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by Andrew Learmonth
15 December 2021
Last Christmas was already rubbish, Boris has made it worse

Last Christmas was already rubbish, Boris has made it worse

Last December my friend Danny the dogwalker had a heart attack while driving.

Incredibly, miraculously, he managed to steer the van full of pooches clear from traffic, crashing into a roundabout. 

The animals were fine, the other drivers on the road were fine, Danny was not fine. Ten days later, he died.

He was in his early 50s. He’d not long met and married the love of his life. He was the happiest he’d been. And then it was over. 

I’ve been angry at the unfairness of the death of friends and loved ones before, but I wasn’t prepared at how furious I was that Danny had been taken away. 

I was utterly livid that his new wife, her daughter had only had the briefest of times with him. 

I raged at the unfairness of it for all of us who thought of him as a friend. It took me months to calm down. 

It’s been a year, and yet I still see him all the time. But of course, it’s not him, it’s never him, it’s just that Glasgow has a lot of balding, middle-aged men with dogs. 

Still, every time I get a near sight of him, I remember that he’s gone and the anger comes back. 

At the time, the rules meant I wasn’t allowed to go to his funeral. Instead, some of us gathered outside the church, to pay our respects as the hearse drove by.

I’m glad we did, and I’m glad we were there to see him on his way, but it was utterly miserable. 

Not only was there no service for his many pals, there was no wake, no party, no send off. 

On the day before his funeral, Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson, and Ed Oldfield, his special adviser joked about coming up with excuses to defend a party that we now know took place. 

They broke the rules, and they laughed about it and talked about how to cover it up. 

Effectively, they laughed at those of us who did what we were supposed to. 

In the grand scheme of things, not getting to Danny’s funeral is a minor inconvenience. As was spending Christmas on my own two days later. 

I could have spent it with others, hummed and hawed right up until the last possible minute about spending it with others, but that would have meant breaking the rules, or at the very least bending the rules. 

I can’t really moan, because comparatively so many others had it much, much worse than I did. 

Friends couldn’t spend time with parents in care homes, or if they did get time it was fleeting.

One pal had to watch from afar as her mother died, unable to be alongside her. 

Following the rules has been miserable, it’s been exhausting, and it’s not always felt worth it. Has it really made a difference to how the pandemic has played out? The government keeps telling us it has and that it is. And they’re going to ask us to sacrifice more again soon. And we probably will. 

I’m not sure what Downing Street was thinking when they had the party last Christmas. 

I don’t understand why they flat-out denied it when it was easily and provably true. 

I can only assume they think we’re idiots. 

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Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Miners' Pardon: 'I knew I had done nothing wrong'

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