Dan Wootton: My hope is that with Dominic Cummings out of the picture, Boris has the strength to claim back control from the scientists

Dan Wootton gives his take on the day's top stories.

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SAGE

Deep down I’m convinced the Prime Minister knows what I’m about to say is completely correct. SAGE – the scientific body that has enforced such draconian limits on our lives for the past 18 months thanks to its guidance – needs to be reined in and reformed. It’s not fit for purpose.

As a former libertarian, it’s insane that Boris Johnson has allowed himself and the country to be controlled so successfully by this group of doom merchant boffins. Now am I saying all their advice has been wrong? Absolutely not. We have been in a pandemic and some changes to our day to day lives were, of course, necessary. But it’s about time we all realise SAGE never wants these restrictions to end.

Proof yet again came today in the form of an exclusive report in the i newspaper suggesting that SAGE scientists have urged ministers to reimpose coronavirus restrictions in just three weeks’ time. Yup, less than three days after we regained our legal freedoms back, the intense lobbying of the PM to take them all away again has begun.

That lobbying means constant fearmongering in the mainstream media, which revel in the bad stats, rather than telling us the good news.The good news like our vaccination programme crushing the link between infections and hospitalisations, despite the fact we’re in the midst of a large exit wave.

Or the good news that ONS figures released today show that 67 per cent of people aged 16 to 24 in England tested positive for Covid antibodies. The rate is even higher in Wales with 71 per cent and Northern Ireland with 68.9 per cent, but slightly lower in Scotland with 57.3 per cent.

Overall in England, 92 per cent of adults were found to have Covid antibodies in a blood test. We’re beating this thing! We’ve come so far! So why on earth are SAGE advisers suggesting we lose our freedoms once more?

Predictably, it’s because they warn the NHS could become overwhelmed by the end of August. Hmmm, in the middle of summer. Really? So what do they want?

Mandatory face masks and permanent working from home, of course. And sadly, that’s what this is really about. SAGE want us to live a different life. One where risk is not down to the individual, but controlled by the state.

I’m sick of it. I’m fed up of the scare tactics. And I’m furious that SAGE and many in government seem to believe our freedoms are theirs to take away. The only hope I have is that, with the megalomaniac Dominic Cummings now well out of the picture, Boris has the strength to claim back control from the scientists.

Australia

If he doesn’t, we may end up in a situation like Australia. Remember when Down Under was regarded as the great Zero Covid success story. Well, half the country is now locked down, vaccination rates are low and there’s no obvious way out of this crisis for the Aussie PM Scott Morrison. Now take a listen to what the chief health officer of New South Wales, Dr Kerry Chant is demanding of Aussies.

These advisers don’t live in the real world. They might mean well, but they are causing far too much damage all around the world.

One man was so desperate to escape Australia’s prison-like quarantine he used sheets to get out. Remember many of the folk locked up for two full weeks without Covid are there to visit loved ones before they die.

For Australia the dream of a Zero Covid strategy has fast become a nightmare.

Migrants

The illegal migrant mess on the English Channel just gets worse. While I think Priti Patel genuinely wants to sort it out, the Home Secretary must do more and faster to avoid a true humanitarian and political crisis as despicable people smugglers go to great lengths to transfer more people to the UK via small boats.

The problem is that at the moment these revolting criminals don’t seem to be taking our government’s response seriously, with a Home Office source telling Politico “the tactics the gangs are pulling are getting worse.”

They’re also taking advantage of the heatwave, with nearly 1,000 people crossing the channel in the last three days alone. And they’re only the illegals we know about.

The government needs to wake up to the migrant crisis on the Channel. Strong rhetoric is no longer good enough.

Harry and Meghan

I’m heartened to see the Royal Family fighting back against Prince Harry after his crass decision to attempt to overshadow the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year with the publication of a bombshell autobiography.

Officials are considering ways to uninvite the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from the official celebrations for the Queen so they don’t end up overshadowing the event. That makes a lot of sense to me.

If this fame-hungry and selfish couple are going to continue making life for the grieving Queen so difficult in her twilight years, then the red carpet should no longer be rolled out for them for official events.