The Guardian view on summer holidays: mixed messages | Editorial

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It is possible, as well as desirable, that some trips could be possible in the coming months. But ministers have created another muddle

The confusion dates back almost a month, to a press conference at which the health secretary, Matt Hancock, revealed that he has booked a summer holiday in Cornwall. In the following weeks other ministers made more cautious statements. But the seed was sown, and this week the contradiction at the heart of the government’s message to the public about summer 2021 burst into the open. On Wednesday, the same evening that Boris Johnson agreed with his more prudent colleagues that it was “just too early” to plot getaways, Mr Hancock was joking with colleagues on a Zoom call about why he had picked Cornwall over Devon.

The tension is natural enough, at a human level. Politicians, like other people who can afford it, are keen to travel again. Many of us are sick of our flats and houses and look forward to a change of scene. Christmas and other festivals have been sad occasions for some people, particularly those who live alone or far from loved ones. It feels almost too much to bear that another six months could pass before the pressure to stay indoors, and away from our friends and families, is eased. As we reported this week, plenty of people have taken the plunge and booked breaks in Britain, while recognising that foreign travel is off limits and cancellation a possibility.

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