PROBABLY far more than the media, members of the British public are prepared to give the Government latitude as it grapples with a completely novel set of problems.

However, the utter confusion over the advice posted on Friday that eight areas of the country, including North Tyneside, should be placed into a form of local lockdown is farcical.

If people are to bear the advice in mind, they have to be informed of it. If the advice will protect public health, it is a dereliction of Government duty for people not to be made aware of it.

But now the advice – which actually seems pretty sensible that travel to infected areas should be curtailed – has been withdrawn, and so the traders of North Tyneside are looking forward to welcoming Bank Holiday visitors.

The Government seems frightened by its right-wingers, who oppose any more lockdowns, and so is creating ambiguity by leaving decisions to the good sense of individual members of the public.

But one person’s interpretation of good sense is another person’s reckless visit.

In these difficult times, we need clear guidance, based on a political overview of the best scientific thinking, about what we should, and should not, be doing. We cannot have half-hearted advice that crumbles when questioned, and we cannot have a free-for-all with the Government failing to alert people when a variant is spreading.