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How will this ultra-cautious, hellish version of snakes and ladders ever get Britain back on its feet? 

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When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister what seems like a lifetime ago, he traded heavily on his image as a buccaneering, can-do optimist, the sworn foe of caution and compromise.

That Mr Johnson was nowhere to be seen yesterday, as an increasingly sombre, anxious, even hangdog figure unveiled the Government's latest incarnation of the Covid lockdown.

Gatherings of more than six people are banned, with the police having the power to issue fines of up to £3,200.

Plans to reintroduce sports and music fans to stadiums, too, have been postponed. Although Christmas is not cancelled officially, it would be reckless to order decorations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) attending a virtual coronavirus press conference at Downing Street

If I had shares in a tinsel company, I'd be thinking of selling up. Of course we shouldn't be complacent about the threat of this dreadful virus. Even so, I doubt I'm alone in finding last night's press conference extraordinarily depressing.

After all, there is something uniquely dispiriting about climbing your way out of a deep, dark hole, only to find yourself abruptly thrust back where you began, as if in some hellish version of Snakes and Ladders.

When this crisis began, I made a resolution to give our politicians the benefit of the doubt. There have never been easy answers, and I remain convinced they are doing their best. Yet watching Mr Johnson's press conference yesterday afternoon, I found myself shaking my head with growing scepticism.

Does it really make sense to limit gatherings to six people, even as the Government is encouraging us to go back to work? What about workplaces?

What about trains and buses? If the survival of the economy demands that we go back to work, then what about the economic survival of pubs, theatres, cinemas and restaurants?

How can this hypercautious Government expect our towns and cities to keep their heads above water, if people are effectively trapped in their household bubbles?........

© Mail Online

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