My brain must be particularly fogged today. I browsed the day’s headlines and I’m sure it said that Ian Botham is heading to the House of Lords. I know it can’t be true. His elevation has everything to do with Brexit, apparently, but Brexit doesn’t figure into why he’d be such a bad choice…
I suppose the rule about cutting the cloth to fit the man/woman is always paramount. Seb Coe made a decent Lord but he was always involved in the running (no pun intended) of sport before he got his ermine slippers. Ditto David Puttnam, who was a producer as well as director, with a broader interest in the arts. Even P.D. James had a little more grounding in the stuff she would do once she became a peer, having worked in the NHS and then the civil service.
Botham has no such past record. He was a cricketer and now he’s a pundit. Beyond enjoying a few drinks with the lads, he doesn’t have much of a reputation for being involved in the administration of the game or being part of any broader cultural debate except as some token populist everyman figure. Certainly, there’s nothing that indicates he’d use his seat in the Lords wisely or even regularly. In fact, if you wanted to a pick a man who less suited to the Lords, then it would be Botham who has always been a bit of a prat, on and off the field, and who only rescued his reputation with a few good deeds on behalf of charity. [EDIT: As Max points out below, I phrased this poorly. I don’t believe he did his charity work to save his reputation. That was just a by-product of the good he did. Yet, in my memory, his charity walks and scandalous behaviour were always intertwined. Put that aside, though. He also has a reputation as a bully, which I’ve heard too many times to have a favourable view of the man. I was an enormous cricket fan at the time of his great accomplishments yet could never warm to him.]
Perhaps I’m just too cynical but it’s a general failure of our honours system that there is a point where these pointless baubles begin to mean something more than better seats in restaurants. But perhaps that’s Boris’s plan. If you wanted to reveal what an utterly shambolic mess the Lords is, then promote celebrities to positions of real power.
No. I’m sure we’re beings gaslit, just like Boris was gaslighting us all when he was talking about returning to normality by Christmas.
I see Grant Shapps has come out this morning and played it with the usual Tory straight back, putting the responsibility on the British public to be sensible, which begs the question: when has the British public ever been sensible? It’s the same dumb argument that ended up with people forming Conga lines in Warrington. I know the Tories hate the idea of governments telling people how to lead their lives but if they can’t do it in the middle of a pandemic then there’s really no point for government.
Johnson, though, continues to speak of a nation that’s through the worst of it. I suspect he’s got the Oxford vaccine at the back of his mind. There was a story a week or two ago that he wants most of the nation vaccinated before Christmas. They’re apparently going to be making the vaccine before it passes all the trials, so there won’t be delays. It’s a gamble – perhaps a sensible gamble – but so much can yet go wrong, not least around the efficacy of the vaccine which is still unknown. Until we know how long the vaccine will last, we don’t know what normality will look like. Is it going to be a one-shot deal or a recurring jab to keep the virus at bay?
Urgh. The world is too mad for me today. I’m going back to the cartoon collections. I might publish them today. They’re finished: 55 cartoons a piece and $1.99… I had fun producing them. Not sure what I’m doing next.