In less thnt three months time, I will have completed my seventy sixth year on this planet yet I am being lectured like a naughty six year old by our Revered Leader and his little team of muppets.
I did not listen to his ‘speech’ last evening in which he announced more restrictions on our daily lives, but I have read bits of it this morning and abhor the threats it contains. Bunter J obviously thinks of himself as the new Churchill and ended his diatribe with a little bit of Churchillian verbiage, saying that ‘Never in our history has our collective destiny and collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour,’ but even if this was so, his threat to bring in troops to assist the police is nothing less than a threat, worthy of my former boss, Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
His new restrictions have been badly thought out, if they were thought about at all and will not have the desired result, particularly when the British people collectively realise how they are being bullied. Yes, I will obey most of the new stipulations, as I have obeyed the ones so far, but this bumptious buffoon is now asking the country for another six months of sacrifice – sacrifice that will cost literally millions of jobs in all sectors of Society.
What happens at the end of the six months I wonder? More lectures from Professor Gloom and Dr Doom followed by yet another supposedly stirring speech from the Man Himself? By then I fear that the initial well of good will toward Bunter and his government will have dried up completely.
The extraordinary circumstances of the moment call for decisive leadership, based on a clear strategy, administrative competence and honesty with the public – all qualities which have been sadly lacking in the government’s coronabug response so far. The catalogue of errors they have made includes the initial delay in imposing the national lockdown, the failure to screen international arrivals, inadequate supplies of protective gear, mixed messages on safety and now, the fiasco with the so-called ‘world beating’ testing system that does not seem to work.
A few days ago, the Oxford scientists, Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson launched a scathing attack on ‘a confused and rudderless government’ that moves ‘from one poorly designed rash decision to another.’
How right they were, but even with this learned criticism plus more from a group of thirty two eminent and learned scientists, epidemiologists and health professionals a day or so later, the criticisms have not been taken in and we lumber on from catastrophe to catastrophe.
Even within the Conservative party there is growing concern at Bunter Johnson’s performance. MPs privately mutter that he has still not recovered from his own Covid ordeal, with the result that he has lost some of his instinctive ebullience and natural authority.
“Misery was etched on his face,” one Tory told the media, having been surprised by Bunter’s subdued appearance at a recent meeting. But this is the time for clarity and firmness damnit! If this hapless government is to provide a renewed sense of direction, it has to be straight with the public yet at the moment, they seem intent on provoking mass panic.
For all the current alarm in Whitehall, it should surely be recognised that this months rise in infections across western Europe has not produced any swell in the Covid death toll. In Britain the daily fatality rate, averaging just eleven recently, a tiny fraction of both the spring peak and the sixteen hundred deaths through other causes that occur every day.
Johnson’s tame muppets might be terrified of a ‘second wave,’ but the damage from these new restrictions will be every bit as frightening. Quite apart from the economic damage – and business leaders in the hospitality sector are forecasting the loss of well over a million jobs – there is what will happen to ordinary folk.
There will be loneliness and isolation, hopelessness and worry. There will be families torn apart – grandparents separated from grandchildren, birthday parties cancelled. There will be more people unable to say goodbye to their loved ones and more lovers unable to go ahead with their weddings.
There will be empty cafes, more jobs lost, closed restaurants and a growing number of buildings falling into dereliction on the streets. There will be more cancelled operations, thousands of undiagnosed cancers, missed hospital appointments. We won’t be able to see a dentist or a doctor, Children will have their education derailed again and graduates will face a future without employment.
To my mind, the problem is about people, not ruddy numbers on a graph and this, I fear, is where Bunter J and his government are out of their depth. Let’s face it, the role of politicians in these circumstances is not just to find a way of keeping the virus at bay; it’s about how they do so in a way that also allows us to continue to function as individuals and families and the country to function as a whole.
There is no question that the numbers, as presented to us, are stark – although there is a row going on over what are facts and what are predictions and the ‘facts’ as stated seem somewhat fictional in many instances. No contrary statistics to those presented by the doom and gloom merchants are ever considered, even when they come from eminent and learned men and women.
But it is the job of leaders not simply to be swayed by statistics, but by other, equally important, factors. In any war it is not only about the sheer number of weapons and manpower. It is also about strategy, wit, inventiveness and courage.
Crucially, and perhaps more importantly, it is about morale and that, I fear is where this government are failing. I know from the few people I talk to that I am not the only one despairing of the present farcical set of rules, counter rules and threats of dire punishments for this who transgress them. In situations of national crisis, governments need to win over hearts and minds and to carry people with them in any circumstances.
I am heartily sick of ministers berating us all, encouraging neighbours to snoop on each other and police to crack down on ‘offenders.’ All this for a bug that kills far fewer people than cancer or strokes or diabetes, all this for a disease that, for the vast majority, is no more lethal than seasonal flu.
At my advanced age, I suppose I am in the vulnerable category where the coronabug is concerned but however many years I might or might not have ahead of me, I want to enjoy them in freedom, not find myself locked in by an authoritarian government.
There is only one way to defeat this thing and remain standing and that is get on with our lives and be truly free. We all have to die at some stage and surely it is better to enjoy life while we can rather than cower in a corner, terrified out of our wits by an unseen enemy and a hapless government.