PERHAPS this is the most skilled government of all time. Perhaps it has deliberately made itself look so weak, so unable to act, that people are now taking matters into their own hands. Because of its super-skilled messaging, they are doing what it wants without it having to tell them.

It does appear as if many sensible, responsible people are now self-regulating. They see the statistics and know that an office party or a night hanging round the bar or even a day in a crowded shopping mall are now too risky if they want to celebrate Christmas at the weekend with a family gathering.

They know the importance of testing before attending an event, even though the Government was unable to make it mandatory.

Our behaviour will probably change as local circumstances change: the North East is days behind London in its rate of Omicron cases, but once the new variant rages round here, more people will become wary of venturing out without anyone ordering them to stay at home.

The alternative view is that the Government is so indecisive it can’t read what the science is telling it, and is so divided it cannot introduce new measures to protect people without breaking apart the Conservative Party. Perhaps most tellingly, it has not yet come up with a financial package to assist the hospitality businesses which are clearly suffering as more people choose to stay at home.

Let’s hope the natural intelligence of the British people can pull us through.