I think that we have all been dismayed with the images shown by the British media in recent days displaying the idiocy of day-trippers as they flocked onto Bournemouth beach leading to the overcrowding and the declaration of a ‘major incident’ by the beleaguered local council.
Contrast this with the situation in Benidorm where, on one of the most popular beaches in Europe, mayor Tony Perez and his team, together with local residents and holidaymakers, have provided a perfect example of discipline, good sense and regard for the authorities in these difficult times, as they organised the popular shoreline so that people could both enjoy their day at the seaside while respecting the local rules and the welfare of adjacent bathers, who were also appreciating their day in the sun.
The avalanche of visitors to Bournemouth came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a relaxation of de-escalation measures, and must surely have been expected by the local authorities, so how PM Johnson, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock and Bournemouth Council Leader, Vikki Slade, could blame everybody but themselves for the appalling scenes witnessed on the beaches and sandbanks at Bournemouth and it’s Sandbanks, beggars belief.
After previous displays of meetings, gatherings and get-togethers across the whole country, all widely circulated during British lockdown, they must surely have seen it coming. How could British leaders be so naïve as to remotely believe that the public would heed their appeals to act responsibly, to stay away from the beaches and to social distance themselves?
I’m afraid that Government ineptitude has trapped British people in a coronavirus twilight zone and I for one will not be too surprised to see a second spike if people continue to ignore the conditions they should be applying to the lockdown being relaxed.
The Daily Telegraph published a video showing the contrast between the two municipalities of Bournemouth and Benidorm. On the one hand they exemplify the case of Benidorm, praising the measures that the City Council has been implementing in recent days, such as the reservation of plots to avoid crowds and the mandatory use of masks and footwear when accessing the sandbanks, while they were absolutely scathing toward the British authorities.
Meanwhile in England the debacle prompted an extraordinary blame game as Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council came under fire from MPs and local community groups for failing to predict the influx and take preventative action.
While mayor Susan Phillips, insisted it was the fault of day trippers travelling from further afield, according to the British press, the Dorset Police were “absolutely livid” with the council for failing to prevent the chaos.
Of course, rather predictably, the Government refused to take any blame when asked if beaches should close, with a Number 10 spokesman telling a Westminster briefing: “It is for local authorities to manage numbers.”