ARE you pro-freedom or pro-lockdown? Pro-people or pro-economy? Are you too scared to take off your mask or too selfish to put one on?

These are of course all daft questions based on false dichotomies – but to peruse social media or tune into TV and radio discussions, you could be forgiven for thinking you had to choose between one extreme and the other.

It doesn’t help that the UK Government has spent the past few months making big promises then rowing back on them, talking up the chances of relaxations then talking them down again. Despite Boris Johnson’s assertions to the contrary, they have been both vaccinating and vacillating, dithering and delaying when it came to making the most important decisions.

The false hopes this has generated have provoked even more spluttering outrage from the new breed of human rights champions who have emerged since the introduction of lockdown last spring. You know, the kind of folk who never let on that they gave a fig about domestic abuse survivors, sacked hospitality workers or children without nursery places until their own comfortable lives were disrupted, yet now invoke the suffering of those groups while arguing it’s an atrocity that they can’t enjoy a Great British pint down the pub with 10 friends.

It’s easy to mock the likes of Right Said Fred, or at least the half of them who runs the combo’s Twitter account and has declared he will refrain from contact with anyone covering their face. Or to be specific, anyone wearing a mask – presumably someone having a concealed chuckle at the Deeply Dippy hit-makers could still be given an audience. But remember it was easy to mock Nigel Farage too and that didn’t stop him pulling the strings of a Tory government to devastating effect. It’s easy to mock Boris Johnson, but he achieved immunity to mockery long before the vaccines came along, and he now brushes off accusations he’s a tinpot dictator with a chuckle.

READ MORE: PMQs: Johnson severs the link between Covid questions and truthful answers

The Prime Minister’s grand plan to re-open nightclubs on June 21 was always unrealistic, as there was little chance the demographic who visit them would even be single-jabbed by then. But one wonders if he knew that all along and hoped to create a level of restlessness and impatience by mid-summer that would allow his government to ditch all restrictions on July 19 without the English public thinking he was off his trolley.

He may even have succeeded, thanks in part to the polarised nature of the current UK debate around Covid restrictions. The Lancet yesterday published a letter signed by 100 scientists that declared the July 19 plan “a dangerous and unethical experiment”.

The usual suspects predictably replied that lockdown was the dangerous and unethical experiment, the illogical implication being that the safe and ethical approach was to now reject absolutely every measure that came along with it – at a time when cases are on the rise and hospital teams are trying to work through massive backlogs of non-Covid-related procedures.

There is, of course, a world of difference between any sort of lockdown – full or partial – and a society where the economy has been cautiously re-opened but masks remain mandatory on public transport and in shops. I say mandatory, but of course numerous exemptions to this have applied all along, and there has never been any official requirement to prove one’s exempt status.

​READ MORE: Ian Blackford brands Boris Johnson a 'tin-pot dictator' over 'vote-rigging' plan

A severe allergy to public health precautions does not count as a physical or mental impairment, but you have to wonder about the wellbeing of anti-maskers who refer to face coverings as bridles, muzzles or face nappies while, ironically, they characterise anyone worried about catching or spreading Covid as hysterical, dramatic or overreacting. Similarly, those sharing anti-vaxx conspiracy theories like to characterise everyone who disagrees with them as sheep or lemmings, even as they engage in the digital equivalent of beating their chests and hurling their own faeces to win the approval of others in their freedom-fighting troop.

Unsurprisingly, Nicola Sturgeon took a measured approach in her briefing yesterday, pointing out that “these decisions needn’t always be binary”; that her decision next Tuesday won’t be between all and nothing. She emphasises that her priority is making the right calls, rather than the most popular ones, but I suspect she knows fine well that Scots will back her rejection of Johnson’s free-for-all approach.

Most people have more confidence in the judgement of the global scientific community than that of a man who reportedly thought it was “ludicrous” that he might one day be Prime Minister (at least there’s one thing we agreed on back then).

So let’s wait, with fingers crossed, to see what the data looks like on Tuesday and what measures Scotland will retain. And let’s keep the heid amid polarised discussion that pits us people against each other for no good reason and inspires rash, populist decisions by a government that’s gearing up to blame the public when infections sky-rocket.