Monday, April 15, 2024
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House arrest: A user’s guide


SOME of you have concerns or questions about the introduction of a national house arrest scheme. Usually under these circumstances most of us would turn for accurate information and sound advice to Meghan and Harry, but sadly the couple are busy with important duties in Hollywood.

In their absence, I have been trying to help with some of the more urgent queries.

May I walk my dog?

Dogs are allowed one hour’s exercise a day, or 30 minutes if they choose to cycle. Owners must ensure their pets are fully aware of the social distancing rules. Under emergency powers, police will fine any dog walker whose animal goes within two metres of another dog.

Officers are devoting many hours of overtime to watching drone pictures to ensure we are all safe. Dog walkers who breach regulations are diverting police from other vital emergency tasks, such as keeping the virus out of the national parks and preventing shopkeepers from making chalk marks on the pavement.

I have bored teenagers. How can I keep them busy?

Get them up at 7.30 every morning and make them put on their school uniforms. At eight they should be starting on the day’s online learning that you will have devised and prepared the previous evening. 

At 8.15 allow them to make contact with their friends on social media. They should be allowed to do this for no more than 16 hours, while you adopt the daily routine of the Dude out of The Big Lebowski. Without the bowling.

Why is the lockdown necessary?

The Government is following the best scientific advice, and the best scientists are the ones with the scariest doomsday predictions. Since the scientists who make the scariest predictions get the biggest grants, there is plenty of good science for the Government to act on. 

Without this system, we would all have fallen victim to the Millennium Bug.

What will the lockdown achieve?

It is designed to save the NHS, or OURNHS as it will be known for the duration of the crisis. OURNHS is under enormous pressure, because this disease has of the weekend caused slightly more than 1,000 deaths, or rather less than one tenth of the five-year average for weekly deaths in March in England and Wales.

Doctors are routinely appearing on TV and in the newspapers explaining that they are having to choose which patients should live and which should be allowed to die, something they should never have to do, except they do it all time. 

Our task is to lean out of the window and clap like muffins to show our gratitude. It is not to ask, isn’t it the job of OURNHS to save us?

How will the Government make sure the public is kept fully informed?

There will be a televised press conference from Downing Street every day, led by whichever Cabinet Minister or medical official has remembered to wash their hands. A BBC reporter will be the first allowed to ask a question, and will drone on for more than two minutes asking at least three questions. By the end of this process, you will have turned over to Netflix.

Majestic wine warehouse has a two-week waiting list for deliveries. What can I do?

You should get yourself declared a key worker, which will mean you get priority for fresh deliveries of New Zealand sauvignon. There will be fewer difficulties maintaining your cocaine supplies, so long as the broadband holds out. County lines distribution networks should function normally, largely because police will be concentrating on the crackdown on rogue dog walkers. 

What will this crisis do for social cohesion?

We must all pull together during such times. It is the responsibility of middle-class people, who can work from home and who are highly likely to maintain their comfortable salaries, to make sure low-paid people who have lost their jobs understand this.

Thankfully, we are seeing unusual political unity, because the impoverishment of large numbers of lower earning service sector workers is exactly what Labour fought the last election to achieve.

When will things get back to normal?

It is vital that the social distancing rules remain in place long enough to ensure that if things go badly wrong Boris doesn’t get the blame. I wouldn’t book any holidays before Christmas.

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