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.

6 thoughts on “Beefy”

  1. “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” perfect. Exactly what I was saying the other day. Johnson is libertarian. (Just ask his ex’s and all but his youngest child). He doesn’t like telling people what to because he doesn’t like being told what to do. This is the exact opposite of the sort of PM he wanted to be.
    As for Beefy, I agree about the lunacy of the honours system, particularly in relation to the house of lords. The only justification they have is his charity work which I think you malign rather unfairly.

    1. Not sure I maligned his charity work, Max. He did some good things and I’d be the first to admit that, but it’s also fair to say that it saved his reputation after some particularly shoddy things he did (or was reported to have done). He was always a big lovable (if you liked that sort of thing) rogue. But fit for the House of Lords? I find it all a bit ridiculous.

      As for the libertarian stuff: yes, feels like it’s getting a bit ripe now. We need some new thinking coming from the right which isn’t rehashed selfishness.

  2. Fair enough it was poorly (too strongly) worded. You seemed to want to play it down to make your point is more what I was trying to say. I would suggest that ‘rehashed selfishness is all the right have ever offered.

    1. Hmm… I agree. Reading it back, I can see how it sounds like I suggested he did his good deeds to redeem his reputation, which I don’t believe he did. I can only put it down to writing a blog, which I do quickly. These problems of nuance will occasionally slip through.

      I do think he’s an unpleasant individual, though. Far too many stories of his bullying people. I’m also very dubious about the notorious “tweet” picture.

  3. Saints preserve us from “lovable rogues” is all I can say. The world is awash with them and they get away with some right stuff!

    Re the vaccine – if he wants us all jabbed by Christmas then he’s got a problem convincing everyone to go for it having fomented all the distrust of experts. I’m resigned to the fact that I can do sod all about most of what’s going on at the moment so I’ll just watch the strategies they try to use and with what success.

    Oh dear, I do sound bitter and twisted this morning. Probably should comment in an evening when I’m “tired and emotional” instead.

    1. Ha! I welcome bitter and twisted. It’s my default setting.

      Yes, I feel the same way about rogues (just finished a new blog post about them)!

      I keep saying that the vaccine story will get big around Christmas (or whenever it appears) and it’s down to the distrust of experts and distrust of the government. It’s the very definition of populism. Having read about the vaccine, I’d have no problem getting it. I’d have happily taken part in the trial if I had a reason. I trust the scientists more than I trust this government.

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