. Still, the go-ahead for the holidays has been a close thing. The news that there will be no more announcements of new Covid rules in England was only confirmed by Health Secretary Sajid Javid less than two days before the holidays. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were all forced to change and tighten their arrangements after Christmas until the last moment. Future restrictions remain very possible.
Any idea that this is all a political triumph for Boris Johnson is wrong. In the context of his past mismanagement and rule violations, and the loss of life that resulted from his approach, the suggestion is immoral. Politically, Mr Johnson desperately needs Christmas to unfold, in part because he’s a hedonist, in part to avoid a 2020 repeat, in part because it is a tabloid campaign issue, but also because an intimidating part of his party recklessly opposes it. to all restrictions. Even Mr Johnson knows the real issue here is whether, and to what extent, the economy and society can continue to function without the NHS giving in under pressure. Much of his party doesn’t care.
Against this backdrop, the possibility that Omicron’s impact on individuals will be less severe than expected is good news, if confirmed, but it is not a rationale for Mr Johnson’s handling of the pandemic. If much of the Conservative Party had had their libertarian path, Britain’s record number of infections, deaths and hospitalizations would be even greater. It’s great that the Christmas holidays are here, but the credit goes to the common sense of the majority of the British public, not the folly of their incompetent and divided government.