Who's a clever Oik? Or maybe not
So forget that barbecue that had been pencilled in for next weekend. The weather might hold fair and dry, but no more than six people may now congregate together. This new restriction will be policed, with fines for non-compliance. But, as Paul Waugh of the HuffPost discovered yesterday afternoon, some gatherings of more than six people are more acceptable than others. Especially to the more natural Tory supporters.
Who might benefit from this exemption?
Here’s what he found. “HuffPost has learned that a special meeting of the govt's Covid-19 Operations sub committee - chaired by Michael Gove - was arranged for Saturday afternoon with just one item on the agenda: exemptions for shooting/hunting”. But, surprisingly, the meeting never actually took place.
“The meeting was pulled just a few hours beforehand with a message to ministers and officials that the issue would be discussed another time via correspondence. But then the regulations went up just before midnight the following day … Some insiders think the govt axed the meeting and went ahead anyway cos they feared some ministers could have tried to block the exemption”. Yes, hunting and shooting are exempt!
This precipitated a welter of cynicism over the motivation behind Bozo and Michael “Oiky” Gove giving the all-clear for huntin’ and shootin’ to continue, with Peter Jukes musing “So glad the Government is providing specific exemptions for shooting parties during the Coronavirus pandemic. That should please some key parts of Boris Johnson’s base".
Just how adjacent Bozo is to this strictly minority pastime was illustrated by the Tweeter known as Planet Belfast, showing The Great Man sailing forth under full Tweed canvas while triumphantly brandishing a brace of pheasants, to let all those mere mortals know the extent of his skill. It was awesome, even if it was hideous.
But then a thought occurred to Ed Bishop: what constitutes a shooting party? In order to illustrate his point, he Tweeted out a photo of Vinnie Jones, taken from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the classic pose holding two shotguns. “Vinny caught on his way to a BBQ with 29 mates” he observed. No doubt with a bottle of Scotch in each pocket, just to stiffen the lads’ resolve on those windy grouse moors, you understand.
All it would need then would be for Gazza to turn up with the obligatory pre-barbecued chicken and a bag of pork pies, and the party could get shooting, or even started.
Gove must have thought he was being terribly clever, giving all those potential party donors an exemption. He just made policing the Group of Six that bit more difficult.
“It’s a shooting party Officer, we’ve got an imitation firearm, a clump of heather with a dog turd on top, and a brace of pheasants from Waitrose”. And a tweed bean bag, no doubt.
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