We should all be profoundly grateful to Dominic Cummings. Obviously, ‘we’ won’t include the Prime Minister, who has spent the last few weeks feeling like some anthropomorphic inversion of Kurt Zouma’s cat, enduring kicking after kicking from a pet psychopath who turned on him in the nastiest possible way.

But the rest of us should look at Dom bouncing around Twitter like a grenade with his pin pulled out, and breathe a fresh sigh of relief as every new or newish photo of Boris Johnson in a party hat with a bottle of Bolly is pinged over to The Mirror. 

Why? Well, Dom Cummings hasn’t killed Boris off yet (and may not succeed in this endeavour at all, if the Tories don’t get wiped out in May’s local elections) but –glory glory hallelujah!– he has inadvertently killed off the Covid regulations. 

After Boris told the House of Commons on Wednesday that, rather than waiting for the regulations to expire on 23 March, he would scrap them at the end of this month, the best Labour’s shadow health Minister could do in response was to purse his lips, furrow his brow and ask if the decision was ‘a result of scientific advice and not based on protecting [Boris’s] political position?’

Well duh. Of course it’s not the result of scientific advice. It’s pretty obvious that the best way not to catch Covid is to cower permanently in your home, double-masked and slathered in sanitising gel and fear. Any epidemiologist will tell you as much. It’s also pretty obvious that scientific advice is only one of many things politicians need to consider when making policy. This is why we don’t just shut Parliament and let Chris Whitty, or the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board run the country.

It might however genuinely work in protecting Boris’s political position. Although the last two years have demonstrated how fanciful it is to imagine that the British love liberty (a new poll suggests half of them want some sort of Covid restrictions to continue forever!) it’s time to take back control from the Coronazis before they plunge us all into bankruptcy. 

As such, we in Britain are fortunate to be led by someone as venal, irresolute and compromised as Boris Johnson. Back in December, a stronger leader might have followed ‘the science’ (namely, the latest wild exaggerations plucked out of the air by SAGE), and locked us down to suppress Omicron. In doing so, he would have had an unassailable mandate, and the full-throated support of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. 

Then, when Omicron rapidly peaked and rapidly fell in just the way it did without a lockdown, a stronger leader would have presented a weary but grateful public with conclusive evidence that his lockdown worked, and that his prudence had saved tens, nay hundreds of thousands of lives.

At least having a besieged, henpecked jellyfish in Downing St, pursued everywhere he goes by awful headlines and by the ghoul Cummings, meant that the Conservative Party’s anti-lockdown awkward squad had some weight to throw around. It meant the Cabinet could, and did, fight back against ‘the science’.

A sizeable minority are fighting back elsewhere, and turning against governments that traded their liberty for what (according to a recent study from the well-respected John Hopkins University) turned out to be a net 0.2% increase in their safety. Cities around Europe are seeing riots directed against the pointless tyranny of vaccine apartheid. In Canada, diesel fumes and air horns are blasting Justin Trudeau out of his smug complacency. St Jacinta herself is coming under pressure. 

The UK (like Sweden at an earlier stage in the pandemic) is set to provide a beacon of hope to show that there can be an end to two years of wild overreaction to Covid-19. 

in Holyrood and Cardiff Bay, the reaction to Boris’s announcement lacked enthusiasm. A Scottish Government spokeskilt moaned that the Prime Minister had ‘failed to provide devolved nations with appropriate notice to consider the implications.’

The implications the SNP are most concerned about, one supposes, centre on whether or not the UK Treasury will keep paying Nicola Sturgeon to lock her luckless people down. 

Boris should tell the Scottish Government, in so many words, to get tae. To awa’ an bile their heids. If Sturgeon wants more lockdowns, let her scrape together the cash to pay for them out of Holyrood’s own budget. Then we’ll see how resilient support for the Covid restrictions in Scotland actually is.

The devolved administrations up there in Edinburgh and down here in Cardiff should follow Westminster’s lead, and lose no time in dismantling the dismal architecture of the Covid state. In particular, the UK Government is right in wanting to strip out the pernicious track ‘n’ trace system, which expends something like Britain’s annual defence budget on telling us that our children sat next to someone who asymptomatically caught a cold. So doing, you put a stop to the crazy disruption to work, social life and education occasioned by everyone knowing something that no-one needs to know. 

State coercion was always the wrong way to limit the spread of Covid-19; no democratic country should ever again copy the tactics of a totalitarian communist dictatorship in dealing with a public health problem. 

Never again should we let our politicians act as though liberty is in the Government’s gift, and freedom a privilege earned through obedience. 

(PS get well soon, First Minister)