JANET STREET-PORTER: Gordon Ramsay has every right to exit the coronavirus in his second home

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As the coronavirus lockdown enters the third week, we are witnessing the emergence of a new class war.

People with second homes are targeted as “selfish” and even accused of being “spreaders” when traveling from city to country. Is this little jealousy justified?

Now a local MP even wants the police to set up roadblocks to prevent people from fleeing to their dark second homes.

TV chief Gordon Ramsay is someone you love or hate – I’ve done three TV shows with him and seen his rages firsthand. Now he is the target of a new army of haters for daring to live IN HIS OWN HOME!

Gordon Ramsay and his wife, Tana, walk past the old Lloyds Bank building in Fowey, Cornwall, which has been bought by the chef. Lloyds closed branch in 2015

Gordon Ramsay and his wife Tana walk past the old Lloyds Bank building in Fowey, Cornwall, which has been bought by the chef. Lloyds closed branch in 2015

At the start of the government-imposed foreclosure, Gordon left his mansion in south London and set off for his (equally large) 4.4 million pound beach house in Cornwall with his wife Tana and their five children – Megan 22, the twins Holly and Jack, 20, Tilly 18 and baby Oscar, 1.

He made no secret of it. We know exactly where Gordon is because the family’s social media accounts are filled with images of their one-year-old son’s birthday last Saturday, as well as witty posts on TikTok featuring Gordon and Tilly doing a “food” dance. Meanwhile, Gordon shared his feeling of constantly cooking for his offspring. He’s fed up like all of us – but he’s fed up in a beautiful, chic home.

I know this is an integral part of the modern celebrity world, sharing (and showing off) – allowing your fans to get a glimpse (always carefully organized and airbrushed) of your beautiful family at leisure.

But isn’t that a bit rude – not to mention tactful – in today’s climate? Millions of people around the world are confined to very small spaces, sharing a bathroom and a toilet. Many are not allowed to go out at all and have no other view than the buildings across the street.

So seeing Gordon and Co wandering around in their charming house might make you a bit of a crossover. For Gordon and Tana, a walk from their front door takes them straight to a beach, when most people might have to spend their daily government-authorized exercise walking around a bleak green spot avoiding dog poop and the bits of trash thrown away.

Yet we live in a free world (or hopefully we will do it again once it is finished) and therefore it is impossible to restrict the house in which the wealthy should choose to live if they all pay good taxes.

Whether we like it or not, Gordon Ramsay has the right to take his family wherever he wants because he (naturally) wants to keep them safe, writes Janet Street-Porter

Whether we like it or not, Gordon Ramsay has the right to take his family wherever he wants because he (naturally) wants to keep them safe, writes Janet Street-Porter

What about husbands and wives separated for work? My partner lives full time in our common house in Norfolk and I have a house in London where I stay when I work there. When the lockdown was announced, I immediately went to join him in Norfolk and that’s where I am now, doing more bloody housework and washing than I have done in years.

A friend who works in Kent and has a small house wants to join her (second) husband at his home in Cornwall, but she is too afraid to make the trip in case she is turned back by the police or the local pickets . Ridiculous! Certainly, we do not yet live by the rule of the mafia. My friends in the United States are afraid to leave their second home in the Hamptons for exercise or shopping, because the locals who live there all year are furious because the owners of second homes have gone away for the duration of the New York coronavirus epidemic.

Of course, this is straining local resources, but remember that it was local people and farmers who sold their dilapidated land and properties to the new arrivals. These same residents have benefited enormously from the wealth of wealth in the cities, and the same residents have overpriced grocery stores and supply cleaners and gardeners at exorbitant hourly rates. My friends have gone from being greeted by an army of expensive helpers and suppliers to feeling demonized because they have the cheek to choose to live in their beautiful country home rather than an apartment in New York.

In Cornwall, the large number of second homes and vacation rentals has been a source of inconvenience for local residents for many years. In certain regions, vacation rentals are prohibited and all new accommodation must be offered to residents. But it is too late to go back. Whether we like it or not, Gordon Ramsay has the right to take his family wherever he wants, because he (naturally) wants to keep them safe.

According to a friend, the beach house is where the Ramsays always spend time together as a family (photo: Gordon's property in Cornwall under construction in 2015)

Friend says beach house is where Ramsays always spend time together as a family (photo: Gordon’s Cornwall property under construction in 2015)

During the summer season, Cornwall (in common with other British tourist hotspots like the Scottish Highlands and the Lake District) likes newcomers because they keep restaurants expensive, they employ cleaners, spend a fortune in local shops and frequent pubs that would otherwise go bankrupt.

Unfortunately, Gordon Ramsay has become an easy target for enemies – who have set up a Facebook group called You Shouldn’t Be Here. There is even a suggestion that the famous chef “brought the London virus”. Absolute hysterical madness.

According to a friend, the house on the beach is where the Ramsays always spend time together as a family, “when the kids are back from college and Gordon is back from filming around the world,” and that their son Jack lives in the house full time. So that’s your answer, as unpleasant as it sounds.

Whether the locals like it or not, Gordon has every right to pass the lock in his own house. A possible solution might be for second home owners to pay an additional fee for health services, money that could be spent in the region to provide more nurses and doctors at any time, and not just in national emergencies.

No one wants day trippers to visit these places of beauty at Easter to escape the foreclosure, but home owners (rich and poor) have every right to be there.

Nevertheless, perhaps we all need to be more aware of the mental difficulties that most people experience during this period of forced incarceration.

Feelings are there, and Gordon and his colleagues may want to stop trying to cheer us up with their “entertaining” family videos. Bragging is never attractive, and right now it could be downright dangerous.

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