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Rule breakers It's 'effluence' not influence from the lockdown shirkers

"Don't make excuses for rule breaking," writes Deirdre Reynolds.

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As an absolutely essential frontline worker, I'm sure you'll agree, dear reader, that this column would be far more effective if it came to you from the sun-kissed Middle East.

Just imagine the tens of thousands I could inspire - the army of followers I could influence - were my weekly words of sagacity clacked out on a shiny new MacBook Pro by a shimmering pool in Dubai, instead of a clapped out Asus at the kitchen table in piddly locked-down Dublin.

At least, that was the logic of Sheridan Mordew as she became the latest influencer to come under fire this week for jetting to the City of God for "work" in the middle of a pandemic (though my parochial editor is thus far having none of it).

The British fitness influencer is just one of the social media stars to escape the country's tough 'Tier 4' restrictions by relocating to sunnier climes with more lax Covid rules.

Speaking on This Morning during the week, the Shape Up With Sher coach insisted she was providing an "essential" service to followers - while enjoying the odd camel ride in her downtime.

"I came to Dubai purely for business," she told presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield with a row of famously ergonomic sun loungers in the background. "I am a personal trainer.

"My clients depend on me to bring them motivation and happiness. I'm not hurting anybody, I'm creating jobs, helping people's mental health, I'm following the guidelines."

Oh do give over.

Whatever about these 'influenzers' bidding to go viral, so to speak, thanks to bikini-clad posts in exotic locations, let's not pretend that they're selflessly doing so for their poor depressed followers back home.

Geordie Shore star Chloe Ferry, Made in Chelsea's Zara McDermott and Love Island's Amber Gill are just some of the others who've been slated for flaunting their luxury business trips on Instagram during lockdown.

While Towie's James Lock and Love Islander Anton Danyluk were grafting harder than ever before to convince fans they're actually working by posting snaps with their laptop.

Look, guys, I get it - who wouldn't love to be fannying about an Emirati desert on the back of a camel right now, instead of defluffing the tumble dryer filter for the tenth time this year?

But just because the little green light is showing on my Microsoft Teams, it doesn't mean I'm doing a tap of work - so don't expect us to buy the "essential work trip" excuse on top of your latest sponcon fake tan or protein balls.

As someone who is still influenced by Clarks 1988 "magic shoes" ad, I'm not going to pretend to be any better than friends who live for glossy posts about everything from fitness to fashion, or go down the old biddy route of rubbishing the influencer marketing industry in general.

Maybe just don't try to play the mental health card with a $1.5billion skyscraper in the backdrop.

Hitting back at critics this week, Mordew continued: "I think in a world where you can be anything, be kind."

Very true - and in a world where you can stay the f*** at home, stay the f*** at home.

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