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Tim Martin & online mag highlight flaws in gov’s reaction to virus

Wetherspoon has produced a 23-page online edition of Wetherspoon News, the pub magazine on its website, with articles from leading academics, doctors and other commentators, highlighting serious flaws in the government’s reaction to coronavirus.

In addition, Wetherspoon is producing a 120 page edition of the print magazine, which will be available in the company’s pubs from 3 December.

Chairman Tim Martin said, “ When pubs reopened after the first lockdown in July, a sensible set of regulations was agreed between UK Hospitality, the civil service, local authorities and other interested parties.

“These regulations worked well, trade slowly recovered from very low levels and transmissions of the virus in pubs, as verified by the test and trace system, were extremely low.

“However, since then, the rules have constantly changed, without consultation, on an arbitrary basis, causing mayhem, unemployment and economic dislocation across the hospitality industry.

“No one in the government seems to have any experience of running a business – and their current policies seem destined to cause the loss of a million jobs in hospitality, with further “ripple effect” job losses throughout the economy.'

Martin continued, “A range of articles in the Wetherspoon magazine takes issue with the government. For example, Jonathan Sumption, a former Supreme Court judge, says that the government has used fear tactics and emergency powers, in an unconstitutional way, undermining civil liberties and democracy.

“Kamran Abbasi, executive director of the British Medical Journal says that “Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale”, by pressure for “political and financial gain”.

“Oliver Shah, business editor of the Sunday Times, says “most SAGE members have never had to meet a payroll or rent quarter date and refers to “Johnson and his punch-drunk government stumbling after the Pied Piper onto a barren mountainside where commerce and employment count for nothing”.

“Dr Mike Yeadon, Professor Johan Giesecke and others excoriate faulty research from Imperial College and SAGE, upon which the government frequently relies.

“Freelance journalist Ross Clark, writing in the Daily Mail, undermines much of the evidence the government uses to justify its actions – effectively unchallenged, as Wetherspoon News highlights, by the government itself.

“The most disturbing aspect of government behaviour is its lack of candour.'

Martin concluded, “It is now purporting to end lockdown in December. However, for pubs on tier 2 and tier 3, lockdown, in effect, continues and unprofitable trading is certain to continue for the indefinite future – combined with the impossibility of making plans in the face of capricious and unpredictable regulations.”