The National:

NEIL Oliver has penned a bizarre article in which he compares mask wearing to both communism and authoritarianism.

Writing in The Sunday Times under the headline “You can’t cover up why face masks are wearing a bit thin”, Oliver declares that mask wearing “and the rest of the pandemic regulations are doomed to failure”.

He says: “Mask wearing is like communism, in that communism is a system that might work well with some life forms, just not human beings”.

In what will surely be good news for his neighbours, the TV presenter goes on to say that he has been “avoiding, as much as humanly possible, those places where masks are required”.

Apparently unable to understand that people are asked to wear masks to protect others from a risk of infection, Oliver says most people are simply “doing as they’re told for fear of challenge”.

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He says: “Many people are evidently wearing masks just as a gesture guaranteed to let them go about their business unmolested.”

In not so many words, he suggests that some of those who wear masks are simply too loyal to the Scottish Government not to.

He writes: “Some will be scrupulous in their adherence to the rules, masks and the rest, out of absolute faith in the system as well as what they are being told by authorities that it’s in their natures to trust.”

He goes on: “Others go through the motions, ineffectively, unconvinced of the logic but wanting no trouble.

“Yet more will find that masks and other inconveniences — rules of six or whatever, further lockdowns and curfews — too problematic.”

Oliver apparently seems to identify with this second group, those who have been bullied into wearing a mask and who obey for fear of trouble.

It’s a shame he seems to argue that trying to stop the spread of a lethal virus during a global pandemic is too much of an “inconvenience”.

Going back on the strangely irrelevant attack on communism, Oliver says: “Just as black markets thrived in communist states, so ways to get around the pandemic rules and regulations are already commonplace and well established.”

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However, Oliver can’t quite decide if mask wearing is far-left or far-right, as he rounds off his article by saying that those “on high” have become more “authoritarian” - apparently confusing health advice from medical experts with a dictatorship.

He writes: “Some want to obey and are made happy by so doing. This has been a country of liberal freedoms.

“The human beings that have grown here, generation after generation, are a varied lot. What is being attempted from on high is increasingly authoritarian. Some people are fine with authority, are made to feel safe by it, which is fine.

“Some are like bees and obey the rule of the Queen, unthinking. Others — not so much.”