BEL MOONEY: No, no, no! I’m having Christmas for 14 – and no puffed-up Covid marshal will stop me 


The disillusionment and rage I feel could almost make me ill. It’s like a knot in the stomach, driving acid into the mouth, shaking me with dizzy disbelief.

Head and heart shout out in unison: ‘You must be kidding!’ And then: ‘How bloody dare you?’

Countless other citizens of the United Kingdom will be feeling just as I am, as another day dawns on the bitter, pointless reality of the latest arbitrary diktat – the ‘rule of six’.

This latest flurry from a drifting Government means that, from Monday, any gathering of more than six people, indoors or outdoors, will be banned, those who meet in such groups facing fines, and all patrolled by puffed-up ‘Covid marshals’.

Bel Mooney said Boris Johnson’s new Covid Marshals will not prevent her from preparing Christmas dinner for 14 despite the dire warnings coming from Number 10

Columnist Bel Mooney is outraged over the Government's plan which could threaten her traditional Christmas get-together with her family, picture posed by models

Columnist Bel Mooney is outraged over the Government’s plan which could threaten her traditional Christmas get-together with her family, picture posed by models 

Worse still, as it is projected to last into the spring, it means inevitably that the family Christmas is under threat.

No, no, no!

The rule of law is sacred to me – but so is the sanctity of privacy and family life. This Englishwoman’s home is her castle, and usually an oasis of calm.

But now I feel like turning these walls into a redoubt – a fortress against a troublesome world and a government in which I have lost all confidence.

The principle of government by consent dates back centuries, challenging the rule of tyrants. But what does it actually mean?

   

More from Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail…

That we, the people, believe that any government’s moral right to the state’s power is justified and lawful only when we agree.

That doesn’t mean that if the government of our choice fails to win power, we have the right to storm Downing Street.

Democracy gives us the ballot box instead. But it does mean that any government needs our consent to govern.

And what happens at a time of crisis, when the Government issues confusing, contradictory and downright stupid diktats that challenge both reason and morality?

We are citizens, not brainwashed or drugged or terrified subjects in an Orwellian nightmare. Yet the rule of six actually requires people like you and me to give the hapless and high-handed Health Secretary Matt Hancock the ultimate say-so over how we live our social and family lives.

It defies reason – because there appears to be astonishingly little evidence-based justification for the Government’s latest ruling.

And it defies morality because any intelligent individual can see that current policy is a mix of bullying, panic and fear.

What happens to your ‘consent’ when you regard your governing class as stark, staring mad?

All of us obeyed the rules of lockdown because they seemed to be the right thing at the time. History will judge the wisdom – or otherwise – of that policy, but for the sake of the greater good we stayed home, remained alert, thought about the NHS and so on. I delivered food to my parents (98 and 96) staying a safe distance from their doorstep. And now I wear a mask in shops, whether I like it or not. But rules have to make some sense – and for me the line has now been crossed for no valid reason.

Tonight, we have four friends coming to supper. But usually, if I’m cooking, I invite six or more for a jolly evening – ‘the more the merrier’ is one of life’s delights.

Open another bottle! Friendship and family are vital; we are social beings and the deprivations of lockdown brought a pandemic of depression and loneliness.

A week ago I cooked Sunday roast for my parents, my daughter, her husband and their two children. That’s normal.

The Christmas we’re planning this year is a big one – eight adults and four grandchildren and great-grandchildren in our immediate family, plus two beloved friends who have no children of their own. It will be my forty-seventh turkey. And today, despite this latest edict, I say: Bring it on

The Christmas we’re planning this year is a big one – eight adults and four grandchildren and great-grandchildren in our immediate family, plus two beloved friends who have no children of their own. It will be my forty-seventh turkey. And today, despite this latest edict, I say: Bring it on

The Christmas we’re planning this year is a big one – eight adults and four grandchildren and great-grandchildren in our immediate family, plus two beloved friends who have no children of their own. It will be my forty-seventh turkey.

And today, despite this latest edict, I say: Bring it on.

For my parents it will be a very special day – and naturally, given their great age, each family Christmas becomes all the more precious.

My children were weaned on such family celebrations, their spouses love the way we ‘do’ the feast and they want their own children to have the same. To see four generations sitting around our dining table is… yes… like a sacrament to me. The holy festival is also a celebration of family life, symbolised in the divinely beautiful faces of the Madonna and Child.

I’m sorry, but – barring a change in the evidence such as a true ‘second wave’ or a confirmed infection in the family – no here-today-gone-tomorrow government can dare to instruct me not to celebrate with my beloved relatives and special friends this Christmas.

I utterly reject this encroachment on all our civil liberties – and I know many thousands of others will agree.

On the wall of our fortress I spray-paint the word: ‘NO.’

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