WHAT alternatives are there to the tier system?

The system is an infringement of our liberty, and it will harm our economy. It is far from perfect, both in terms of the wide geographical areas that it covers and in the blanket nature of the restrictions – as we said on Saturday, it is hard to see why in Tier 3 you can have a hairdresser working within inches of your face for a couple of hours but you can’t sit in a restaurant or pub ordering remotely via an app.

People do need guidelines to live by in these troubled times, and the tier system provides those guidelines. It would be lovely to allow everyone to live freely by their “common sense” but, sadly, there would be friction, and infection, around the margins. Every society needs rules to live by, and the tier system provides the appropriate rules for our times.

The system does need to become more sensitive – the North-East can’t be locked in Tier 3 until next year when infection rates are falling – but it is hard to see how MPs can vote for anything else today.