Brand new coronavirus regulations hit the UK this week, while Rishi Sunak unveiled his ‘winter economy’ as the temperature dropped.
Safe to say, summer cheer is over and the next hard slog now begins.
Without further ado, let’s review the top Tory hits from the week so we can trudge into the next one.
1. When Matt Hancock was accused of 'stealing Christmas' from students
Spare a thought for those going to university for the first time this year.
Not only are in-person lessons non-existent, they’re paying through the nose to live in a strange place, in usually cramped accommodation, with people they can’t even socialise with.
Now imagine you’re a student experiencing all of that and the government’s just told you that you can’t go and see your mum at Christmas in case you give her Covid-19 – even though that same government prevented you from doing remote learning from home in the first place.
That’s what happened this week as Matt Hancock refused to rule out banning university students from returning home at Christmas to prevent further spread of the virus.
2. When they created a Brexit border in Kent
The hard border we feared is here but it’s turned up in… Kent.
Yes, in an exciting new development, Michael Gove confirmed this week that there will be a “de facto Brexit border” popping up for lorry drivers trying to get to Kent.
Why? It’s where Dover and the English Channel is.
And with fears of giant queues of haulage vehicles building up once we’re officially out of the EU transition period, Gove’s solution is to bring in "permits" to allow lorry drivers to enter Kent.
Funnily enough, this hasn’t gone down very well.
Road haulage chiefs have called the plan "ridiculous" and "pointless". Sounds legit.
However, it has led to some cracking jokes about the ‘Republic of Kent’ so hard to say if it’s completely terrible.
3. When they tried to rush through a controversial bill
War crimes are very bad.
For some reason, the Tories have picked a point when everyone’s distracted to try and pass new legislation called the Overseas Operations Bill.
Critics say it “effectively decriminalises” torture because it includes a protection that prevents prosecution of troops for certain alleged war crimes committed more than five years ago.
Which means military personnel couldn’t be held accountable for historic offences if a victim comes forward after five years.
It’s supposed to ‘protect’ troops from ‘false allegations’ but there’s been mass opposition to the concept.
However, despite Labour loudly denouncing the bill on social media, the party was whipped to abstain from voting on it.
Eighteen Labour MPs defied the whip to vote against the legislation, with three young MPs sacked from roles as a result.
So no one comes out of this covered in glory.
4. When their new 10pm curfew backfired and pushed hundreds onto packed public transport
Turns out if you make everyone leave one place at the same time, there’s probably going to be quite a crowd.
This is something that apparently wasn’t thought through when Boris Johnson decided that bars and restaurants would now be subject to 10pm closing times to prevent further spread of coronavirus.
What this means in practice is everyone is leaving the same areas, at the same time and getting on the same public transport to go home.
As one person who filmed kicking out time in central London yesterday said, it was the “busiest” they’d seen it in months.
Perhaps more tweaking needed.
5. When Dido Harding revealed the public will have to pay for much touted ‘moonshot’ tests
For a while now, the phrase ‘Operation Moonshot’ has been pushed by the government.
It refers to a programme that doesn’t yet exist, for a type of test that also doesn’t exist.
The project is Boris Johnson’s vision that millions coronavirus tests will be processed daily, with test results within 90 minutes.
The proposals have been called “scientifically unsound”.
That hasn’t stopped the government preparing to spend £100bn on it though.
And this week Baroness Dido Harding (who has presided over the apparent crisis in capacity of the current testing system) announced that actually, these non-existent ‘moonshot’ tests will cost a pretty penny and won’t be free on the NHS.
When they exist, of course.
A price is yet to be announced as again, the tests do not exist, but it will be the "normal cost of doing business" Harding told a press conference.
6. When Matt Hancock refused to answer whether we have enough flu vaccines for vulnerable people
Coronavirus isn’t the only virus we now have to be concerned about – as winter approaches, the flu is waiting for its turn.
And as a result, requests for flu vaccines have shot up, to the degree that jabs will be limited because of such high demand.
Appearing on Kay Burley’s Sky News show, Matt Hancock refused to answer whether there would be enough flu vaccines for everyone but insisted that those who were most vulnerable and in need – like the elderly – would be first in line.
Which led a puzzled Burley to ask why foreign secretary Dominic Raab had claimed he was getting a jab on Friday only the day before.
See you next week!