The date is March 1, 2024, and Britain is about to enter its fifth year of lockdown.
Despite the entire population being vaccinated every six months and the death toll from Covid-19 falling to zero, scientists are still warning that it is too early to ease restrictions.
At the Old Bailey, anti-lockdown campaigner Piers Corbyn is jailed for life after being found guilty of failing to wear a mask in his own bathroom while cleaning his teeth.
Corbyn was arrested during a dawn raid by armed police executing a warrant under the new Contagious Diseases (Safety of Ablutions) Serious Offences Act.
A civic-minded neighbour using night-vision binoculars rang Scotland Yard's dedicated Covid Narkline after spotting a maskless Corbyn through a frosted glass window spitting toothpaste into the sink and rinsing it down the plughole.
The date is March 1, 2024, and Britain is about to enter its fifth year of lockdown, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN
Despite the entire population being vaccinated every six months and the death toll from Covid-19 falling to zero, scientists are still warning that it is too early to ease restrictions. Pictured: Teenage Youtube star Canking claimed last week that up 20 police officers swooped on his apartment after receiving a false tip-off that he was holding a lockdown party
Despite the fact that there is no evidence of anyone falling ill after contracting a toothpaste-related Covid variant, scientists have warned that if a single droplet of human saliva contaminates the water supply, it could result in hundreds of millions of horrible premature deaths.
At yesterday's five o'clock news conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that the blanket policy of 'Stay Home; Stop Cleaning Your Teeth; Protect the NHS' had been a roaring success.
Hospital admissions and deaths from Covid have now fallen to nil for the fourth year running.
So have admissions from all other illnesses, since routine operations for everything apart from coronavirus remain suspended — just to be on the safe side.
At the Old Bailey, anti-lockdown campaigner Piers Corbyn is jailed for life after being found guilty of failing to wear a mask in his own bathroom while cleaning his teeth
This has had the added benefit of freeing up hard-pressed NHS staff to do absolutely nothing, as there are now no patients in hospital anywhere in the country — a statistic which the Prime Minister boasts proudly makes Britain's health service the envy of the world.
Ever since everyone in Britain was ordered to stay indoors and wear a mask 24 hours a day, after the fourth spike in 2021, Covid has been successfully eradicated.
But still the long-serving Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the Government's top advisers insist it is too risky to allow a resumption of what we used to think of as normal life . . .
OK, so I exaggerate. Up to a point. But how much more hysterical and illogical can the Government's response to the pandemic get?
There are already demands to force us to wear masks in our own homes. Some fanatics want face coverings made compulsory outdoors, too.
How much more hysterical and illogical can the Government's response to the pandemic get? Pictured: Home Secretary Priti Patel
Police are urging friends, neighbours, even young children to grass up anyone they suspect of breaking the increasingly bizarre lockdown rules.
Transgressors face heavy fines, from £200 up to £10,000. How long before mandatory prison sentences follow?
And given that most of us have effectively spent the past ten months behind bars, would we notice? Still, better get used to it.
Case numbers appear to be falling, but sadly deaths hit record daily levels this week.
Thankfully, vaccination is proceeding quickly, although not without hiccups, but just as we're getting our hopes up, 'the science' claims this is not the be-all-and-end-all.
Doubts are being raised over the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine if the second jab is not given after three weeks, as originally planned.
We're also told there may not be enough vaccine to go round for the forseeable future.
That deceptive light at the end of the tunnel may be just another burglar's torch.
While Boris blusters about keeping restrictions going till summer, the Two Ronnies want some kind of lockdown to stay in force until next year at the earliest. Everybody back in your box.
That cadaverous Jeremiah Chris Whitty (and it's goodnight from him) says that despite vaccination, we should all carry on wearing masks and maintaining social distancing until — well, how long is a piece of string?
Apparently, once Covid is beaten, flu will make a comeback. So what? We've been living with flu for generations without resorting to panic measures.
What's different now is that too many people have tasted power during this pandemic and they're not about to give it up any time soon without a fight.
While Boris blusters about keeping restrictions going till summer, the Two Ronnies want some kind of lockdown to stay in force until next year at the earliest. Everybody back in your box
The scientists, so-called 'experts', civil servants, Toytown politicians, coppers, covid marshals and self-appointed covigilantes are having a field day throwing their weight around.
At the beginning of June, just as the first corona restrictions were being eased, I warned you that the New Normal would be ten times worse than lockdown.
As I've been telling you for decades, once you give anyone any authority, especially if it comes with a hi-viz jacket, they will always . . . well, you know the rest. I don't want to rain on the vaccination parade.
The scientists at Oxford and elsewhere — as opposed to 'the science' — have played a blinder. Funk beyond the call of duty.
But if you think that when everyone's had the first and second jabs we can get back to the Old Normal, I'm here to tell you we won't. Ever.
People will still be required to social distance in five, maybe ten years' time. Who knows? Fancy face masks are here to stay, not just a transient fashion fad.
Working From Home will become a way of life for millions.
Along with long-term unemployment for millions more, as thousands of recently profitable businesses go to the wall, never to recover.
The notion that our ghost town centres will be revived in a hurry with affordable housing and a continental- style cafe culture is for the birds.
Even though the tree-hugging bike lane zealots suffered a setback with the defeat of London's mayor Genghis Khan's insane anti-car Streetspace scheme in the High Court this week, they'll be back everywhere.
They won't give up without a fight, either.
Get set to spend even more time stuck in your own backyard.
Public transport services will be slashed to the bone and become ever more expensive.
Air travel will struggle to recover, despite pent-up demand.
The economist Milton Friedman got it right when he said there's nothing more permanent than a temporary government programme.
Dishi Rishi is already finding it politically virtually impossible to reclaim his stop-gap Covid largesse.
Free school meals all year round and other expensive social handouts are here to stay.
No ambitious politician dares take away anything which has come to be seen as an entitlement. Life's a ratchet not a pendulum.
Now we're required to do only what we're told by ministers who make laws on a whim and hand the police new powers without even bothering to put any of it before Parliament
Sorry if this has been a column to slash your wrists by. I hope I'm proved horribly wrong.
The lasting, most depressing thing about this pandemic — tragic loss of life aside — is the way our assumptions about liberty and democracy have been turned on their head.
And repeated scaremongering has persuaded far too many people to accept it's for their own good.
This was once a country where you could do what you liked as long as it wasn't specifically proscribed by law.
Now we're required to do only what we're told by ministers who make laws on a whim and hand the police new powers without even bothering to put any of it before Parliament.
Covid has permitted an allegedly Conservative Government to create a punishment culture in which people constantly have to ask whether they are 'allowed' to do this, that or the other.
Better brush your teeth while you still can.
Welcome to the New Normal.
Eurostar is in desperate financial trouble and seeking a British Government bailout over Covid.
Here’s a plan. French-owned Eurostar could advertise at the camps near Calais, where thousands of migrants are waiting to cross to Britain.
Instead of paying the people-traffickers exorbitant sums and risking a hazardous Channel crossing in a dinghy, they could be persuaded to buy a ticket and travel in style.
One way, obviously.
Eurostar could even cut out the middle man and build a branch line direct to the DSS in Croydon.
On the toot at the Trumpet
Thanks to all those of you who have written to assure me there was a royal connection behind the old Black Boy & Trumpet pub in Peterborough.
In Tudor times, an African trumpeter called John Blanke served both Henry VII and Henry VIII, and is thought to have come to England as a valued member of Katharine of Aragon’s court.
Katharine, Henry VIII’s first wife, is buried at Peterborough Cathedral. That would explain it.
In Tudor times, an African trumpeter called John Blanke served both Henry VII and Henry VIII, and is thought to have come to England as a valued member of Katharine of Aragon’s court
Blanke was no slave, he was a free man. Trumpeters were paid ten times the wage of an average Tudor labourer.
This (above) is believed to be a image of him, taken from a contemporary manuscript.
So, far from being a poisonous symbol of racism, the Black Boy & Trumpet was actually an early celebration of diversity. Trebles all round!
Now that formerly hard-drinking Bez from the Happy Mondays has become a born-again fitness guru, maybe other 1980s rock stars could be roped in for public health campaigns.
How about the Pogues’ Shane MacGowan as an ambassador for Dry January?