• katherinedoggrell

The cost of freedom - Ed's letter


One of the many reasons why, as we chew our way through month 15, the pandemic is so very tiring, is all the flow charting we have to do. No decision is final. Everything is subject to change. It doesn’t matter how set a plan can feel, how simple, it can vanish in a puff. Or a ping.

Which is why the appeal of Freedom Day was so gripping. That’s it. No more restrictions. No going back. You say you’re meeting your friends in the pub, you’re meeting them in the pub and that’s that.

Alas it didn’t get off to the best of starts, with the prime minister having to retreat to Chequers, the 16th-century manor house set in 1,000 acres which really should be being Airbnb’d for the good of the nation, so high are room rates this domestic holiday season.

Epidemiology is not this hack’s strong point, so we’ll be side-stepping what Freedom Day means for the virus and looking instead at what it means for the sector, on a day when the final 12,000 venues which had been held back were able to open.

Other than the clubbers in Bristol who were ready at see in the dawn, the mood was muted. Quiet almost, and the reason was something which the current incumbent at Chequers could fully identify with: the ominous ping of the NHS app, informing all who hear it that they must immediately retreat from public life.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, said that the company had been forced to close 33 pubs, telling the BBC: “Across the industry we