Dominic Cummings has never been elected to any position of power in his life, yet as the UK government’s chief advisor he is probably the second most powerful person in government after the Prime Minister. So you’d expect him to abide by the law right? Wrong, he drove over 200 miles while displaying Covid-19 symptoms from London to Durham to his parents’ home. This was at the end of March when lockdown was in full effect, and there have been people resigning for less but as of now, Cummings remains in a job being defended by reams of Tories who are acting as defence for him.
The issue is that Cummings did what we were told not to do. He travelled hundreds of miles while displaying symptoms possibly infecting who knows how many people because he wanted to be with his parents so they could look after his child. Yet across the UK there must have been thousands of families in the same position who didn’t risk their entire family by sticking to the rules. There’s also thousands of people who couldn’t be with their loved ones as they died hoping that a nurse or a doctor would be with them in their last moments.
But people, on the whole, respected the lockdown. They wanted people to be safe as well as their families. They respected the law in a time of crisis. Yet here’s someone advising the government ignoring laws, breaking lockdown, infecting who knows how many and now, rubbing our noses in it because he frankly hates us. We’re just shit off his shoe. The contempt for the public’s trust is contemptible and in a normal democracy would lead to Cummings being charged, as well as being sacked but he’ll survive this. Trust in the lockdown will be diminished and people will just go ‘fuck it’ and go around to see loved ones they’ve not seen in ten weeks at least. All the hard work and sacrifices people have made since March is all gone in a moment of complete selfishness yet Cummings escapes a fine or charge.
Fact is you are treated with contempt and despised, and the elite aren’t even trying to hide it.
The daily UK government Covid briefing is at best, a waste of time, at worst it’s a desperate attempt to spin what is a public health disaster into just another bit of politics which of course, is costing thousands of lives. It isn’t helped by a week and compliant UK media only too glad to massage Tory ministers ego.
Of course we’re now at the point where no real information is being given out, and the day-to-day briefing is something to be mocked which brings me to this great video from comedy duo Larry and Paul which is exactly like every Covid briefing ever…
The new UK government advice for England is, well, a mess.
It has resulted in Piers Morgan tearing a Tory MP apart.
Then ITV’s This Morning, a programme which is the visual embodiment of Middle England tearing Boris Johnson apart.
In just a few minutes on Sunday night Boris Johnson tore down all the good work which has been done over the last seven weeks, threatened lives and now risks the security of the devolved nations who remain in lockdown but now have to deal with people trying to get over the border for a holiday.
Because of the incompetence of this UK government, people will die. There will be a second wave hitting in 14-21 days which means lives will be lost that could have been saved if the Tories actually cared about saving lives which they don’t. Right now, it’s about getting things back to normal when nobody is fully prepared for what the new world living with Covid will be. Another three weeks wouldn’t have been any problem to get the infection rate down a bit further and get some actual planning for reopening done. Now everything is going to be done on the hoof in England, and again, people will die.
Never in my life have I seen such a psychotic government and that is saying a lot.
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.
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.
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.
And we all know how well that went after that…
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.
So that’s it, the Corbyn era of Labour is gone and the party is probably going to take years, maybe decades to claw back support if it manages that at all. I’ve followed Corbyn’s time in charge with an increasing horror as the green shoots of recovery for Labour were squandered for cementing personal power, and selling the UK, especially England, a vision which was at best a unicorn dream even though many of the ideas were sound (and as we’ve seen here in Scotland, perfectly workable), it was Corbyn and those around him that made people retreat hard from Labour.
Corbyn may have brought thousands of new people into Labour, but he really didn’t because many filtered into Momentum, Corbyn’s own Praetorian Guard. There was an ‘us against them’ mentality from the off as Labour instead of fighting the Tories took to fighting themselves, and any idea they’d work with other opposition parties fell to dust and lets not even touch on Brexit.
Here in Scotland, Corbyn exposed himself as ignorant of the basics of devolution, the Scottish legal system, or anything in fact. Badly briefed and unable to find out for himself, one of his right-hand men took charge of Scottish Labour in the shape of Richard Leonard who has taken Labour here to irrelevance as his party looks ready to come fourth in the elections next year. An opportunity wasted to be better than tribalism.
All the grifters, hangers-on and the like that surrounded Corbyn will no decry Keir Starmer, and indeed there is much to be concerned about, and for people in Scotland seeing an ultra British nationalist like Angela Raynor second in command suggests Labour will lead themselves to new depths in Scotland, and probably Wales too. No, it is in England where any Labour revival will come and where it’s needed because right now Boris Johnson and the Tories need opposing more than ever before. Yes, we’re in a worldwide crisis but they need to step up because just as people will remember the Tories failing us now, they’ll remember Labour failing to do anything to stop them.
But I hope I’m wrong and I hope Starmer is smart enough to reach out amongst the opposition to create a united front against the Tories, but I think the death spiral Labour have been on since 2015 especially will carry on and on.
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.
We’re a week into the official lockdown in the UK, though it isn’t really a full lockdown as people are still working in jobs that are far from essential, and that compared to other European countries the UK are not testing (well, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are testing) as much as we should. The fact is as on writing this the UK’s overall death toll is 2,352 with an average increase at the moment of 200 a day and this will increase as we’re into April now which means we’re getting now into the real hard times as the NHS becomes overstretched and the cases come flooding in.
So one has to ask if the UK government has done what they could. The simple answer is no. We had three months warning this was coming. We could have taken control at a governmental level of this back in February but no, and remember, at the start of March Boris Johnson was boasting about shaking the hands of Covid19 victims and saying everyone should carry on.
The facts are brutal. Hundreds of thousands of people are being infected every day and thousands are dying, and although some countries are tailing off, that’s only because of severe lockdowns which look unlikely to be relaxed back to pre-virus conditions anytime soon.
This is where this video from Dr. Rupert Read comes in. After this is done, people need to be held to account and Read makes the points clear as to where things went wrong and what should be done.
In the next month things are going to get horrendous, so we need to listen to the likes of read because it might help people understand how we got here and how we might get out.
I’m on day two of the official lockdown and so far I’m fine, partly because I’m off work on full wages expecting to get set up to work from home probably next week. What is clear is the situation is becoming more real that things aren’t going to change soon, and that we’re effectively in a wartime situation which leads us to see how people react to this.
Mostly people are doing what they can to help, but panic buying is still rife, as is black marketeering not to mention companies which clearly are nothing like an essential service forcing staff to come in putting lives at risk. Plus young people thinking they’re invulnerable can think again.
Reality is starting to dawn that this is the new normal. We’re locked down til June at least but by then thousands of us won’t be around, so this is a small sacrifice to make in order to save as many lives as possible.