Boris Johnson Speaks to the Nation: Have Yourself a Merry Little Covidmas
" We will also be regulating the size of turkeys this year, creating a maximum 3lb per household to ensure gatherings don’t exceed the legal limit"
I’m speaking to you from the flat above Downing Street where, as you know, I’m self-isolating because of the dreadful Plague that has come upon us. Of course it would be tempting to relax, to take our foot off the brake, to ease up on the gas, to take our eye off the ball, especially at this time of the year. But we will not do this, as we cannot be too careful or too vigilant in this fight against this dreadful Plague. As one of my predecessors said in what was a remarkably similar national struggle:
“We shall never surrender, but shall go on until the end. We shall fight the virus in the schools, we shall fight it in the pubs and restaurants, in the garden centres, the leisure centres, the churches, the essential and non-essential shops, and of course in our homes.”
But I know that your thoughts are now naturally turning to the festive season, and you’ll be wondering if it will be safe to spend this Yuletide together with loved ones. Unfortunately — and it really does break my heart to say so — despite all our best efforts to enable you to have the normal Christmas you all want, it’s just not going to be possible while the Plague is still not under control. However, the good news is that if we all buckle up and knuckle down, making the sacrifices we need to make this year, there really is every hope that we can all get back to celebrating Christmas with our loved ones, perhaps next year or sometime after that. Even now, Hark, I fancy I can hear the clarion call of the Christmas cavalry calling from over the horizon of December 2025. But we’re not there yet.
However, I do want to be clear. What we’re not doing is cancelling Christmas altogether. That would be an outrageous abuse of power and I know that you — the freedom loving people of this great country — would simply not accept any attempt to stifle liberty. Actually, what we’re really doing is saving Christmas for you; giving you the merriest little Covid-Secure Christmas you can possibly have under the circumstances.
There are a number of things we’re proposing, which I want to announce, alongside the liberty we’ve already generously granted you — the freedom loving people of this country — to mix with up to three households in a Social Bubble, or Christmas Bauble as it has been termed.
Based on the recommendations of our Three Wise Men, Professors Vallance, Whitty and Ferguson, we’ll be operating a Festive Covid Tier System, and to make it easier for everyone to remember, we’re basing it on the gifts we remember from all those years ago in our school nativity plays: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
For those in Tier Gold, you will be able to have as normal a Christmas as possible … except for all the rules that already apply, and of course the additional regulations we’re going to need to introduce, which I will set out in a moment.
For those in Tier Frankincense, along with the national restrictions, there will be a ban on the singing of Christmas Carols and Songs, particularly “We wish you a merry Christmas”, which has a lot of “shus” and “sehs” in it, which could cause viral particles to travel further. You must also not sing beyond the 6th day of the 12 Days of Christmas, as any mention of gatherings of more than six, be it swans, maids, drummers or pipers could encourage people to break the rules on social distancing.
For those in Tier Myrrh, unfortunately you are going to have to defer all Christmas celebrations indefinitely, but we do hope you may be able to get back to a normal Christmas before the decade is out, or perhaps sooner if we are able to roll out our new Digital Christmas Covid Passport.
The good news, however, is that despite much speculation, I can personally reassure you that we have for the moment ruled out a Fourth Tier — Tier Herod — which would see our armed forces sent into cities, towns and villages to break up any illegal celebrations taking place. I really don’t think that is the kind of thing that you — the hard-working, freedom-loving people of Britain — want to see, but of course we do reserve the right to reconsider if the science changes and people don’t follow the rules we’ve set out.
But what of those new national rules? Although we are having to bring in some new restrictions, we’ve done so in such a way as to make your Christmas as Covid-secure as possible, so that you can just get on and concentrate on all the things that really matter at this time of the year, such as staying alert and controlling the virus. And I want to make it clear that although breaches of these rules will bring fines and possible prison sentences, of course our aim in threatening you is not to prevent you having the Christmas you all want, but rather to allow you to have the best possible Christmas.
There is significant evidence that Covid-19 can be spread by the pulling of Christmas crackers. Of course, we don’t want to play Scrooge and ban them altogether, and so we’ll be introducing a regulation that allows us to keep our crackers, whilst maintaining safety from the Plague. So from midnight tonight, it will be illegal to sell small crackers. Only large crackers will be permitted, with a minimum length of 2 metres in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. In addition, they will not contain the traditional jokes, as I’m sure you’ll agree, joking is really not appropriate given the circumstances. Nor will they contain paper hats or plastic trinkets, as it is known that these could potentially spread the virus. And the banger things will also need to be removed, so that we can get the R number down. Yet I’ve no doubt that with these new Covid-secure rules, the country can still come together to make sure The Great British Christmas Cracker remains the envy of the world.
Many of you will of course quite naturally be wondering whether it is safe to put up a Christmas tree. For those in Tier Myrrh, unfortunately it won’t be safe, and so from midnight tonight, all sales of trees in Tier Myrrh areas will be banned, with non-compliance subject to fines of up to £50,000 or up to 5 years in prison. But for everyone else they will be allowed, albeit that SAGE has recommended they must remain undecorated, since the evidence is mounting that Covid-19 can remain on Christmas decorations for at least 12 days, which could threaten to overwhelm the NHS. They must also be a maximum of 82.5 centimetres high, as there is some emerging evidence to suggest that trees of more than 82.5 centimetres could spread the virus and therefore could be potentially dangerous.
As for the traditional Christmas dinner, here we have some news that will, I’m sure, be pleasing to all. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is creating a Christmas Treasury Box, and out of that he’ll be investing £100 million to create the Great British Cut-Price Turkey fund, which will offer you — the hard-working people of Britain — the chance to get 15% off your turkey this year. This will work via a voucher system, which you can get by making a voluntary contribution to the Christmas Treasury Box, which must be the equivalent of a minimum of half of the price of an average turkey. We will also be regulating the size of turkeys this year, creating a maximum 3lb per household to ensure gatherings don’t exceed the legal limit. Stuffing turkey with SAGE will also be against the law, out of respect to the work of our eminent scientists who I’m sure we can all agree should really not be associated with anything getting stuffed.
If we all stick to these rules, with our large banger-free crackers, our small undecorated trees, and our tiny cut-price turkeys, we can not only save Christmas, but have a safe Christmas.
But lest our thoughts wander prematurely to the wrapping of presents, the putting up of tinsel, the sound of glad tidings of comfort and joy, and we begin to relax too soon, there are 10 commandments we are introducing, which it is vital you all keep, so that you can have a truly wonderful Covid-Secure Festive Season.
- You must not kiss underneath the mistletoe, unless both kissers are wearing full Personal Protective Equipment.
- You must not wish anyone Happy Christmas outside your social bubble, unless you do it over Zoom.
- You must not buy, sell or eat mince pies, or have any traces of them in your homes.
- You must not tie your presents in yellow ribbon, although you can still tie a yellow ribbon round an old oak tree.
- You must wear a mask when carving your tiny turkey, and so do your bit to stop the spread of coronavirus.
- You must decorate your Christmas cake with a rainbow.
- You must not show excessive joy, as the evidence is mounting that this could not only spread coronavirus but also damage national morale.
- You must not roast chestnuts over an open fire, so that we can avoid harmful carbon emissions.
- You must not watch It’s a Wonderful Life, or indeed any other film that might cause you to develop an unhealthy nostalgia for the old normal.
- You must use the day to celebrate the coming into the world of the NHS.
So that’s all. I think we can all be proud of the part we’ve played in managing to save the Festive Season.
Remember: Large Crackers. Small Trees. Tiny Turkeys.
And now all that remains, is for me is to wish you a very safe, and very secure Covidmas.
Update: Shortly after making this speech, the Prime Minister tested positive for Brandy and Moonshine, but then tested negative for Empathy and Compassion.