The disenchantment and anger I feel could almost make me sick. It's like a lump in the stomach that drives acid into my mouth and shakes me with dizzying disbelief.
Head and heart call together: "You must be kidding!" And then, "How damn dare you?"
Countless other UK citizens will feel like me as another day dawns the bitter, pointless reality of the latest arbitrary dictation – the "Rule of Six".
This recent unrest by a driving government means that as of Monday, any gathering of more than six people indoors or outdoors will be banned, those who meet in such groups will be fined and all will be patrolled by bloated "Covid marshals" .
Bel Mooney said Boris Johnson's new Covid Marshals would not stop them from preparing Christmas dinner for 14 despite the terrible warnings from number 10
Columnist Bel Mooney is outraged by the government's plan to threaten her traditional Christmas get-together with her family
Worse, as it is expected to last well into spring, it inevitably means that the family's Christmas celebration is in jeopardy.
No no no!
The rule of law is sacred to me – but so is the sanctity of private life and family life. This English woman's house is her castle and usually an oasis of calm.
But now I want to turn these walls into a redoubt – a fortress against a troubled world and a government in which I have lost all confidence.
The principle of consensual government goes back centuries and calls into question the rule of tyrants. But what does that actually mean?
More from Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail …
That we, the people, believe that the moral right of a government to the power of the state is only justified and lawful if we are in agreement.
That doesn't mean we have the right to storm Downing Street if the government of our choice doesn't win power.
Instead, democracy gives us the ballot box. However, this means that every government needs our consent to govern.
And what happens in a time of crisis when the government is issuing confusing, contradicting and downright silly dictates that challenge both sanity and morality?
We are citizens, not brainwashing, drugs or fear in an Orwellian nightmare. However, the Rule of Six actually requires people like you and me to give the unfortunate and senior Health Secretary Matt Hancock the ultimate say in how we conduct our social and family lives.
It goes against all common sense – there seems to be surprisingly little evidence-based justification for the government's latest decision.
And it is against morality because any intelligent person can see that current politics is a mixture of bullying, panic and fear.
What happens to your "consent" when you see your ruling class as gross and insane?
We all followed the lockdown rules because they seemed the right thing at the time. History will judge the wisdom – or otherwise – of this policy, but for the sake of the common good we stayed home, stayed vigilant, contemplated the NHS and so on. I delivered food to my parents (98 and 96) keeping a safe distance from their front door. And now I wear a mask in stores whether I like it or not. But rules have to make sense – and for me, the line has now been crossed for no good reason.
Four friends are coming to dinner tonight. But usually when I'm cooking I invite six or more out for a fun evening – "the more the merrier" is one of the joys in life.
Open another bottle! Friendship and family are vital; We are social beings, and the privations of lockdown brought with it a pandemic of depression and loneliness.
A week ago I cooked Sunday roast for my parents, my daughter, her husband and their two children. That is normal.
Christmas we are planning this year is a big one – eight adults and four grandchildren and great-grandchildren in our immediate families, as well as two beloved friends who do not have children of their own. It will be my forty-seventh turkey. And today, despite this latest edict, I say: bring it up
Christmas we are planning this year is a big one – eight adults and four grandchildren and great-grandchildren in our immediate families, as well as two beloved friends who have no children of their own. It will be my forty-seventh turkey.
And today, despite this latest edict, I say: bring it up.
It will be a very special day for my parents – and of course every family Christmas will be all the more precious given their old age.
My children have been weaned at such family gatherings, their spouses love the way we throw the party, and they want their own children to have the same. To see four generations sitting at our dining table is like a sacrament to me. The holy feast is also a feast of family life, symbolized in the divinely beautiful faces of the Madonna and the child.
I'm sorry but – aside from a change in evidence like a real "second wave" or a confirmed family infection – no government dares tell me not to celebrate with my beloved relatives and special friends this Christmas.
I completely oppose this encroachment on all of our civil liberties – and I know that many thousands of others will agree.
I spray the word "NO" on the wall of our fortress.
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