Autumn in the Wold – part 1 was published here yesterday.
Exceptional times call for exceptional deeds it seems but to paraphrase the brilliant Flanders and Swan comedy writers of times long ago: ‘Twas on the Monday morning when traffic management came to call’, but on the credit side it all makes work for the working man to do, and for increasing numbers of people that will be more than a good thing.
The government Department of Circumlocution, which in the words of Charles Dickens was and still is it seems the most important department of the government machine, resides apparently alive and well in Whitehall and also has to be at the top of the list Mayor of London’s ‘Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm’ list of things now needed to cleansed of anything not fitted for the new culture of the new normal now being foisted on us by this new breed of politician.
The government is supposedly being led by Boris Johnson, ‘supposedly’ because like many of us I have no idea who is running what and for whom, it’s certainly not for the masses, as despite what some rather suspect polls indicate, in my experience, apart from devotees of the presumably soon-to-be-re-named British Broadcasting Corporation with its head office located in London and so subject to the ministrations of the Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Commission of Enquiry; most people I talk to have no idea either and are more than a little irritated by how the corona virus has been managed with decisions taken and laws enforced without any scrutiny by our overpaid and increasingly useless MPs, of whom apparently 100 were ready to vote against this week’s extension for another six months of Covid emergency powers that affect everyone, but suddenly changed their minds overnight on the promise of Health Minister Hancock – the very same minister that the Daily Mail no less described as hysterical. Not a word I would use to describe him or even when used to describe something hilariously funny as he and the situation unfolding before our eyes is anything but.
Last January, who would have thought in their worst nightmare that by October a government, elected with high hopes and the good wishes of many, would turn into some sort of out-of-control shambles, unable to control civil service advisors emergency management, the NHS, our borders, the streets, our cultural icons and the political shambles of devolution which now make it plain that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland is anything but. It is now obvious that the Cabinet is filled with well, who knows what people making statements often way outside their brief, who cannot manage their departments or their civil serpents and are unable to respond to even simple questions asked by lame journalists from the main stream media, which, given that the government’s communication strategy and its implementation seems to have been drawn up on the back of the proverbial ‘fag packet’ is not surprising.
Now I for one have never subscribed to the idea that Boris Johnson is an idiot. His education, family background and previous employment would seem to suggest that he is far from that, but certainly something changed and very quickly after taking office, perhaps it was a briefing from whoever controls the circumlocution department and pulls the strings, or in our modern parlance writes the sound bites who is the culprit. Your guess is as good as mine.
Every time Boris or some hapless minister speaks, it sounds like the old school gag featuring the head teacher speaking during a rowdy assembly, who shouts in desperation: “Quiet! Every time I speak some fool opens their mouth.” Indeed, Boris, indeed.
The latest missive from Boris reported in a newspaper under the banner ’Prime Minister claims people can ignore Covid advice if they use common sense’ was followed up with further ‘suggestions, advice, directions’, look on local websites, follow social distancing and comply with the law, which at least made a good story for that particular tabloid journalist who had obviously been watching the TV interview from which it was presumably taken earlier this week.
In yet another interview we were told that children who had spent the week travelling to school on school buses, sitting in a classroom with 20 others, eating in a school dining room and playing in school playgrounds, would be breaking the ‘rule of six’ if they congregated in groups to go about trick or treating for Halloween, adding that parents who allowed these heinous crimes to take place would be subject to £200 fines. “The rule of six is clear,” he said. Good show, that’s all right then, but what about Bonfire Night? Is that too to be culled? If that’s the case, I can see serious problems ahead in early November if the same restrictions are in place for Armistice and Remembrance Day services and parades.
Meanwhile outside the Westminster bubble with its official ministerial cars and security personnel, the long-suffering and now completely confused citizens of what they thought was a United Kingdom find that if they are so bold to cross the border into Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland or now parts of the larger more northern regions, they could face totally different guidelines rules, restrictions and laws put in place by ministerial whims following, what is now becoming clear, very suspect advice – advice that many of us tried hard to say in the beginning was in response to hysteria and panic.
It now seems more and more likely that the cure was worse than the virus. That the lives, wellbeing and futures of many, not forgetting the huge impact on the economy, has been driven by poor advice, hysterical sound-bite reactions of civil serpents and politicians, backed up by the Prime Minister and Cabinet colleagues who either did not understand or did not care about the consequences of their utterances and actions but who are now starting the process of back-covering.
“Would be nice,” as that MP – one of the few who bothered to attend the House of Commons this week – said, to which I would add, if all the hot air stopped and some sensible statements and decisions were made by people paid to manage and take responsibility.
The people are now slowly coming to realise that what they have been fed, probably almost from the start, was hot air and not based on any quantifiable and reliable facts, facts disputed by eminent medical and scientific professionals, the House as Lindsay Hoyle indicated has been treated with contempt, he may have added that so have the British public who not only have yet again been treated with contempt but have been treated as unruly idiotic school children too.
In town this morning, one could see what the vast majority thought about all the hot air and were using their ‘common sense’.
That should be your answer Boris. All your hot air is just blowing in the wind.