A quick ramble through the Sunday verbiage and it turns out that curse about “living in interesting times” really was a curse, after all. Really, where do we begin to catalogue this ruby-veined tumescence of abject incompetence? We really need a new lexicon of words to properly convey the scale of these various crises. Words such as…
According to The Sunday Times, the country missed numerous chances to lessen the impact of the coronavirus because Boris Johnson was busy doing exactly what we expected of Boris Johnson, which means doing the bare-arsed minimum.
No doubt there will be arguments about when it’s right for a Prime Minister to attend Cobra meetings and how delegation works inside a cabinet-led government, but that’s to miss the general thrust of the accusations. I seem to recall voicing concern about Johnson’s laziness during his bid to become Tory leader. Boris, I said, was notoriously lazy and it appeared that he really disliked the idea of working to win the nomination. Stories have been doing the rounds for years about his slack approach to the hard business of being London mayor and then Foreign Secretary. “Great at publicity”, went the argument, “but lousy at paperwork”. It is said that like many people gifted with an abundance of talent, he hates putting in the hours, loves to take holidays, and has a brain that is too easily distracted by the prospects of another boozy social event. Then, of course, there are the ladies…
The same appeared to happen during the general election. “Great campaigning” cried some whenever Boris failed to appear at another event or shirked the chance to be interviewed on the BBC. And perhaps it was great campaigning given the Labour Party who were too easily demonised under Corbyn. However, the pattern is now established so there can be no mistake. Boris Johnson is a lazy bugger who really lacks the work ethic required of a Prime Minister. All of which perhaps explains why certain corners of the right-wing press have been so eager to assure us that he’s working hard.
The reality is that we are now led by a leader who isn’t present and is doing everything from his convalescent bed. This is not ideal when the nation faces an ongoing crisis. What wouldn’t I now give for a dull but competent administrator like May or Brown?
Nothing to do with the American director and everything to do with the continued drivel emanating from The Mail on Sunday’s chief bird-brained rear window twitching psycho (see what I did there?). The man demands politeness and reasoned arguments yet provides neither in his weekly vowel movements. He never fails to register his incredulity that the world continues to defy his diktats.
This week his high standards extend to calling a former Prime Minister “that awful Blair creature” and repeating his ludicrous science to argue that Sweden is doing everything right in its handling of coronavirus. For a different view of Sweden’s “success”, this piece reminds us that Sweden is a nation of only 10 million, each of whom, so the saying goes, “has a policeman on his shoulder”. Some interesting figures too, which show that deaths per million in Sweden are substantially higher than neighbouring countries, including Germany. Then there’s this new piece at The Guardian, detailing the growing anger around deaths of the elderly.
But back to the mad Hitcher: he also continues to cite his friendly outlier scientist, Sucharit Bhakdi, whilst reheating his usual pan of insipid slosh about liberty. It’s astonishing that he’s paid for this bilge.
Speaking of which…
“Irritable Dimwit Syndrome”
Iain Duncan Smith appeared on Sky News repeating Trumpian talking points, which Trump took from Fox News, which Fox News no doubt took from the aforementioned PHDim. These people really do share a hymn sheet but what’s truly appalling is how these ignorant viewpoints gain traction. Really it does appear that if you repeat a lie enough times, people will start to hold it as an established truth. The World Health Organisation warned about human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 in early January and, just weeks ago, were screaming even louder warnings that our governments weren’t taking the threat seriously. They were not responsible for the American and UK governments being ill-prepared for a pandemic. No doubt they will take a lot of incoming from the Right in the US and UK in the coming months but that doesn’t change the fact that they were among the least culpable. They are, however, an easy target.
You know something monumentally bad is about to happen when the president of the United States starts slipping notes to far-right preppers with machine guns. Bill Maher has always maintained that Trump won’t go quietly if he loses the election in November. I’ve always said the same but thought it more likely to end in the courts given how Trump loves to solve problems by sending them into eternal litigation. Now, I’m not so sure. Trump is now looking to get the “well regulated militia” involved. There are, however, a couple of ironies that should be pointed out.
The first is that Trump is appealing to the very people who trust the government the very least. These people are traditionally on the side of the states over the federal government. Except in Trump’s world, the grander partisanship seems to be erasing everything that went before it. The good news is that these people comprise a small minority. The bad news is that they’re also a very well-armed minority. The good news is that they tend not to be that well organised. The bad news is that nobody has a clear idea of who they are or what they’re capable of doing. It’s a timely reminder that American has always had a bigger problem with home-grown terrorism than it does with jihadists.
The other irony is that these people complaining about the lockdown are the same people who have been preaching isolationism and preparing for end days for decades. Now they get a chance to live alone in their little communes eating their military rations, they suddenly want to spend their days shopping at the mall and sunning themselves on the beach.
This has always puzzled me about America. Would the federal government ever do something about those groups preparing to go to war with the federal government? I guess we might yet see. Another reason to look forward to 2021…
The other danger Trump poses is with lifting the lockdown. Any observer with more than half a brain cell would have listened to his experts at the White House press briefing and understood that they were not advocating an end to the lockdown anytime soon. They were, rather, setting the states some quite high bars and providing plenty of safety cut outs should things go wrong. Of course, this bit is ignored in those parts of the media pushing to ease the restrictions.
It was also ignored by Trump who immediately signalled a green light for ending restrictions. Sadly, a few state governors have followed his lead. Beaches are now opening and life getting back to normal in places where neither should reasonably be happening. Trump, however, is obsessed with re-election and the economy. He knows he will not win the former without the success of the latter. It means he is rushing the science to the point where he is now being negligent.
He could yet be lucky. There might be enough infrastructure in place to save his skin. If he’s wrong, however, another wave will sweep America, more people will die, and Trump will point his grubby little finger at the governors and say they were crazy to open so soon.