Wings clipped: Flights and tickets clearly follow a perverse law. They are the cheapest and easiest when no one wants them. So now nobody flying to Britain will need a test before departure, just a couple of lateral flow tests done by themselves on arrival. But given the sweep of Omicron across the UK, how many seem keen as a result of the change to take a flight into Britain? The question surely is how long flights to India would be allowed to continue.
Virus bad for business: The Omicron wave hitting Delhi and Mumbai could slow the push from the UK and the European Union to launch trade deals with India. The freeze in the administrative and commercial capitals is sending off new worries that Omicron could hit the economy hard yet again, and dent India’s projected 8.5 per cent growth. An inability to travel to the two cities would hardly help.
Boris brushes aside ‘Indian invasion’ fears: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sought to dismiss fearful reports in the British media that the country is considering relaxation of visa rules for Indians under a new trade deal. He was challenged to give the government position during a parliamentary debate. “I don’t recognise the account he’s given at all. We don’t do free trade deals on that basis,” he said. Greater movement of people from India has been an Indian government demand in the trade deal.
Silver lining: Without an agreement on greater movement of professionals from India, something India has sought firmly — if inexplicably — a trade deal between with the UK could have ended before it could begin to get on its way. British trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will no doubt look for solutions here on her expected visit to Delhi later this month. But if the deal gets stalled for this, Britain may have done India a favour it did not do itself; ensure that India’s best and brightest professionals don’t get sucked away to the UK.
Lord awful: The ways of Britain’s lords look more and more unlordly. Nazir Ahmed, who still calls himself ‘lord’ after being thrown out of the House of Lords, has been convicted for sexual assault on children. But that is only one extreme. It is increasingly obvious that many simply make party donations and are coincidentally made lords. The institution is not just archaic, it has lost much respect and prestige that it had somehow clung to for long.