Thursday 14 January 2021


Boris Johnson loves cycling

Boris Johnson's controversial bike ride seems fairly innocuous on the surface, but this is the pandemic Britain he created, where police can arrest and fine people purely for the 'crime' of being outside.  Seven miles is no great distance on a bike, but is it 'staying local'?  Two women were fined for driving five miles from their Derbyshire homes last week for a walk.  Once again, the rules are open to interpretation, but differ across the UK.

In England you are told to 'stay local' in the 'village, town or part of the city where you live'.  As Boris was allegedly seen three London boroughs away from Downing Street, it is clear that this was not in the spirit of the rules and has provided his opponents with another open goal.  It was a needless error, borne of either stupidity or arrogance, and will inevitably lead to more 'rule-breaking' as people quite rightly assess that it is a case of 'rules for thee, but not for me'.

If Boris lived in Wales he could have cycled as far as he liked.  There is no limit on how far exercise takes you, as long as the process begins and ends at home, and does not involve a car journey.  He would also have been within the rules over in Northern Ireland, where there is a ten mile 'advisory limit' for exercise.

In Scotland there would be no question that Boris had broken the exercise rule.  A five mile limit is in place 'from the boundary of your local authority area'.  The PM resides less than two miles from the City of Westminster boundary, so therefore a seven mile outward journey would take him over the limit.

Of course this is besides the point, the real debate should be why any free nation of the West would impose such draconian restrictions in the first place.