The Plague Year

One year ago the UK government finally, sort of, took Covid seriously even though by this point we’d seen how it spread and in particular, how Italy was affected by it. So instead of listening to the science which at this point last year was screaming ‘LOCKDOWN’ which Boris Johnson ignored to tell us instead of how he planned to just let Covid sweep through the population and just jolly well let them (you and me of course, not him) take it on the chin.

The usual hard right/left grifters mocked talk of ‘over 100K dead’ yet here we are a year later looking at over 120k dead with one of the highest death rates in the world thanks to a government which followed all the wrong paths changing far too late, coming out of lockdowns too early and repeating the cycle. All the while billions are being spent of track and trace systems which don’t work or bungs to mates of mates while the death toll rose and rose.Thankfully the vaccination program is under the remit of the NHS which is why it’s so successful, but again we have the UK throwing around promises of a ‘normal’ second half of the summer which won’t happen. If they unlock too quickly and allow big events to happen then we’re back in lockdown next winter and I can’t imagine what that’d do to people.

People have to be told now that we’re living with Covid forever. It will change things even with a full vaccinated population, which we won’t get thanks to the anti-vaxxers. We need to have a dicussion as to how things will change rather than bluster through this as Johnson is doing hoping it’ll work out because after a year and 120k dead we should know it won’t.

Hopefully the worst is now however over. This is something remaining to be seen but after a year I’d like it to be in an ideal world, which of course, we don’t live in.

Fighting the Covid deniers

Covid deniers are like Holocaust deniers, Flat Earthers, or Anti-Vaxxers in that they take something clearly factual, deny it exists and protest it often with depressingly negative results for the majority who aren’t hooked by this bullshit. The fact is that Covid is real, it may be something we don’t know everything about yet but it exists and it kills people.

Among the worst of these pricks is Piers Corbyn, brother of Jeremy, who on New Year’s Eve protested outside the A & E unit of St Thomas Hospital in London who has been again arreseted today in Hyde Park, and I hope this time it results in a custodial sentence. One of the many reasons the UK is suffering so badly with Covid (and yes, the UK government have made a complete mess of things) is because of people like this who see restrictions to try to prevent what is happening now as ‘evil’. They beleive Covid is a hoax, or that if they think it exists it just just burn through the population while ‘protecting the vulnerable’ which would involve 40% of the UK’s population shielding for as long as this pandemic continues. All because they want to go shopping or on holiday or to the pub.

Sometimes it gets dressed up with false concern with the economy, which yes, is an issue, but let Covid rip through the population and you’ll see more than an economy ruined. The fact is these people give not a jot about the lives they’re putting at risk, or the economy as they’re just in it for themselves. Corbyn, Hopkins and all the others are grifters. They’ve realised by appealing to the extremes of left and right that they can gather a following and an income even if it means leaving their morality and care for others behind them. These sociopathic creatures are responsible partly for where we are now and there is blood on their hands so the likes of Corbyn being nicked sees no sympathy from me.

So please, don’t listen to these people. Listen to the 99.99% of scientists telling us how bad this is, and to the medical experts telling us the NHS is facing a crisis like at no other time in history. Do as they advise and maybe, just maybe we might come out of this mess sooner than later.

Return to Brexit Island

There is a Brexit deal. Boris Johnson and the Brexiters are claiming a ‘great victory’ as if cutting off both legs and holding a broken bottle under your balls is a ‘great victory’. For the first time in human history a country has negotiated a worse deal than they has for it’s businesses and its people.

But we have blue passports and Nigel Farage can continue his weird sexual obsession with good British fish and not that foreign muck!

Merry fucking Christmas.

Escape from Covid Island

It is a few days before Christmas. Ten days before the UK leaves the EU. The UK far from being on the verge of a new Golden Age, is isolated thanks to a new strain of the Covid virus that originated in the South East of England (the same parts of the UK Boris Johnson has been reluctant to impose stricter measures on) so there’s little or no way to get off or in this country. Meanwhile in Dover there’s a tailback of trucks going back miles, and Kent smells of piss because nobody in government thought of the absolute basics of human function.

So Christmas is cancelled, a deadly virus has mutated, Brexit endangers all of us except those bastards who cried for it so hard they’ve left the country when it hits, because of course these people aren’t willing to face the carnage which is enveloping us all right now.

And those of us wanting to just live our life are stuck trying to avoid infection, superspreader Covid deniers and the waves of shite Brexit will bring us. We desperately need a Snake Plissken to help us out as nobody else real or fictional seems to be wanting to step up to stop Boris Johnson destroy even more lives for utterly nothing…

Scottish independence is now supported by a majority

The latest polls for Scottish independence put 55% of people for, 45% against which is the latest poll which shows an increase in support since the start of 2020. This of course is good news, but if you’re a Unionist then the panic is setting in, and setting in hard because simply put if Boris Johnson is the voice of the Union then fuck the Union.

Of course it is just a poll, and the other problem is the SNP are seriously dragging their feet but the fact is people are on a clear path to independence, barring the diehard Unionists of course.

Eight years since the London Olympics

Back in July 2012, the London Olympics were looking to be a huge joke. What was clearly a new vanity project for Labour and Tony Blair at a time of prosperity became a millstone around the neck of a Tory/Lib Dem coalition who didn’t seem especially interested in culture or sport, and a London Mayor’s office run by Boris Johnson who was making mistake after mistake in the run-up to the event.  Security was a mess, nobody could buy tickets and if they did they were either too expensive or for events you didn’t want. Basically, as soon as we hit the month of the Olympics all that was expected was a giant mess.

Friends of mine, however, were going up to volunteer for the games, and one asked me if I wanted to go up and work a few days over the event doing some work in one of the offices on-site. So I went up a fortnight before it started, checked things out, saw it was carnage and decided to stay in Bristol for the duration as although the money was good, I didn’t really want to crash in a hotel in London nor did I want to piss all the money away.

The opening ceremony was to be done by Danny Boyle which at first excited people but then leaks of the show came out making people worried it was going to be shite. The ceremony was a Friday night which for me meant finishing work around 5pm, taking a walk home, and stopping by my local pub til who knows when? It was also cold and wet which that summer had been. It’d been dismal that year with few sunny days to call even a sunny spell.

With the ceremony on live TV in the pub, I couldn’t be arsed going home as I’d not just got a beer in, but it’d be funny to take the piss down the pub with everyone else so the ceremony started and we started taking the piss. What’s all this with the sheep and shit? Then slowly the banter stopped ”(hang on is that Underworld?? Was that Fuck Buttons????”)as more and more of us were sitting around watching and listening to it. We then realised this was something quite special, so I sat down the pub watching this event unfold before nipping home when the athletes started coming out (of course grabbing a fish supper on the way) to watch the rest at home.

That opening ceremony did define something for many. It defined the myth of a working United Kingdom and also showed that out of sacrifice we did create the NHS which to this day is still an extraordinary thing to do in that shattered time just after WW2. It showed the amazing contribution to music and culture these islands have produced and it probably still is the only bit of mass theatre most people have seen. It’s beloved of middle class liberals especially as they see it portraying the UK as it is, instead of as it could be. Obviously Boyle wasn’t going to go full in with politics, and in retrospect it is extraordinary how much he did manage to put in.

But for one evening in a grim, wet July things seemed good and it seemed like maybe the UK isn’t as bad as we think. Of course reality kicked in once the Olympics and Paralympics ended, and then a few years later in 2016 the reality of the UK was spattered across our screens for all to see.

Here though is the official Olympic channel coverage of the opening ceremony. It does have some wonderful Barry Davies commentary where he’s going full Partridge but it is a great document of something special eight long years ago.

VE Day was everything it shouldn’t be

Yesterday in Glasgow VE Day was barely noted outwith of official, very restricted, ceremonies, and this seemed to be the case over much of Scotland. Down south in England things were different. Street parties everywhere with lots of people mingling and drinking heavily together in a display of frankly, toxic exceptionalism which resulted not just in people going to A & E to deal with injuries caused because of drink and expose themselves to infection, but many parties just ignored physical distancing.

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Imagine being a family member or friend of one of the 32,000 dead (so far) who had to sit with a small amount of people at their funeral knowing they couldn’t hold their loved ones at the end watching people waving Union Flags and dancing the conga while indulging in this dangerous British/English exceptionalism which is less about giving respect to the end of the war in Europe 75 years ago than it is to build up the myth in time for Brexit that Britain/England is something which it isn’t.

So in 14-21 days time there’s going to be a spike in deaths, possibly sooner because here’s a police force saying they can’t deal with people breaking lockdown rules. Second waves in a pandemic are traditionally the worst but the fact is the first wave isn’t anywhere near over yet so while countries like Germany and France slowly, carefully lift some restrictions because they had a hard lockdown, we’ve played at it and now thanks to Boris Johnson sending out the most mixed of messages, this first wave will carry on and on for another month at least.

All because some people wanted to wave a fucking flag.

 

The Tories want you to die for the economy

This morning’s newspaper front pages are full of Boris Johnson’s plans to slacken up the Covid-19 lockdown so that by the end of May, start of June the UK is going to be open for business. As of yesterday, the UK has the highest death toll in Europe by any way you’d like to measure it, and the infection rate remains high while the death toll has actually risen for the last three days rather than fall which is where we should be right now.

Yet with all this happening all around us the UK papers are all about Monday being a day where freedom will come even though the science hasn’t changed, but what has changed is that newspapers are dying and they need the lockdown lifted so their millionaire owners can continue to make money and keep their influence. Tory backers are also itchy that they too will lose money so the narrative this week has changed from staying at home, and staying safe to the chancellor more or less calling furloughed workers scroungers.

Of course, the media in the UK is failing to hold the UK government to account which means with the highest death rate in Europe it can sail through this with barely a blow landed on it. There was no ‘leak’ to the press but a badly managed release of information which has now been dialled back as the devolved countries have no intention of letting anything slacken up til the end of May at least. Fact is the Tories want us to die for the economy. We’re facing a virus we’re finding more and more about every day but for Johnson and company, this doesn’t matter. It is all about getting us back to work, hope not too many people die and move on while waving flags and invoking a wartime spirit pulled right out of 1960’s war comics.

Basically, we’re at this point.

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And we all know how well that went after that…

Hope in the time of the apocalypse

Back in the 1980s we thought we were going to die all the time. Literally, you’d wake up, hear something on the radio about how some mad old bastard in the US or the Soviet Union nearly exterminated all human life last night but you’d get on with it. We’re now in 2020 and things are awful. We’re in the middle of a pandemic which sees a large chunk of the planet isolating while the reality of the future is starting to dawn on people that what we did prior to lockdown isn’t coming back. There’s a new future dawning and it won’t be a good one.

Yet there is some hope out there. People are still doing good things, society hasn’t fallen apart and this is a chance to assess what we’re doing with ourselves and the world. The other option is being scared and waiting to die which is frankly, not an option so find something that gives you hope be it watching a load of Star Wars films, whittering about comics or anything that keeps you grounded because til a vaccine is found and distributed things are never going back to what they were.

Hope prevails as long as you let it.

Let’s go crazy

As I approach my second weekend in isolation as the Coronavirus pandemic gets worse, and worse, it dawns on me that at no time in recent human history has such a single event effected the planet in such a way. The toll on people and their physical and mental health is going to be massive with people living the rest of their lives with the trauma we’re all experiencing right now.

When I hear people say this could be over in a few months, or realistically when a vaccine is available I tend to think the smarter ones are trying to avoid what we’re going to have to deal with at some point, which is the grieving and dealing with whatever you thought normal before this won’t be around after this. For myself I know I’m having severe anxiety and I’m not infected. God knows what the doctors, nurses and other NHS staff are putting up with, not to mention the family and friends of those dead.So I, and others, seem stuck between melancholia and hysteria.

Truth is we’ll dealing with this for years, in some cases for the rest of their lives. Once the scale of the pandemic becomes clear we’ll not put up with what we were before this because it’ll be trivial. We’re going to be very different after this so let’s have a conversation now about how to make things as best as possible for people after this.