Friday night and I have a new piece over at Reaction on the way that social media shaped the current protests in the US. Click here to go read it.

It’s been something of a strange day. I’ve been solidly drawing cartoons but also distracted by the news that the R number has risen above 1 in the North West. Can’t say I’m surprised but only minutes earlier I’d read a different report that said that infections were dropping rapidly across the country. We now have Matt Hancock (my urge is still to write Nick Hancock) claiming that the number is below 1 across the country. Surely the government wouldn’t cherrypick the science to fit the politics? (Answer: of course they would.)

I suppose the lesson from today is: wait and see. It’s like Donald Trump celebrating one bit of good economic news, extrapolating from today’s jobless figures the entire recovery of the US economy. Just as experts were a little surprised by the reduction in jobless, the same experts also can’t say what’s going to happen next month or next week. It suits Trump to pretend that the coronavirus has been beaten but he’s no more informed now than he was back in February when he was also claiming success.

I suppose in some ways that Trump is the epitome of the very inequalities that Black Lives Matter sets out to address. That a very average man with extraordinary means can reach the height of the American political system proves that the circumstances of your birth matter much more than anything that follows. As if we didn’t already know that. America is a nation of 330 million people. Hard to believe that given the same chances, America would have so many presidents belonging to dynasties.

Interesting pub quiz question that. How many presidents were closely related? The answer is: there were two related Harrisons; Madison and Taylor were second cousins; and then the two Roosevelts. More recently, of course, the Bushes.

And, incidentally, FDR was said to be related by blood or marriage to 11 other former presidents.

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