I have spent a goodly portion of my life mingling with and studying the wild animals of Africa. In the course of my bush sojourns, one animal in particular has always fascinated me and that is the hyena. He is generally held in contempt by human beings because he is basically a scavenger and gangs up in snarling packs to drive larger animals off their kills.
Yet hyenas – Crocuta Crocuta to the boffins – are a great deal more than the cowardly thieves of human imagination. They live in loving family groups, look after their offspring and their society is entirely matriarchal. They are also ruthlessly efficient hunters in their own right. Even though I once lost a much loved leather hat to a prowling hyena, I have developed a soft spot for Crocuta over the years. He doesn’t smell very nice but probably feels the same way abut human beings.
So what has this to do with the state of the world, you might be asking yourself. Well, my initial thoughts when I watched the mob of yelling, booing and cat-calling journalists and protesters outside Dominic Cummings’ front gate last week was that they reminded me of a pack of slavering hyenas. But that was not fair. There is honour among hyenas, whereas to see those people just made me cringe for the human race.
I do not and have never liked Mr Cummings. As far as I can tell, he is an arrogant little nerd with far too much power in government. When the news of his travels to Durham broke, I felt that the resultant uproar probably served him right, but it was only toward the end of last week that more details emerged.
For a start, Mr and Mrs Cummings feared they might both be confined to hospital with the Coronabug. That would have caused a problem as their four year old is autistic and terrified of strangers. So off they went so that the boy could be looked after by family, should the worst happen and not be sent to some soulless institution, where he would not be able to understand why he had been abandoned to strangers.
The government rules for this lockdown are of course, vague and confusing – just as most of their actions have been so far. Regulation Six tells us that road journeys are to be avoided if the purpose is not ‘reasonable’ or even ‘necessary.’
But in English – which is still almost the national language – neither adjective is scientifically precise.
If one is in a car doing 90mph in a 30mph zone – that is easy to understand and technically provable, but what one person thinks is reasonable, his nosily vindictive neighbour next door may think is totally out of order.
There is nothing so merciless as hypocrisy and at the moment Britain is drowning in it. That howling pack of vindictive folk outside the Cummings residence were more like ugly vultures than Crocuta Crocuta I’m afraid. All they wanted to do is tear a fellow human to shreds.
Yet their collective behaviour was endorsed by the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Mr Cummings’ local MP, who bragged that her constituents could be ‘relied on to say it as it is.’
Does that mean she condones apparent ‘lynch mobs’ I wonder? Quite apart from Cummings Junior, there must surely have been other children living in that street. What are they to think about adults and what lessons will they learn from the howling mob?
It is hardly the sort of behaviour expected from someone with the grandiose title ‘composer-in-residence’ with the Royal Opera House but among the ‘demonstrators outside Chez Cummings was twenty nine year old Oliver Leith, who is one of the brightest stars in the world of classical music. Yet this scion of a genteel world delighted in having his picture taken giving the passing Cummings a very vulgar two fingered salutation.
Whatever you think of him, why should protesters be allowed to intimidate Cummings and his family, including his four-year-old child? He has been sworn at and had ‘Scummings’ and other even worse abuse scrawled on walls around his home.
Peaceful protest is one thing, but hurling threats and insults at people outside their homes is despicable. Why isn’t it illegal, too? Yet the self-styled ‘liberal’ Left seem to believe that such thuggery is not only perfectly acceptable, it should be encouraged. I suppose they look upon it as their ‘human right’ to vilify those with whom they don’t agree but this kind of disgusting behaviour wouldn’t be allowed at a factory gate so why is it tolerated in a residential street?
Of course Dominic Cummings is not completely innocent and his own actions also smell badly of hypocrisy. Driving fifty odd miles to ‘test one’s eyesight’ is hardly reasonable, but I hope that were I to have been in his position initially, I too would have put the welfare of my child before yet another loosely worded government regulation.
But if only Cummings himself or his blustering boss could have eaten a bit of humble pie and explained the situation, particularly in that weird ‘press conference’ given in the Downing Street garden. That would surely have taken the wind out of the vitriolic sails of the protestors.
And as we come into summer, so the rioting season begins yet again. A black man is arrested in America, treated somewhat harshly in the course of that arrest and dies – presumably but not yet proven – as a result of injuries sustained during the arrest.
It happens I’m afraid, particularly in America. Their police officers do not need much intelligence or common sense to qualify to become a cop – in this case, it seems that both the police officer and the villain previously worked together as bouncers – and their laws of arrest and detention are a great deal looser than they are in other parts of the world. Arresting anyone is always stressful and while I do not know and don’t really care about the minute details of this case, I have witnessed many a fracas in the course of similar instances when the same thing could have happened.
However, the man who died was black and the police officer white. The latter has been arrested and charged but yet again, there was immediate hysteria throughout America. Riots, burnings, the inevitable looting and at least one other person dead. So of course, the Great and the Good (huh!) of London Town had to have their own march of protest yesterday. Why? A bunch of rabid Londoners are hardly likely to affect conditions in America and I don’t think the Trumpet is going to lose any sleep over Londoners’ worries.
They even held a similar ‘march’ in little New Zealand on the other side of the world!
No, I apologise to the vultures too. They do an excellent job of cleaning up and when compared to human beings, their antics are almost graceful.
I don’t think I like my own species very much. Time I was back in the bush, I fear.