If booze had been invented by some evil Chinese genius in late 2019, the Government would probably have banned it already. 

Our champagne, claret and port this Christmas is only safe because, over millennia, humanity incorporated ethyl alcohol not only into its oenological and culinary heritage, but as an actual sacrament in some of its better religions.

Custom and tradition help us to accommodate many things that aren’t all that good for us. And typically, when we acquired minor respiratory illnesses we just got on with life, staying at home if we were feeling properly ropey. Or didn’t: minor respiratory illnesses –mere inconveniences for most of us– reliably bumped off 75,000 of the elderly and vulnerable every year.

You probably won’t remember anyone before 2020 getting worked up about this. These deaths were usually called ‘old age’, or (in the case of people who created their own vulnerabilities by getting grotesquely fat) ‘their own fault’.

Every year, there was a winter crisis in the NHS as the hospital beds filled up. But for one reason or another, no-one chose to shut down every business, school, pub, theatre, and stadium in the country in response. Neither did any government think it prudent to spend enough money to buy a beautiful new nuclear weapons system, on computer programs that failed to tell us who had caught a cold. 

You might have hoped that collective experience of two years of wild overreaction to the novelty of Covid-19 would incline governments and the public towards the realisation that –as with every other respiratory disease we encounter– people just have to get on with it and live with a slightly increased risk of death. After all, polls are now showing only about a quarter of the population in favour of closing pubs, and even Owen Jones in the Guardian thinks the whole lockdown thing is going a bit far.

You might have thought that the emergence of a milder variant that outcompetes the deadlier ones was, on balance, rather a good thing.

You might even, put in the place of Boris Johnson or Mark Drakeford, have peered and squinted at the latest apocalyptic Jeremiad presented to you by SAGE or the Chicken Littles at Imperial College, and asked when they ever got their doom-laden predictions even nearly right (actually, as Fraser Nelson discovered last week, it appears their terms of reference only ever asked SAGE to come up with worst-case scenarios).

As usual, though, if you expected a modicum of common sense you were setting yourself up for another big disappointment. Faced with the onset of the Omicron wave, the UK and Welsh governments both spiralled off into differing vortices of panicked overreaction. 

In England, this manifested itself in the otiose introduction of vaccine passports, which no-one anywhere in the world has shown to have any measurable effect on the transmission of Covid. Their only function is in turning the UK into the sort of paper-shuffling, authority-drunk hellhole we thought only foreigners had to put up with.

Naturally, Wales is not England and our science is different, so if the English go along with the vaccine passport idiocy we in Coronazi Cymru have to do a bit more.

Boris has a hundred Tory backbenchers who are fed up to the back teeth with stupid Covid rules, and whose mass rebellion is giving the Cabinet confidence to kick back against the endless cycle of restrictions. In Wales, Plaid Cymru’s nodding donkeys in the Senedd ensure there is no effective opposition to Welsh Labour.

So from Boxing Day –usually one of the busiest days of the year for the licensed trade– any Welsh pub smaller than an aircraft hangar will be plunged back into unviability by social distancing and table service. Thousands have already decided to shut their doors until spring –or sanity– returns.

Supermarkets again have to transform their aisles into an inescapable labyrinth of one-way systems, meaning that when you forget the Fairy liquid you have to abandon your trolley, sidle out pass the tills and complete another entire lap of Lidl before realising you also forgot to get a lemon.

If this is designed to limit the time people spend in shops, it’s a curious and counterintuitive way to go about it. 

At least we have –so far– seen no return to the arbitrary distinction between essential (pâté de foie gras) and non-essential (children’s clothes) items, when whole sections of shops were cordoned off with murder tape, pushing everyone together that little bit closer as they navigated the one-way maze.

But that’s not the worst of it. Defying pessimistic predictions that the well of bad regulation might be running dry, Mark Drakeford produced his magnum opus of Coronazi craziness: the criminalisation of work. True, Welsh Labour in government has always done its best to limit the spread of work, but it never previously occurred to the Welsh Ministers that their inspectors should snoop around every place of work from Pembroke to Pwllheli, and administer £60 fines to anyone working without reasonable excuse.

This utter madness has to stop. Even in Australia and New Zealand, dreams of a zero-Covid world are entirely discredited. The novel coronavirus, in whatever form, is with us and with us to stay. It will be part of our lives –and, for some, deaths– this Christmas and for every Christmas to come. Don’t let it, or Mark Drakeford, stop us celebrating.