What Has Happened To Democracy?

I was asked this week how I am feeling about life in general and my answer was unequivocal – I feel angry and frustrated. I do not share the national wrath that seems to be on the point of explosion at the moment about the Posturing Prince and his Yank, although God knows they are becoming ever more irritating. Let them have their coming interview by all means – I will not be watching – but then could they please shut up and get back to the ‘privacy’ they were said to be seeking.

No, what is making me really angry at the moment is Bunter Johnson’s so-called road map out of lockdown. This was going to be based on data rather than dates yet it contained a series of dates that seem totally irrelevant.

If my calculations are correct – and that can never be guaranteed when days merge into days as we cower in our homes – we have another seventy nine days before lockdown is due to be lifted – perhaps.

Seventy nine long days – that is not far short of three months dammit!  That means many more little businesses going to the wall, many more jobs lost, many more families plunged into destitution, many more despairing suicides and a corresponding rise in mental health issues that are growing more frequent by the day. It just does not add up and seems excessively cautious no matter what the circumstances. It is less a roadmap to freedom as Bunter J presented it, than a fretful, slow-motion march towards a hyper-cautious future in which little liberties will be handed back, one by one and with conditions. The wonderful new dawn of returned freedom that we were promised once the vaccines had been successfully rolled out has diminished into a long round of continued restrictions and ongoing economic devastation. What on earth is going on?

It should be clear by now that the discussion about the future is not merely being guided by the ‘data’ as our Revered Leader claims. There is another factor and that is the culture of fear. The culture of excessive and unnecessary precautions. The idea that people must be shielded from risk, even if it is just the risk of mild illness, which is what most people will face from the Coronabug now that the old and the vulnerable – the folk most likely to die from this disease – have been inoculated.

Bunter J rightly scoffed at the daft idea that there could be a situation of ‘Zero Covid’ and yet his determination to keep society closed until Coronabug cases have fallen almost to zero suggests he is not as far removed from those daft people as he might think. Like them, he seems to think it is officialdom’s job to protect the populace from anything that is bad or in any way threatening; any nasty bug; any possibility of hospitalisation. It is not, and we will regret it for ever if this idiotically paternalistic idea, this commitment to extreme risk-minimisation takes hold in our society.

Here is what worries me about Bunter’s ruddy roadmap: it looks to me like a complete shift in the way society is understood, in the relationship between the state and the individual. The problem is far larger than the depressingly far-off dates for the resumption of civil liberty and the reopening of the economy: schools reopening on Monday (with mandatory masks for secondary-school pupils would you believe); retail and gyms reopening on 12th April; the number of people allowed to attend weddings and wakes going up to fifteen on that day too; indoor entertainment and mixing coming back on 17th May, though with the ‘rule of six’ and all legal limits on social interaction lifted on 21sty June – maybe but I would not bet on that.

And then what? I am scared silly by the idea that beyond these distant glimpses of liberty, there is the broader, increasingly influential idea that society can be brought to a standstill in response even to relatively mild risks.

As journalist Fraser Nelson wrote in the Telegraph last week, something odd has happened in the UK. The buzz of the marvellous vaccine rollout organised by the bog snorkelling lady has given way to a horrible excess of caution, the celebration of ‘slowness’ as the best way back to normality. ‘The over-fifties look set to be offered a vaccine by the end of March, a month ahead of schedule’, Nelson wrote and yet a ‘new goal is now being discussed: to suppress virus levels to the lowest rate possible.’ This negates Bunter’s own words and the emergence of ‘new goals’ has been a huge problem in recent weeks. The question of what we must achieve in the battle against the bug before we can open up seems to change by the day and although, I am no scientist and thankfully not a politician I accept that there will need to be monitoring and protection as we emerge from the pandemic. We will need to understand what impact, if any, reopening schools will have on transmission. And of course it is wise to assess the likelihood of an increase in hospitalisations in the under sixties and younger who have not been vaccinated yet but who will be soon. But given that those most at risk from serious illness or death from Covid-19 have been vaccinated to a high level of protection – the over eighties are far more likely than other age groups to be hospitalised with this virus, followed by those aged a few years younger we must surely ask what the government is now protecting us from. A virus whose impact on health is declining rapidly, and which will soon be rendered relatively mundane by human intervention? Should the government be protecting us from that? Of course they should not.

This is where ‘following the data’ becomes especially problematic. Data can tell us what is going on in terms of the spread of disease, and it can provide models of future scenarios (all of which are just possibilities not gospel predictions) but data cannot make moral judgements on humanity’s behalf. Data cannot decide what is the proper role of government during a pandemic. Data cannot determine what level of risk we human beings are willing to live with. Data cannot engage in the profound moral task of weighing up what is more important – restoring social and economic life or preventing people from getting a nasty bug, possibly requiring hospitalisation in some cases. No, these decisions must be guided by moral interrogation, political judgement and a democratic system.

The thing about lockdown that most concerns me is the suspension of democratic life. Yes, there was probably a need for restrictions during the darkest moments of the pandemic but surely ordinary people have a right to be properly involved in the discussion of measures that affect us all, especially in relation to the level of risk that communities and individuals are willing to endure. Right now, we should have the right to weigh up the risk of some people being hospitalised with a nasty viral infection against the risk of keeping the economy closed and society in limbo. But we do not seem to have that right. The ruddy data rules all our lives. We now live in a pseudo democracy where the public’s only role is to await the precise mathematical moment at which our liberty might be safely returned.

Enough is enough dammit! Zero Covid is not going to happen and nor is almost Zero Covid. But zero risk is a crazy idea, too. Life is full of risk. Freedom itself is risky. In taking it upon ourselves to pick our own path through life, to be free citizens, we take a risk. We risk making mistakes; we risk making decisions that an expert or even our parents could have advised us against making; we risk injury of both the physical and emotional variety; we risk being offended; we risk contracting other diseases; we risk making a hash of everything. That is all part of being free. We have decided as a civilisation, that a person’s risk of making a mess of things is far less dangerous to both the individual himself and to society than the risk of living in an authoritarian regime in which our only role is to follow instruction.

I am sorry but I want to live in a society that is free but occasionally risky rather than in a controlled society where we are cushioned from offence, and insult, and injury, and the need to make moral decisions about our lives and our communities.

As the vaccination programme rolls on, and the most vulnerable are protected from serious illness, we all need to demand from our rulers the freedom to risk contracting Coronabug for ourselves. Personally, I am well into my eighth decade and have taken a great number of risks during my long life yet I am still here and kicking so I am NOT going to be locked away like a prisoner while our lords and masters decide what they feel is good for me.

As you can probably tell from this rant, I have had more than enough of this madness and am determined to live as close to a normal life as is possible under this idiotic and vaguely dictatorial government.

Bunter, His Dog and Educational Madness

A week or so ago I speculated on which Bunter Johnson would unveil his ‘roadmap’ – why they call it that I do not know – out of lockdown. Would it be the swashbuckling Bunter of old or the bumbling turnip who lectures us so frequently and seems bullied to the end of his tether – whether by the solemn scientists who follow him around or his seemingly every more powerful popsy, La Symonds herself.

Anyway, our Revered Leader dully announced an extension of his January 4 lockdown for several more months and did his best to persuade us all that this miserable news is ‘a great release.’ He must have been on the happy pills if he really believes that we will take that seriously.

Did you notice how often he used the phrase ‘not earlier than’ before the various dates he named? The opposite phrase ‘not later than’ is a tough contractual commitment, but if anyone owed me money and promised in writing to pay me off ‘not earlier than’ any date you cared to name, I would surely be a fool to accept such an empty pledge.

So I am afraid, the misery goes on despite the success of the vaccination roll out. It seems to me that those of us who have done everything we were asked to do – albeit with gritted teeth and a clothes peg over our nose – are being sacrificed for the possibility that there might be unvaccinated people out there. So what? If I am protected against the coronabug and do not have it, then surely, I cannot pass it on – or is this particular bug cleverer than its predecessors and capable of following me around at a distance?

Oh hell, the sun is shining so I shall just get on with life and try not to hear the next bit of solemnly depressing news from Number Ten. Whatever gem of wisdom – wrong phraseology there perhaps – Bunter next comes out with, you can bet your life it won’t be at all encouraging.

Meanwhile Howden Junior School in East Yorkshire replaced house names that honoured historical figures such as Lord Nelson with those of modern liberal campaigners idolised by the woke brigade including Greta Thunberg and Marcus Rashford after one student complained. So Walter Raleigh, Horatio Nelson and Francis Drake have been replaced by the Thunberg child, Rashford and an obscure American poet called Amanda Gorman who I confess I have never heard of. Human rights activist (whatever that means) Malala Yousafzai is also a replacement but for whom, I do not know.

All this because one former pupil complained of white bias and condemned the ‘despicable deeds’ of Nelson, Ralieigh and Drake!

Headteacher Lee Hill who has more tattoos than a Maori warrior or even an England cricketer shared the news on Twitter and commended ‘the courage of the child who made a stand.’

This politically correct turnip wrote: ‘I’m really excited & proud to share this. Not just because of the individuals our School Council chose as representing our community values but because of the courage of one child who made a stand.

‘During the Black Lives Matter protests, I received a passionate and brave email from a former pupil who not only educated me about the history of the three house names that sat on our website, in our hall and were raised as ambassadors for our school, but also explained the impact of seeing these figures – who have links to slavery, oppression and racism – had on her during her time at our school.

‘Not only a brave email to send to a white male in a position of power but also an email that set off a chain of events.’

What gobbledegook this man speaks! His written English is appalling and why is a man who does not know about these icons of British history appointed to what he grandly claims is a ‘position of power’ in the education system?

Hill went on to explain that the school had no ‘tangible reason’ to keep the historical names and that none of the pupils knew who they were as they were not part of the curriculum. Surely, they should have been or is all British history being swept under the carpet by the educational authorities?

I am hugely grateful that my own children and all but one of my grandchildren have completed their schooling and are not subject to the sort of rampant idiocy that is displayed by Mr Hill and his ilk. They are not doing their job and merely revelling in the current crazy backlash against everything white.

History is there for all to see whatever their own ideologies might have it and history cannot be changed. For myself, I am fiercely proud of being a child of the Raj who was brought up in a colonial setting because I know how much good the colonial authorities did. Yes, there were occasional problems, but problems are part of life and these woke snowflakes would do better to face up to the problems and ensure that they never happen again rather than show their delicate sensibilities and ban everything that does not tally with their own narrow points of view.

They make me cross but the antics of Bunter J’s dog do afford some light amusement in these troubled times. It seems that dog experts have concluded that the reason this mutt, Dilyn is still not housetrained and is allegedly weeing on expensive handbags – when not getting rampantly intimate with the furniture or chewing rare books – is because he hasn’t had ‘the snip’ – in other words, his male organs are still working overtime.

Yet there could be another reason for Dilyn misbehaving so badly. How often are we told that dogs take on the characteristics of their owners?

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

The Petulant Prince and a Wobbly Prime Minister

I had intended to rant about Britain’s petulant prince and his Yank this morning but decided that neither of them are worth the corresponding rise in my blood pressure. Their California antics of late really do reduce royalty to ridicule. They make us realise he’s just a silly, spoiled Prince who thinks he can have it all.

As he discovered yesterday, he can not. You are not a prince without a country, just a rich playboy with a Netflix contract. If he never comes back home, Britain will be a better place and now can we all just forget the pair of them?

Tomorrow of course is a big day for this country. It is when our Revered Leader will announce just how he intends to get us all out of lockdown and actually save lives for a change. Oh I do not mean the lives of old toppies like myself, but the lives of young people who are dying en masse of other causes, including suicide, cancer and despair.

Which Prime Minister will we see in action tomorrow I wonder? Will it be the one who as recently as last Wednesday was stressing that his approach would be ‘cautious and prudent’ and seemed fixated on listing everything that could possibly go wrong? Or will we see the swashbuckling libertarian, who defied all the political odds and watched as his popularity soared, even after getting stuck on a zip wire and barging a ten year-old Japanese boy to the ground during a scratch game of rugby?

For all our sakes – and sanity – we must fervently hope and pray it is the one-time blond cavalier Bunter who emerges and gives us all a little hope and good cheer to be going on with. I have my doubts though. His insistence on being guided by ‘data not dates’ is enough to give me genuine cause for concern. Mainly because this same data will be supplied to and, most importantly of all, analysed by the same bunch of experts and advisers who have appeared to hold Bunter Johnson in such a tight grip since day one.

Let’s face it, the British public have done their bit to an amazing extent and have met all the criteria we have been set to keep this pandemic under control.

Initially it was to ‘flatten the curve,’ then to ‘save the NHS.’ The majority of people faithfully complied with the restrictions imposed. We did our bit and it seemed to work remarkably well. Then we were told that we must get the ‘R number,’ or the rate of secondary infections, below one, which has also been achieved.

Then, it was the number of deaths which needed to fall, and mercifully that has happened. And then it was the number of cases that also had to decline and again, thankfully, that has also come to pass.

As Bunter J weighs up his options today, it is probably appropriate to take him back to the dark days of November. The full impact of the new wave was starting to be felt and along with the annual pressures that winter brings, it was feared the NHS was once again in jeopardy.

However, during one briefing that month we were suddenly informed of a vaccine that had been created at breakneck speed and urged to listen for ‘the bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the hill.’

This was Bunter doing what he used to do best, inspiring and even amusing us in one of our undoubted darkest hours.

Now with just hours to go to his announcement, rumours and counter-rumours swirl. First, it is hinted that we will be permitted to eat outdoors in small groups in April, but that then swiftly gets knocked back to May. Or possibly July! Leisure and tourism could be back in part for the Easter holiday, but that is then moved, possibly to August!

The reasoning behind this madcap musical chairs of dates is the fear the virus will continue to mutate into different strains – but that is what all viruses do dammit! Follow that logic and we will stay locked down for another twenty years.

The game changer in all this nonsense has been the fantastic effort by the military, NHS staff and an army of volunteers in getting the vaccines into people’s arms. More than sixteen million – including myself – are already vaccinated and if it continues at the current rate all over fifties – the group most at risk – will have had at least one jab by the end of next month.

More lockdown will mean more economic devastation, more mental health problems and more unemployment. As a former public school boy and fan of the classics, he should understand this better than anyone: Bunter old chap, the time is right.

‘Carpe diem,’ seize the day and set this beleaguered nation free. If you continue to dither, more people will die and they will not only be we old toppies.

Overpaid Accountants, Overbearing Scientists and Ineptly Authoritarian Politicians

I might have mentioned it before, but this country seems in desperate danger of surrendering everything to a handful of entitled and increasingly vocal snowflakes who feel that the rest of us owe them a living.

Take for example the fact that the plain-speaking boss of one of Britain’s biggest accounting firms has had to step down after giving his workforce a bracing pep talk. During a virtual meeting, Bill Michael, of KPMG, told five hundred of his highly paid, working-from-home staff to stop moaning about the cut in their bonuses – they had been paid in full since the pandemic started and had, he said, very little cause for complaint. Michael told them they were in ‘a very lucky sector’ and should not ‘sit there and moan.’

To most of us that would surely sound eminently reasonable.

Many industries have been decimated, the economy is on its knees and millions will lose their jobs before this Coronabug emergency is over. I can only agree with Mr Michael that KPMG accountants are among the fortunate ones and should be counting their blessings instead of whingeing about their lot. Yes, they had a cut in their bonuses but most folk are no longer receiving bonuses so why on earth are they complaining?

But they were dammit. These overpaid turnips were outraged by Michael telling them to buck up and shut up. And then further incensed by his belief that the notion of unconscious bias as ‘complete and utter c**p’ after several in-house training modules seemed to suggest it did not exist.

The howls of snowflake outrage could be heard on Mars and beyond. Now Mr Michael has had to back down, issuing a statement that said: ‘I am sorry for the words I used, which did not reflect what I believe in.’

Come on Fellow, do not allow yourself to be bullied by these politically correct, whingeing idiots. What a lot of companies need right now are strong leaders; a boss who will inspire the workers and lead from the front.

The accountants sitting pretty at KMPG do not want hard truths, just soft soap for their petty vanities.

Quite by chance, I watched our esteemed and petulantly useless Health Secretary doing his Attila the Hun – perhaps Hagar the Horrible is more appropriate – act in Parliament last Monday and like most thinking people, I could not really believe what I was hearing from the man.

Can you imagine anyone in this country being sentenced to jail for ten years because they told officials at Heathrow they had just come from Spain when they had actually been in Portugal? 

Of course you can’t, even if Portugal is on the so-called ‘red list’ of countries where the virus may be a greater risk than it is here.

Ten years for raping a child? Yes of course, but ten years for failing to fill in a form properly? It will never happen and everyone knows it will never happen.

So why did Hancock threaten it this week? Perhaps he really believed it would act as a deterrent to any would-be rule breaker, but deterrents work only if they are credible. This one quite palpably is not.

The truth is that while ministers trumpet toughness on form-filling, they preside over an enfeebled justice system that has become the softest of touches. They proclaim their commitment to protect us from the virus, but miserably fail to protect us from crime. They want to see falsehoods about travel penalised by a decade behind bars but show no resolve to see the same penal vigour consistently imposed for sex assaults or violence or repeat burglaries.

In contradiction of Hancock’s authoritative pose, the enforcement of the law has been drastically weakened in recent years. From the police to the courts, agencies of the state have lost their moral compass, showing far more concern for the rights of offenders than their victims.

The negative impact of progressive ideology, which holds that crime is a symptom of an unequal society, has been reinforced by administrative incompetence, bureaucratic inertia and warped political priorities.

The outcomes of this are plain to see. Incredibly, just seven percent of all crimes in England now lead to a suspect being charged and that surely is an appalling statistic. Only this week, a major study showed that in the third quarter of last year, there was a seventy nine percent rise in legal proceedings that ended in no conviction at all because of delays in the courts – another shameful statistic I am afraid yet nobody in government turns a hair.

Evidence of judicial failure can be found on every front. A 2018 analysis by the Civitas think tank found half of repeat offenders with eleven to fourteen convictions avoided jail terms, while just a third of those found guilty of violence ended up in prison.

Soft drugs have effectively been legalised with seventy percent of cannabis users let off with meaningless ‘community resolutions’ – whatever they may be. Last year the Home Office admitted deportations of illegal migrants were at their ‘lowest since records began.’

Against that backdrop, the Government’s harsh new travel regime is nothing more than a PR stunt. It will never be fully implemented, not least because no court would dish out such a heavy sentence for a bit of documentary mendacity. It is the worst kind of empty gesture, designed to give the illusion of action rather than provide a practical solution.

But that is characteristic of modern politicians’ cynical approach. Far too many of them look on new laws as instruments of propaganda, not to tackle criminality.

In the minds of people like Mathew Hancock the answer to every high-profile incident is more legislation. So when a protester tried to set fire to a flag at the Cenotaph last summer, MPs queued up to demand a new law that would impose a mandatory ten year jail term for vandalising a war memorial.

But such a punishment is already available under Section 1 of the 1971 Criminal Damage Act. This is legislative incontinence I am afraid and should be curtailed. Over the past twenty years, there have been no fewer than two hundred and seventy three pieces of legislation with the term Criminal Justice in their titles, but public faith in the justice system has never been lower.

This inept and pathetic government should concentrate on governing instead of bringing out draconian and ultimately futile new laws in order to look tough.

Common sense was jettisoned again on Thursday. The Government announced it is reforming the NHS – again. These reforms will reverse the last reforms of ten years ago. Maybe they will work and maybe they will not but one certainty is that they will once again, cause massive disruption.

Did anyone in Whitehall point out that we are in the middle of the greatest health crisis in living memory? I bet the over-rewarded management consultants did not. They earn their considerable fees by peddling change. These so-called experts move cheerfully from biscuit factories to hospitals and tell everyone how things should be run That surely cannot work.

It is not that modern governments never get it right – even this somewhat pathetic one. We are reaping the benefits of a brilliant vaccination programme at the moment. But let us just remember that it is the scientists and researchers, chivvied into action by bog snorkelling Kate Bingham who made it possible.

And if you remember, the vaccination programme was brought out in a fanfare of government pronouncements that this was the answer to all our problems and life could soon get back to normal. Really? It seems that the scientists are still preaching caution while our revered leader stammers and stutters about following the science without saying anything to reassure an ever more anxious public.

I think it was Winston Churchill who once said of scientists, ‘They should be on tap but not on top.’ How right he was, but Bunter J has let them to get on top by allowing them to dictate government policy.

I am neither politician or scientist but this is getting right out of hand now and it needs to stop. Scientists are not politicians, they are not leaders and it is ingrained into their personalities to have a super-cautious, negative, downbeat view of the world.

Yes, Bunter has to listen to them occasionally, but he cannot let them believe they are running the country. Nor can he afford to be crippled by the kind of gloominess and defeatism that is typical of their ilk because his job is about more than Covid infections and deaths. He has the fairly terrifying task of getting this country back on the road to economic and social recovery.

And what on earth is the point of this vaccine rollout if we are still going to be living restricted lives for another year – perhaps forever?

The case rate is down by seventy percent, hospital admissions have gone back to early December levels and we are told vaccines will cut deaths by eighty eight percent. Things are changing at lightning speed yet these scientists are talking about restrictions till next Christmas.

Bunter assured us that these vaccines are our ticket for freedom. So why are we not making any progress? Has our Revered Leader – and I use the name sarcastically – suddenly discovered something nobody else is aware of?

We have vaccinated over fifteen million people – that’s a thousand vaccinations a minute dammit – yet restrictions are becoming ever more draconian. This week it was that inane threat of a ten year jail sentence for breaking Covid rules on travel. What will it be tomorrow?

The fact is the scientists currently steering Boris do not understand the economy or how it works. They do not understand that people are hanging onto their jobs, their lives, their houses, their sanity by a thread. And why would they? Their jobs are not on the line and they have been on full pay since the start. More restrictions won’t touch them but it will push millions who are already teetering on the brink right over the edge.

Scientists, who never consider the impact of what they are demanding, do not want normal life to be resumed until the coronabug has been wiped out but that is never going to happen because those same scientists told us the disease is now endemic and will come back every winter.

The fact is that once everyone over fifty and those with underlying conditions has been vaccinated the country should be opened up again and Bunter J should lead the charge back into normality minus masks and bloody social distancing.

Because the majority of us do not want to live in the kind of cowed, sterile, joyless world the scientists want us to inhabit. Nor do we want our liberties dispensed with at will by an increasingly authoritarian Government.

The Brexit vote was supposed to be about taking back control but there has never been a time when people have been less in control of their lives than they are right now.

I wonder if we could persuade Mrs Bingham, the bog snorkelling lady to sort out our inept cabinet office and its ministers as her next project? No, I do not suppose she would thank me for that suggestion, but we all need a ray of hope somewhere.

A Weird World We Live In

It has been quite a week and although the coronabug vaccine is giving us a little hope for the immediate future, the general tone of life in 2021 is becoming more than a wee bit troubling.

I won’t go into the general uncertainty, the flames of which are being fanned by an ever more inept and bungling government, but let’s take the death of Captain Tom Moore for a start.

Yes, it was sad as any death is sad. He was clearly a lovely man, who captured the heart of the nation at a very difficult time. But his death is not as so many hand-wringing commentators have claimed, in any way a tragedy. He died at a great age, surrounded by his family, having lived a rich and adventurous life. Surely, that is something to celebrate. 

At the same time, a trendy Church of England clergyman. managed to tie himself up in knots on the dreaded Twitter. The Church of England seems to specialise nowadays in sermons seen through the prism of the sanctimonious Left.

But the Reverend Jarel Robinson-Brown outdid himself. ‘The cult of Captain Tom is a cult of White British Nationalism,’ he declared on twitter. ‘I will offer prayers for the repose of this kind and generous soul, but I will not be joining in the National Clap for him.’

Needless to say, the Rev Robinson Brown is black and so another large portion of the Church of England’s flock will have turned their eyes to Heaven, and declared they’d had enough.

If there is one thing the C of E really does not need when it is haemorrhaging churchgoers – down by up to twenty per cent in the past decade – it is clergymen like this buffoon attacking the values everyone else hold dear.

Where does the Church find these people? This man had already made his views clear repeatedly – he had attacked Prime Minister Johnson, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel and other Government ministers as ‘Oppressors.’ 

Yet he was still given the coveted position of curate in the oldest church in the City of London, All Hallows by the Tower. Ok, I am all in favour of him expressing opinions when appropriate, but his declaration on Tom Moore was so loaded with hate-filled anger, it makes a mockery of the Christian doctrine of love.

Clergymen are at the heart of this country’s history. They are figures of tradition and pillars of the community – a bit like Captain Tom in his way.  Posturing curates such as Robinson-Brown ignore this at their peril.

The Diocese of London accepts the comments were ‘unacceptable, insensitive and ill judged.’ They say a review is under way, and that the Rev Robinson-Brown has deleted his tweet. Oh goody but the damage is done. A few more congregants will bid their farewells and another nail has been hammered into the C of E coffin.

And for the record, I did not join in the six o’clock clapping either. Too much of this past twelve months has depended on treating the entire nation like children. Maybe it’s just me but standing in the street and clapping into thin air feels oddly childish and infantilising. At a time when many people feel they are being bullied by an inept government who are unwilling to share an objective exit strategy, I prefer to stop and question any collective demonstrations of emotion. They are rarely completely benign.

Surely I am not the only person blinded by the glare of irony as Boris Johnson clapped on the steps of Number 10 in appreciation of Sir Tom’s huge (£33 million) charity fund when his own incompetence blew an eye-watering £22 billion on a useless Test & Trace system. 

There are few things that I find more stomach-churning than politicians basking in someone else’s reflected glory. Sir Tom Moore went to his grave knowing that he was loved and respected as a symbol of social altruism and as a soldier he fought fascism so that we could live in a ‘free’ country – free to choose how to remember, free to celebrate or commemorate in our own ways. 

So no, unlike our leaders, Bunter and Carrie, the charmer Starmers and many others in both public life and as private citizens, I did not take to the streets to applaud.

There is something about these orchestrated shows of public support that is beginning to chafe. It is no longer enough to care about anything — you have to be seen to be caring.

And again for the record, I will not be signing the petition to give him a state funeral  a rare honour given only to senior members of the Royal Family and occasionally politicians who have actually achieved something – like successfully leading the nation through a war for example..

The last one given to a non-royal was for Sir Winston Churchill in 1965 so can everyone please just calm down and get a grip.

Meanwhile, we are told that government policy over the coronabug has been to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed. The frontline staff are certainly beyond praise but the NHS is a public service which exists to protect our lives, not an established church for God’s sake. To treat its limitations as a reason for suspending our national life is a perversion of its purpose.

It also diverts attention from where responsibility lies. If hospitals are overwhelmed, it is not our fault for getting ill and needing them. The responsibility lies with successive governments which have mismanaged and underfunded the NHS for years. The number of NHS beds has fallen continuously since 2000. Despite years of pandemic planning, the UK has by far the lowest intensive care capacity in Europe. In a bad winter, the NHS is overwhelmed even without the Coronabug.

Meanwhile, the response of Ministers is: ‘We are guided at every step by the science.’

However, scientists are interested only in science. The duty of politicians is much wider. It is to weigh the public health risks of the disease against the economic and social damage done by the countermeasures. Hiding behind scientists is a dereliction of that duty.

A large part of the problem is the personality of Bunter Johnson. The man is a public relations artist, not a policy-maker. He is guided by what he thinks public opinion will want. He is a follower, not a leader.

We have witnessed constant U-turns and lurchings from pillar to post. Eat Out to Help Out was followed by the enforced closure of pubs and restaurants. Schools continued but were then shut. There was the absurdity of tiers being relaxed for Christmas Day, only to be reimposed three days later.

So where are we heading now?

The vaccine is an impressive achievement of science, but, as with the lockdown, it will not eradicate the virus. It took nearly two centuries after the discovery of a vaccine for smallpox to disappear. Coronabug is here to stay I am afraid and we must learn to live with it. Even Government’s scientific advisers are beginning to admit this. Viruses spontaneously mutate all the time, whatever governments do. Some will inevitably evade our defences.

We now have the spectacle of Ministers and their advisers saying that people who have had the jab should not regard it as a reason for mixing with others, just in case they can still spread the disease. We are also being told that those who have already had the disease may not be immune, although the evidence suggests this is nonsense.

Foreign travel is being prohibited, turning us into a hermit island on the basis we cannot know what mutations may be lurking out there. The logic of these policies is that we must be locked down for ever simply because the world is a dangerous place.

This will go on until either Johnson and his team of hand-picked Yes-men pluck up some moral courage or enough people realise the folly and destructiveness of our present course and rebel against government folly. When that happens, we will be astonished we ever tried to suppress risks that are inseparable from life itself. We will look back in shame on the damage wantonly inflicted on our society and our children.

Then, hopefully, we can rebuild a country in which limits are placed on the power of an irresponsible state to direct people’s lives.

And why on earth does Britain so often seek to reform other people’s countries, while making such a mess of our own? Is it because we don’t think very hard about either? 

Ten years ago I watched in despair the applause for the Arab Spring, especially in Cairo, where the ‘freedom demonstrators’ were often nasty anti-semites, and the outcome was bound to be an Islamist regime. This duly followed, as did a savage and gory military coup which in the general hysteria, it is no longer polite to mention.

Now the West likes to despise Russia’s sinister tyrant Vladimir Putin. But who do they think will replace him? Before him, we had Boris Yeltsin, who (everyone now forgets) called up tanks to shell his own ruddy parliament. 

Yeltsin, having come to power on a pretence of hating corruption, was so corrupt it shocked even Russians, who are no strangers to corruption. And now we are supposed to admire the unofficial ‘opposition leader’ Alexei Navalny. Yet the very people who promote Navalny would shy away from any Western figure who had his record of militant nationalism and bigotry. 

He has appeared at rallies next to militant and rebellious skinheads. He once took part in a video where he compared people from the Caucasian regions, often unpopular with ethnic Russians, to cockroaches. 

While cockroaches can be killed with a slipper, he said, for humans he recommended a pistol. His defenders dismiss this a joke. Yeah – perhaps so! 

He has also spoken in favour of Russia’s repossession of the Crimea, saying ‘the reality is that Crimea is now part of Russia… Crimea is ours’ – a view that is possibly reasonable, but which is usually condemned by the BBC and the fawning liberal types who currently laud him to the skies.

I have my own view on Russia’s miseries, which is that you cannot immediately recover from nearly seventy five years of Marxist terror and stupidity, and that the West did little to help when Communism fell. 

But I also think that we rage against poor, weak Russia mainly because we are scared to take on rich, strong China. If President Putin is overthrown by Navalny or someone like him, we may come to wish for the devil we knew.

Bumbling Bullies, Burney and Bog-snorkelling Bingham

Bunter J has blundered his way through this coronabug crisis – but his decision to invest in four different vaccines while ordering over two hundred million doses to protect the nation against the virus was a masterstroke – I wonder if he made it himself. He takes the credit but in reality it must lie eslewhere.

Mind you it won’t cancel out the depressing fact that the UK will probably see up to a hundred and fifty thousand people lose their lives from the bug and many will have died as a direct result of governmental indecision.

Bunter was late on lockdowns, faffed around over tiers and continued to issue contradictory and confusing advice for months on end. Education – in the hands of cretinous Gavin Williamson – has been put on the back burner and care homes are still seeing residents die alone, deprived of human contact and family visits.

For all that,  we cannot ignore the fact that the roll out of the vaccination programme is finally protecting the people who need it most. By yesterday over eight million people – including myself – have received their first dose.

But the story across Europe is very different. Contrast our detailed vaccine plan and steady rollout (even with local hiccups and shortages in supply) with the bumbling bureaucracy within the EU. France – the home of the great micro-biologist Louis Pasteur – has failed to produce a single home-grown vaccine, much to the embarrassment of President Macron.

Across Europe, there is not a single vaccination plan to rival that of the UK, and now the battle for access to supplies is really getting nasty. Threats of litigation and blocking of exports were issued and to give Bunter J his due, he stood up to those threats and it was the EU who backed down – just as they had in the Brexit negotiations and just as bullies usually do.

 Last year, the UK decided not to join the EU procurement scheme. There was a lot of remainer-type tut-tutting at the time – including from Keir Starmer and his deputy – but it turns out to have been possibly the single most effective decision Bunter has made since this crisis began.

Instead he set up the UK Vaccines Taskforce, led by former financier Kate Bingham – of whom more later. Bingham then invested millions in the research and development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine and many others, hedging our bets over which would get past the post first.

While the EU dithered, the UK put its money on the table and was the first country to approve a vaccine last December – developed by Pfizer/BioNtech. Since then three more have been tested and approved, with a fourth – Novavax, likely to be approved imminently.

Now, the EU is reduced to squabbling over access to vaccines which the UK has already paid for. Having taken three months longer than the Britain to place an order for their member countries, they find themselves at the back of the queue for supplies.

I had my jab last Friday and will it be less than a hundred per cent proof? Only time will tell. There has already been controversy over the decision to delay the second dose for twelve weeks so that more people could be vaccinated quicker, and hopefully slow down the rate of infection.

In spite of reassurances, some older people will be wondering whether they are getting fobbed off with vaccine that may not offer sufficient protection. But what is the alternative? There isn’t one I am afraid. We must accept that we are luckier than most nations, particularly from that corrupt and inefficient cabal of unelected European chancers that we finally left a few weeks ago.

In this volatile situation, the last thing we need is the Poisoned Dwarf from north of the border exploiting a difficult situation by threatening to publicise the number of doses Scotland receives each week.

Furious that Boris dared to visit ‘her’ country the other day, she has been stung by criticism that only four hundred plus Scots have been lucky enough to secure a jab, when there are rumours that the authorities are sitting on one million doses.

Exploiting a lethal disease for political gain is not good politics at any time and if the English trashed the Scots as much as Ms Sturgeon does the Westminster government, we would be accused of rampant racism.

This fanatical little woman is determined that every decision she makes will reinforce her mantra that an Independent Scotland within the EU would be better for everyone north of the Border than being part of Britain. So does it matter what she tells them? Let her go and join them if that is what her people want.

But according to our ‘Revered Leader,’ revealing how many doses of vaccines are being sent out within the UK each week will only result in extra pressure being put on factories in Europe. Whatever the truth, the European Commissioners are furious they have been blindsided by Bunter and the Brits yet again. The ‘harmony’ and truce declared over Brexit has vanished and there are strident calls across the Union for Ursula Von de Whatever to resign.

As for Wee Burney, at a time when millions of Brits in every part of the Union are desperate to receive a dose of vaccine, playing patriot games to score points with your voters, stinks.

And ordinary Scots voters might reflect that if they were part of the EU, rather than the UK, right now they would be at the back of the queue for jabs along with the hapless French and Germans.

For once I can say thank the Lord for Bunter J and Brexit.

One other person I have ranted about in the past when it seems I was probably wrong is the ‘Vaccines Tzar’ Kate Bingham. It turns out that this good lady was a pioneer of bog snorkelling, the ultimate test of stamina and endurance amid unforgiving Welsh landscapes.

And the lessons Ms Bingham thus learned about triumphing in the face of adversity have helped make her the figurehead of Britain’s internationally envied pursuit of vaccines to tackle the coronabug epidemic.

Ms Bingham’s appointment last year to lead the UK Vaccine Taskforce was initially mired in claims of cronyism and inexperience, but there are now calls for her to be awarded a damehood. Sir John Bell, Oxford University’s regius professor of medicine, said: ‘She was really ruthless and really tough. It’s not a given that the UK would have ended up where it is now without her.’

And a former colleague adds: ‘She’s brilliantly bonkers – she fills all the space in a room.’

Bunter J rang Ms Bingham last April to ask her to take on the unpaid role. Her task, he said, was to ‘stop people from dying.’ There were claims that as a school friend of Mr Johnson’s sister, Rachel, and the wife of Tory MP Jessie Norman, she was part of a ‘chumocracy’ that saw friends of senior Conservatives parachuted into the top jobs. She was also criticised – and I was among the critics – for spending £670,000 on public relations companies, with one Government Minister saying the work could have been done ‘in-house.’ She claimed to be ‘completely shocked’ by the criticism and claimed that it was sexist. I certainly was not being sexist; I was merely appalled by what appeared to be a huge waste of public funds.

A day after accepting the position, offered by Bunter J – which incidentally ended last month – Ms Bingham had assembled a committee of experts from big pharmaceutical companies, science and logistics businesses. Within a fortnight, they had a shortlist of twenty three vaccines from four different vaccine technologies.

Britain has now placed orders for three hundred and sixty seven million doses from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Valneva and Novavax at an expected cost of almost three billion pounds.

Ms Bingham’s husband, Jessie was an Eton contemporary of Bunter J and has been the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire since 2010. He serves as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the couple spend their weekends in Wales, where Ms Bingham pursues her hobbies – horse riding, mountain biking and bog snorkelling. In 2004, she came nineteenth in the bog snorkelling championships and nine years later, pioneered mountain bike bog snorkelling, which involves riding a lead-filled bike through a water-logged trench.

I love being adventurous but not that much!

I take back my criticism even though I still cannot understand the reasons behind that incredibly expensive PR campaign. This lady really is quite a gal and although the coronabug led to the cancellation of last year’s bog snorkelling championships – with no small thanks to Ms Bingham – there are hopes that it will be back later this year.

You need to bring her back Bunter. She can probably do the combined jobs of at least four of your senior cabinet ministers – and you can bet your life those European desk jockeys will be terrified of her.

The Woke New World and Academia

Last week, I conquered my fear of technology – to an extent – and firstly attended a seminar at Northampton University where the presenter was a friend of mine – who I have never actually met – and the subject was anti-poaching.

The following day two friends – who I know well – took me through the technicalities of delivering a talk through Zoom. They were patient with my obvious ineptitude and by the end of it, I almost felt confident in my own ability to do such a talk, but two or three days later, that confidence is wearing a bit thin. Nevertheless, thank you Simon and Bill for your efforts.

But let’s get back to that seminar. Kate was very lucid and put forward a well thought out and logical pattern for collecting data for her forthcoming thesis, but by the time the session ended, I found myself bewildered by the way both she and her questioners spoke. Is this routine language in the lofty halls of academia I wonder? I mean, what on earth does ‘phenomenology’ mean – and there were many other words that had me scrabbling for a dictionary – yes, I still use one.

My main thought when it was over – and Kate later told me that most of her audience were distinguished academics – is that it is no wonder that universities appear to have lost touch with reality.

Take Leicester University for example. A few years ago it was rated among the top ten institutions of higher learning in this country. Yet they have slipped rapidly down that particular ladder and are now ranked in the very low twenties – twenty-ninth if I remember correctly. But one of the few fields in which Leicester does appear to be excelling is that of political correctness. Here, it is truly world-beating. Indeed, against stiff opposition, one might justifiably declare this humble seat of learning to be Britain’s most ‘woke’ university.

Take, for example, this week’s kerfuffle involving Leicester’s once-esteemed English Literature department. Last Wednesday, staff were abruptly told by their superiors that they want to drop Geoffrey Chaucer and other great medieval writers from the syllabus. Apparently, these titans of English literature are no longer deemed to be worth studying. Instead, management used an email to outline proposals to create a curriculum devoted to ‘diversity.’

The highly controversial plans mean that tutors who specialise in the 14th-century writer, widely known as the ‘father of English poetry,’ now face redundancy, as potentially do colleagues who teach such apparently unfashionable texts as Beowulf, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Sir Gawain And The Green Knight.

The work of John Donne and Christopher Marlowe will also be side-lined and in their place will come a diverse array of modern writers, many of whom cover such modish topics as race relations and feminism.

This will allow Leicester’s new-look English course to cover what the email describes as: ‘a chronological literary history, a selection of modules on race, ethnicity, sexuality and diversity, a decolonised curriculum, and new employability modules.’

This apparently is what today’s young students, who must pay fees of around £10,000 a year to study English at Leicester, ‘expect.’ Do they really? I find that difficult to credit and should the proposals be implemented, around sixty academic staff will lose their jobs.

In a press release, Leicester has named two of the writers who will remain on the curriculum as the African-American novelists Toni Morrison and Colson Whitehead. (Unfortunately, the press release managed to mis-spell Mr Whitehead’s first name as ‘Colston’, which just so happens to be the surname of the 17th-century slave trader whose statue was pulled down and thrown into Bristol Harbour last June.)

To critics like me, already chuntering about dumbing-down, that error may be a final straw.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson this week accused the university of ‘absolute madness,’ (For once he has got something right!) while even the ultra-liberal University and College Union dubbed the plans ‘short-sighted and intellectually void.’

Let’s face it, Geoffrey Chaucer may not have shared modern attitudes to race, sexuality, or gender, but his work was highly progressive for its era – the Wife of Bath for example, is often dubbed the first feminist icon.

But this week’s absurd row was not an isolated incident and neither did it occur by accident. Instead, Geoffrey Chaucer appears to represent the first major casualty in an ill-thought-out campaign by Leicester’s £250,000-a-year vice-chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum.’

He arrived in November 2019, and promptly undertook a trendy rebranding exercise in which Leicester adopted a new PR slogan: ‘Citizens of Change.’ The term is now plastered across university literature and social media channels, where it is often used in place of the term ‘students’ to describe undergraduates.

In other words, it repositions Leicester, not as an institution of academic excellence but, instead, as a sort of happy-clappy teaching ground for tub-thumping campaigners, demonstrators and activists.

Last March, this hotbed of liberal change attracted nationwide ridicule for re-branding International Women’s Day as ‘International Womxn’s Day,’ declaring that the term was more friendly to the transgender community.

‘We use the term womxn as a more inclusive spelling of woman that includes any person who identifies as womxn,’ read its newsletter. What?!

Would I sound terribly cynical if I pointed out that a better way for Leicester to demonstrate its commitment to women’s rights might be to actually pay them the same as men. According to the university’s most recent gender pay gap report, its female staff currently earn a paltry eighty two pence for every pound their male colleagues take home. Moreover, it reveals that men who work there are nearly fifty per cent more likely than women employees to get a bonus. And when they do, that bonus tends to be sixty six per cent bigger.

Then, in June, at the height of Black Lives Matter protests, Professor Canagarajah gave a prominent interview to the Press Association in which he declared that universities must do more to ‘diversify’ their workforce and recruit more staff and students from ethnic minorities.

‘When you have a large proportion of ethnic minorities, like in Leicester, we need to make sure they can identify with that curriculum,’ he said. ‘But I think there’s still more work to be done to truly decolonise the curriculum.’

‘Like in Leicester?’ Hardly apt for an English professor!

English is not the only field in which Leicester started to make headline-grabbing contributions to the culture wars, either. On the history front, to cite another topical example and one I ranted about recently, the university took the helm of the National Trust’s highly controversial ‘Colonial Countryside’ programme, which has seen it invite teams of schoolchildren into its properties to lecture staff and visitors about the horrors of the British Empire.

Leicester’s contribution to the programme is led by Professor Corinne Fowler, a Left-wing academic who appears to devote a hefty and perhaps unhealthy portion of her free time to picking arguments on Twitter.

As I wrote in my rant, her attitude to rural Britain is perhaps evident from the title of her recent book, Green Unpleasant Land, which dubs the countryside ‘a terrain of inequalities’ and suggests gardening and botany are racist because, ‘the scientific categorisation of plants has at times engaged in the same hierarchies of ‘race’ that justified empire and slave and slavery.’

Professor Fowler also edited the National Trust’s provocative and error-strewn ‘gazetteer,’ detailing alleged links between its properties and colonialism. Published in September, it named and shamed the former home of William Wordsworth, even though he was a lifelong campaigner against slavery on the grounds that his brother once sailed to the Far East; as well as those of Rudyard Kipling because he wrote about the British Empire and Winston Churchill, whose entry managed to ignore his achievement in saving the world from the Nazi holocaust.

One can only wonder why a major national heritage charity with billions of pounds in assets was entrusting such an important research project not to Oxford or Cambridge, but instead to an establishment whose history department is currently ranked 73rd in the UK, behind the likes of Canterbury Christ Church, Edge Hill and tinpot Greenwich.

In its defence, Leicester says it remains proud of its work for the Trust and with regard to the row over Chaucer said this week: ‘There is absolutely no truth to the suggestion that certain modules are being eliminated for being ‘too white.’

It added: ‘We want to offer courses that match our students’ own interests and enthusiasms, as reflected in their own choices and the feedback we have been hearing.’

Perhaps vice-chancellor Canagarajah thinks his ‘Citizens of Change’ programme will improve the university’s financial fortunes. Maybe he believes Leicester’s ongoing role in the culture wars will persuade a generation of politically correct school leavers to apply to his university and swell the rapidly depleting coffers.

If that is the case, there may be further choppy waters ahead. For as the topical saying goes, people who choose to go ‘woke’ often seem to end up going broke.

Yet while I find this disturbing enough, I am horrified by the BBC and their new online resource programme for teachers.

In a video entitled Identity – Understanding Sexual and Gender Identities, produced as part of this programme, a group of schoolchildren aged between nine and twelve discuss the issue with teachers and it is not easy to watch.

Of course, there is nothing to trouble the woke police here- this is the Beeb after all. ‘What does stereotypes mean, Miss?’ (Answer: they are bad). ‘What’s the difference between sex and gender?’ (Answer: sex is the body parts you are born with; gender is who you feel inside). And more guff in that vein.

‘There are soooo many gender identities,’ gushes one teacher, while her bemused charges nod dutifully. ‘Over a hundred,’ she adds excitedly, as though sexual self-selection were just different flavours at the pick and mix counter in those far off days when shops were open.

Here we have powerful authority figures actively encouraging impressionable youngsters to question their sexual identities – at a stage in their lives when sex is not even – or shouldn’t be – on the agenda. It is a masterclass in indoctrination. At the licence fee payer’s expense too. Before they have even dipped their toe in the world of adult desire, these children are being taught to question their own bodies.

Gender dysphoria – a serious and distressing condition that I wouldn’t wish on anyone – is presented as something really exciting and special, worthy almost of a gold star.

This is not ‘education’ dammit!  It is bordering on ruddy child abuse.

All I could think of as I watched those fresh faces listening with wide-eyed concentration was poor Keira Bell, the young woman who recently won her case against the Tavistock and Portman Trust, the NHS gender reassignment clinic in London. 

Keira bravely came forward to testify that her desire, at the age of sixteen to transition from female to male had been encouraged by adults who seemed less interested in her wellbeing and more focused on pushing an agenda. An evil agenda that ultimately led to her embarking on a course of hormone blockers which she now deeply regrets.

These children in the BBC video are much younger than Keira. How many of them – and how many of those in schools up and down the land who have been taught according to these guidelines – will now find that the worm of self-doubt has been planted in their brains where none previously existed? And how many will grow up to make irreversible changes to their bodies which, like Keira, they may live to regret?

So yes, let us protect so-called ‘trans’ people by all means, but let’s not teach our children to hate the bodies they were born in.

Changing the subject only slightly, this bordering-on-the-collectively-insane government have brought out a new Coronabug advertising campaign – obviously designed to scare us witless. It shows a series of photographs depicting supposedly dying patients in hospital masks and challenges viewers to ‘look him in the eyes and tell him the risk is not real.’

I think they are trying to make those of us who seriously question the efficacy of lockdown, while never for one moment denying that the Coronabug is a serious threat feel like worms for merely having doubts.

Yet they could easily substitute that patient in a mask for a schoolboy and caption it, ‘Look him in the eyes – and tell him that his future does not matter.’

Or for that matter, a cancer patient – ‘look her in the eyes and tell her that her lump is not real.’

Serious it might be, but the Coronabug is not the only thing that is killing people in Britain and no amount of emotional blackmail from Bunter J and his inept bully boys is going to change that.

He Was Not As Bad As He Was Made Out To Be!

It has been a traumatic week throughout the world, what with Donald Trump leaving office, the Coronabug outbreak seeming ever stronger and Britain being racked by more stormy weather.

But it is Trump leaving office that I want to deal with today. Donald Trump is not a nice man by any standards. He is brash, boorish, outspoken, boastful and probably narcissistic, but in that respect, he is surely a typical politician.

Yet in every other aspect, the Trumpet is the very antithesis of a modern politician. Devoid of diplomacy, he was never afraid to offend others and stuck to his guns throughout his four years in office. His main problem and it eventually unseated him was that his brash egotistical manner offended the American establishment as well as the Media Mob and they eventually brought him down.

Indeed, even before he was elected, he was cast in the role of a would-be Hitler. ‘This is how fascism comes to America’, declared neoconservative commentator Robert Kagan immediately before Trump took office.

Yet Donald Trump came to power with what certainly seemed to be a laudable agenda based on sound principles. He never failed to express his pride in the underlying goodness of traditional American values and core beliefs that were based on Christian fundamentals. This infuriated the progressive elites of the metropolitan East and West coasts and that same establishment, which the president liked to refer to as ‘the Swamp’.  He seemed to understand the plight of the American working class and moved to cut taxes. He wanted to secure his country’s borders, cut better trade deals for America, confront China’s expanding global aggression, pressure the presumptuous Europeans to spend more on their own defence and extricate US troops from costly, unwinnable wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.

He rightly pointed out that America was overly indulgent to its enemies and started to withhold aid to countries he considered hostile. Closer to home where I am concerned, he criticised African governments and was rude about the state of some countries and anyone familiar with what is taking place in Africa today will struggle to disagree with his opinions. Through Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, he did what no other Western politician has dared to do and expressed concern about the safety of South African farmers. Though many of his goals have been frustrated, to a large extent as a consequence of relentless harassment from so many different directions, he achieved much that is positive during his term of office.  He said himself that there is more to do and that opportunity is now denied him. The new administration will move quickly to undo what was done and reverse course.

With the election of Joe Biden, this sad course of events is set to accelerate, not least because his Vice President, Kamala Harris, a racist who hails from the radical left is likely to assume the presidential reins sooner rather than later. Their policy programme looks set to strengthen and consolidate the liberal tyranny that seeks to destroy western democracy as we know it.

Uncontrolled immigration into the US will speed up the process of marginalising and diluting the soon to be white minority. An abrupt move to socialism will increase the burden placed upon the predominantly white, working and middle-class while the number of people wholly dependent on the State for their survival ratchets up. The new administration is likely to be largely bereft of conservative whites who hold dear their country’s history and traditional ideals and culture.

In a way this follows the same path that so many of us went down in Africa and I fear there is little doubt where it will lead. America is on a path to self-destruction and that is not good for any of us in this topsy-turvy world. But for the Chinese and all those who seek the final erasure of all semblances of Western civilisation, it is a bonanza that is not to be sneezed at.

In his twenty minute pre-recorded farewell speech, Trump said that his administration did what it came to do – and more.

I suppose, one can debate the significance of his accomplishments – whether four hundred miles of rebuilt border wall, tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks, confirmed judges, trade wars, and modest Middle East diplomatic agreements amount to much in the way of substantive achievement. He was the first American President in a very long time not to start any wars during his time in office and it is perhaps significant to note that Joe Biden in his eight years as vice president was instrumental with Obama in starting no fewer than seven conflicts. In the course of those little wars, America dropped well over twenty six thousand bombs. Yet the liberal establishment hails this man as a peacemaker?

Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 to shake up the existing political order. He campaigned as an outsider giving voice to those who distrusted the establishment. Opportunistic perhaps but I find it sad that the unrest and resentment that bore the Donald triumphantly to the White House came to a sad and possibly predictable end in the US Capitol two weeks ago.

After four years of shattered norms and traditions, of turning expectations of presidential behaviour on their head, Trump leaves US government changed – fundamentally and hopefully irreversibly.

I am not an admirer of the man for himself but do believe that he had his country’s best interests at heart and did not deserve the vitriol and abuse that has been heaped upon him. For all his faults, Donald Trump was a man who put the welfare of the American people before everything else and that is something that most other politicians in this supposed ‘free world’ would do well to bear in mind. We, the ordinary people want politicians to pay heed to our views and look after us rather than the ruddy ‘Establishment.’

(I seem to have had another disaster with the font on this one but have no idea why it keeps jumping around the way it does. Sorry.)

Is Gardening Racist?

Having run my own little gardening firm for over fifteen years, I cannot say that I enjoy the practice. However, it is a huge comfort to many people, particularly in these stressful times.

In fact, can there be a more harmless, innocent diversion than pottering about in a garden? We are continually told by the ‘experts’ that it is good for body and soul, as well as for our mental health. But I fear that the green-fingered ranks of Britain’s gardeners are in for a shock – according to a new book, by pruning our roses or digging the vegetable patches, we are all somehow perpetuating the evils of racism.

Last week Corinne Fowler, Professor of Post-Colonial Literature (Can that really be a subject for study?) at the University of Leicester published a three hundred and sixteen-page book examining the links between the British countryside, racism, slavery and our colonial past. What new woke madness is this?

This idiotically politically correct academic insists that gardening has its roots in racial injustice.

The title of the book, Green Unpleasant Land, gives us an indication of Professor Fowler’s thoughts on the countryside. One might expect her writings to be consigned to academic obscurity, but no, her views on rural Britain are in fact very influential.

Because this female turnip is at the centre of the ‘culture war’ that has overwhelmed one of Britain’s largest and best-loved charities, the National Trust. I am not a member of the Trust but have thought about joining at times, if only to see some of the magnificent mansions in their care. That though was in the past. I have completely lost interest in the entire organisation, but they do still wield enormous influence.

Professor Fowler is one of the principal authors of a report published in September last year that ‘outed’ many of the properties belonging to the Trust for their links to slavery and Britain’s colonial past. Among them were Buckland Abbey, the Devon seat of Sir Francis Drake, Ham House in West London, Wales’s Powis Castle and, most controversially of all, Chartwell, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill.

The report infuriated not only grand families who had bequeathed their homes to the Trust, but also many of the charity’s five and a half million members who resigned over this ‘woke’ agenda, arguing that the Trust’s role is to preserve our ancient houses and monuments, rather than get involved in what many saw as a highly political witch-hunt.

Such was the anger that the head of the Charities Commission publicly suggested the National Trust should focus on looking after stately homes – not waging ‘broader political struggles.’

Yet the Trust had already ‘doubled-down’ in its determination to exhume the unsavoury history of its properties with another project, which started in 2018 – and Professor ruddy Fowler was in charge of that one too.

She describes the scheme – Colonial Countryside: National Trust Houses Reinterpreted – on the Leicester University website as ‘a child-led history and writing project which seeks to make historic houses’ connections to the East India Company and transatlantic slavery widely known.’

It involves a team of historians working with one hundred primary school children to explore these links at eleven Trust properties. To me it seems somewhat obscene to use children for this, but the Trust received lottery grants amounting to £160,000. Under the scheme, the Trust had been inviting teams of children to lecture staff and volunteers – presumably about the evils of colonialism. Surely that is deeply damaging to all concerned.

Amid criticism of the project last month from MPs – one of whom complained the charity had been ‘overtaken by divisive Black Lives Matters supporters’ – the Trust defended it, saying: ‘We always look for excellence, fairness and balance in the assessment of all aspects of the history at National Trust places, often working with external partners and specialists to help us.’

Primary school children? How can that be justified?

And just how fair and balanced are Professor Fowler and her team of academics? Are they impartial historians – are they hell! There is a viciously biased political agenda behind their interpretations of the past?

Professor Fowler insists that our ‘green and pleasant land,’ as the poet William Blake put it, is anything but. The countryside, she suggests, is a hotbed of oppression, racism and exploitation – and it is time for its dark history to be exposed.

The professor also writes that her parents gave her a love of country walking. She appears to have rambled tirelessly along country lanes finding evidence to prove her central premise – that the British countryside is somehow linked to racism and colonialism.

‘The countryside is a terrain of inequalities,’ she writes in her book, ‘so it should not surprise us that it should be seen as a place of particular hostility to those who are seen as not to belong, principally black and Asian Britons.’

I am sorry and admit that my aged brain is probably not as acute as that of the professor but try as I might, I cannot see the connection.

Yet this silly woman tells us that ‘many great estates were financed by slavery and colonialism, and the origins of gardening were fundamentally elitist. Knowledge about gardens and plants, in particular botany has had deep colonial resonances,’ she says.

‘The scientific categorisation of plants has at times engaged in the same hierarchies of ‘race’ that justified empire and slavery . . .

‘Inevitably, then,’ she adds, ‘gardens are matters of class and privilege.’

Oh God! How much more of this over-zealous cant can we take from these so called academics who have little experience of real life but are sadly responsible for teaching future generations?

Somehow it has to be stopped before mass madness sweeps through the nation even faster than has the Coronabug.

Brexit, Borders and the Bug.

I voted for Brexit – of course I did – but one of the reasons for my vote was the promise that this country would ‘take back control of our borders’ – remember that promise? For five years, we had it trumpeted to us by politicians, day after day.

Yet has it happened now that this country is apparently free of European shackles? Has it hell! Right from the start of the Coronabug pandemic, ministers have been woefully slow to act when it has come to stopping potential carriers of the virus from entering the country.

Last weekend, news of a dangerous new strain of the virus, which could be resistant to the vaccines currently being administered here, emerged from Brazil, yet it was not until yesterday afternoon that the Government got around to banning flights from Brazil and South America.

This is despite the fact that Brazil halted all flights from the UK three weeks ago after the mutant Kent variant was discovered. Faced with government inaction, the airlines were forced to act unilaterally. Back in December, BA took it upon itself to cancel all flights to and from most of South America until the end of February.

That does not stop passengers from Brazil and elsewhere travelling to Britain via third countries in Europe. Thousands of passengers are still arriving every day at British ports and airports, and on Eurostar trains, without any checks on their Covid status.

Only yesterday, travellers from all over the world were swanning through Heathrow with nobody asking them to prove they had tested negative for corona. Despite all those coming from overseas nominally being required to quarantine for ten days, there is little evidence this has been widely enforced.

The overblown team of Yes-men, appointed by Bunter Johnson appear to have no sense of urgency when it comes to policing our borders. 

A law insisting that all international arrivals – including returning British nationals – must produce evidence they had a negative test seventy two hours before they travelled was due to take effect today. But sneaky as ever, this craven government extended that deadline till Monday, ensuring that this was only announced on Twitter by Grant Shapps just after eleven last night.

Why did this pratwinkle not issue a proper ministerial statement dammit? Many of us do not have access – or want access dammit – to twitter. I suppose, doing it properly would have been too straightforward and Shapps even ended his message with a stopwatch emoji – just in case we are all too stupid to understand plain English.

Who knows how many more people infected with the Coronabug might have entered Britain by the time the new deadline expires?

Perhaps if this idiotic clown, Shapps had spent less time since March littering the country with ridiculous cycle lanes and more time concentrating on preventing the importation of the bug, we’d be in a safer place.

Still, his complacency is merely a reflection of this government’s callous indifference in failing properly to address the threat of Covid coming here from overseas. On January 31 last year, the much-maligned President Donald Trump banned all flights from China landing in the U.S.

Yet even when it was obvious that corona posed a clear and present danger, our witless government allowed scheduled services between Britain and China – including Wuhan, where Covid originated – to continue to operate.

Nor were there any enforced flight cancellations from Northern Italy, where Coronabug was rife. Back then, the official line being peddled by the chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance was that, since the virus was here already, closing the borders would not make much difference.

As late as May, Vallance resisted travel bans from individual regions on the grounds that they simply did not work. This is the same gloomy Professor Unbalanced, who has spent the past ten months demanding ever tougher curbs on civil liberties in this country.

So while British citizens can be arrested and fined for sitting on a park bench or refusing to tell a copper where they are going, travellers from all over the world have been free to enter this country without having to declare where they have been in the previous few weeks; whether or not they have tested positive or negative for Covid or whether they are complying with quarantine regulations.

All sorts of strange folk from different and often highly infected countries are allowed to hail taxis at Heathrow or travel on the railways to unknown destinations after sailing unchallenged through immigration.

Meanwhile, joggers and dog walkers going about their lawful business in their local park are being treated like criminals by overbearing coppers and the standing army of so-called Covid marshals.

Throughout this crisis, it has been instructive to compare the sympathetic treatment of foreign nationals with the draconian, knee-jerk restrictions forced on the rest of us on the home front. Even now, at a time when we are told the threat from corona is worse than it has ever been, those arriving from abroad have been given an extended period of grace before they must produce evidence of a negative test.

Contrast Shapps’s generous decision to postpone until Monday morning today’s planned deadline – to give people ‘time to prepare’ – with the knee-jerk order issued a few months ago giving British holidaymakers in Europe just a few hours’ notice to get home.

On August 13th, Shapps – yes, that bloody man again – announced that anyone who wasn’t back in this country by 4am that Saturday morning would have to quarantine for fourteen days or face a fine of £1,000.

Around a hundred and sixty thousand people stranded in France were forced to race through the night to catch ferries. Some even had to hitch rides on fishing boats. It was the biggest and most humiliating British evacuation since Dunkirk. Families who had flown to other newly designated corona hotspots in Europe had no option but to turn around and catch the first flight back. Tens of thousands of other planned holidays were lost.

Maybe Mr Shapps had a special emoji minted for that occasion too? Sometimes it seems as if this country is being governed by a Cabinet of ruddy emojis. Mind you, I had to look up the meaning of ‘emoji’ this morning and it seems the word describes those irritating little cartoon symbols some people attach to emails. Thumbs up, thumbs down, that sort of thing. 

Perhaps the government could scrap their gloomy briefings of an evening and replace it by by emojis for every occasion – Covid cases are down, let’s have smiley face – Covid cases are up, show us a sad face. Instead of Priti Patel hectoring us on occasion, they could just show an angry face!

Yesterday, the Government sent out a Home Office emoji – sorry I could not resist it –  called Victoria Atkins to defend the decision not to close the air corridor between Britain and Brazil earlier. She was asked why it has taken ten months to demand all international travellers produce evidence of negative tests, something other countries have insisted upon for months.

Atkins said that ministers had to balance controlling the virus with ‘not putting too much burden on the economy.’ WHAT? They really do seem to think we are all stupid. That preposterous justification will have been received with incredulity by businessmen and women right across the land. They won’t have known whether to laugh or cry dammit. The economy has always come a very distant second to combating this bug. Countless businesses, many of them household names, have gone to the wall. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost for ever, with many more to come.

High Street shops and hospitality have been devastated by repeated lockdowns. Family-run enterprises are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Cafes and restaurants are surviving on takeaway custom. And how does this Government reward their dogged determination? Yesterday we learned that Bunter’s stormtroopers are planning to put them out of business, too.

Believe it or not, Whitehall is declaring war on takeaway food and drink in an attempt to force people to stay at home. Now they have brought out another pathetic and infuriating advertising slogan that urges us ‘Not to let a coffee cost a life.’

This is pure fear mongering and they seem to have forgotten that as the old song stated, there is an awful lot of coffee in Brazil – as well as an awful lot of the Coronabug. Yet until now, Bunter’s buffoons have not bothered about trying to prevent it spreading in this country.

Any more than they’ve turned away record numbers of illegal immigrants making their away across the Channel from France. Border patrols, who would be better employed carrying out Covid checks at Dover, have been instructed to pick up migrants in the Channel and ferry them ashore.

Do these hapless politicians have any idea whether the Coronabug is rife or not in the camps around Calais? Do they care? Can we be sure that the ‘Kent’ strain was not brought to Britain by dinghy?

Unfortunately, we will never know, any more than we’ll know how many unchecked airline, ferry and Eurostar passengers have helped spread Covid-19 around Britain over the past ten months.

So much for Taking Back Control of our borders.