Do you ever get the feeling that there is a marked absence of joined-up thinking by those in power in Westminster?

We are still in the grip of a pandemic, no matter how many Rishi meal deals you’ve been out for, and there is still a need for clear, concise and accurate information.

We need to be armed with that information if we are to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

So as children go back to school and students go back to university, we need to know the risks.

And let’s be clear, there is still a risk. I was a little alarmed to see the number of new coronavirus cases in Cheshire nearly doubling in the week to August 23, up to 48 from a figure of 29 the previous week.

Of course, I am prepared to accept that this figure doesn’t tell the whole story as the increase in new cases may simply reflect an increase in the number of tests. What’s just as important is the percentage of tests that have proved positive and we haven’t been provided with those figures.

Obviously, if the percentage of positives remains low and steady, there’s less to worry about, even if the total number of cases seems to be increasing.

And it’s also worth bearing in mind that Cheshire is still well below figures seen in areas that have gone back into lockdown, such as Greater Manchester and Blackburn.

Anyway, back to joined-up thinking and the need for clear messaging.

Cast your mind back six or seven weeks and prime minister Boris Johnson, summoning his inner Winston Churchill, basically told us it will all be over by Christmas.

Announcing the easing of coronavirus restrictions in England, Johnson stood at his Downing Street podium and promised a “significant return to normality” by Christmas.

Adding he was “hoping for the best and planning for the worst”, he went on to say: “It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest – possibly in time for Christmas.”

Of course, there was a reason for these jolly, optimistic words because this was the time he was making the case to people in England they should start using public transport and get back to work in the town and city centres.

He said: “Instead of government telling people to work from home, we are going to give employers more discretion, and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely.”

So that was the government’s message, but it wasn’t backed up by the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, who told MPs there was “absolutely no reason” to change the government’s guidance on working from home adding it was still a “perfectly good option” for many.

But winter is coming and there is evidence the virus survives longer in cooler temperatures and similar infections – including flu – do get a boost during the winter months.

Step forward health secretary Matt Hancock who gave us a somewhat bleaker assessment of the situation than his boss’s ‘it will be over by Christmas’ message.

Hancock warned that a second wave of coronavirus is a “very serious threat” which could result in another nationwide lockdown and said the government was not ruling out reimposing restrictions across England if cases rose again this winter.

He also warned of the “reasonable worst-case scenario” of another surge in Covid-19 at the same time as an outbreak of seasonal flu.

“A second wave is clearly visible in other parts of the world,” Mr Hancock said in an interview with The Times. “It is a very serious threat. But so far in the UK we are managing to keep the number of new cases flat through a combination of test and trace and local lockdowns.

“This is the reasonable worst-case scenario, that we have a bad flu and a growth in coronavirus as people spend more time indoors. Cases go up again, and we have to use very extensive local lockdowns or take further national action. We don’t rule that out but we don’t want to see it.”

So what is it then? Is it safe to get back to our city centre offices so we can rescue Pret a Manger? Is it safe for our children to go back to school and not infect their grandparents?

Is it safe for millions of students to migrate all around the country to take up their university places?

Will it all be over by Christmas?

If only we had someone competent in government to give us clear, concise and accurate information.