It’s the week before Christmas and all around is … well, choose your own adjective; it’s certainly not still.
The weather here in St. Mary on the Wold has been, not to put too fine a point on it, awful. Most of the lanes are covered in mud, as are the couple of building sites which look more than a little like trenches dug in the First World War. They will probably stay like that now until the New Year as builders, engineers, transport workers and all the rest of the unmentionables who actually keep the rest of us in comfort, begin to wind down for the holiday, and good for them.
Let’s trust that Boris and Matt (that’s the Health Secretary not the cartoonist) actually make some sort of decision and stick with it, rather than bend to the will of their chosen advisors ‘health care professionals’, scientific advisors and analytical statisticians. The last few months have been like watching a board of directors wrecking a company as they follow the advice, sorry, instructions, of ‘human resource professionals’ or ‘corporate lawyers’ and turn even the most established company into some sort of failing bureaucratic nightmare. All of them nicely spoken and on what Del Boy would have called ‘nice little earners’ with absolutely no worries about their financial futures as hundreds of thousands of people suddenly find that their business, jobs, education and financial security disappears quicker than a ministerial car leaving London for the country when the Commons is closed for recess.
Pardon me please, for feeling just a little bit miffed by these people, when the country is apparently about to battle a new mutant virus and we are told that the final, final, final Brexit talks will lead to what looks like either a Boris BRINO or No Deal, they leave town for their constituencies or country seats – that’s if many of them have actually been in Westminster since last March as you will no doubt remember they were all given a tax free £10,000 by we, the taxpayer, to help with working from home,
What is it with these people? The country is wallowing in mountainous and ruinous amounts of national, corporate and personal debt, the National Health Service is supposedly in crisis, and the second largest police service in the United Kingdom is in special measures. Just let that sink in – Britain’s second largest police service, Greater Manchester Police – in special measures. Boat people are still arriving on the coast, this time apparently due to a special Christmas price of £300 each, ever-growing queues at food banks, unemployment, the latest Covid tier restrictions which now mean we can’t now go home for five days over the Christmas period because that may well mean we will kill Granny, but you can go for Christmas Day but not stay overnight.
It also seems that this new virus which another new committee of wise-men advisors has now decided is extremely infectious but appears to be no more dangerous than the first one, can also be safely treated by the same vaccine that is now in use and that this is our light at the end of the tunnel and soon all will be well.
Having confused everybody, frightened the life out of half the country by telling them that this new virus will soon be with them, which is why London and the South East have been put under new lockdown restrictions, (this presumably doesn’t affect the hundreds of trucks and drivers presently parked alongside the approach roads to Dover or the supply lines feeding the rest of the nation from well who knows where).
Just what millions of people will make of this latest decree and disruption to their Christmas is anyone’s guess but I can’t see them being very happy, neither can I see businesses large or small being particularly enamoured, but not to worry as the Prime Minister himself indicated he is aware of the emotional consequences of his decision and presumably the financial ones too, anyway he’s just following the science and just in case you are wondering, those ‘friends and partners’ of ours in Europe are all in the same boat as the World Health Organisation is only too well aware.
Just in case you were thinking of putting the presents, the visits, the booze and the food on ice until the new year, you can forget that as New Year celebrations will not be permitted either. Everyone must follow the rules except for personages whose high profiles will see them claim exemptions not available to everyone else, as we shall see reported in the coming days.
My guess is that this may become a pivotal moment when the public’s collective patience snaps because Boris and this lot and that means in my view ‘all of this lot could not run a celebration in a brewery’, that’s if they could find a functioning one in the first place, as their future, along with most of the hostelry trade is, if the ones around the St. Mary on the Wold are anything to go by, is fairly limited.
But don’t be downhearted by all this. Out in the world away from the full pay and perks of the public sector, the cushioned world of the furloughed (now we are told extended until next April) and the working-from-home residents of Audi Avenue, there are growing signs of irritation and annoyance about how ordinary working people are being treated by this supercilious, disingenuous political and media class lecturing them on what they can and cannot do, what they should or should not say or think.
Even with the best will in the world, and Boris had it all at the beginning of the pandemic, people can now see that the management and public perception of how this has been managed is nothing short of a shambles. Trust in the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, his advisors, is at an all-time low, as well it might be. Excuses about other countries facing the same difficulties no longer cut any ice; after all, are not our experts from Imperial College world class experts, are not our communication and behavioural scientists world leaders too? They have certainly been world leading experts in creating panic and fear in a population not known for being susceptible to either.
What will happen next?
Read part 2 of And there came a decree from Caesar Augustus … in tomorrow’s Independence Daily.