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Corona Diaries: rejoice! Boris takes control

June 3, 2020

It rained around here this morning for the first time in weeks. Not convincingly though. It’s almost as though the clouds are thinking twice about whether to pour forth their bounty without permission of the scientists. A bit like our government trying to decide whether we’re at Level 4 or Level 3 in the virus stakes.

The truth is that unlike the rain, we’re all over the place. Our track and trace efforts, minus the app which is still not ready, are failing to identify more than 60% of contacts. Our Health Minister is accused by the Office of National Statistics, as impartial a body as you’re likely to find, of producing misleading statistics on testing. When questioned by the press about it, he replies with his usual blatherous deflection.

At the same time we’re presented with two faces of British patience, equally ludicrous. A queue of people stretching almost to eternity who are waiting to shop at IKEA. And a similarly long queue of Members of Parliament snaking in and out of Westminster and many other parts of Inner London on their way to cast their votes in the House of Commons – in support of a measure that makes such queues a fixture for the foreseeable future.

I can’t imagine what unmet need prompts people to wait for hours to shop at IKEA, unless it’s a craving for Swedish meatballs. I suppose it’s possible that a thousand home improvement projects are incomplete without a flat-packed book case, but surely gratification could be delayed until it’s no longer necessary to form the equivalent of a bread queue in Aleppo?

As for our MPs, I suspect that their enthusiasm for travelling hundreds of miles to London in order to queue in the rain might soon diminish, even among the idiots who voted for the measure instead of leaving their colleagues to participate in debates from home.

So it’s all going really well, isn’t it? We don’t seem to have much consensus on anything. Especially among those who run our schools, and those who present their children to be educated.

The rest of us, who either don’t have kids or whose little darlings have left home, are left either dreaming of flat-packs or wondering exactly what we are or aren’t allowed to do. It seems as though lockdown has been replaced with lockout. On my occasional rides out in the car, I see the same traffic as I normally would on a Wednesday morning. But where are they going and what are they doing?

I imagine that some of them are resuming their daily work activities as they did pre-lockdown – fixing drains, delivering stuff and so on. But with shops only tentatively coming back to life, why are the ladies who lunch circulating around town in their SUVs like Apaches waiting to strike a wagon train? Perhaps for some it’s the joy of just driving around again. And perhaps there are secret tea parties in people’s gardens, to which, fortunately, I haven’t been invited. Sorry if this sounds elitist, but you have to remember that I live in Surrey.

Those of us who haven’t got tea parties to go to are starting to think about getting away. We’re spitting with fury at the prospect of having to go into lockdown again if we’re bold enough to take a holiday in some foreign land that will have us, which isn’t many at the moment. Those in the know are yabbering on about air bridges, an imaginary construct over which we can travel without being imprisoned upon our return.

Others are talking about a world organised around bubbles. A green one in which all the well-behaved countries can freely exchange their citizens. An orange one, consisting of countries that don’t have “it” under control, and therefore have to put up with all manner of hassle if they allow their citizens to travel. And finally a red bubble, which is the equivalent of the seventh circle of hell, in which people are free to fly back and forth because they’re just as likely to get infected and die in one country as in another.

According to the article that puts forth this idea, the EU countries are a green bubble, and we, humiliation to end all humiliations, are in an orange one. Take that, Brexiteers, and keep your plague to yourselves.

Oh well, we still have Cornwall, if the locals will have us, and failing that we can always run out into the glowing beaches around Sellafield or any of the other nuclear establishments that sit in such beautiful locations.

Speaking of Brexit, now that Boris and his team are running out of dazzling initiatives and undeliverable promises and are therefore reducing the frequency of coronavirus updates, our thoughts will slowly turn towards the end of the year. This will be the moment, as things stand, when our beleaguered economy takes a second hit as it enters the paradise of no deal with the EU.

So, perhaps the plan goes, we’ll still be so wound up by the rigours of social distancing and quarantine periods that we don’t notice yet more queues – of lorries waiting to come and go from the EU as their cargoes of perishable goods slowly rot. Not fish, apparently, because according to Nigel Farage, the French will be reviving their long-held antipathy by sending their navy against us if we try to enforce our maritime limits and prevent their trawlers from grabbing our cod.

But there’s no turning back, because Dominic Cummings, our Prime Minister, says so. And worse still, Nigel Farage is threatening to form yet another political party if we dare to ask the EU for an extension to the transition period. This despite the EU being willing to consider an extension of up to two years, which theoretically would give us enough time to get over the current economic shock before we fall over the cliff again.

You have to hand it to Nigel though. He’s come up with the perfect political innovation for our age – the pop-up party. All you need is a few followers on Twitter, an endorsement from Donald Trump and a little help from a Russian bot farm. You can sit on a cliff and do videos of inflatables laden with migrants, while you watch the contributions rolling in. More fun than smarming around Westminster any day. Then when an election comes up, you have a good moan about your fellow-travellers, resign in disgust and start all over again. Perfect!

But as we mill around like worried sheep unexpectedly let out of the pen, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with what hasn’t happened yet. No riots, no maddened grannies looking for babies to hug and we haven’t ran out of meat for our barbecues.

And rejoice! According to multiple reports, Boris is “taking control” of the fight against the coronavirus. Sounds splendid, though you wonder what he’s been doing up to now, and whether he can persuade Dominic to hand over the reins.

But we must have faith. All will be well. The sunlit uplands await. I couldn’t think of a better country in which to sit out a pandemic.

Advance Britannia!

From → Politics, Social, Travel, UK

  1. deborah Moggio permalink

    “…in their SUVs like Apaches waiting to strike a wagon train? ”
    how about “… like the U.S. calvary waiting to strike a peaceful Apache village…”???

    • Yes, that would work, though not a scenario favoured by Hollywood and therefore instantly recognisable, don’t you think?

  2. deborah a moggio permalink

    wrote you a response here, but the site deleted it.
    I think it was to point out that NOW the rewrite to get closer to the reality might well be what Hollywood would do in order to hide past sins. no?

  3. deborah a moggio permalink

    Hollywood’s. They are the ones who got all the kids playing cowboys and Indians wanting universally to be cowboys… even the kids who WERE “Indians”

    • True, until Little Big Man and Dancing with Wolves. But Hollywood didn’t do my country many favours either on occasion. Hollywood knows on which side it’s bread is buttered. And it’s not necessarily yours or mine. Don’t get me on that subject!!!

  4. deborah a moggio permalink

    Hollywood and advertising.
    Don’t want to touch either.
    It hurts my head to scream and cry.

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