THIS week Badger has been much bemused by the controversy surrounding a cinema in Swansea.
Deciding the law doesn’t apply to you seems an odd position for a business that’s scarfed £50k+ in public to make their premises Covid compliant, but there you go. Rights without responsibilities don’t come cheap.

Badger enjoyed the comment by the District Judge who ordered the business’s closure, who said he’d received “expansive, semi-literate ramblings” from someone claiming to act for the cinema’s owner.

At the Herald, we’ve seen them before. They’re usually furious claims that the authors can’t be racist because they’ve met a black person without setting them on fire and like a kebab. All of which comes wrapped around some expansive and semi-literate ramblings.

The same band of denialists and racist conspiracy wonks (check for typo, please) who turned up at Penally last year have supported the cinema owner, Ms Anna Redfern.

Think of them as The Travelling Dingleberries, readers.

A merry band of unemployable arm lifters deriving income from PayPal donations which they undoubtedly declare to HMRC.

The right to raise money out of hate, ignorance, and intolerance comes with the responsibility to declare income to the Government. Badger is confident individual Dingleberries declare every penny they get, and every hour they devote to their good works to the necessary governmental departments.

The problem with the furore surrounding the opening of a cinema in Swansea has been hijacked by goons and loons for their twisted ends.

Despite the involvement of the usual suspects, the issues at stake are serious and deserve serious examination.

The cinema is no more enclosed space than the pubs within one hundred yards of its front door.
Now, the rules on pubs are complicated: if they’re open after midnight, you must have a Covid pass. If they close at 11:55 pm, you don’t need one.

The rationale behind this is obvious: viruses carry watches set to GMT and helpfully adjust them in Spring when the clocks go forward.

Also, people in pubs – as Badger was last Friday – can chat to each other face to face, they can dance, sing, bounce up and down, and – if the bouncers aren’t looking – wave their knickers in the air like they just don’t care.

Suppose you must watch the Muppet Christmas Carol in a cinema. In that case, you must obey public health regulations that don’t apply to pubs.

It appears random and capricious because it is.

Go to a theatre to watch a panto, and you’re apparently at greater risk of Covid than you are belting out Crazy Little Thing Called Love into a shared microphone in a crowded bar.

Please, someone, explain to Badger why one is more hazardous to public health than the other.

There is an intrinsic risk to participating in both activities: watching a movie or having a pint. The use of Covid passes minimises the risk and must do so equally; otherwise, the system is a pointless faff.
If you exercise rights, you must do so responsibly.

More than ever, that applies at a time when public health is at stake. However, the rules to protect public health must be rational and proportionate to the risk.

Badger prefers to listen to real science presented by real scientists and medical experts when assessing risk.

What about social media medics? Those who express opinions based on pseudo-science and nonsense dressed up as (ahem) ‘The Truth’? Or what the Mainstream Media (MSM) won’t tell you (because it’s bollocks)?

Well, readers, you may as well listen to Uncle Remus talk of Brer Rabbit or your Uncle Fred’s tales of the carp that got away.

There is inevitable concern that – as we approach the season of frivolous excess and gluttony – pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars, and the rest of the night-time economy face a hit when (it’s not if) the Government decides to extend restrictions to entry.

However, if all it takes is a Covid Pass or Lateral Flow Test to get in, there is no problem.
Fight for your right to party but do so in a way that further reduces your chances and others’ of catching a disease.

Is that such an imposition?

Badger knows that it won’t be a problem for many larger pubs and clubs. The doormen can check your pass at the door in the same way they’d check your ticket if you wanted to enter a gig.

For smaller pubs, it will be a problem. Badger likes small pubs. He’s not a fan of Christmas parties (or any other type of party) and hardly ever ventures into places that host them.

In the spirit of the well-meaning irrationality pervading current public health rules, there should be a minimum size for such licensed premises to which the rule on passes should not apply.

Combine that with licensing hours restrictions (say 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm for such small pubs), and the risk – on current logic – is reduced further.  

We forget all-day opening hours are a fairly recent invention.
When Badger was young, the pubs in Ceredigion didn’t even open on Sunday and Sunday opening hours in Pembrokeshire were still a thing.

As this has been a rather serious column, Badger will end on one of his favourite anecdotes about licensing hours.

Many years ago, pubs often didn’t open on Christmas Day night. They could have opened for Sunday hours, but most remained closed.

One Christmas Day night, Badger was in his then favourite haunt when it popped a young constable demanding that service be ceased immediately.

One of Badger’s friends approached the officer and gently enquired on what authority the constable made his demand.

The young copper, rather brusquely, told Badger’s elderly friend it was nothing to do with him. The elderly gent’s friends, all people rich in years, looked aghast.

The sergeant poked his head around the door to see what was happening.

He looked at Badger’s elderly friend and his companions, greeted them in friendly tones, and nodded at Badger.

Badger’s elderly friend returned the sergeant’s greetings and smiled.
The young copper was escorted from the pub with the sergeant’s apologies.
The moral of the story is when confronted with half the Pembroke Magistrates’ bench and the Deputy Clerk to the Justices for Dyfed Powys enjoying their pints of bitter in peace and quiet, be sure of your law.