Life Has To Go On

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.

A Mild Apology, Cynicism and Statistics

I know I label this my daily rant but must admit that it is developing into more of a weekly exercise for which I apologise. My excuse is that I am currently engaged in writing a vaguely autobiographical tome on life in the bush and I find wallowing in my memories infinitely preferable to trawling the British and South African newspapers of a morning, particularly with the chaos and confusion prevailing in the world at the moment.

But it is Sunday, there are still blue patches of sky over Dartmoor and I have enjoyed – probably not the correct verb – virtually all that the British press has hurled at us this week, so let me talk about one or two aspects of the news.

No belay that. I am going to talk about two of the main characters making the news at present.

‘Where is Boris?’ the Spectator asked this week. If you remember, the worthy Bunter J was once the editor of this magazine and he might have expected a better press from his former colleagues, but then the Coronabug came along and even his old chums are taking him apart.

With a front cover image featuring a distant blonde dot on a tiny boat bobbing rudderless and oarless on a stormy sea, the message of chaos and drift from the title was emphatic – a criticism of the prime minister’s leadership in the battle against the pandemic that is being enthusiastically echoed across an increasingly sceptical right wing media.

‘The question now is whether he can become a proper leader with a sense of direction and purpose,’ said the magazine’s editor, Fraser Nelson, effectively arguing that Johnson’s premiership was at a crossroads, which of course it is.

After a week in which Britain’s test-and-trace system – once claimed by our hapless prime minister to be ‘world-beating’ – was at the point of collapse, Nelson asked ‘whether the pattern we have seen in recent months – of disorder, debacle, rebellion, U-turn and confusion – is what we should henceforth expect.’

I fear that it is. The freedom-loving, twinkly eyed, Rabelaisian character that I and many others voted for has become a bumbling, burbling version of Oliver Cromwell, forcing his views and the views of a small coterie of his ‘friends’ down our collective throat without any thought as to the probable consequences.

We were warned by the very same magazine of a ‘looming test crisis’ five long months ago yet the situation seems to be deteriorating by the day and nobody – certainly not the prime minister – will shoulder any blame for the shambles.

It is only a week or so since Bunter J spoke optimistically about a ‘moonshot’ plan to test ten million people a day by 2021. What a load of guffle that boast proved to be! At the moment, there are nowhere near enough tests for worried parents at a level of around two hundred and thirty thousand a day.

‘Too often the government has over-promised and under-delivered,’ concluded The Times on Friday morning. ‘Policies have had to be swiftly abandoned after the exposure of entirely predictable problems,’ the broadsheet continued, adding the A-level fiasco and the problems with the contact-tracing app for good measure.

The paper – perhaps with one eye on a promotion for the former Times journalist Michael Gove – argued that Johnson needed to appoint ‘competent deputies’ before ‘the public come to a settled and unflattering view about his ability to do the job.’

I take their point but I am afraid that my view of Bunter J’s ability to do the job is already settled and entirely unflattering!

And then there is his Health Secretary, the asinine Mathew Hancock. He does not have quite the bluster of his boss but nor does he appear to have any idea as to what his job entails, yet this man is a Cabinet Minister with real power over all our lives.

He can smash up businesses, confine us to our homes, break apart families and keep people from their nearest and dearest at the end of their lives. He can destroy wedding plans, wreck education, ruin holidays, take away jobs and set the Cops on any of us for refusing to wear a muzzle, even though expert opinion on the efficacy of facemasks is to say the least, very divided.

He also seems to feel that he can lie through his teeth or at least twist the figures to suit his own views and we must all accept it like docile sheep going into a dip.

On Friday, Hancock told us that the number of hospitalisations for Covid is doubling every seven to eight days.

Really? I am not sure I can accept that at all.

Let’s face it, ‘hospitalisations for Covid’ is a somewhat tricky figure that has to be affected by the government’s endless, futile and utterly frantic hunt for signs of a bug which is now twenty fourth in line among diseases causing death in this country.

Deaths, which would be a difficult figure to ‘massage’ are low and remain low after a long fall from their peak on April 8th. Hancock – I have heard him described as Tigger but that is a serious slight on the much-loved A.A. Milne character – obviously feels that people must at all costs be distracted from this fact.

I have to wonder about the hospital admission figures too, given the slipperiness of the Government throughout this long and apparently unending fiasco. Many experts and senior physicians are now telling us that people who have tested positive for Covid in one of Hancock’s testing trawls, but who go into hospital for other reasons, get added to this total. They also tell us that if one ever tests positive for the Coronabug, then dies because of a heart attack, cancer or other causes – including road accidents,believe it or not – is automatically added on to the Coronabug statistics. 

I am being overly cynical perhaps but I can’t help wondering whether hospitals are being encouraged to admit mild cases for observation, which they would previously have sent home? I am sorry but my faith in the government line on this nonsense has entirely evaporated.

And let us look at the hospitalisation figures. Yes, they have edged up a bit since mid-August, but bear in mind that in March they were regularly more than two and a half thousand a day.

On August 1st, the total of Coronabug hospital admissions in England was fifty. On August 8th it was seventy eight. On August 15th it was thirty eight. On August 22nd it was twenty five. On August 29th it was fifty two. On September 5th it was ninety four. On the twelfth it was one hundred and forty three – hardly an established pattern damnit!

In my humble opinion, this is unscrupulous panic-mongering, which would shame a banana republic. Quite what lies behind it, I am not sure but when I watch the Health Secretary being interviewed and trotting out his gloom and doom, I wish I was back in my own country Zimbabwe – which really is a banana republic but seems to be coping far better than Britain in its attempts to fight the Coronabug.

Petty Tyranny and a Learned Judge

What on earth is the matter with our Revered Leader? Did the Coronabug act as some sort of lobotomy when it struck him down, I wonder? He panicked in March by ‘following the science,’ which was an inane thing to do as the ‘science’ was saying a number of different things at the time. In the process, Bunter J did immense damage and must surely realise that, yet he continues to hammer the economy and the British people. 

Rather than admit that he hugely overestimated the danger of the Coronabug, he continues to insist that it is a deadly plague and that it will be back soon in an even more terrible second wave. 

Yet the official Coronabug death and hospitalisation figures have been declining ever since 8th April and are now bumping along the bottom of the graph, only just above zero.

Yet the government continues trying to pretend that we are still in serious trouble. How simple-minded does anyone need to be not to see the nonsense in this? Last Monday, the media reported new coronavirus cases in the UK had risen to two thousand nine hundred and eighty eight on Sunday, the highest daily total since May. Was that meant to panic us all into believing the twaddle they are feeding us with? I can’t see any other reason for it and the underlying facts certainly do not support the need for drastic action.

Have a look at official government statistical charts and you will find that out of more than 1.1 million tests each week, there were fewer than ten thousand positive results. Judging by the state of the hospitals and the death rates, I think we may assume most were of those tested were just fine, as most who catch this disease are. 

So, for this, our benighted leaders have decided to to stop people gathering in groups of more than six? I am sure that even those who have up till now, put up with this rubbish are becoming heartily sick of it. Someone in authority somewhere has to make a stand for all our sakes and demand truthful explanations of why children’s education has been ruined, why legions of people will lose their jobs, why daily life is an intensifying misery of rampaging desk jockeys and bureaucracy, and why hundreds of businesses, built up with years of sweat and sacrifice are now dying, If nobody will stand up to these numpties, we are all in considerable trouble. It doesn’t matter too much for me at my advanced age, but I fear for my Grandchildren and their children.

And it seems that Bunter J and the Government (for whom I sadly voted) have no legal right to impose the severe restrictions on our lives with which they have wrecked the economy, brought needless grief to the bereaved and the lonely and destroyed our personal liberty. This is the verdict of one of the most distinguished lawyers in the country, the retired Supreme Court Judge Lord Sumption.

He said last week in an interview: ‘I don’t myself believe that the Act confers on the Government the powers that it has purported to exercise.’

Sumption was referring to the Public Health Act of 1984, the basis for almost all the reams of increasingly hysterical decrees against normal life which the asinine Health Secretary, Mathew Hancock has issued since March. The law was my life for thirty years and I know it is not usual for a retired senior judge to use such language in public so there must be a good reason for him to come out now.

The 1984 Act was drawn up to give local magistrates the power to quarantine the sick. Nothing in it comes anywhere near justifying these astonishing moves – confinement to homes, travel restrictions, harsh limits on visiting family, interference with weddings and funerals, closure of churches, compulsory face coverings, bans on assembly and protest.

Huh! Belay that last one. You can bet your lives that extremist groups such as Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion will be allowed to carry of with their disruptive and destructive antics at the expense of us all.

But that is beside the point. English law just does not allow an Act of Parliament to be stretched as far as this one has been. It is a principle of British law that fundamental freedoms cannot be invaded or overruled unless the law specifically allows it.

As he is one of the most distinguished legal minds of our time, Lord Sumption’s opinions on this matter are surely important so I just hope and pray that the Courts of England, which have so far been content to let the Government do what it likes, will listen to what he says when they look at the matter again later this month when Simon Dolan, a businessman is seeking a judicial review of the Government’s policy on the Coronabug.

It is extraordinary for someone as learned and eminent as Lord Sumption to go public in this fashion. And he went on to point out that powers do exist – in the shape of the Civil Contingencies Act under which the Prime Minister could do all the things he has done. But that Act requires regular parliamentary scrutiny and renewal.

The Government’s team of lawyers must surely know this. So why wasn’t the Civil Contingencies Act used? We can only guess that the Bunter and Mr Hancock were worried that if they had to keep coming back to Parliament, even the dim-witted and gullible MPs we have nowadays would eventually have seen through and put a stop to the immense power grab now under way.

Lord Sumption’s intervention is, of course, so huge and important that the media of this country does not seem to have noticed it, but believe me, it is an indication of just how deep into the swamp of despotism this Government has already waded.

We have to get out of it soon or we will be so badly mired that escape will be impossible. Let us get Parliament back to work and doing their jobs to save us from the same sort of petty tyranny that I have not known since the days of Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Protesters and Mr Punch

Six years ago today, I arrived in Chinde, one of the oldest towns in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of my walk down the Zambezi. It was obviously a special moment but I can remember feeling curiously flat at the time. I had become the first person in recorded history to walk the length of that mighty river – 3200 kilometres – but I just didn’t know how to better that particular feat.

The trouble is that I still don’t and as the years go on, my battered body keeps telling me that it has had enough. Am I to endure a sedentary dotage I wonder?

Ah well…!

The nutcases were out in force again this weekend with Extinction Rebellion causing all sorts of mayhem. Home Secretary Priti Patel is threatening to proscribe the organisation as a criminal group in order that tougher sentences can be handed out, but to my mind, that will make the protesters think of themselves as Martyrs for the cause.

There are plenty of laws already in place and all we need is for the police to actually enforce them and the Courts to back them up. Why are these ill-informed fanatics being allowed to mess up the lives of innocent people in any case? I suppose some of them feel that they are justified in their protests, but as far as I can see, the majority of the ringleaders are comfortably off, middle class people who have nothing better to do and the government are making them feel ever more important and justified in their actions.

It is not so long ago, that their ‘leader’ the precocious Greta Thunberg was haranguing the United Nations and being lauded by Michael Gove and a few other British politicians when in fact, the rubbish she spouts has little bearing on reality. Yes there are a few things that people can do to cut down the damage being done to the world – get rid of plastic for example – but in general, progress is progress and even if we don’t like what is happening – and I certainly do not – we must surely appreciate the fact that life is far more comfortable for us all than it was for our forefathers and their fathers before them.

Another prominent and vocal nutcase would seem to be the lady in charge of the British Library. Chief librarian Liz Jolly leaves Auntie BBC standing when it comes to spouting patronising tommytwaddle.

Jolly, who manages the collection at the UK’s national library (our library damnit, not hers) is supporting changes to displays and collections in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.

Around two hundred library employees have signed a letter declaring a racial ‘state of emergency’ in the library. It seems that the library building to start with was designed to resemble a battleship – ‘an imperialist symbol.’

What a load of pathetic nonsense! Most countries with a coastline have navies, and battleships. The Royal Navy had a big hand to play fairly recently in freeing the Falkland Islands from a fascist invader.

A few decades before that, they were decidedly useful in defeating Nazi Germany during the Battle of the Atlantic. Oh, and didn’t Britain use her battleships to close down the international slave trade after the UK led the world in abolishing that evil?

Other items causing concern to the worthy and very woke Ms Jolly are busts of Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Why? Because ‘they are part and parcel of Western civilizational supremacy.’

What on earth does that mean damnit?! I would have thought librarians needed a decent grasp of the English language but that really is woffle of the lowest order.

Even a portrait of Mr Punch is marked down for the skip; some staff believe he is ‘a figure from the heyday of Victorian imperialism who entertained through abuse that mirrored colonial violence.’

I could be wrong but I was always led to believe that Punch originated in 16th century Italy as the Neapolitan ‘Pulcinella’ and has absolutely nothing to do with anything colonial.

Please will someone free me from these pathetic zealots in high places.

I have spent a fairly substantial chunk of my life in or near Stroud in Gloucestershire. It is where one of the two founders of Extinction Rebellion come from and has always been known for its vegans, poets, scribblers and general cranks, most of whom are quite harmless.

I could not help smiling last week though when I read about a salon owner in that fair town who tried to advertise for an assistant through the local job centre. Her advertisement was rejected because she specifically asked for a ‘happy’ person to apply.

That it seems would only offend unhappy people.

Once again, I can only quote my friend Mfanasibili Nkosi – ‘Nuff said.’

Greased Tortoises and Avoidance of Responsibility

He is not everyone’s cup of tea but I do enjoy reading Peter Hitchen’s columns in the Mail on Sunday. As he so rightly asked yesterday, is anyone still fooled by the figures for cases of the Coronabug? I quote,

The more you look, the more you will find, but deaths and hospitalisations keep going down. It is increasingly clear that the virus rarely affects healthy people. In fact, I’d guess that the chance of a healthy young person dying from Covid is about as great as the chance of an eagle dropping a tortoise on your head and killing you.

This actually happened to Greek playwright Aeschlyus about 2,500 years ago, so it must be about due to happen again, especially with the growing eagle population in the country, and the huge number of pet tortoises on which they might swoop if hungry. Be afraid.

Using the panic-stricken logic applied to Covid by Health Commissar Matt Hancock, we should surely be taking serious precautions against this menace. Perhaps the enforced wearing of tortoise-proof helmets might be necessary, or anti-eagle netting installed over the back gardens of tortoise-owners, who should from now on be strictly licensed.

But my favourite Hancock-style solution is the compulsory greasing of all tortoises, so that eagles cannot pick them up in the first place.

I think this meets the precautionary principle quite well, and I’m sure our domestic grease industry can cope with the demand. Save Lives. Control the Tortoise.’

I have to agree although it is unusual for Mr Hitchens to resort to levity. The current sense of fear that is promoted by government in all spheres of our daily lives surely cannot go on much longer. Risk is part of life I’m afraid and as far as I can see, the risk from this bug is minimal.

Talking about risk, last week I found myself on the cover of a brand new magazine and was duly flattered by the piece about me inside. SoulKind is a bi annual magazine – more like a coffee table book really – that explores why some people ignore risk and devote themselves to ventures that others regard as completely bonkers. For me, adventure of any sort has always been a way of challenging myself and perhaps getting my own back for my early years of being bullied at boarding school.

It is probably a great deal more complicated than that but I honestly believe that the current mass hysteria – again promoted by the government – is taking the soul out of Britain and will lead to the development of a pathetic nation of scared people.

And it all comes from the top. The character of any government is shaped by the personality of the person in charge – in this case Bunter Johnson. When he was the US president, Harry Truman apparently had a sign on his desk that read, ‘The Buck Stops Here.’ If Bunter J had such a sign, it would have to read, ‘Who Me?

Anyone familiar with his life knows that he does not feel constrained by conventional norms of behaviour and nor will he willingly shoulder responsibility for his bad choices. His career is potholed with scandals, outright lies and betrayals of trust. Having got to the pinnacle of the greasy pole despite all that, he would seem to have concluded that, providing your skin is thick enough and your reserves of shamelessness are deep enough, there is no scandal so enormous or blunder so obviously inept that it cannot be brazened out. And the same law of impunity that he wrote for himself is being applied to his cabinet of loyal mediocrities. Not only does former fire place salesman, Gavin Williamson continue to draw his cabinet salary, Robert Jenrick is still installed in a ministerial limousine, despite having unlawfully approved a £1bn property development.

Mr Johnson is encouraged in this by the pathetic team of ‘Yes men’ whom he imported into Number 10. Taking their lead from Svengali Cummings, they would appear to have an aggressive ‘never apologise, never concede’ attitude in which they can never be wrong. The defining non-resignation was that of Cummings himself after the exposure of his lockdown-busting excursions to and around Durham. His contrition-free account of his activities included that ludicrous ‘eye-test’ defence of his trip to Barnard Castle, the sheer inanity of this excuse demonstrating complete contempt for criticism. Mr Cummings refused to resign – and Mr Johnson to sack him – despite days of terrible headlines, serious damage to the government’s public health messaging, public anger and furious demands from many Tory MPs that he had to go. By successfully defying that level of pressure, the pair proved to themselves that no one can stop them tearing up the conventional rules about accountability.

Yet there will be consequences for the government’s doctrine of total power with absolutely no responsibility. When ministers start thinking that they will never be held accountable for their actions, they are that much more likely to make choices that are reckless, sleazy or stupid. We have a senior ministerial team that many senior Tory MPs regard as totally incompetent and at the same time this hapless cabinet is being encouraged to believe that no ministerial cock-up, however bad it may be, will be punished. That is a very dangerous way of running a country I am afraid. I witnessed the same thing in Zimbabwe and we know how that country has turned out.

After the purging of five of their most senior officials since April, civil servants must have realised that Number 10’s immediate response to anything that goes wrong is to blame officials. I am afraid they will respond accordingly. Instead of encouraging innovation, initiative and accountability within Whitehall, this will engender a culture of risk-avoidance and blame shifting in which officials make it their first priority to safeguard themselves against being cast as villains of the piece.  If ministers are no longer willing to defend their civil servants, officials will be less happy to defer to the tradition that they leave quietly when pushed out.

Parliament returns this week with a growing number of Conservative MPs anxious that a summer strewn with screeching U-turns and howling errors is giving their government a reputation for blithering ineptitude that is draining away public support.

The resignation of Ms Collier and the sacking of Mr Slater from the education establishment will not assuage voters, already angry about what has happened in schools for the simple reason that few parents will have heard of these officials. The latest opinion polls seem to indicate that voters hold Goofy Gavin primarily responsible for his department’s failings. It is his head that is demanded by the angry people who have been bombarding the inboxes of Tory MPs over the past month.

The shrewder people on the Conservative benches know that power without responsibility is a poisoned method of governing that will rebound on their party. A cabinet of blunderers is bad enough. A cabinet that refuses to take any responsibility for its mistakes invites an especially severe verdict from the public.

I really don’t know – nor I think does Bunter J – where we go from here.

A Leadership Crisis

How much longer can this collective madness of government go on I wonder. As I have been saying for months, this incredibly destructive period of institutionalised idleness is the fault of overpraised Chancellor Sunak, who should never have been allowed to extend the ruinously expensive, and horribly abused, furlough scheme until the end of October.

Ultimately, though, the entire disaster is down to Bunter J. Even allowing for the fact that he was ill and nearly died – or so we are told – our ‘revered leader’ has failed to provide the kind of firm leadership that we are all entitled to expect.

I have never been a Johnson follower as such and have often wondered if he is a genuine person or just an over privileged buffoon, but I was impressed with his firm handling of the Brexit problem and that was reflected by the results of the last general election when voters gave him an overwhelming mandate to govern the country. I had my doubts but gave the man time to prove himself. I thought he could not be as bad as Theresa Maybe or the pompously useless Cameron.

Yet although he might not be worse, he is proving himself just as ineffectual. He certainly does not look like a man who is enjoying the job he’s spent his adult life trying to get. That claim from Svengali Cummings’s father-in-law last week that Bunter is on his way out in six months certainly has the ring of truth about it. There is still time to retrieve the situation, but the clock is ticking fast.

Johnson needs to show initiative now. He must call all those private sector bosses together and start bashing heads, ensuring that they to get back to business as usual before it is too late for this country. They might not want to listen but he must use his not inconsiderable powers of persuasion to ensure that they do.

He must also insist that civil servants, who after all are government employees return to work immediately. Having chickened out of a confrontation with the teachers’ unions, Bunter must not cower again when dealing with the civil service lot, who are already bleating that no more than thirty per cent of their members will be going back any time soon.

It is time to read the riot act damnit. Give them a deadline and promise that any civil servant not back at work by the due date without a doctor’s note, will be sacked immediately. With four million unemployed in the pipeline already, there will be no shortage of willing folk ready to retrain and take their place.

When financial disaster hit the taxi drivers, the sandwich makers, shop assistants, publicans and dry cleaners, Bunter J did nothing. Unless he acts now to get Britain back to work, it will be his turn next.

Yet it is amazing that whatever happens with this government, it is never their fault. Disasters crop up with ever increasing regularity but the defining characteristic of the cabinet members is a cast iron refusal to accept responsibility for any of them. Sometimes a deputy head will roll, but in general the buck doesn’t get anywhere near the top of the pile.

Take education secretary Gavin Williamson for example. He has lurched from disaster to idiotic disaster since schools closed six months ago yet he remains at his desk while the bodies of his civil servants pile up around him.

Last week it was Sally Collier who ran the examination regulator Ofqual. She resigned amid a barrage of recrimination over the A and O level result fiasco. A day later the departments most senior civil servant, Jonathan Slater was forced to clear his desk as news emerged of yet another last minute government U turn – this time over wearing muzzles in schools.

Something has to be very wrong when headteachers are better off following their own instincts about what might happen next than relying on what ministers say. Yet Williamson sails blissfully on while Slater goes. That surely cannot be right. The buck is supposed to stop at the very top, not half way up the ladder.

It would be worrying enough if this culture of power without responsibility were confined to the Department for Education, but Slater is the fifth senior mandarin ousted in a few short months, following the permanent secretaries of the Foreign Office, Home Office and Ministry of Justice, plus the cabinet secretary, Mark Sedwill. Either this government has had the worst luck in the world – coming to power just as the civil service produced a crop of uniquely hopeless leaders – or what the Tory grandee Nicholas Soames called the ‘worst cabinet in my thirty six years in parliament’ may have found an alarming way of covering up its own inadequacies.

I don’t often agree with Mr Soames – I once met his Father and it was not pleasant – but in this instance, I fear he is very correct. Alarm bells should be ringing. This is not some dusty constitutional question or political game, but a form of rough justice with real consequences for all our lives.

The education select committee hasn’t even started its inquiry into the exam grading fiasco, yet we’re already being invited to find Collier and Slater guilty. We could be years from a public inquiry into what went wrong in the early stages of the pandemic, but that has not stopped the health secretary abolishing Public Health England – the quango responsible for controlling infectious disease outbreaks. The clear message is that mistakes may have been made, but the guilty party has been safely taken out and shot – really, why bother with a trial?

While neither Ofqual nor PHE have covered themselves with glory this year and any inquiry might well find reasons to criticise both, for now all we are getting is one suspiciously flattering side of the story and I am afraid I have my doubts about most of it..

Is Bunter J really so uniquely ill-served by an organisation that may have its faults but doesn’t seem to have failed previous governments anything like so frequently? Or could there be something wrong with the collective political judgment of a cabinet where commitment and obedience to the Prime Minister is prized over competence?

Not all the advice ministers receive is good, and scientific advice in the middle of a new pandemic will not always be conclusive; sometimes following the science will lead to good decisions but sometimes it will be the wrong way to go.

But it is a minister’s job to stand back and see the wider picture; to ask the right questions, exercise his or her best judgment wherever doubt and uncertainty remains, and then have the guts to stand behind it.

An education secretary who never stops talking about what his Scarborough comprehensive did for him should not have missed the admission – buried in Ofqual’s own published notes on its algorithm – that it might disadvantage unusually bright students in poorer schools. A leader who prioritised rigour in the exam system above everything else and originally insisted that exam grades in this crazy and confused summer could not rise higher than last year, should stop blustering about ‘mutant algorithms’ and own up to the consequences of his own decisions.

If our ‘revered leader’ cannot confront his own mistakes honestly, then he has no hope of learning from them and sooner or later, he is going to run out of other people to blame.

A Missing Prime Minister and a Sanctimonious Bore

It is a while since I commented on the state of the world, but I have been busy. That is my excuse at any rate.

It seems that nothing much has changed for the better – in this soggy little island at any rate. We have had a complete fiasco over school examination results and many people suffered. There was utter chaos over government handling of the problem and an entire generation of future voters are unlikely to trust the Tories with anything for the foreseeable future.

And where was our revered leader while this was going on? Leading from the front and picking up a broken nation with his rhetoric and bravado as his hero Churchill once did? Supporting his hapless and witless Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson perhaps?

Not a bit of it. Bunter J was in a remote corner of Scotland, pretending to rough it in a tent with luxury cottage attached. The only person who seemed aware of his presence for nearly a week was the local farmer who was left cursing the fact that the tent had been pitched in his field without permission and Bunter had even started a camp fire which the farmer tells the media was ‘bloody dangerous’ in the circumstances.

Leaderless and rudderless, the government has lurched along with it’s unimpressive handling of the Coronabug crisis. Imposing new lockdowns here and there, quarantining travellers without any warning, telling us all how we must live, encouraging people to use fast food outlets from Monday to Wednesday and generally seeming to pretend that we are on the brink of Armageddon.

Why damnit? Surely we have taken enough nonsense from this lot and it is time to worry about the huge rise in unemployment and the catastrophic damage that is being done to the economy. For the first time in history, the British government are over two trillion pounds in debt yet the clowns in power don’t seem to worry about it.

And you know, the Coronabug death rate has been declining for months. There has been a ninety five per cent fall since the peak in April. Coronabug casualties are now six times lower than deaths from flu and pneumonia. In the week to July 31, just over two per cent of deaths in England and Wales were caused by the bug.

There is still huge anxiety among parents and trade unions about the reopening of schools. This despite the fact that children don’t seem to suffer from the virus or spread it. Just one healthy child is known to have died from Covid in Britain, and there is not a single case recorded worldwide of a child giving the virus to a teacher.

We all know who is at greatest risk (the very old like me, the very fat, people with Caribbean and Asian backgrounds or with underlying problems such as diabetes and lung disease), and our clinicians have got much better at treating and managing the disease.

So I fear there is no reason why Britain’s hapless politicians can’t change the record  and they must do so fast, even if it disrupts their precious holidays. For too long this country has been ruled by paranoia. But surely economic logic and common sense dictate that we can’t remain paralysed for much longer or the economic consequences will swamp us all.

The priority now must be to restart the engines of commerce and rebuild the economy. Life is never without an element of risk, and as long as we are sensible – as most of us are – we need to get back to normal and free ourselves from this terrible state of national funk.

So now must surely be the time for Bunter J to stop faffing about and don the mantle of a leader to issue a call to arms. He may fancy himself as the reincarnation of Churchill, but so far he has failed to match the great man’s courage at a time of national crisis. Now, more than ever, he needs to throw off his caution and rally the nation. In recent times he has been found deeply wanting and nothing better illustrates this than his invisibility during the unprecedented chaos over examination results.

Why on earth has he not come out and apologised to the kids who worked hard for years for their exam results only to be let down by a system run by the gormless Gavin Williamson? One day students were told they had failed, the next that they’d excelled, although their places at their chosen universities or colleges had been taken by others amid the bedlam. A* grades have now been scattered like confetti, throwing everything into further disarray and threatening untold consequences in the future.

Amid such chaos and so much disappointment, lie the broken dreams not just of today’s teenagers, but of their parents and their grandparents. Three generations of furious potential voters who will have given up on Bunter and his clowns. 

Any adviser worth their salt should have warned him of the damage his continuing absence is doing to his reputation. Politically and strategically it is an utter disaster I am afraid. What was our ‘revered leader’ – usually the consummate communicator – thinking, hiding away in Scotland when the country yearned for leadership? A couple of tweets was all we got. Who does the man think he is – ruddy Donald Trump?

So many of us who voted Tory are bitterly disappointed with him. He should have been on the airwaves telling us he understood the students’ pain and that of their families; assuring the nation that his heart went out to them; accepting that his government had let them down and promising that he would put it right.

I can only think that he and his Cummings-led advisors must think they are immune from the daily hammering being handed out by the media. I imagine they dismiss it as hysteria and froth, but in my humble opinion, Bunter J’s silence has done nothing but twist the knife in thousands of voters’ hearts – and caused the Prime Minister and his Government immense, if not irreparable, damage. If there was a general election tomorrow, I fear they would be even more humiliated than Labour was at the last one.

I did smile when I read that Gary Lineker had offered space in his £4 millon London mansion to a refugee. How noble of the man! In doing so, this overpaid football pundit tweeted, ‘Can we make it clear that not everyone in this country is heartless. These poor people deserve the help of their fellow human beings.’

It would certainly provide one solution to the current problem. Just a few days with that sanctimonious, virtue-signalling bore would have even the most desperate asylum-seeker begging for a ticket back across the Channel.

Ministers Experts and Petty Bureaucrats

When news that the government is considering a complete lock down of the over fifties leaked recently, ministers started backpedalling and insisting that it was not being ‘actively considered.’ But the fact that it was considered at all, actively or otherwise is disturbing evidence of the madness and panic which has engulfed this hapless government since March.

Ministers have apparently been so surprised by the pandemic despite repeated warnings, they have lost all sense of proportion. How else would they even begin to entertain the notion that millions of we folk over fifty should be put under indefinite house arrest?

I disagreed with the lockdown from the start but gave the government the benefit of the doubt because nobody, including the so-called ‘experts’ seemed quite certain of what we were dealing with.

Since then, however, the messages coming from Bunter and his gang have been increasingly incoherent and inconsistent. There appears to be no logical thinking at all. For weeks, we have suffered contradiction after ridiculous contradiction. For instance, the chancellor happily subsidises hamburgers and pizzas, while at the same time increasing spending on gastric-band surgery to combat obesity.

Ministers urge people in the private sector to get back to their desks, but cave in to the Civil Service and teaching unions who refuse to tell their members to go back to work, citing bogus ‘safety’ concerns.

Last Monday was supposed to be the day Britain got back down to business, but office blocks and transport hubs were practically deserted, while restaurants and fast-food joints were doing a roaring trade knocking out half-price meal deals, courtesy of Rishi Sunak pouring money at them – money that Britain doesn’t have! The suburbs are teeming with people spilling out of pubs and cafes, yet city centres still slumber, as if in permanent hibernation.

As long as the Treasury continues to top up the salaries of some nine million people on furlough, there’s no incentive for anyone to go back to the office. Perhaps it is time ministers and private employers followed the example of Charlie Mullins, the boss of Pimlico Plumbers and started sacking anyone who refuses to return to work.

Instead, they’re considering a crazy scheme to force everyone over fifty to stay indoors,’ just to be on the safe side.’

Hell, I am in the latter half of my seventy sixth year so I have probably been around long enough to work out the risks or otherwise of catching the Coronabug and living suitably to avoid it. I am not going to bow down to this bunch of overgrown schoolchildren if they do decide to lock us up again.

Being over fifty does not mean that one is decrepit or suffering from a loss of marbles. In fact many of us still feel that we are in our prime. I am well aware that the older I get, the closer I am to turning my toes up and I also know that age increases the chances of succumbing to the bug, but the same goes for any illness damnit! Heart disease, cancer and a host of other medical conditions work the same way and none of them are being treated properly by our ‘Amazing’ NHS who seem to have followed the government line by giving up looking at anything other than the ruddy Coronabug

I am sure I speak for many if not all of my generation when I say that I have no intention of shutting my door and waiting helplessly for my wheels to fall off. I might be somewhat long in the tooth but I still have some living to do and the goons in government are not going to stop that.

For Bunter and his clowns even to be considering a lockdown on the over fifties is proof positive that this government has lost the plot on a truly staggering level. It would be economic suicide at a time when the country is already teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Over fifties pay more tax than most and are relatively big spenders on everything from leisure to financial services.

They are the backbone of Britain damnit! The ‘Bank of Mum and Dad,’ the carers for elderly relatives; babysitters for grandchildren. Many are running their own successful businesses, creating wealth and much-needed employment.

All this, the Government appears willing to put into deep freeze because of an irrational fear of a virus we are learning more about each day.

Yes I know that the Coronabug had a hellish impact on Society to start with. It has killed thousands of frail elderly folk – most over eighty five – as well as those who are morbidly obese or afflicted with serious underlying health problems. I probably sound callous, but many of these people would have died sooner rather than later anyway.

Looking at the international league table of new Covid infections, Britain is way down the list. Most of those contracting the virus now are asymptomatic and surviving.

So why then has the government gone into another panic, cancelling at the last minute plans to reopen everything from beauty parlours to casinos and considering a ludicrous proposal to quarantine millions of allegedly vulnerable over fifties – many of whom – like me – will not comply this time?

From the outset, ministers have paid too much attention to the ‘science.’ They have been unwilling to challenge the assertions of tunnel-vision experts like the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, who appears to have been our unelected Prime Minister these past few months.

I honestly feel that many of the more contentious decisions are based not on what is best for Britain, but what will protect individual politicians and their advisers when the inevitable public inquiry is held. Risk-aversion is the order of the day. There is no boldness, no willingness to trust us with detailed information so we can assess the dangers for ourselves. Bunter Johnson claims to be an admirer of Churchill, but Churchill made decisions and stuck to his guns so there is no comparison I’m afraid.

Much of the fatuous guff coming out of Whitehall at the moment seems to have been made up on the hoof, such as the stupid suggestion that if the schools are to reopen in September, then the pubs will have to shut. I’m afraid I can see no connection between the two. Yes, I appreciate that under-age drinking can be a problem – but surely things aren’t that bad? 

The Coronabug has infantilised the nation and caused a complete melt down of common sense among our so called leaders. Policy is made in private by unaccountable committees and scientists.3

With most MPs content to stay home in their constituencies since March, Westminster has been virtually abandoned. There has been no proper scrutiny of the Government’s handling of the crisis. And now, after the sweaty exertions of all those Zoom sessions, Parliament is in recess as MPs enjoy six weeks’ paid holiday.

Why for God’s sake? Britain needs government and scrutiny of government. The Commons should be recalled immediately. If it is safe for holidaymakers to sit cheek-by-jowl on aeroplanes or on beaches or even dare I say it, on huge demonstrations for BLM or other anarchic causes, and if it is safe for diners to enjoy cut-price piri-piri chicken and chips in state-subsidised restaurants, it should be safe enough for socially distanced MPs to reoccupy the green benches at Westminster.

Politicians should be leading by example, not relaxing on the beaches while our increasingly erratic leaders tinker with deranged schemes such as placing everyone over fifty under house arrest.

In the end, we are all going to die of something. We cannot spend the rest of our lives trying to postpone the inevitable. Short of an effective vaccine, we will have to learn to live with the Coronabug in a grown-up fashion for the foreseeable future – not keep stumbling from one emergency lockdown to another.

Let us please get on with life Mr Johnson.

I found it difficult to believe when I read it initially but I checked up and it is true. A woman has been fined £120 for ‘littering’ in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens.

Her crime was to throw a few crumbs from her Gregg’s sausage roll to the pigeons.

Kerris Fenn, who was visiting from Cardiff, was confronted by private security guards from the firm 3GS. By the time they gave her a penalty notice, which would rise to £150 if not paid within ten days, the birds had finished up all the crumbs.

When she appealed to the council, her plea fell on deaf ears. Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, who describes himself as Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: ‘While we take no pleasure in handing out Fixed Penalty Notices’ (difficult to believe I’m afraid) ‘feeding the pigeons is littering, pure and simple.’ 

There speaks the authentic voice of your typical jumped-up local government desk jockey. Warden Hodges of Dads Army fame is alive and well and living in Manchester. When you give someone a modicum of power, they will always abuse it. The poor ruddy sausage roll was a vegan one too but after that, I would think it turned to ashes in Miss Fenn’s mouth.

The House of Lords and Mixed Up Thinking

What a dreadful anachronism is the House of Lords yet it still has a huge say in laws that affect all our lives. These people are appointed and not elected, with the inevitable result that cronies of whichever party leader is in government, suddenly become ‘Lords of the Realm’ and very rich – on our money.

Mind you, many of them are already very rich, which accounts for the fact that party donors, who have no experience of working politics end up wearing fancy gowns and behaving like entitled courtiers in the court of Henry the Eighth.

They also cost we poor taxpayers a huge amount of money! Darren Hughes, the chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said that the thirty six new peers appointed this week are likely to cost a staggering sum to the taxpayer.

“Based on the average claim of a peer, the thirty six new peers are likely to cost £1.1 million a year in expenses.” Hughes told reporters. Why on earth are we expected to pay for that out of taxes so urgently needed elsewhere?

And who are these new peers that Bunter J has appointed? What have they done to deserve elevation to the heights? Ian Botham was a fine cricketer but is hardly a scion of political nobility. Like many of the other appointees, he supported Brexit, but so did I and nobody has asked me to be a big deal. Bunter’s brother Jo had a fairly undistinguished political career and finally resigned because he didn’t agree with his brotherly boss, yet – perhaps it is so that the Johnsons have an amicable Christmas – he too is now a Lord of the Realm – or about to become one.

In fact the list of appointees is a derisive one all round. It even includes a Russian oligarch who happens to be a friend of the prime minister. How on earth can the said prime minister get away with this absolute corruption. I am afraid there is no other word for it.

But the fact that he can get away with it only shows what a private member’s club this House of ruddy Lords has become. It was already the largest second political chamber in the world and there are now over eight hundred unelected peers, voting on our laws and enjoying our money for the rest of their lives.

In fact, the argument against Prime Ministers being able to pack the Lords with personal and political mates was made somewhat forcefully in 2003 when Tony Blair announced plans to appoint more peers.

His proposal was denounced at the time as ‘disgusting’ by one critic who said, ‘Think of the lunches; the hackery; the behind-the-scenes schmoozing and fixing; the quiet words from the Government Chief Whip; the winking, the nose-tapping, the soft belching in the Savoy Grill Room or Glyndebourne or Ascot.’

Quite right too but that critic was our current revered leader, Bunter Johnson!

Once again quoting my friend Mfanasibili (Two Boy) Nkosi – Nuff said!

And you know, the Bunter Johnson who is currently floundering about with the Coronabug crisis and worrying about our general health with a whole load of patently ridiculous proposals to make us all lean and mean is not the man I voted for.

Some people in Government have suggested his sudden grasping at the apron strings of the Nanny State actually represents the re-emergence of ‘the real Boris.’ That now the Brexit log jam has been broken, and Labour’s Red Wall demolished, he intends to return to the liberal, one nation Conservatism that secured him back-to-back terms as London Mayor.

The problem with that argument is the real Boris used to hate the ‘sin tax’ agenda as well. In 2006 he created a storm at the Tory conference by hitting out at celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver who was piously lecturing us all about what we should and should not eat. There was ‘too much pressure’ on children to eat healthily, he told a Bournemouth fringe meeting. ‘I say let people eat what they like. Why shouldn’t they push pies through railings?’

The last bit was a reference to a story about Mothers feeding their hungry children with meat pies when school meals were made excessively ‘healthy.’

That was the Bunter Johnson I voted for. This one, I just cannot recognise.

But last week the sanctimonious and increasingly portly Oliver – who once proudly proclaimed, ‘Give me Boris f*****g Johnson as our Prime Minister and I’m done. I’m out’ – was heaping praise on his new food initiatives. ‘This could be a pivotal moment,’ Oliver cooed. ‘Boris seems to be the one that’s got a plan here.’

Why is Oliver still here I wonder? Bunter has been prime minister for a whole year so that surely gave him enough time to carry out his threat and really, most of us can do without him.

U turns on both sides I’m afraid. Yet despite his bombastic reputation, I honestly believe that Bunter is a more sensitive character than his critics and even some friends perceive. His brush with death and his divorce, both coming in such close alignment to the birth of his and Carrie Symonds’ first child, has understandably affected him in ways the Westminster bear pit does not allow him to publicly acknowledge.

Okay I sympathise with that but at the moment, this nation cannot afford timid, negative leadership. Anyone with even the most basic understanding of economics can see this is not the moment for tax increases and advertising bans. Not on so-called junk food. Not on online goods. Not on anything. We are a country that is about to enter the fight of its economic life. It cannot do that with the likes of Jamie Oliver holding one hand behind its back, while Bunter pinions the other.

There is another harsh reality. Britain cannot afford for its Prime Minister to embark on a sudden mood of dreary introspection. Especially not this Prime Minister. Energy – optimism – enthusiasm. This is the Bunter most of us voted for and the nation responds to. And it’s the Bunter the nation has to have.

‘We should now squeeze the brake pedal to keep the virus under control,’ he told the country last week. But he was not elected to squeeze the brakes. He was elected to drive the bulldozer through the ruddy wall.

We cannot defeat the Coronabug one bowling alley and one casino at a time. And we are not going to stave off economic catastrophe by locking down Britain every time there is a marginal spike in infection rates. We have to get on with life.

Come on Mr Johnson; forget the apparent mid-life crisis you seem to be enduring and inject some hope into our daily lives.

The Summer of Stupidity

This crazy summer of stupidity continues to become ever more over the top. Let me forget the political inanities that are affecting all our lives at the moment because now it has hit and badly shaken the rough, tough world of professional rugby union. Exeter Chiefs rugby club has been prevailed upon to ditch its Red Indian mascot to appease anti-racism campaigners, who complained it was offensive to Native Americans.

That would, I suppose be all those members of the Cheyenne and Commanche tribes living in Devon. Strange that I have seen no sign of them in my wanderings around Dartmoor.

No I do not suppose it has anything to do with the local feathered braves and their squaws. The Big Chief Must Fall campaign is spearheaded by the usual bunch of privileged, white middle-class morons who attach themselves to everything from Extinction Rebellion to Black Lives Matter. (I wonder if I will be in trouble for using the word ‘spearheaded?)

Anyway, after twenty one years, Big Chief has been forced to hang up his head-dress. No more will he lead supporters in their traditional tomahawk chop salute and war cry. The Exeter followers will have to content themselves with a round or two of polite clapping.

Club directors said in a statement that they had ‘listened to the response of our supporters, the wider rugby community and certain sections from the Native American community.’

Where on earth did they find sections of the Native American community in Devon damnit? Is there perhaps an Indian reservation tucked away in Chagford or Widdicombe in the Moor? Perhaps the Sioux nation pitched their tepees in the Exeter Chiefs’ car park after the illegal travellers’ camp was moved on by the police.

It could even be that while Border Control was watching the Channel, flotillas of canoes were landing at Budleigh Salterton, containing huddled masses of Cherokee refugees prepared to risk a perilous Atlantic crossing in order to seek asylum from Donald Trump supporters.

Whatever the background, the directors of Exeter Chiefs have bowed to the intolerant masses and decided – reluctantly they say – to dump the mascot, rather than be accused of cultural insensitivity.

But that won’t be enough for Rentamob I’m afraid. The Big Chief Must Fall shower will not be satisfied until the club changes both its name and logo, which features an Indian Chief.

‘As human beings, we are horrified that we still live in a society where a major sports club can treat indigenous peoples like this. It reflects badly on rugby, Devon, and the UK and we should all be thoroughly ashamed,’ spluttered an outraged spokesman for Exeter Chiefs 4 Change.

I am sorry but this is just another depressing example of the lunatic Left in Britain jumping on the latest bandwagon from America. Once the Washington Redskins NFL team caved in to demands to change their name, the woke warriors on this side of the pond were always going to seek out similar targets here.

Before you know it, rugby will have gone the way of football and cricket. Players will be forced to wear Red Lives Matter logos on their shirts and – never mind taking the knee – they will probably have to perform a traditional ruddy rain dance before play starts.

It still won’t be enough though. The name Exeter Chiefs is doomed to disappear for ever. Although the club claims ‘chiefs’ dates back more than a hundred years, it was only adopted in 1999 – as part of a cynical marketing exercise aimed at flogging overpriced merchandise. It was the same kind of commercial thinking that led to Leeds rugby league club being rebranded ‘Leeds Rhinos.’

Mind you, they will probably be the next major target when the animal rights brigade spot the chance. After all, rhinos are an endangered species and you don’t find too many of them in West Yorkshire.

Elsewhere the madness continues. Snowflake civil servants are demanding the Churchill Room at the Treasury is renamed. How in the name of all that is holy did anyone who denigrates arguably Britain’s greatest Prime Minister, the man who defeated Hitler, as a ‘racist’ ever get a job at the heart of government? It really does beggar belief.

Churchill once said that history would be kind to him since he intended to write it. I wonder what he would think of the ignorant, statue-toppling Left-wing fascists who are trying to rewrite it.

Having emasculated every other organisation, the diversity Nazis have inevitably turned their attention to the Armed Forces. The RAF is introducing ‘dress-down’ Fridays, to promote a more ‘inclusive’ atmosphere and it is reported that the Royal Navy is dropping gender pronouns and replacing titles such as ‘seaman’ with the more neutral ‘seafarer.’ They also want to ban the use of words such as ‘unmanned’ and ‘manpower’ in a bid to avoid being called out by the mob for sexism.

First Sea Lord Tony Radakin has called for the changes to be rolled out to avoid female recruits feeling excluded.

Sources said there was an acceptance within the force that some terms are no longer appropriate and considered problematic and that leaders wanted to get rid of gendered terms where possible.

On the other hand, one very senior officer told the media that ‘This is a pathetic, woke distraction from keeping Britain safe. The only reason to change the labels is if it’s a barrier to recruiting women, but recruitment has never been stronger.’

These are fighting forces damnit and employed to protect us all, not to humour the politically correct zealots. Why oh why will nobody stand up to these crazed people?