[Update at end of post]
As from last Friday, Wales is under what is being termed a “firebreak” lockdown, while the rest of the UK is not. This should not be newsworthy, but such is the desperation of the right-leaning punditerati that no opportunity to score clickbait can be ignored. So it was that self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Brewer decided to wade in.
The Welsh lockdown has also included restrictions on supermarket sales of non-essential goods; this was discussed during The Andy Marr Show™ yesterday morning when the host interviewed Vaughan Gething MS, Health and Social Services Minister in the Senedd. As Gething explained, the purpose of this was, partly, to stop people spending too much time in enclosed spaces, browsing, maybe mingling, and potentially transmitting Covid-19.
That, though, was not enough for the FREEM brigade. This, to them, was dictatorship. And Ms Hartley Dooda is one of them. So when someone Tweeted video of a young man in what looked like an almost empty Tesco store, with the comment “Welsh lad ripping down the plastic in a supermarket. We need more heroes like this, instead of the idiots in the senedd making ridiculous country destroying rules”, she was in full agreement.
“Hero” she exclaimed, managing to ignore the inconvenient fact that (a) the person depicted was committing an act of criminal damage, (b) the supermarket’s workers, probably not earning much more than the minimum wage, would now have the additional task of clearing up his mess, and (c) since the pandemic struck, violence and abuse directed at such workers has doubled. None of this troubles Ms Hartley Dooda.
So when someone tried to point out her problem, telling “Glad to see you on the side of the vandals”, she merely doubled down with “I'm on the side of the sane” (no laughing at the back, please). Clare Frances disagreed. “No you're not, Julia. The lockdown is for two weeks. With time to prepare. Throwing kids' clothes around a supermarket that staff then have to clear up whilst wearing no mask so he can get social media exposure is hardly Escape From Colditz”. It was hardly causing her to retract, too.
Nor was someone picking her up on her “sanity” jibe by responding “Sanity involves pretending we aren't in the middle of a global pandemic?” No, she wasn’t having any of that. “Sanity involves not pretending that not selling ‘non-essential goods’ will prevent a virus from spreading”. See above for Vaughan Gething’s comments yesterday.
Some of those responding stood apart from the Hartley Dooda fan club to put her straight. “I'm sure you're intelligent enough to work out that closing down 'non-essential' aisles mean that people spend a little less time in the store. When you're disabled and have to stand outside in the rain waiting for the door security to wave you in .. it makes a difference” told one. She isn’t stupid. But she is appallingly wilful.
And as to that “sanity” idea, “And ‘sanity’ involves directing your complaints at the people who have put the rules in place, not the shops and shop workers carrying out the guidance”. Instead, she’s just encouraging more criminal damage.
Murdoch TalkRADIO is so desperate for listeners - it’s endorsing vandalism.
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[UPDATE 1715 hours: Maybe Ms Hartley Dooda would be less enamoured of this stunt if she knew that the perpetrator had been arrested and charged with a variety of offences. Which he has.
As the Daily Post has reported, "A man filmed apparently ripping covers off 'non-essential' goods at a North Wales Tesco has been arrested and charged with criminal damage". There was more.
"Gwilym Owen ... claimed to be protesting at the Welsh Government's ban on supermarkets selling non-essential items during the firebreak lockdown ... Mr Owen, from Anglesey was arrested by North Wales Police and charged with criminal damage, several public order offences, and contravention of the Coronavirus regulations ... He is due to appear at Caernarfon Magistrates' Court on November 24".
Perhaps Julia Hartley Dooda would like to appear as a character witness. Just a thought]