More Tragic than the Coronabug

Yes, I know the world is in a mess. I know too that the leadership in this soggy little island are running around like decapitated tadpoles and treating us all like naughty children but I want to rant today about a far more important matter than the Coronabug and inept politicians. I refer of course to the possible death of that most British of institutions, the cricket tea.

I mean, think of an idyllic English summer – they happen occasionally – and what is the first image that springs to your mind? Yes of course, you will picture a cricket match in progress on a lovingly tended village green.

You will see in your mind’s eye an ancient oak tree just inside the boundary. Beneath it a village elder dozes in his deckchair, lulled by the thwack of leather upon willow and the droning of bumblebees in a nearby hedge.

Picturesque imagery perhaps but it really does happen – or did in gentler times.

In the nets by the pavilion, number eight in the batting order is putting in some last-minute practice against the bowling of his twelve year old son, as he awaits his summons to the wicket and his chance of glory or humiliation.

Meanwhile, from those on the pitch come distant cries of ‘well bowled!’, ‘good shot!’ and ‘howzat,’ carried muffled on the breeze to their watching friends and families. What idyllic pictures my memory produces!

But the real action of the afternoon will be taking place in the pavilion itself, where the wives, sisters and girlfriends of the home team are busy preparing the centre-piece of the occasion. For the clock on the medieval church tower, visible above the thatched roof of the Lamb and Flag, is creeping round to 4.15pm. It will soon be time for tea and what a prospect that is for players and spectators alike.

Under the firm direction of the club chairman’s or team captain’s wife, the women are bustling about, exchanging village gossip as they carry dishes heaped with cakes and sandwiches – egg, cucumber, chicken, ham and good old Robinson’s strawberry jam – to the trestle tables on the grass outside. As I write these words, I can hear it all.

‘I say, Penelope, would you give me a hand with the tea urn? I think we’re just about ready for curtain up.’

Okay, I admit that idyllic rural cricket matches are few and far between in the frenetic age of the twenty first century but cricket has been a major part of my life. I played a great deal of village cricket in the nineteen sixties and still believe that a match on a village green, with all its attendant rituals is about as close to Heaven as mere mortals can experience.

So how depressing it was to learn this week that the cricket tea is under threat from the game’s authorities – and that even after life returns to something like normal (God willing, before next cricket season) the idyllic summer afternoon of my fading memory may never be the same again.

For those who missed the story, the threat comes from the Sussex Cricket League – the world’s largest, compromising three hundred and thirty five teams from a hundred and forty  clubs – whose members have voted permanently to remove the requirement to provide fully blown teas, which has been suspended anyway because of the Coronabug pandemic.

The vote, by one hundred and fourteen to eighty nine means that home sides will no longer have to lay on food for themselves and the visiting team during the innings break (though they will still be expected to offer cold drinks or a measly cup of tea).

Said a spokesman for Forest Row Cricket Club, which plays in the league and voted for the resolution: ‘We think it will encourage new players. For too long cricket has had the stigma of cucumber sandwiches and a little bit of cricket.

‘Times have changed and not everyone wants teas. ‘Lots of clubs don’t have a tea lady or enough volunteers.’

Well, I hate to break it to those who voted with the majority – the type I suspect, whose idea of a riveting bedtime read is the latest edition of Wisden – but most who take part in amateur matches are not much interested in a sweet cover-drive or an unplayable yorker. Nor do they care all that much who actually wins, although of course it will add to the jollity in the Lamb and Flag later in the evening if the home team takes the spoils.

No, they are in it for the time-honoured ritual of the day, in which the tea interval plays a part as essential as the post mortem in the pub.

Do away with the sandwiches and cakes and what are you left with? One bunch of flannelled incompetents bowling at three sticks of wood, while another lot try to hit it with a carved lump of willow. How many would wish to give up a whole afternoon for that – let alone turn out to watch it?

As the late, great writer, critic and cricket reporter Sir Neville Cardus once observed, going to a match solely to watch cricket would be like going to a pub solely to drink beer. Include a lavish tea in the afternoon interval, however, and the match becomes part of a centuries-old ceremony that ranks with the church fete and the am-dram Christmas pantomime among the great social events in the village calendar.

It is an occasion that brings together young and old, landowner and labourer, postmistress and plumber, in a celebration of the sheer beauty of the occasional English summer afternoon. As for the true contest of the day, this has little to do with the two teams on the pitch. The real competition is to determine which of the rival villages can put on the more magnificent spread.

Will the ladies of Chalford Hill in Gloucestershire outdo last month’s efforts by those of Stow on the Wold with their Victoria sponge, chocolate-covered eclairs and those delicious melt-in-the- mouth scones? Surely not – now that was a tea to remember.

I have played cricket all over the world and have performed at every level apart from the Test match arena but my days of playing village cricket in the nineteen sixties and on tour with the Kenya Kongonis in later years stand out in my memory as beacons of what civilisation ought to be. Can there be any ritual more enticing than the sheer pleasure of a cricket tea? I really do not think it is possible. There are sandwiches of every sort, chocolate biscuits, cakes and even home-made cream horns and frothy sponges. No matter the stage of the game itself, these delights are there to be wolfed down and enjoyed.

But don’t just take my word that cricket isn’t cricket without a slap-up tea. Read the great Henry Blofeld, veteran of Test Match Special and fully accredited National Treasure, who was fulminating against the Sussex league’s decision in a letter to The Times last week.

‘Sir,’ wrote Blowers, ‘the tea interval has, since the game began, been one of cricket’s most charming, intrepid (wrong adjective there Blowers old chap) and surely immovable institutions: sandwiches, occasionally scones and strawberry jam, cakes and a huge battered tin teapot and mugs, some of which have lost their handles . . .’

On and on he goes, painting an elegant picture of the central role tea plays in the game, before spluttering: ‘Why can’t the petty bureaucrats of the Sussex Cricket League mind their own business?

‘I dare say that taking this large dollop of romance out of the game is all about saving half an hour. Talk about cutting off your cucumber sandwich to spite your batting average.’

Well said Blowers. I am right behind you and feel that we old codgers have to do something to protect the game that Britain gave to the world.

One club at least in that dratted Sussex league – the Horsted Keynes Horsemen – say they will continue to provide teas for any opponents who are happy to feed them in return.

‘In fact,’ they go on, ’we are working on a new pavlova recipe.’

Good for them and I hope other clubs will follow their example. The Coronabug has already inflicted lasting damage on too many of our traditional pastimes and pleasures. Please don’t let it be cited as an excuse to suck the social heart from the most English of Britain’s legacies to the world.  


Yesterday I sat down to watch England play rugby against Ireland at Twickenham and felt vaguely uncomfortable at the start. The cause of my discomfort was seeing a number of the English players ‘taking the knee’ in support of Black Lives Matter.

I am sure those players were acting in all sincerity but is such overt ‘virtue signalling’ really a part of international sport, particularly rugby union which although once elitist, now has players from all over the world in every major team.

And do any of these players or other passionate supporters of the BLM movement care about the carnage taking place among black people in Africa? Admittedly, it is almost entirely black on black carnage but if all black lives matter, why is it not coming to world attention? Where are the news reports from foreign correspondents? Where is the BBC – The Guardian or other ‘noble’ outlets of the leftist media? Where for that matter are Black Lives Matter themselves? Let us please stop publicly demonstrating how virtuous and caring we all are and get some action to help other less privileged black people. Their lives surely matter too.

Take the situation right now in the Cabo Delgado province of Northern Mozambique. The western media and indeed, western governments remain curiously silent about the rapidly escalating crisis in that region where Christians are being brutally murdered by Islamic forces with ties to powerful sister movements in Syria, Afghanistan and other middle eastern countries. Let me give you just one example.

Just over a week ago in a gruesome show of force, some fifty people, including women and children were beheaded in front of their fellow citizens in the predominately Christian area of Muidumbe. Their only ‘crime’ was that they were practising Christians. The United Nations has called for an investigation but I don’t think that is likely to take place. It might prove embarrassing to various governments.

One of the main reasons for the problem in Cabo Delgado is that the Mozambican government has for many years treated the people of this area with contempt, triggering wide spread resentment and providing fertile ground for insurrection. The country’s law enforcement and defence forces are of no practical use, having long been involved with criminal syndicates moving drugs, ivory and precious stones out of the country.

Sadly, (I am with permission quoting directly from a piece written yesterday by my friend Hannes Wessels of Africa Unauthorised) as with so many of the woes the continent faces everywhere, this situation has been aided and abetted over many years by feckless European politicians and bureaucrats, who have poured mountains of aid money into the country. They have spent years watching it being routinely siphoned off into the coffers of the corrupt and nowhere near where it is supposed to go in the alleviation of poverty and infrastructural development. In a recent display of reckless borrowing the Frelimo government somehow secured a $2 billion loan through Credit Suisse and other banks, ostensibly to boost maritime security, which is exactly what is presently required, but the money seems to have disappeared. Now the country is pleading bankruptcy and unable to defend itself.

Unfortunately for those now living in terror in northern Mozambique, relief is unlikely to come anytime soon, if ever. This after all, is the age of George Floyd, and Europeans are forbidden to visit any form of violence upon black people, irrespective of the nobility of the cause. For the politicians abroad, an image of a British or an American soldier kneeling on the neck of an angry Islamist insurgent who may have just chopped someone’s head off, is a potential nightmare to be avoided at all costs. And while this conflict is certainly underpinned now by an anti-Christian agenda, Christians virtually everywhere, following the lead of Pope Francis, are begging forgiveness for being born, and in no mood to confront those who seek their elimination. In an unusual development, France’s President Macron recently spoke out against Islamic militancy in his country but his voice is a lonely one; the silence from Germany’s Merkel and Britain’s Johnson has been deafening.

So, with the Western powers too frightened to be part of a decisive intervention in Mozambique, this leaves one wondering where salvation from violent tyranny might hail from and it looks like the only hope lies with the villains of yesteryear – former Rhodesian and South African servicemen who remain capable and willing to once again risk their lives for a cause.

Men like former Rhodesian soldier, Colonel Lionel Dyck, former South African Colonel Eeben Barlow and a company known as Airborne Services which is made up of highly experienced, former Rhodesian and South African soldiers, airmen and intelligence operatives.

‘We have been watching developments in Cabo Delgado very closely since the trouble started,’ says former Rhodesian Special Branch officer Ken Bird, ‘and we have no doubt we have the skills to contribute to a solution. This is a typical Islamist movement acting with unity of purpose and very aggressively; this is not the case with the mainly Christian enemy. This will gain traction with the Yao (Sufi) in Malawi and the Makonde of southern Tanzania who are also predominantly Muslim. All the ingredients for an east African caliphate are in place. The collateral expansion will likely involve the use of car-bombs detonated on selected targets in non-Islamic areas.

‘On our team we have people with unequalled experience in this sort of theatre and we would like to engage with the authorities in turning this problem around but maybe our provenance is a problem. Very frustrating being on the periphery because this is a war with massive implications and potentially, a catastrophic result for the region if not addressed.’

Eeben Barlow is another one who does not mince his words, ‘This is spreading like wildfire and my immediate concern is that the Cahora Bassa dam may soon fall under the control of the insurgents which will be a game changer, not only for Mozambique, but also for South Africa, Zimbabwe and the sub-continent. I am very worried about how this will impact on my own country and our government must react soon and react decisively or we are on track towards a disaster.’

Which all brings me back to my original question, ‘Do all black lives matter or only those from prosperous western nations?’

A Frightening Case of Deja Vu

As I meander through daily life, I have a horrible feeling that I have been here before – not in a past life, but having had a great deal of experience of African governments, the current chaos, ineptitude and obvious corruption we are experiencing from Bunter J and his merry men seems all too familiar and frightening.

Let’s take the corruption issue first. Yes, it is a serious accusation to make but when one man – a mere middle man apparently – is paid twenty one million pounds for arranging a deal between this government and an American jewellery designer to supply PPE, what else can it be but corruption?

Let’s take another example. The lynchpin of Bunter J’s mass testing scheme, grandly known as Operation Moonshot is an American company called Innova Medical.

Formed in 2017 by private equity group Pasa Capital, its two contracts – to supply nearly two hundred million pregnancy test-style ‘lateral flow’ kits – are worth some four hundred and forty million pounds sterling.

So how did this company end up with such enormous contracts to supply the British Government?

The answer lies in a terrace house in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, the residence and office of Kimberley Thonger, who is the director of a company called Disruptive Nanotechnology Ltd – whose last accounts, published in 2019, say it then had no reserves and debts of two thousand three hundred and sixty eight pounds.

Mr Thonger once worked for DKNY shoes and Dr Marten’s and never previously had anything to do with healthcare. In June he took on a co-director, Charles Palmer, a surveyor who runs a property business in Harrow. Again a man with no experience of healthcare.

Innova CEO Dan Elliott says he came across Mr Thonger through an organisation which deals with nanoparticles which are used in medicines. Thonger agreed to help Innova negotiate the bureaucracy and trials it had to go through to win its Government deal.

Mr Thonger and Mr Palmer are now the UK distributors of the Innova tests and will get ‘a few pence’ for every test sold – which will total millions and leave them as rich men for life. 

So who did these two blokes who have no previous experience with anything medical know to approach for this boundless largesse?

Then we have a lady appointed to lead Bunter J’s grandly titled vaccine taskforce who has billed the taxpayer six hundred and seventy thousand pounds for a team of boutique PR consultants to oversee her media strategy.

Kate Bingham, the lady in question has already spent half a million pounds on eight full-time consultants from Admiral Associates – with the team contracted until the end of the year.  The costs involved mean that each consultant is on the equivalent of a one hundred and sixty seven thousand pounds a year salary, according to leaked documents. What do they do for all this loot? Well, it is understood that the team help Ms Bingham to draft statements and prepare for media appearances. 

This, despite the fact that there are more than a hundred communications staff already working in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy!

But Ms Bingham is said to have ‘insisted’ before the decision was signed off by civil servants – rather than Business Secretary Alok Sharma. One Whitehall insider told the media that, ‘The consultants are bossing around civil servants but no one knows who they are, what their experience is or what authority they have.’ 

Meanwhile, it emerged that Ms Bingham, who is married to Conservative Minister Jesse Norman (nepotism perhaps?) will hold a virtual conference next year for ‘executives, bankers and venture capitalists.’

It is thought she will discuss her part in the taskforce to ‘find and manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine’ with tickets for this bunfight priced at just under two thousand pounds a head. Really – what part did she play in this blatant display of ineptitude and why would anyone pay through the nose to listen to her?

I am not sure that corrupt as he was, Robert Mugabe in his heyday would have been able to get away with such blatant corruption and cronyism.

Another obvious casualty to this sort of government is – as happened in Zimbabwe – the end of policing as we have always known it.

It is how we ended up with police turning a blind eye to Extinction Rebellion extremists defacing the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day. I suppose we should think ourselves lucky that they did not take the knee, or run away, as they did during the Black Lives Matter violence in the summer.

It does seem a pity though that they did not use the same response with the bagpiper who admittedly deliberately, provoked them during the locked-down Remembrance Service on Sunday. They flattened him, unceremoniously.

Still, he was only an old soldier who had served his country, and wanted to honour our war dead, not a spoilt middle-class Brat who aims to defund the police and destroy capitalism and the nuclear family.

And what else can we expect from the Cops in these troubled times? This is the skateboarding police force – sorry, ‘service’ – after all which connived in enabling the shutdown of bridges and Oxford Circus. I am only surprised they did not turn up in a pink yacht, rather than a Black Maria.

This is the same police ‘service’ which cannot be bothered to investigate burglaries, assaults or thefts because of ‘lack of resources,’ yet can rustle up a riot style response to a fitness club opening during lockdown.

Last week, the Cops in Essex sent thirteen officers to close down a gym in Harlow. They were out again team-handed a couple of days ago when members decided to stage an open-air exercise class outside the club. And anything Essex can do, the Met can do better.

The sent no fewer than thirty coppers to shut a gym in Wood Green, North London, opening in contravention of the lockdown. Half of them looked as if they could do with a few hours on a ruddy treadmill themselves but couple that with the clowns in Humberside who handcuffed a seventy three year old woman for the crime of taking her ninety seven year old mum out to a garden centre a couple of weeks ago.

Oh, and Greater Manchester’s Boys in Blue (should that perhaps be ‘persons in blue?’) who boasted on social media this week that they had nicked a man for the grave offence of having a cup of tea in a friend’s house.

I am sorry but this is not proper coppering. I used to be proud of my service in the Gloucestershire Plod but it was never like this. Yet after Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and Robert Gabriel Mugabe was put into power by Britain, the newly named Zimbabwe Republic Police lost all its morals and resorted to similar stunts as those we are seeing now from what was once the world’s finest police force.

And to outline one final – for the moment – parallel between Bunter Johnson’s Britain and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, we in Britain now have our revered leader following the lead of his much younger girlfriend who would seem to be leading him by the unmentionables. Having fired his two most senior aides in deference to Carrie Symonds, Bunter J has just announced totally nonsensical plans for a green revolution that is as practical as a blind man pushing a pencil up a cliff using only his nose.

Mugabe too was in thrall to a much younger woman, also perhaps coincidentall,y picked out of his political headquarters. Like Carrie Symonds, Grace Mugabe had ideas way above her station and like Carrie Symonds went on to insist on their implementation. In the process, she destroyed a country with a healthy economy and plunged an entire nation into abject poverty.

Is this what Bunter Johnson wants for Britain? As I said at the beginning of this little rant, I have been here before and it scares me witless.

Who is Running This Country?

What on earth is going on with Bunter J and his Downing Street cronies. I get the distinct feeling that this man is a bit like Gordon Brown. ‘I want it, I’ve got it, I don’t know what to do with it’ and that is hardly what this beleaguered nation needs at the moment.

And what the hell does his popsy, Carrie Symonds have to do with governing the nation? Surely when Britons elect a party leader and subsequent prime minister, they no not also ordain the wife, husband or girlfriend to proffer their own wisdom on how to run the ruddy country – or do we?

Yet this week, this gormless blonde appears to have been instrumental in a remarkable way to orchestrate a plot to boot out Bunter J’s director of communications, Lee Cain so as to prevent his promotion to chief of staff.

This was not some minor personnel issue damnit! It cut to the heart of who is really in charge of the Government’s messaging in the midst of a pandemic – and even perhaps who is in charge of the Government itself.

I know little about Cain but by many accounts, he divided opinion: a former tabloid journalist, he has been described as a ‘wheeler-dealer’ who along with his mentor, the odious Dominic Cummings could at times cast a malign influence over Number Ten – even presuming at times to dictate to the boss. I hear – although it has not yet been confirmed – that Cummings too has proffered his resignation which makes the entire situation even less explicable.

Even if Ms Symonds was on the right side of the argument over Cain, she should not have been having the argument to start with. I have read as much as I could on the matter and it would appear to be a simple ‘power-grab’ led by Symonds with the help of three formidable female accomplices.

The first of these is a former Guardian journalist, Allegra Stratton, newly appointed to head Boris’s American style daily press briefings due in January. It is reported that Stratton refused to work with Cain and wanted to report directly to the PM. Why then was she selected for the post?

Second – and she denies this – is Home Secretary, Priti Patel who has long been suspicious of Cain’s close bond with Cummings. Mind you, no one – apart from Bunter – has much time for Cummings, since he broke the rules in the first lockdown to drive nearly three hundred miles to visit family and go sightseeing at Barnard Castle, including driving to ‘test his eyesight.’ He should have been fired then, but apparently our ‘Revered Leader’ does not ‘enjoy being confrontational.’ How then does he aspire to leadership of any sort?

The fourth member of this ladies’ takeover clique would seem to have been the little-known but highly respected Munira Mirza, head of the Downing Street policy unit who also it seems had misgivings about Cain.

So now we have a little cabal of women, taking control. Call it Girl Power if you like, call it feminism, call it whatever you want, but please don’t call it democracy. For make no mistake, Bunter’s seemingly determined fiancée is the obvious leader of this mini-coup at the heart of government.

So who the hell is Carrie Symonds anyway? What right does she have to determine the direction of policy behind the door of Number Ten? And how, despite being unelected, has she become the most powerful woman in politics today, and possibly the most influential Prime Ministerial ‘companion’ in history?

She is first and foremost a conservationist with very ‘green’ leanings which are beginning to rub off on the prime minister. Very noble, I am sure, but that does not qualify her to dictate the Downing Street media operation. Yet evidently Ms Symonds believes she has the right to pull the Government’s strings as she once  worked as a press officer for the Tory Party and was briefly its head of communications, appointed in 2018 and stepping down later that year.

Former colleagues who met her before she began her relationship with Bunter J describe her as ‘marvellously bewitching.’ Known as ‘Apples’ for her ‘adorable dimples,’ many men were apparently captivated by her sparkling eyes and those long blonde tresses. What schmalzy nonsense! Surely what mattered was whether she could do her well-paid job.

Apparently, she also knew how to connect with the right people and had a knack of ‘always being in the right place at the right time.’ Her boast to her small Tory Central Office team back then was that whatever it took, she had her sights set on Downing Street. They naturally assumed she meant standing for election or joining the PM’s press team but did it hell?! She had her sights on getting into the Tory Leader’s pants while he was still married to the mother of four of his children.

I don’t really care whether or not this Bimbo worked as a Tory spin doctor before she moved in with Bunter, it still is not right for her to continue behind the scenes today, seemingly exerting influence over who is hired and fired, while she and the PM are living together and raising a child.

Indeed, in recent months, she appeared to have been quietly enjoying life as a new mum, nursing baby Wilfred just as, we assume, she nursed Boris through his own life-threatening bout with the virus. Yet behind the scenes, it now appears she was instrumental in triggering Cain’s resignation on Wednesday night, following media briefings about his alleged ‘incompetence’ and unsuitability for the new role.

No wonder there are whispers that this is her ‘Lady Macbeth’ moment: a calculating woman set on taking control of her husband’s destiny. What appals me is that, if this is true, it flies in the face of what people in Britain expect of the Prime Ministerial partner.

Denis Thatcher was a wise sounding-board for the country’s first and longest-serving female PM. It was he who, thirty years ago, gently told the Iron Lady when the forces of the Tory party were raging against her that it was time to go.

And, yes, Cherie Blair would intervene on behalf of her husband, phoning female MPs to vote for the dubious war in Iraq that became Blair’s undoing. But apart from headlines over allegedly dodgy property deals and taking advantage of as many freebies as she possibly could, for the most par Mrs Blair was oft seen but seldom heard.

Sarah Brown spoke at one Labour conference imploring members to support her beleaguered husband Gordon. That was noble and more than enough.

Samantha Cameron once visited a refugee camp, before realising the British do not warm to politicians’ wives trying to garner public support, however worthy the cause.

Yet until this week, no PM’s spouse or partner has ever made such a direct assault on the machinery of government, nor sought – as is alleged – to oust a trusted aide. Now, in the corridors of power, Symonds will be a woman feared – a ‘blonde assassin’ who can apparently destroy anyone she perceives to be an enemy, even if that person happens to be one of her partner’s key allies.

Yet Symonds has broken the assassin’s first rule in leaving a trail of evidence pointing to her apparent collusion in his downfall. Perhaps this was intentional, perhaps not, but in doing so, she has emasculated the Prime Minister, at a time of crisis for the country and when we are in dire need of strong leadership. She has made him appear even weaker than usual, further damaging the nation’s already shaky confidence in him.

After all, if he is not in control of his own destiny, why should we trust him with ours?

And let’s face it throughout the Coronabug epidemic, Bunter has shown himself to be the very worst kind of leader at a time of crisis that required the very best kind. If he was appearing at a public inquiry right now to examine his handling of this pandemic, as one day I hope he will, the charge sheet would so long and devastating that it would be simpler for him to just admit he got everything wrong and beg for our forgiveness. There are many other fingerprints on the dreadful decisions that have been taken this year, but he is the Boss damnit, so he is ultimately responsible.

Let me briefly list some of the terrible mistakes he has made over the past months. Firstly, he failed to take the virus seriously until it was too late, missing five consecutive COBRA meetings while he sorted out his private life, proudly telling us all that he shook as many hands as possible when attending a hospital with coronavirus patients, and allowing mass spectator events like the Cheltenham Festival and Liverpool football matches to ahead even after the World Health Organisation declared this coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

He failed to order the first Lockdown in time, an inexcusable two-week delay that experts now believe cost at least twenty five thousand lives. He failed to protect health and care workers with enough Personal Protective Equipment causing many hundreds of them to die on the frontline.

He failed to control our borders, allowing twenty million people to fly in from corona-ravaged countries like Iran, Italy and China for months without testing them on arrival or ordering any quarantine.

He failed to protect millions of elderly and vulnerable people in care homes, sending another twenty five thousand of them back to their homes to clear space in hospitals without even checking whether they had the bug. He failed to implement a proper testing system, and still has not. The test system is a complete disaster as anybody apart from Bunter and his clown of a Health Secretary can see.

He told us for months that we did not need face masks when Asian countries were all using them from January. He wrecked education for millions of children this summer with a series of calamitous blunders along with his spectacularly dreadful education secretary Gavin Williamson.

He had to be shamed by a Syrian filmmaker Hassan Akkad, working as a cleaner on a hospital covid ward at the time, into dropping a disgraceful NHS surcharge on the very kind of migrant workers in our health system who helped save his life when he went into intensive care and an even more repulsive policy decision not to let families of NHS migrants who died risking their lives to save ours, stay in the country.

He also had to be repeatedly shamed by a young footballer Marcus Rashford into helping one and a half million of our poorest, neediest kids get a proper meal. Now this buffoon is repeating the same mistakes he made at the start of all this.

Boris ignored his own expert SAGE advice in late September to order a second national lockdown ‘circuit-breaker’ in order to stop the virus erupting again. By the time he did what he said he would not do, it was too late again and we are now seeing horrifying daily death totals and hospitalisations in some parts of the country at even higher levels than there were when this nonsense first took off.

And his government’s ongoing guidance as to what the lockdown rules are remains ridden with confusion, incomprehensible rhetoric, and a complete absence of common sense or joined up thinking. Even when we finally received some possibly good news about the Pfizer vaccine this week, Bunter J made a mockery of it by banging on about the ‘toot of a bugle’ as if he was on some fox hunt with his old Etonian mates.

Let’s face it Bunter Johnson has been a complete and utter disaster throughout this crisis. He has been aided and abetted by a miserably incompetent cabinet and a snarling pack of vile and professionally terrible advisers.

The Prime Minister’s chronic inability to lead, or even make a decision, has inevitably led to the farcical scenes we’ve seen erupt this week in Number Ten in which he has so obviously been overruled by his own fiancée. Bunter backed down to her demands, and Lee Cain promptly quit in a fit of pique, as I think did Dominic Cummings.

I don’t regard either man as any great loss to the affairs of state but what has this country come to when such important decisions are being made not by the pathetically weak Prime Minister but the unelected woman who shares his bed?

It perfectly exemplifies the rudderless nature of this drifting wreck of a government, run by a mop-haired blustering buffoon and his ever more tuneless tooting bugle. Bunter Johnson is the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It’s not just Cain who should be driven out of Downing Street. His boss should disappear too before yet more lives are lost.

This country really cannot take much more hapless confusion and the situation is bad enough without having damaging public squabbling among the lower ranks of the Downing Street hierarchy. Nor can it afford to have an unelected young woman meddling in affairs of State.

A World of Panicked Ineptitude

The western world would seem to be stumbling into an abyss of ignorance, pig headedness and confusion. While the Americans brace themselves for mass violence on the streets and Donald Trump barricades himself in the White House, refusing to admit defeat, Britons find ourselves in Day three of our national, idiotic but compulsory game of hide-and-seek with the Coronabug.  Despite pleas from many eminent scientists and epidemiology experts, Bunter J and his hapless turnips refuse to backtrack on this absurd lockdown – or should I call it lockup.

Our Revered Leader insists that it will end on the second of December, but what then? The virus will still be lurking out there next month and when we emerge from these ridiculous restrictions – two people can sleep together but cannot play tennis or golf together, numerous people can visit burger bars but not safari parks – infections will start to rise again and it will only be a matter of time before this buffoon in charge calls for lockdown number three – probably around next Easter.

Lockdown One was sparked by the panic unleashed when the now-disgraced Professor Neil Ferguson made absurdly overblown predictions of the scale of the pandemic. Curiously, he was personally confident enough about it to break his own lockdown protocols and happily set out to visit his married girlfriend. I am sure we all remember that.

Ferguson was then forced to resign from SAGE, the committee advising the Government, but inexplicably still pops up on the BBC which regularly gives him airtime to spout his doom-laden theories. This numpty’s track record on predicting pandemics is appalling. His warnings of impending catastrophe go back decades and are always totally unfounded and proved to be horribly exaggerated.

So what has sparked Lockdown Two, now Ferguson is no longer in the picture – or not meant to be? Within hours of Bunter J’s chaotic announcement last Saturday the ‘science’ behind the decision was in tatters. Those two doom and gloom merchants, Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, were summoned before MPs after fellow scientists immediately questioned their four thousand deaths a day figure.

The pair were hauled before the Science and Technology Select Committee on Tuesday amid consternation over the graphs presented at Saturday’s news briefing. It turned out that their alarming – should that not be alarmist – forecast was compiled weeks ago on October 9, before the new tier restrictions had even come into effect.

Oxford University researchers tell us that if the modelling was correct, deaths would be around one thousand a day now. In fact, the rolling, seven-day average is two hundred and sixty five. Last Monday’s death figure was a mere one hundred and thirty six, So it seems we have gone into a month of national house arrest on utterly discredited figures – yet again.

And from all I have read lately and all the people I have spoken to, most folk seem to be intent on quietly planning to flout the so called ‘rule of six’ come Christmas. If that happens, any chance of future mass compliance will evaporate and this blinkered government will face a complete loss of command and control.

I suppose it might possibly be the reason for this lockdown. We are simply being manipulated again. It will bring infections down temporarily and Bunter will be able to show himself as magnanimous and caring by ‘giving’ us the Christmas most were intending to take anyway.

But he is still bowing to his scientific stooges and scaremongers – at fearsome cost to the economy and lives. Lockdowns kill damnit – can he not see that? Yes the Coronabug kills too – but at a rate that is currently around half of half a per cent.

As a GP said on Radio Four this week, all lockdowns do is change the date you get infected. And almost everyone gets better. It is that simple – and that ruddy stupid.

It seems to me that the British public has been cowed and frightened into some sort of submission to this benighted government. Nobody is thinking logically and people are panic buying again as though the country is on the brink of war rather than four more weeks of sitting around with the ubiquitous telly and getting fat. Meanwhile it does not seem that anything is being actually done. A new mass testing programme was brought out in Liverpool yesterday but early reports are that the first day was an absolute shambles with Coronabug sufferers queuing cheek by jowl with people free of the infection. How on earth is this supposed to help?

Meanwhile, the government is still on a Covid buying spree. The latest bit of dodgy shopping that has emerged involved an order for £45 million worth of masks from a company who then subcontracted the order to a business called Win Billions based in the Virgin Islands of all places. The masks have never arrived and legal action has commenced. Can anyone be surprised?

I do not drink a great deal of tea but I think I am going to invest in a large packet of the loose leaf variety. I reckon I must have more chance of predicting the future by reading the leaves than I have by listening to Bunter J and his stooges Witless and Unbalanced.

I read a piece this morning wherein the government were compared with Corporal Jones of Dads Army but I fear they are far more in line with good old Private Frazer. As he would doubtless tell us with a huge rolling of the eyes, ‘We are all doomed.’

And unless we the British public can persuade our supposed leaders that they are behaving with less common sense than Tom the Cat of Tom and Jerry fame, I reckon we probably are doomed to live in a world of permanent restriction.

Floundering Governance

In an erudite and forceful lecture last week, the former Supreme Court judge, Lord Sumption, revealed in sad detail what has happened to this country in the name of the Coronabug. 

In his speech, he said quite rightly that Parliament has been elbowed aside by Ministers who rule by decree.

Now let’s face it, Jonathan Sumption is not just a brilliant lawyer. He is also a distinguished historian. Last year he gave the BBC’s Reith Lectures, and they were the best for many years. If he has any political leanings, I have no idea what they are but he uses language with immense care.

If he says this ‘has been the most significant interference with personal freedom in the history of our country. We have never sought to do such a thing before, even in wartime and even when faced with health crises far more serious than this one,’ then we can be sure that he has his facts right.

When he says ‘Ministers are accountable to no one, except once in five years at General Elections,’ he hits the nail squarely on the head. What we are currently witnessing from this sadly inept government is a complete breach with centuries of law and tradition, and who can say where it might end?

When Lord Sumption points out that laws, backed by ruinous fines are now made at televised press conferences and enforced by police forces operating far beyond their authority, then that is what is happening. 

He accuses the Government of showing ‘a cavalier disregard for the limits of their legal powers.’ This, he says, is how freedom dies and by golly he is correct. I watched the same thing happen in my own country, Zimbabwe and now I fear for Britain.

And behind it lies an astonishing, previously unnoticed seizure of economic power, which has made the entire Coronabug panic possible. By long tradition, Parliament has had ultimate control over the Government’s purse strings. It must permit major spending specifically. Without this power it is not part of the governing process at all and MPs might just as well stay at home.

 Yet back in March, unnoticed by almost everyone, Parliament vastly increased the Government’s freedom to spend what it liked. The old limit, for emergency spending, was increased from eleven billion to almost two hundred and seventy billion a year.

So where on earth is this likely to end? I really do not think Bunter J or the asinine Health Secretary have the faintest understanding of what they are doing to this nation. Their decision to strangle the teetering economy yet again in an alarmist shutdown is one of panic piled on panic and is visibly destroying the NHS they claim to be saving, as well as laying waste to those jobs and businesses they have not yet ruined or obliterated.

At the moment, they remind me of a couple of schoolboys who have pinched a car without knowing how to drive it. As they hurtle along the road, they are too scared to call for help and too damned vain to admit their mistake. They started the car largely by accident but now they cannot find the brake.

Faster and faster, the car hurtles along a darkening motorway while the rest of us are trapped in the back seat, unable to reach or influence them, let alone bring them to a halt.

The strangest part of this entire Coronabug farce is that nobody would know a pandemic even existed if the Government and its servile mouthpiece the BBC did not constantly seek to terrify us into a state of quivering fear.

In many years, comparable numbers of people die from respiratory ailments, particularly during the Autumn months. In normal years around sixteen hundred people a day turn their toes up for all kinds of reasons. Most of them do not die from Covid ruddy 19.

Many die from other diseases whose treatment has been halted or reduced by the pandemic. All such deaths are rightly mourned by their loved ones, except that, thanks to the Panicdemic (nice word) they can no longer give them proper funerals. Where is the logic in that?

And if one thinks about it, any government that is really concerned about public health would surely encourage the growth and spread of gyms, which probably do more than any drug to save us from avoidable disease. Fit men and women are far more likely than the unfit to fight off and survive diseases such as the Coronabug. Yet gyms are often the main victims of shutdown fanatics.

Lawrence Gainey of the Welsh Gym Owner Collective has told reporters that ‘we strongly believe gyms are an essential service.

‘It is a scientific fact that active participation in exercise actually relieves the strain on the precious NHS through the promotion of physical and mental well being. In forcing the closure of gyms, the Welsh Government is performing an incredible act of self-harm to a large proportion of its population and we cannot stand by and allow that to happen.’

He is right of course and I hope the English equivalent of his organisation will back up his plea. I have no intention of visiting a gym myself – those days are long past – but my Grandson Dale has recently opened his own such establishment and was doing reasonably well until the latest setback, so I do have a vested interest.

But Mr Gainey is absolutely right and I hope he succeeds in getting gyms open again, although I don’t think he has a chance against that rabid little Taffy who is the First Minister. Meanwhile Dale and his fellow gym owners are to be closed down yet again against all semblance of common sense.

And let’s face it, this new lockdown will make no difference whatsoever. All it will do is delay the transmission of the virus at an advanced economic cost. The new – well not really; they have been tried before – measures will serve as an incinerator to the already wrecked British economy. The hospitality sector has barely picked itself up from the horrific effects of the last lockdown and these new restrictions will act as the final nail in the coffin for so many ordinary people.

The human price for this Government’s obsession is already evident, with Macmillan reporting earlier this week that up to fifty thousand cancers are going undiagnosed due to Coronabug and projecting those numbers to double in a year.

If we ever do get a public inquiry about the way the UK have monumentally mishandled this crisis, we will doubtless find that more people were killed by Government policy than by the Coronabug.

I am sorry but I do not see any logic at all in the latest measures. They have been tried before without success so imposing them again seem like a panicked act of self-harm from a floundering Government.

Come on Bunter J. Your hero Churchill displayed real courage when Britain was foundering. Try and show a little bit of that same courage now when the country needs you to lead rather than bluster.

A voice for the Elderly

I must admit that I worry about the general air of panic that seems to have convulsed the various authorities in this country over the Coronabug. I cannot help but feel that it is a generational thing. Some of the old folk are scared and who can blame them with the daily torrent of propaganda that is being thrown at us all, but often what any country needs in a crisis is a good burst of old-fashioned common sense. That came a few days ago in the form of a straight-talking, eighty three  year old great-grandmother, Maureen Eames from Barnsley.

Refusing to be shielded and hide away at home, she gave a street interview to the BBC, telling anyone who would listen – and millions did – that she ‘didn’t give a sod’ about the new restrictions imposed on her and her husband Michael at their home in Yorkshire.

“In my lifetime, I never thought I would feel like I was in a country when Germany invaded,” she said. “This is a free country for God’s sake, or I thought it was.”

Maureen, bless her spoke for millions of us when she insisted that we must continue to live our lives through this pandemic, not be ‘fastened in a house’ at a time when the country needs us to get up off our knees and carry on.

At her age – and she is even older than me – Maureen epitomises an older generation that lived through a world war, has known extreme hardship through much of their lives but carries on regardless. It was a generation that hoped for the best, planned for the worst and made the most of everything that life threw at them. She says and I wholeheartedly agree that we cannot afford a lockdown life ruled by caution. At this stage in proceedings, we don’t any longer want to live in fear, abiding by the Government’s increasingly ludicrous rules and regulations.

Maureen has tapped into a sentiment of rebellion among many of we oldies – who let’s face, it are the ones most at risk – that we will not surrender our freedom to politicians and medical experts who seem to change their minds about the Coronabug threat on a daily basis.

Families banned from meeting together, friends barred from sharing a drink, lovers told to stay apart – what kind of world is that – what kind of life?

“By the end of this year there’s going to be millions of people unemployed,” Maureen said, “and you know who’s going to pay for it? All the young ones. Not me because I’m going to be dead.”

The former housekeeper and long serving Parish Councillor has more sense in her little finger than the thousands of so-called ‘experts’ deciding the fate of this country. Those of us who no longer trust the rule makers and are determined to preserve our freedom salute Maureen. We won’t hold raves but we will see friends and family. Above all, we will get on with life and be ruled solely by the common sense our leaders seem to lack.

“I don’t give a sod about the restrictions,” railed Maureen in another interview, “and I refuse to be fastened to a house when the country needs to get back on its feet.” She then blasted ministers and government scientists, saying: “They’ve got it all wrong – we should never have been locked down in the first place.”

How right she is. Most of us will remember the magnificent Brenda from Bristol when she spoke to Gordon Brown a few years ago. She summed up the mood of the nation when, having been asked about the decision to call a snap election, shouted: “Not another one.”

Well, Maureen is like Brenda and even more pugnacious in the best possible way. And thank God for her because She has hit a jangling nerve with the British people. She has voiced what many are thinking (and what many scientists are now saying) which is that lockdowns simply don’t work. And she is furious about ‘the blanket of fear’ she says is suffocating people – particularly the elderly – having been terrified by a Government that wants to keep them compliant.

Maureen is right. It is the elderly who have paid the highest price during the pandemic. Many of them have been kept prisoner and separated from family at a time when they don’t have much time left. It has been heart breaking to hear stories of old people dying alone because their families were not allowed to touch them or say goodbye. And to watch those kept inside care homes behind locked doors since March who have spent a long hot summer looking out at life rather than living it. Bunter J and his asinine turnips in Cabinet have stigmatised and isolated the elderly, most of whom know full well the risks of the virus.

And yes, like everyone else, pensioners have an obligation not to spread the virus but they are not the ones partying at raves, having rowdy dinner parties for ten or more like a couple of politicians who have been found out lately or indulging in rambunctious sports activities. But many of us are coming to the conclusion that there is more to life than just breathing, which is why we should have the right to make our own health choices as long as those choices don’t affect or endanger others.

And if we, the oldies are prepared to risk getting Covid in exchange for actually living what’s left of our lives, then we must be allowed to do so because the alternative is worse than death by Coronabug – it is death by loneliness, by depression and by mental stagnation. Statistics show that lonely pensioners are more likely to develop degenerative brain diseases and are twice as likely to have a heart condition.

We are forever hearing about the over seventies who favour lockdown but rarely from those, like Maureen Eames or myself for that matter, who do not. She says that throughout lockdown she has been out every day – having lunches and coffee with friends, walking, doing her yoga. And you just have to look at Maureen to see that this is a woman who has chosen to live what’s left of her life to the full and on her own terms.

And that is surely what life all about? It is not the number of years you have left, it is what you do with them. We must trust this wonderfully resilient generation to decide what is best for them. To deny them that is patronising and arrogant – two character traits that have been abundantly obvious in our revered leader and his sidekick the Hapless Hancock.

This is not by any means the Great Plague. Rather it is the Great Panic. That is what we have been living through since March and it shows no sign of abating.

What is panic? Most dictionaries define it thus.

‘A sudden, unreasoning terror, an overpowering but illogical sense of fear… an extreme emotion often leading to exaggerated measures for needless self-protection.’

Does that not sound pertinent to our present situation? More than half the country now labours under lockdown rules, including areas where cases of Coronabug are very low. Even where they are high, the question still stands.

What on earth are our esteemed leaders doing to us?

According to the most recent peer-reviewed paper on Covid-19, how many people who get the virus do you think survive? Eighty percent? Ninety percent? Ninety-five percent? All wildly inaccurate I am afraid. Precisely ninety nine point eight percent live to see another day. Under-seventies have an even higher survival rate – ninety nine point nine six. Put another way, they have less than half a percent chance of dying through this ruddy bug;

And many of those who do turn their toes up are already seriously or even terminally ill from other conditions.

The Office for National Statistics said last week that far from a ‘second wave,’ figures show all UK deaths are currently just one and a half percent above average, and on a normal trajectory for early autumn.

Those panic-inducing graphs we see on the nightly TV news, showing rising numbers of cases, are meaningless and merely frighten folk into obeying the ridiculously futile rules that are currently in place. Why won’t the media focus instead on the figures showing hospital admissions and deaths? These stubbornly poddle along near the bottom of the chart. The relationship between diagnosis and death has radically changed in the last six months as treatments dramatically improve.

But don’t expect government ministers to bring you good tidings as they mouth endless cautionary platitudes. They seem as entrenched in their positions as the General Staff during the First World War.

Even when it became glaringly obvious that trench warfare was an utterly bankrupt strategy, Britain’s army chiefs stubbornly insisted there was no other way of winning the war. They had expended far too much blood and treasure to admit they had got it all horribly wrong.

We see the same desperate spin today. For instance, the new Coronabug warning system begins at ‘medium.’ Why on earth should that be? Every ascending scale I have known through my long life starts at ‘low’. So why ‘medium; high and very high?’ It is a blatant attempt to manipulate our responses and frighten us all. It is also a withering insult to our collective intelligence.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham accused the Government of quoting highly selective statistics as they bullied the city onto Tier 3. I have never had much time for Mr Burnham but in this case he is quite correct – that’s exactly what they were doing.

God knows where we go from here. Stand by for months, if not years, of pointless trench warfare against an enemy that poses no serious threat at all to the vast majority. Despite the plucky common sense displayed by Maureen Eames and a few other elderly folk – and I repeat that it is the elderly who are in the most risk of dying from this ruddy bug – we are plagued with political leaders with absolutely no sense of how to go about daily life.

I rarely watch the news any more because it only leads to more despair about the way we are going as a nation. That is not the way to live either.

Are We Living in a Police State?

My Father was very proud of his British ancestry. When I was growing up as a child of the Commonwealth, he repeatedly told me that Britain was probably the freest country in the world. He called it the home of liberty and a direct contrast to the more repressive European nations.

In France, Italy and Spain for example the police tend to be overzealous and are widely distrusted by ordinary people. The State in such countries quickly resorts to violence when it feels threatened and this is repeatedly borne out in news clips.

Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory, two songs which the Beeb tried to ban recently from the Last Night of the Proms uninhibitedly celebrate British freedoms. The latter describes Britain as ‘mother of the free.’

I have no doubt that this belief that liberty is part of modern Britain is a little exaggerated but Britons understandably hang on to it as a rousing idea that differentiates them from other countries and defines them – us I suppose, as I am now an honorary Brit – as a nation.

But to my slightly jaundiced mind, freedom in this country is a concept long forgotten and unlikely to return in the foreseeable future. Over the past six months, a supposedly libertarian Prime Minister has presided over a government that has spewed out dozens of often tangled and usually contradictory regulations concerning the Coronabug. Those who break them – even unwittingly – face far larger fines than they would for merely breaking the law.

Yes of course we need sensible legislation to help beat the bug – well I think we do although an ever increasing number of ‘experts’ are speaking out against current regulations and restrictions. Since the bug arrived on these shores, I have tried hard to obey the regulations even when they seem daft or entirely baseless. But I do think power has gone to some ministers’ heads, and they have grown so accustomed to nibbling away at our freedoms that they sometimes abandon all logic and reason.

For instance, travellers returning from Italy were recently told they would have to quarantine for two weeks even though the infection rate there stands at about half that of the UK. Where on earth is the sense in that?

The police too have become officious and meddlesome in a way that makes a nonsense of the British concept of ‘policing by consent’ and seems indistinguishable from coercive police practices in banana republics around the world.

The latest example of overreach on the part of the Plod is a letter written by Scotland Yard to owners of pubs and restaurants, encouraging them to snoop on customers to make sure they obey lockdown rules.

God knows, the people who run these establishments, whatever ‘tier’ they might be in are under enormous pressure just to keep their businesses alive. Along come the cops, asking them all to request names, addresses and even photo ID from their patrons so how on earth can this do anything but antagonise customers and lead to further financial losses?

The asininely officious Health Secretary, Matthew Hancock has already urged people to report their neighbours for flouting coronavirus rules. It is one further step down a repressive path for the police to ask restaurant and pub owners to inform on clients. It is true that a couple of days ago the Met withdrew its ill-judged advice, but the fact that it had issued it in the first place says it all.

What appals me is the ease with which a constabulary I was once proud to be part of have assumed the role of Big Brother so easily. No sooner was the lockdown imposed in March, than coppers in Derbyshire were employing a drone to spy on walkers in the Peak District.

Why for God’s sake? It was perfectly legal for people to exercise in such a way. Moreover, as they were outdoors and presumably observing social distancing, they posed no threat to anyone at all. This was just a complete abuse of power and it does not end there.

The Department of Health has recently decided to pass on contact details to police of people told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, that ineffectual but apparently ‘world beating’ system that is being used to terrify people into complying with government diktats, no matter how daft or obscure they might seem.

Even the Chief Medical Officer and official purveyor of doom Chris Witless reportedly baulked at this development. I do not suspect he was moved by respect for civil liberties though. He merely realised that people will be less likely to cooperate with Test and Trace if their details are shared with the police.

Not that the police have needed any encouragement so far to check up on those who have been told to self-isolate. The maximum penalty for failure to do so is a hefty ten thousand quid. You don’t get a fraction of that if found guilty of a serious assault damnit!

Officers in Scotland are possibly demonstrating an even greater appetite for prying than their counterparts down south, operating as they do under the joyless eye of the poison dwarf, Nicola Sturgeon.

In Ayrshire to give you just one example, two officers turned up at a ten-year-old girl’s birthday party after a neighbour reported the family for breaking Coronabug rules. The mother said that two relatives had ‘nipped in’ to deliver presents. She was told she would be charged and fined if she errs again. I suppose she should be grateful that she wasn’t fined then and there.

And so it goes on. What makes it even more insulting to us all is that, if we are burgled or mugged, the chances of getting the police to investigate the case, and find the culprit are close to zero. Slovenly in protecting our lives and property, the police become very enthusiastic when there is a sniff of Covid irregularity.

Officers may have looked on for several hours last month while Extinction Rebellion protesters stopped newspapers being distributed. They may have danced with the protesters or taken the knee with those from Black Lives Matter. They may have stood aside in June when a mob in Bristol toppled the statue of a slave trader into the harbour, but the long arm of the law will stretch out and grab the collar of the most insignificant Coronabug offender. In the Wirral, a gym owner received a visit from two vanloads of coppers after he refused to close his premises. He was handed a thousand pound fine, while being warned of having to pay ten times more if he offends again.

The fact is that those who break these damned silly rules are easy pickings. Although some forces have declined to dole out fines to people who forget to wear a mask, such common sense seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Can Britain therefore be classed as a police state? Not yet of course, but if any of us had been told a year ago that law-abiding people might receive a knock on the door to check that they are home alone or that restaurant owners would be asked to sneak on their customers, we would have laughed in disbelief.

Great though the damage inflicted by the pandemic has been, we are not at war. The virus is not going to march in jackboots down city streets. Why, then, does the Government think it right to behave as though we are engaged in a life-and-death struggle with a human enemy?

As it happens, there is one Covid culprit whom Boris Johnson and the police chose to let off and that is Dominic Cummings. His sixty mile round trip by car to Barnard Castle in April contravened lockdown rules, but there was no fine, not even a warning for the Prime Minister’s chief adviser.

When the pandemic does die down and we all look back at this time of governmental idiocy, I believe the foolish indulgence of that journey will be seen as a turning point.

The inconsistencies and contradictory regulations have been bad enough, but they have probably done less damage to public confidence and faith in the Government’s good sense and integrity than the exoneration of Cummings.

The boys in blue cheerfully hound we lesser mortals. We are enjoined to observe sometimes silly laws, and punished if we do not, while the Prime Minister’s favourite is spared. I have lived in a police state and seen it all before. I am only glad that my Father is not around to see what has happened to the land he was so proud to have been part of.

Confusion, Inefficiency and Blatant Hypocrisy

I did not want to rant about the Coronabug crisis again, but the situation is going from bad to worse and there does not seem any let up in the confusion. I once worked for the government of Bishop Abel Muzorewa in Zimbabwe Rhodesia and did not for one moment imagine that there could be a more shambolic method of governing a country, but I was wrong. The British government at the moment are running around like a bunch of headless chickens.

The most ridiculous aspect of the current situation is the refusal of Ministers to learn from experience. If a total lockdown of several months did not work, either here or anywhere else, why does the Government imagine that lesser measures such as the Rule of Six, travel bans, pub curfews or two-week ‘circuit-breakers’ will do any better? 

The reality is we have no idea what our Government thinks it is doing. In the absence of answers to these fairly obvious questions, we have to assume that Ministers have no idea either. We are not told what their exit plan is, presumably because they do not have one, apart from ‘Something will turn up – perhaps.’

There is a variety of different views in the world of epidemiologists and immunologists – thirty five thousand public health scientists and medical practitioners recently signed the ‘Great Barrington Declaration,’ drawn up by three eminent specialists a fortnight ago.

They point out that indiscriminate attempts to stop infections prevent healthy people from acquiring natural immunity and that buying time only prolongs the crisis. Both of these things are likely to increase deaths. Why can’t our lords and masters see that? The signatories argue that we should protect the vulnerable who are at risk of serious illness or death and allow the others who are not at risk to be exposed to the disease and acquire some immunity.

This is surely basic common sense?

Nobody, least of all the declaration’s authors pretends that this is a perfect solution. It will not eliminate all deaths. Natural immunity may not last – although it will last at least as long as a vaccine.

There will be some whose vulnerabilities are not identified. There will be vulnerable people who would rather take the risk and enjoy life. But it is a better bet than the current load of Mickey Mouse measures. The Great Barrington Declaration approach may or may not be right but it is at least a coherent case. It makes sense damnit!

The Government’s case on the other hand makes no sense at all. It is full of holes, left by the silence of Ministers. So far, the only response of the lockdown enthusiasts has been an attempt to smear the Great Barrington authors with allegations they are the tools of Right-wing doctrinaires or anti-semites. If there was a better answer than childish abuse, we would no doubt have heard it.

The programme of the Great Barrington scientists is at least consistent with experience. The success of the Swedish model has been passed over in embarrassment by UK Ministers who have no answer to it. Stockholm, where the epidemic struck hardest earlier in the year has a density of population, an age balance and a public health system comparable to those of major British cities. Yet our government in their wisdom have preferred to follow the example of countries that have failed to contain the virus rather than the one country that appears to have succeeded.

At the moment. there is a nasty divide opening up between those who want to take reasonable steps to protect themselves and live as normally as possible without going over the top and zealots who think that, as a matter of principle the state should take over our lives, occupy our sitting rooms and keep us infantilised at home. What has happened to rational thought in this beleaguered country?

It seems to me that any sort of joined up thinking has been banished by fear. Fear encourages unthinking responses. It leads to intolerant conformism and ill-tempered abuse of anyone who steps out of line with government thinking. 

It provokes panicked demands for official action, without reflecting on just what government action can achieve. This is an atmosphere in which the advocates of authoritarian styles of government have always thrived. I have seen it at first hand in a number of African countries.

It seems to me that the main culprits for this state of affairs are Ministers who find themselves in a trap of their own making. In the beginning, they stoked up people’s fears to justify their decisions and induce compliance. They promised the impossible and when the inevitable failure came, they blamed it on us, the public for not complying with their commands. The real reason Ministers have not dared to answer the questions posed by their policies is that their purpose is not to suppress the virus, which they must know is impossible. It is to shield themselves from responsibility.

They know damned well that they will be criticised for the Coronabug deaths but hope they will get away with the indirect consequences of their brutal measures – the cancer deaths, the loneliness and mental breakdowns, the poverty and job destruction, the public and private bankruptcy. Truth is the first victim of this process but it is not very high on this Government’s agenda. Having got itself into a pattern of coercion, the Government does not dare to change course, for fear of discrediting its own past decisions.

Yet even fear has its limits. As public trust drains away, it is forced to keep up the atmosphere of panic by ever more hyped-up alarms, misleading statistics, draconian fines, bullying threats, appeals to sneaks and complete disregard for the basic values by which people live.

From the reports and photographs coming out of London and other major cities since the new lock downs were imposed, it doesn’t seem that many people intend to comply with the ban on receiving friends and family in their house or any of the other draconian restrictions for that matter. And why on earth should they?

A few months ago our Revered Leader proudly told us that he and his asinine sidekick, Mathew Hancock were investing twelve billion pounds of taxpayers’ money in a ‘world beating’ Test and Trace system. At the moment that system is a laughing stock with anyone capable of rational thought. Even the government’s own scientific advisory panel SAGE tells us that the system is making only a ‘marginal’ difference to infection rates – and SAGE have to protect their own somewhat shaky reputations.

Even if everyone who develops symptoms of the Coronabug faithfully reports them and submits for a test, what happens about the people – four out of every five cases, according to some studies – who do not develop symptoms but who are still infectious? To catch them, you would need to test everyone, every few days.

Test and trace excites the natural authoritarians who inhabit the Government, the civil service and the police. But it is not going to defeat the virus – it will only poison the relations between the public and the state.

And the entire system is proving almost unbelievably inefficient. On Sunday, people with suspected Coronabug systems were sent to a non-existent site in Kent, How can this happen in this computerised age damnit and surely it proves that the system is not fit for purpose?

Council officials in Sevenoaks said the address had been listed on the government website for people to arrange appointments on the national booking portal. However, the mobile testing unit, which was meant to be introduced in response to a local rise in Coronabug rates, was not deployed to start on site that day for ‘an unknown reason.’ However it did not prevent a number of people driving around the facility for up to an hour before realising it was not operational.

Angie Waters, whose seventy four-year-old husband suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was among those who had booked a test at the park-and-ride site in Otford Road.

Waters, who had developed a cough, told the BBC that the situation was an ‘absolute fiasco.’ She said: “I thought to be on the safe side I’d better get tested, I don’t want to put my husband at risk. It was just a joke. I spoke to one woman who said she had been going round for an hour.”

Peter Fleming, the Sevenoaks district council leader, told reporters that they had been asked by government officials to try to identify a suitable site in the area but none had been properly authorised at that stage. When asked how this could have happened, he replied: “Appears that they were aiming for it to be open this weekend; however, it hadn’t had their final signoff. However, it still made it into the test site list.”

For the pedants among you, I know that the repetition of ‘however’ does not sound right, but I am merely quoting!

Another spokesperson for the council apologised to anyone who made a wasted journey, advising those with bookings to arrange a postal test or arrange an appointment at another venue.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue with an incorrect testing location in Sevenoaks. This issue has now been resolved and people are being redirected to the correct site.

‘NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at the unprecedented scale of more than 270,000 tests per day nationally and we are on track to achieve capacity for 500,000tests a day by the end of October.’’

How can anybody have any faith in this lot. Even the Chacma baboons in my own country are better able to organise their lives than Bunter J and his pathetically disorganised bunch of turnips.

Speaking of turnips, Sir Oliver Letwin, who retired at the last election after twenty two years as a Tory MP, says he doesn’t miss the ‘unending’ day to day correspondence of twenty thousand emails and letters a year.

Responding to it all involved dictating ‘two to three hours a day to a highly accomplished secretary,’ he told Dorset Magazine. 

“If anyone wrote individually, I tried to reply personally – that is what my constituents deserved.” Lofty rhetoric but hardly believable. This is the very same Oliver Letwin who – as a minister – was photographed dumping over a hundred documents, including constituents’ letters, in bins in St James’s Park.

To the complete and very blatant hypocrisy of politicians must be added the fact of their total incompetence I am afraid.

Please Mr Johnson, let us get on with our lives and I write as a person in the group most vulnerable to the Coronabug.

Everyday Freedoms and a Virtuous Scottish Hypocrite

There was another story that shames modern Britain over the weekend.

Most of us have heard of the fairly eminent historian David Starkey Abrasively outspoken, he is forever expounding what are sometimes vaguely uncomfortable ideas, but like the rest of us he is theoretically entitled to his views. After all, Britain has proudly been proclaiming its freedom and the rights of its citizens to free speech for a very long time.

What a load of nonsense that claim has become.

Back in July of this year, a young broadcaster and journalist from County Durham, Darren Grimes interviewed Starkey on one of those podcast programmes and it was not exactly the historian’s finest hour.

When asked about the Black Lives Matter movement and whether their claims that slavery was another form of genocide are in any way justified, Starkey responded with words to the effect that slavery was not genocide because there were still ‘so many damn blacks’ both in Africa and Britain.

Not unexpectedly, the historian was roundly condemned for what was described as a ‘deeply offensive comment’ to many people. His publishers Hodder and Stoughton withdrew publication of his latest book – part two of his autobiography – various honorary degrees from multiple universities were cancelled and his reputation was thoroughly shredded by public opinion. I do not expect to see or hear him speaking on the BBC or other broadcasters for some time, if ever again.

Perhaps that is as it should be although he is surely entitled to his opinion but in an Orwellian twist of fate it is Darren Grimes who finds himself in the dock. He is now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred under the Public Order Act and has been summoned to a police station to make a statement under caution.

How can that be for God’s sake? What are our esteemed Plod playing at? The very idea that any broadcaster or interviewer should be held responsible for the views of their programme’s subjects is, of course, completely nonsensical. By that token you would have to prosecute Louis Theroux for giving airtime to the lunatic views of far-Right extremists or investigate the editors of BBC’s Question Time for giving a platform to former BNP leader Nick Griffin. 

Indeed, you could even argue that Grimes was doing us all a favour by exposing Starkey’s true feelings. Isn’t that, after all, what journalism is all about – uncovering the truth, however unpalatable? And yet this young man is in the dock and Britain is now officially a country where the police investigate journalists for asking questions.

This happens in African states and under other totalitarian regimes, but this is Great Britain damnit! With Bunter Johnson’s misuse of the Covid Act and now this travesty of legal bullying, I fear that the very notion of free speech and independent journalism has been knocked right out of the proverbial window.

Back to that song and ‘Britons never never shall be slaves.’ What a load of tosh that is proving to be! At the moment we are all slaves to a small but vociferus mob, led or at least tacitly encouraged by our revered leader and his little coterie of yes men.

Meanwhile as if emphasising the us and them divide in modern society, the Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier has said that she will not resign despite a growing backlash over her repeatedly breaching Coronabug rules by travelling after developing symptoms.

Earlier this month, Ms Ferrier admitted to travelling from Glasgow to Westminster while awaiting a Covid-19 test result and making the return trip when she knew she had the virus.

Both the Poisoned Dwarf, Nicola Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford have called on Ms Ferrier to stand down over the incident, while the Scottish Labour Party has launched an online petition calling for her to resign. Surely, they should just fire the woman or would that go against some arcane parliamentary rule?

Yet in an interview with The Scottish Sun this weekend, the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who has had the SNP whip withdrawn over the saga, said she had no intention of standing down.

She told the paper: “This has been an awful experience but I’ll keep fighting for my constituents because that’s who I am.”

What a virtuous lady she obviously is and I write that with my tongue in my cheek!

She added that she has received support locally in the wake of the incident and has ‘owned up and apologised profusely.’

Ms Ferrier revealed to the paper her reasoning for travelling to Westminster after taking a Covid-19 test was ‘wanting to represent her constituents’ and take part in a parliamentary debate – something which could not be done virtually. But Madam, what about the many people you came into contact with while travelling. Consideration for your constituents is undoubtedly admirable but other folk deserve to have the same consideration paid to them.

Ferrier also spoke out about the level of criticism she has received over the incident, adding: “You feel you are getting a lot of criticism from people you thought were your colleagues or friends who’d understand it was an error of judgement. I’m not denying that.

‘People may be saying, ‘You should have known better, you’re a public figure’ but at the end of the day it still hurts. You then think about all that hard work and dedication – is that just wiped away?”

What utter hypocritical cant. This woman was very vocal when the Cummings Creature made his own ill advised journey a few months ago and at the time, she demanded that he be fired.

Sauce for both sides of the goose family immediately come to mind but it seems that British politicians are becoming ever more overbearing and selfish. After all, Bunter J tells us that ‘we are all in this together’ but he is talking twaddle I am afraid. If that were so, surely our MPs would forgo their £3,360 pay rise which takes their basic salary to a cool £85,292. That is about four times the pay of a care worker – and they don’t get to work via virtual reality and Zoom.