back to article Scotch eggs ascend to the 'substantial meal' pantheon as means to pop to pub for a pint during pernicious pandemic

Ideally, government regulations should not be open to interpretation, but the UK's wishy-washy response to the coronavirus pandemic has only left people scratching their heads – or, worse, thinking of ways they can bend the rules. Is it 2m social distancing, or 1.5? Is it stay at home, save lives, protect the NHS, or hands, …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    It's all bollocks

    If you ate seventeen packets of cheese and onion crisps or a dozen packs of peanuts, I defy anyone to deny that is not a substantial meal.

    The cops ought to be embarrassed at even attempting to police such unclear and undefined regulations.

    All I can say, is thank his noodlyness FSM that I live in Spain and have no such problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all bollocks

      But they love it. More and more laws to bully the public with.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's all bollocks

        It depends very much on the force/Chief Constable. Some have been very unhappy about this from Lockdown 1.0. It stems from the fact that we have a government that doesn't do detail, doesn't think things through. Right from the start policy has been chasing events instead of trying to get in front of them. I see they're now getting round to the idea that contact tracing should lead to testing and that the app should be able to provide payments for those it tells to isolate just like the manual tracing. And - who knows - they might even get round to deciding whether or not vaccination certificates will be issued.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's all bollocks

          "It stems from the fact that we have a government that doesn't do detail, doesn't think things through."

          I would disagree - why should we have to have a government "standard" for the size of a substantive meal when the variance in the population suggests any answer will be wrong. It's about a media and public that are used to looking for loopholes so they don't have to follow simple guidelines.

          We have a proportion of the population that are prepared to believe that COVID-19 is a government conspiracy while at the same time we have local/central bureaucracy and political parties that struggle to organise a piss up in a brewery before it goes out of business due to lock downs...

          And a media that are happy to ask the unanswerable questions to ensure that poorly considered options are considered as valid so that the spiral into stupidity continues.

          The failures in lockdown 1 were largely down to the government failing to react quickly enough. Post-lockdown 1 and into Lockdown 2 (and likely 3) has been about petty issues around whether it is "fair" that one city has to lockdown while another doesn't and the populations of both ignoring the guidelines that would help control the virus while blaming everyone else for their own lack of responsibility.

          And as we have these arguments, people die and the NHS is expected to cope with the results of the larger proportion of the populations stupidity.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's all bollocks

            If I could, I would upvote you many, many more than the allowed 1.

            <rant>

            We're in a pandemic. The evidence of hundreds people dying every day of this virus, is plain to see in the hospitals. Yet, there is a significant number of self-entitled idiots who don't want to do the right thing, to protect everyone else and save lives. Apparently, their personal expectations override any thought of someone else. Mainstream and social media has made narcissists of the many, reducing simple things like common sense and societal responsibility, to the remit of those old enough to care.

            </rant>

            I wonder if the creators of this virus might consider a variant which only killed those below a certain IQ? Contentious - yes, viable - unlikely but desirable ?

            1. CrazyOldCatMan

              Re: It's all bollocks

              virus might consider a variant which only killed those below a certain IQ?

              IQ isn't the determinant - tp put it into RPG terms, the problem is a lack pf WIS, not INT. Or, in RL terms, the determinant is selfishness and "me first" (AKA Chaotic Neutral). All of which are pretty prevalent in all levels of IQ.

              1. MarkTriumphant

                Re: It's all bollocks

                Surely "Me first" is Neutral Evil?

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: It's all bollocks

            I'm not sure what you're disagreeing about. Just about everything you go on to say is an example of the government not thinking things through. Take, for instance this:

            "The failures in lockdown 1 were largely down to the government failing to react quickly enough."

            Which is part of the point I was making. They were at least a week late in starting - chasing after events.

            It went further. Those of us of a certain age were advised not to go out at all and arrange for food deliveries etc. Good luck with that, nobody bothered to tell the supermarkets and on that basis you could starve to death before getting a delivery data so we ended up with our daughter doing shopping for us for months.

            Good idea but (a) too late and (b) the detail was being left to somebody else.

            The current kerfuffle about substantive meals is another example: come out with a vague statement without thinking through so that the detail is left to others so that as you put it, people and media look for loopholes.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan

              Re: It's all bollocks

              Those of us of a certain age were advised not to go out at all and arrange for food deliveries

              I have the good 'fortune'[1] to be part of the vulnerable group and (eventually) managed to get priority delivery slots (and to be fair, it was a lot less hassle with Asda rather than Sainsbury [2]) so we at least managed to get food for us and the pets (within the limits of stock availability - bread flour? Don't have any mate..)

              [1] I'd rather not have to take immuno-supressants or diabetes medication but life is what it is. You can't change what's happened, only your response to it..

              [2] They consistently said no until I realised that I had to change my login to match the email address used with my Nectar card. After that, it worked fine.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: It's all bollocks

      Using Scotch Eggs as a guide, Rocky Mountain Oysters would count as a substantial meal

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testicle_(food)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's all bollocks

        Well the missus considers it a mouthful.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all bollocks

      I didn't know Spain was covid free.

    5. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Coat

      Thank his noodlyness...

      Divine intervention providing for drinks all round.

      Mine's the one with a substantial pot noodle in the pocket.

    6. Jason Bloomberg

      Re: It's all bollocks

      If you ate seventeen packets of cheese and onion crisps or a dozen packs of peanuts, I defy anyone to deny that is not a substantial meal.

      It's that 'more than one' which discounts a packet of crisps, bag of peanuts, scotch egg from being a substantial meal in its own right.

      A substantial meal to me is one which leaves a very hungry me full enough that I wouldn't want to - and couldn't - eat the same again in that one sitting.

      The other test is whether one would tell the waiter to fuck right off if it were served when a "substantial meal" had been ordered.

      But we all know this pretend confusion is really about subverting the lockdown restrictions.

  2. Dwarf Silver badge

    New products and opportunities

    Wasn't there a brewery somewhere that wanted to have drinks called "The usual" and "Something different" since many people go in and ask for a pint of the usual or say things like I'll try something different today.

    I'm also wondering how long it will be before they come down hard on "large portion sizes" due to COVID weight gains, blah, blah, risk NHS or something

    Perhaps one way around this is to have more eating challenge themed pubs that seem to be popular these days ?

    Just set the eating challenge duration to be "6 hours" or something.

    1. Mike 140
      Pint

      Re: New products and opportunities

      One of my local brewers has a (very popular) beer called "Swift One"

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: New products and opportunities

        If you frequent your hostelry often enough "The Usual" is quite an acceptable term if you're on good terms with the bar staff.

        At one point in my past a mate and I went to the same pub at the same so often that we'd walk in and find our pints on the bar waiting for us.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: New products and opportunities

          Yep - when I was at polytechnic Damien, the barman at our local watering hole, could hear us coming down the stairs (students were expected to be in the cellar!) and have the right number of the right pints on the bar before we got there. He obviously had good hearing, because it wasn't always the same number or combination of people, and yet he never failed!

  3. Symon
    Trollface

    "has only left people scratching their heads"

    I don't believe this. I think most people understand the rules and the intent of the rules. As to whether the rules are rational and effective, that's another question, but there's plenty of information out there, and I think that the 'people scratching their heads' thing is something fabricated by people who don't agree with the regulations put in place.

    If a publican knows what type of meal she has to serve to a 16 year-old drinking a beer, then she knows what what rules apply in tier 2 for getting a drink.

    p.s. Hello from Cornwall, you disease ridden eastern bastards! That'll teach you to put the cream on first. ;-) ---->

    1. sandman
      Thumb Up

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      Best ever comment on the leading controversy of the last 1,000 years!

      "p.s. Hello from Cornwall, you disease ridden eastern bastards! That'll teach you to put the cream on first. ;-) "

      1. The Count Is Dead
        FAIL

        Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

        Don't look now but Cornwall is in the south WEST. Hardly eastern bastards then are they?

        1. Zimmer
          FAIL

          Re: Don't Look now..

          Well, have another look now 'cause I think he wrote "..greetings FROM Cornwall.." addressing his neighbouring county to the East...

          Please see: https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2020/06/26/national_cream_tea_day/

        2. The Last Elephant

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          Oh dear.

        3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          Too funny , love the big "Fail" icon , oh the ironing.

          For when the comment is mysteriously "deleted by Author" it said:

          .

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          Don't look now but Cornwall is in the south WEST. Hardly eastern bastards then are they?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      "I think that the 'people scratching their heads' thing is something fabricated by people who don't agree with the regulations put in place."

      Precisely, the whole period of Covid has been characterized by people, especially in the media and politician acting in a "deliberately thick" manner so that they can pretend they don't understand the rules. As soon as the "substantial meal" issue was first raised with local lockdowns that a newsreporter question a spokesperson from the pub trade over it and the reply that the rule was copied directly from the rules allowing under 18s to eat meals in a bar and thus was perfectly understood by any publican who wanted to keep his licence seemed to take the interviewer by surprise.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

        This^

        We are supposed to be "in this together", "dunkirk spirit" etc!

        We're meant to be doing our bit without having to be legally required to, and forced with trunceans.

        We certainly arnt meant to be doing everything we can to "hack" the rules and find loopholes.

        Its our own health in the balance here isnt it?

        "oh , wait no its only the old people, fuck them"

        Some areas are on the verge of riots becasue the post lockdown tier restrictions are the same or worse than before lockdown2.

        "Well stop spreading the fucking disease around then you muppets"

        The governmet didnt come down there handing out diseased towels - YOU DID IT TO YOURSELVES, by bitching about rules ,not wearing your mask , anf going to the pub and huggin eachother , then saying

        "its ok , i ate a scothch egg"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          "oh , wait no its only the old people, fuck them" No it isn't, my young relative, who is self isolating due to being immunologically challenged, was today put in extreme danger by the delivery driver from a well known supermarket chain, who said that he didn't care that several of his colleagues have been tested positive for Corona, and that he probably had it as well. Such people are super spreaders, and will infect the vulnerable customers whom their employer has vowed to protect. She is now in a state of mental anguish and has her front hall full of scattered groceries that she is too scared to touch in case she should catch the disease.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

            sorry,

            Comment = Replace(Comment,'old people','vulnerable people of all ages, i'm alright Jack')

          2. CrazyOldCatMan

            Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

            was today put in extreme danger by the delivery driver from a well known supermarket chain

            Which why my wife handles all the deliveries and everything (except cold stuff) goes into the dining room for quarentine and fridge/freezer stuff gets wiped down with detergent and rinsed. We then both wash our hands (I do the drying of fridge stuff).

            But for people on their own I can see how it's going to be a problem. I hope she gave the supermarket some feedback?

            (PS: None of the delivery drivers we've had have been a problem.. and they've all kept their distance.)

          3. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

            "oh , wait no its only the old people, fuck them"

            This is almost verbatim what I was told by an acquaintance who was whining about a second lockdown, the tier system, etc etc, all because he couldn't go and sit in the pub and rant about foreigners as usual. It seems selfishness has been allowed to become the new normal. Dunkirk? This lot would have said "sod 'em, they shouldnt have lost" and gone back to the pub.

    3. ShabWeasel

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      I think the fact that even the licensing teaching materials and examination never define what constitutes a 'substantial meal' doesn't really help much.

      A lot of the rules are based around 'reasonable' behaviour such as when you 'reasonably' think a person is drunk, meaning you aren't allowed to serve them any more. Technically anyone is 'drunk' after 2 drinks; not many landlords out there refusing to sell someone a third pint though....

      There's also some funny quirks that are generally ignored - quite a lot of places will happily serve Desperados beer/lager to a 16 year old with a meal, despite the fact that spirits such as tequila are absolutely not allowed to be served to under 18s even with food.

      With so much of the rule being up to the judgement of the landlord/barstaff I fully agree that clarification is needed, especially with the overall vagueness of new restrictions and the potential penalties for being wrong.

      1. cookieMonster

        Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

        RE: quite a lot of places will happily serve Desperados beer/lager to a 16 year old with a meal, despite the fact that spirits such as tequila are absolutely not allowed to be served to under 18s even with food.

        I think that muck only has “Tequila Flavor”, not the real juice.

        1. ShabWeasel

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          It's bloody awful stuff, but it does contain 'actual' tequila IE: raw spirit as the regulations proscribe. It's a technicality, but still a potential issue.

          I'd just say that the contradictions in what does and doesn't 'officially' apply are just leaving the door open for abuse and/or giving undefined enforcement powers to petty officials.

          IMHO, the entire government's approach has been vague and useless - kind of like the government themselves lol

    4. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      "I think most people understand the rules and the intent of the rules"

      That could be so, but even if it is, it's a bad basis for law. Henry VIII used the very same principle - being vague, then persecuting people who interpreted his edicts differently from the way he did.

      It took two revolutions and more than a century after them to stabilise English jurisprudence. Even if the result is not perfect, it's generally a damned sight less imperfect than "substantial meal".

      The big problem is that we've been suffering from another pandemic for a lot longer than covid. It's called woolly thinking.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

        When I saw this Scotch egg thing in the MSM a few days ago, I thought at the time that the MP was just being an idiot, and it was plain obvious a scotch egg isn't a meal. I even thought, that's getting silly now, too silly even for the register.

        I agree that people are being deliberately obtuse about these things to make a petty point. Really not helpful.

    5. CrazyOldCatMan

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      Hello from Cornwall

      Kernow bys vikken!

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    Oi

    Just because I don't know what I'm talking 'bout doesn't mean you can question my authority! As Cartman said, "Are you questioning my Authorityy?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oi

      Authoritah, shirley?

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Oi

        Indeed: "authorityy" is another character entirely, m'kay.

  5. SundogUK Silver badge

    Just drink Guinness. The fourth food group.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      According to New Scientist, you can get your recommended daily nutrients from just one pint of milk, one pint of orange juice and 36 pints of Guinness.

      Best check that there isn't a toilet paper shortage first, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        one pint of milk, one pint of orange juice and 36 pints of Guinness

        Just add vodka to complete the cocktail recipe, and you'll have yourself a nice little 'Mudslide', but not in a good way....

    2. CrazyOldCatMan

      Just drink Guinness. The fourth food group

      Ew. Just ew.

      Now if it was cider.. that'd be an equine of a different hue..

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    My home made scotch eggs are a substantial meal.

    A goose egg (>3 chicken eggs) and 6 oz of minced pork.

    I like the idea that you have to leave the pub when you've finished your meal. I reckon my mines not finished until I've had a brandy and 27

    pints.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
      Joke

      Re: My home made scotch eggs are a substantial meal.

      In Australia they were using at a time emu eggs.

      But then they lost the war...

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: My home made scotch eggs are a substantial meal.

      I'll have the Scotch egg...but just bring me the Scotch, and hold the egg.

  7. steven_t

    11pm and cornflakes

    The article says everyone should be out by 10. I'm fairly sure the new rule is 11, although they have to make their last orders by 10.

    The regulations themselves don't actually contain the phrase "substantial meal" and I reckon you can get away with serving cornflakes.

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 say that the meal must be "such as might be expected to be served as breakfast, the main midday or main evening meal, or as a main course at such a meal."

    They're here:

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1374/made

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: 11pm and cornflakes

      Excellent "such as might be expected to be served as breakfast,"

      Given my breakfast is normally a couple of slices of bread & a spread of some sort (be it jam. peanut butter, marmalade, whatever)

      So any sandwich or equivalent would count.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        Re: 11pm and cornflakes

        "such as might be expected to be served as breakfast,"

        To a functioning alcoholic that phrase means a few beers or a generous quantity of spirit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 11pm and cornflakes

      "such as might be expected to be served as breakfast".

      That will be two slices of toast with no butter then.

      1. Outski Bronze badge

        Re: 11pm and cornflakes

        Surely "just dry white toast, ma'am"?

        H/T Elwood Blues

        1. The Count Is Dead
          Happy

          Re: 11pm and cornflakes

          Don't forget the 4 whole fried chickens. Nutritious.

          1. Outski Bronze badge

            Re: 11pm and cornflakes

            And a Coke

    3. bonkers

      Re: 11pm and cornflakes

      I wonder if a “Vegan Breakfast” would count?

      - a cup of coffee and a cigarette…

      I did once complain to a Australian colleague – late into a long day meeting abroad – that that was all I’d had so far that day.

      …That’s nothing – all I’ve had is a Dingo’s breakfast…

      A Dingo’s breakfast?

      …Yeah, a scratch, a sniff and a look around…

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Lucky 01rish :-) ........ always the Reliable Rogue and Riotous Rebel in Revolt ....

    ...... and Up for Doing Things Differently

    A healthy draught of the creamy black Guinness product both sets up and has overwhelmed many a stout soul whenever treated and delivered as a substantial meal.

    Who hasn't fallen head over heels and been a willing witness in actions smitten and propelled by its awesome charming capture ........ on any number of occasions doing the product proud? :-) Put it on your bucket list if the experience is missing in your portfolio.

    This endorsement was not/is not yet brought to you by Guinness Pilots for a Brewery at St. James’s Gate. .....where similar such fuels mastered there are bound to be guaranteed exceptional. They are after all bonded liquor license holders.

    1. techdead
      Pint

      Re: The Lucky 01rish :-) ........ always the Reliable Rogue and Riotous Rebel in Revolt ....

      upvoted for the 'stout soul'...

  9. macjules Silver badge

    they couldn’t tell us what substantial food was

    What a complete effing joke.

    It is like this with the schools. They demand that every school provide a "substantial" school meal during the COVID-19 crisis but (as usual) leave it up to the head teacher to define what that meal should be or what substantial means. My lot come home and say that they get a pack of crips, a choice of sandwich, an apple and a small orange drink on good days.

    1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      Re: they couldn’t tell us what substantial food was

      And what, pray tell, do they get when you fix them their school lunches?

  10. Dabooka Silver badge

    It's hard to be critical without being labelled

    However it really is colossal clusterfuck. Ignoring the widespread corruption, cronyism and double standards, the simple reality is the government are incapable of either asking for assistance or acknowledging they are wrong. On anything.

    Every time I see one of the prime wazzocks on television they evade answering questions, repeat the same nonsense answers or spit off more and more soundbites. I could almost forgive them this (almost) if it weren't for the fact that every single thing they say or do is measured first and foremost against potential backlash.

    Nothing is genuinely done to give benefit, because it's the the right course of action or due to the fact we deserve some honesty. It's all done to try and mitigate fallout and that should not be the primary driver. This is why you end up with debates about scotch eggs* a substantial meal and folk spending time devising workarounds.

    They are, as long as served with crisps (preferably Seabrooks)

    1. Cynical Pie

      Re: It's hard to be critical without being labelled

      An upvote for Seabrooks, Ready Salted or Canadian Ham are my personal favorites

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        Re: It's hard to be critical without being labelled

        Ready salted.

        As these are the king of crisps anyway

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
          Unhappy

          plain crisps

          Ready salted.

          As these are the king of crisps anyway

          You wouldnt say that if that was your only choice of flavour from birth until you left home.

          You wouldnt say that if your mum , inexplicably refused to accept that crisps were available with actual flavour installed , and blindy bought multipacks of bland bland same same ready fucking salted year after year , crually refusing to even explain why WHY , WHY in Gods Name would you not get Salt and Vinegar , or Cheese and Onion , given it costs exactly the same.

          You wouldnt say that if you had to go to school and see the other kids with their Flavored crisps ,

          all the flavours under the sun , Prawn cocktail , fish and chips , salty bacon ,pickled onion.

          ...and you standing forlornly with your bag of Safeway ready fucking salted.

  11. John 110
    Coat

    Why do you need rules?

    This bastard virus will either :

    a - Kill you

    b - Leave you incapacitated for a looong time

    c - Or kill your granny

    Why do you need the government to tell you to be careful!!

    ---> me putting on my labcoat...

    1. AW-S

      Re: Why do you need rules?

      "Leave you incapacitated for a looong time"

      On LBC this morning they mentioned they would be talking to someone who had been suffering from "Long COVID" for nearly 24 months. Interesting.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Why do you need rules?

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52935644

        has someone saying that one of the "old" common cold viruses called OC43 is a bastard if it really gets its teeth into you. But it's not news - except in this case.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Why do you need rules?

      Many people will suffer very little side-effects from the virus. Doesn't mean it isn't a serious illness, but it's not ebola or cholera.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Why do you need rules?

        but it's not ebola or cholera.

        Quite right - the vaccines against ebola and cholera are already approved and available.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Why do you need rules?

          Yes, but they also have far higher mortality rates.

          1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

            Re: Why do you need rules?

            Maybe I should have used the joke alert icon.

            Anyway, now we've got approved, just need available. Amazing what the biologists can do these days.

      2. John 110
        Facepalm

        Re: Why do you need rules?

        "Many people will suffer very little side-effects from the virus."

        And the rest don't count? So let's put the bullet in the cylinder and spin it, shall we?

        "Doesn't mean it isn't a serious illness, but it's not ebola or cholera."

        Because if people were squirting blood from all orifices, then we'd take it seriously?

        The problem is that Covid isn't a hollywood illness, if it was, then people would take more notice. As I said (or meant to say), these precautions aren't arbitrary rules like parking restrictions or stuff like that. We're in a public health crisis, and every single time we relax and take our eye off the ball, the numbers spike again.

      3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Why do you need rules?

        Many people will suffer very little side-effects from the virus. Doesn't mean it isn't a serious illness, but it's not ebola or cholera.

        A) Dont be so fucking selfish, i cant believe you got 7 upvotes for that.

        B) Its a good job its not Ebola , given the absdulrtlely shambolic lack of 'give a fuck' the public has shown during this episode , or we'd all be dead.

        Past generations were told to to Storm the beaches against machine gun fire.

        All we had to do was *not* go to the beach , and lay off the pubs and clubs.

        seems thats too much to ask these days.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why do you need rules?

      It's taken me a good while to see the parallel with life in N Ireland. On the one hand there was a terrorist campaign which could kill you but on the other you had to get on with life. So there were rules and the bulk of the population got along with them, the exceptions mostly being those who were part of the problem.

      There were considerable differences. For a start the overall risk was lower and the risk distribution was different. A big difference was that it was impossible to be in denial; if your regular pub was a smoking ruin you could see it was a smoking ruin. You can't see a virus so there's scope for Covidiots to tell themselves and those around them that it doesn't exist.

      I don't see how we get round the last problem except the Covidiots discovering things the hard way. For the rest of us, however, we do need rules because they are essentially a codification of what the risks of infection are and how to avoid them. The rules will evolve as the mechanisms of infection are better understood and as treatments improve and vaccination is introduced.

    4. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

      Re: Why do you need rules?

      My 78yr old uncle had 2 days slight breathlessness

      He has type 2 diabetes (in remission) and is overweight (but less than in 2019)

      Recovered fully within the week.

      Only other person I know who has had it was also of similar age and outcome.

      This is not to dismiss those who who have been seriously ill or have died. However, to claim "it will kill you" is overblown

      It "could make you seriously unwell and may kill you" is closer to the truth

      For my part, I've had "proper" 'flu 5 times in my life. Each time has been a week in bed delerious followed by bilateral pneumonia requiring 2 weeks antibiotics. I have no chronic conditions but my 'flu experience is not the same as others but dont go round telling people 'flu will kill you' (it MAY)

      1. Derezed

        Re: Why do you need rules?

        Really? Ask anyone in any large hospital if they agree this virus is overblown.

        This is a pandemic and hospital ITUs were full (and are filling up again) with intubated people with serious complications as a result of COVID 19...not seasonal flu.

        This is about not overrunning the NHS and filling beds needlessly with sick and dying people. Flu does kill...yes...flu does cause ITU beds to be occupied...yes...flu DOES NOT cause hospitals to reach their capacity, cancel elective surgery and leave people without an effective health service. This virus does...

        It is not about your uncle and his dicky ticker, it's about whether or not an ambulance is available to take you to hospital after a car crash and whether or not there is a bed for you to be treated in and whether or not there are staff that are well enough (not too strung out to think) to fix you up.

        Your anecdote is genuinely irrelevant.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Why do you need rules?

        However, to claim "it will kill you" is overblown

        And to claim that the government are telling you "it will kill you" is also overblown.

        Jesus fuck. Have you no self-awareness?

      3. Mooseman Silver badge

        Re: Why do you need rules?

        I know 2 people who have died of covid in the last month. One was in his 80's, had diabetes and early signs of alzheimers. The other was my age, with no pre-existing conditions. I have never known anyone to die of influenza; most people who claim to have had flu simply have a heavy cold. No, it's not universally fatal, but to equate a disease that is much more infectious than flu, kills at least 50,000 peope in less that a year (compared to maybe 1500 from flu - and please don't quote me the Sun or "brexitfacts" figures) is daft.

    5. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Why do you need rules?

      "Why do you need the government to tell you to be careful!!"

      Wow, that went straight over the head of half commentards who replied , hence the downvotes

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Why do you need rules?

        The evidence seems to be telling us that even when people are warned they're so disregarding of them as to constitute a danger to the rest and that enforced rules are needed.

  12. PassiveSmoking

    It's just like The Inbetweeners. Now give me three pints of cider and three carveries, please

  13. Dom 3

    Oh fercrissakes. If "they" try to spell out precisely what is and is not a substantial meal, there will inevitably be edge cases and some smart-arse who thinks they've found a loophole which they can exploit. Much better to leave it as is:

    1. Customer must order a substantial meal

    2. Don't take the piss.

    Dunno what this means: `This is how it "worked" before the second lockdown`. It was quite different a couple of months ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm vegan and on a diet. My substantial is not substantial.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Facepalm

        I'm vegan and on a diet.

        Self inflicted doesn't count.

      2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        How do you know if someone is a Vegan?

        "I'm vegan."

        Thanks for letting us all know and for reinforcing the adage.

  14. Mike Flex
    WTF?

    A soft-boiled scotch egg?

    What nonsense is this?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: A soft-boiled scotch egg?

      Very good nonsense if you ask me. Don't like hard yolks. For variety, if you're in Manchester, I can recommend the "Manchester Egg" which uses pickled eggs, which always have soft yolks, and black pudding.

      Keep the hard-boiled ones for hurling at the clueless hordes of government ministers.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: A soft-boiled scotch egg?

        Keep the hard-boiled ones for hurling at the clueless hordes of government ministers.

        I thought the age old practice called for plain unboiled eggs, preferably rotten, to be hurled against politicians

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFfbgyt5Ceg

        A word of caution - remember John Prescott!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpqWFDXTkus

        Nigel Farage also popularised/appeared to attract Milk Shakes

      2. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: A soft-boiled scotch egg?

        Charlie Clark> which uses pickled eggs

        The savages. Clearly western civilisation is breaking down.

    2. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: A soft-boiled scotch egg?

      What nonsense is this?

      IMHO the correct response should be What kind of talk is that, then in a voice that might just sound like John Cleese.

  15. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
    Angel

    The Twelve Tasks of Asterix...

    Where you can see an example of a "substantial" meal

    (even if it was just appetisers for Obelix)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Ireland they applied a "€9 euro substantial meal" rule with a 1hr 45min max time rule seated. I know many UK pubs serve food priced under that amount but surely having a set min limit and a max time seated would have made more sense.

    But then I look at the UK Gov and realise that using a scotch egg quantity measure (and having mixed messages about it) is about the right incompetence level expected....

  17. Zarno Bronze badge
    Pint

    Welcome to NY...

    Welcome to NY, we've had this enforced since since July, with just as funny outcome due to it being so vague and wiggly worded.

    Originally "must be served with food", and then people just bought a bag of chips or a soft pretzel.

    Quickly changed to "substantive food".

    Chicken wings were suggested to not be "substantive food", and we nearly had riots before it was backtracked.

    But a small sandwich with chips was ok. As long as it wasn't too small...

    As of the last time I was out at a bar (early October?), a mid-size 100mmx100mm square of tomato pie was on the menu and apparently counted.

    I had ordered a full Friday Fish Fry though, because I actually went for food instead of just beers.

    Funny to think that ordering the full appetizer sampler platter would technically be against the rule as it's all hors d'oeuvres.

    Pints all around. Mine, in 5 hours, is going to be a canned Guinness poured in the special glass, at the house, on the couch, doing my part to stay out of that whole debacle.

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Went out in teir 3 Liverpool to Wetherspoon just before the lockdown, and wanted to order starters while we had our drinks and then place the order for our mains afterwards, after previously getting the starters and mains together when we had ordered them at the same time. But the staff there were refusing to let us do it. So we left and went to a pub around the corner where they were being cockwombles and that was acceptable.

    1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

      First mistake, went to "Spooners".

      Only Wetherspoons worth going to is in Lime Street Station, even then, its not the greatest experience

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      If you were in Wetherspoons and not wearing baggy grey sweatpants with wee stains then the staff are obviously not going to take you seriously.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ministers...eh

    Can they ask the Commons canteen caterers to ONLY serve scotch eggs as a substantial meal as the only dish available for the duration of the pandemic/lockdown?

    Lets see how many MPs turn up, comparted to the already meagre attendees. The scroungers, them all.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Ministers...eh

      They will turn up - provided you agree to send them on all expenses paid fact finding trips to sample "substantial meals" in other countries - preferably in tropical countries with nice sandy beaches. Then they have something to compare against

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Ministers...eh

      And the scotch eggs would still be subsidised. Maybe if they had to pay more than 2s 6d for a meal they'd get out more.

      (For the benefit of younger readers, 2s 6d does not refer to an electron orbital configuration.)

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Ministers...eh

        IIRC a pack of 2 small Scotch Eggs were 72 new pence at Lidl last week

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ministers...eh

          My goodness! That's nearly 14 shillings and sixpence! Seven shillings and a thrupenny bit each! Mind you, there don't seem to be nearly as many thrupenny bits around since Glenda Jackson gave up the acting and went into Parliament...

          Time for my pills I think...

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Ministers...eh

        For the benefit of younger readers, 2s 6d...

        Don't give Rees-Mogg ideas - he'll wind back the clock to pre-decimalisation

  20. Huw D

    A friend of mine came up with this suggestion.

    Starter: Scotch Egg

    Main: Oeuf a l'Ecosse

    Dessert: Och Aye The Nougat.

    Now would madam care to see the Drinks Menu?

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: A friend of mine came up with this suggestion.

      Hey you Huw!

      Scotch eggs are not Scottish nor named due to Scotland. Maybe if you cover them in chocolate and deep-fry them, but so far nothing to do with us.

      And for the first posters here complaining about 'the Government response', health is a devolved matter so there have been four government responses. Scots seem to appreciate the Scottish Government response so far. Yesterday they gave £500 to all health and care workers, plus £100 to any family that gets school meals, plus free breakfasts for all school kids to go with their free lunches after the election. And we didn't even need a footballer to intervene.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A friend of mine came up with this suggestion.

        Yeah, it's easy when it's someone else's money.

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: A friend of mine came up with this suggestion.

          It's not borrowed, it's out of the existing budget so will mean cuts elsewhere. I personally think it's too little and suggested here months ago the same £29 daily bonus that soldiers get when in a warzone.

          It appears that the English government is insisting on taxing the bonus so the poorest workers will only get £123 - it's complicated but the headline optics of that is terrible for the Tories.

      2. Huw D

        Re: A friend of mine came up with this suggestion.

        @Danny 2. I'm just quoting my friend, who was playing on the common misunderstanding.

  21. scrubber

    Protect the NHS

    I sure am glad the Germans didn't win the war; all these instructions might have been in German.

  22. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Is it 2m social distancing, or 1.5?

    Is there a Reg Standard for 1.5m?

    To recap, the official 2m Social Distancing measure is The Osman...

    https://www.theregister.com/2020/03/27/reg_standards_soviet_social_distancing_measure/

    Or, against the standard, those in the South West were encouraged to adopt the Basil Fawlty by the local council

    https://www.theregister.com/2020/08/07/basil_fawlty_social_distancing_measure/

    Paris - a tad over at 1.73m. Nonetheless, a handy ready reckoner

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Coat

      Can't use Paris to measure social distancing

      She has an annoying habit of getting too close... some might say clingy.

      Mine's the one with an emergency substantial meal in the pocket.

  23. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

    Just a Thought

    Does the House of Commons' bar serve an alcoholic drink without a substantial meal? They have form for "Do as I say, not ... "

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Just a Thought

      Reportedly the bars are not serving any alcohol, even with a meal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just a Thought

      You refer to "the House of Commons' bar" as if there is only one. Apparently there are nine bars, nineteen restaurants/cafes and a coffee bar in the whole of Parliament. I'm not sure if all of them are open to MPs, or if any are serving alcohol, with or without subsantial meals.

      Yes, they are all subsidised by the taxpayer.

  24. Claverhouse Silver badge

    I doubt I could eat that slice of a 22" pizza anyway [ which links to a Metro article ], even if it were vegan. Possibly like all else our portion sizes are changing to the American mode.

    ,

    However, speaking of Yankee modes, and the Quest for Freedom!™, the Metro linked to this heart-warming bridal article of a Kazakhstani chap marrying his sex-doll. Eventually no-one and no-thing shall be off-limits for the sacramental state.

    https://metro.co.uk/2020/12/01/bodybuilder-marries-sex-doll-after-two-years-of-dating-13681356/

    'I like the process of sex itself. And gender, sexual orientation are not particularly important here,’ he explained.'

  25. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    I'm bored of the whining about pubs.

    No, not Wining, Whining!

    "Oh but I want to cuddle 160 people and their viruses so why can't I go somewhere public, get drunk (so I forget all about masks and hand cleaning and social distancing) and get my dose of virus soup? It's not fair. It's a government conspiracy against right thinking pissheads everywhere. QAnal are right, they want to restrict our freedoms and closing the pubs early is just the first step. Next they'll want to limit us to Diet Beer and Wine-Light, and oh I just don't know what the world is coming to these days"

    Me I say let the virus sort the idiots out. They will love it, and in the longer term it will improve the species considerably. Win-Win!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm bored of the whining about pubs.

      I don't think it'll have much effect on the future intelligence of the species, as those it kills are mostly past reproductive age. I do wonder how different the typical idiot response would be if it had a serious chance of helping them to evolve out. I suspect many of them would be more careful, to make sure there are plenty like them in the future.

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: I'm bored of the whining about pubs.

      "let the virus sort the idiots out. They will love it"

      It is slightly tempting to add to the insane vaccine conspiracy theories, just to ensure the initially limited number of vaccines go to sensible people.

      (I heard the chips they are injecting into you aren't capable of running Windows 10. )

  26. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
    Devil

    Splodgenessabounds...

    Two pints of lager and a Scotch egg please.

  27. Potemkine! Silver badge

    What I don't get about this rule is that this study shows that restaurants are COVID hotspots, and the longer you stay in, the riskier it is. So what's the point to make people eat in pubs?

    Following a safety logic, as long as vaccines are not massively available, restaurants and bars should stay closed.

  28. Slickwilly

    These attempts to "bend the rules" to get served seems to be the British variant of my US compatriots who insist that they have the "freedumb" to catch the virus if they so please - thus ranking the freedom to do whatever they please above any kind of solidarity which is required to control the virus. Only problem is the virus fails to distinguish between any human's point of view - and as we see in the US does not lend itself well to "politicization". It seems clear that so long as no broad vaccine is available, contact needs to be minimized and probably restaurants and bars need to be closed (as they have been the last month in my residence in Germany, where at least the growing infection trend has been reversed, if at a high level of cases). Sure this is painful for all involved, more for the proprietors livelihoods (the gov't needs to financially support) and less for the customers - but its what's needed to avoid having the restrictions drawn out over a longer period with associated higher loss of lives, not to mention straining the ICU capacity of hospitals.

  29. John Sturdy
    Happy

    It's all relative

    Surely whether a particular meal is substantial is relative to how substantial the person eating it is? Or, as Miss Piggy said, "Never eat more than you can lift."

  30. Mr Dogshit

    World-beating!

    Are these substantial meals oven ready?

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