We must remain being lerts, according to Johnson’s speech yesterday where he introduced a five-level system (see here), with the new slogan which had already been mentioned in the MSM before his speech: “stay alert – control the virus – save lives”. This speech wasn’t even live – parts of it were pre-recorded on Saturday. Here’s the transcript.
First, Johnson gave us stupid peasants lots of sugar, praising us and saying that it was thanks to our sacrifice that fewer people died than the 500,000 predicted. Remember that number? That’s when I knew things would stay the same: no vision, no courage, only fear because it’s all so risky. After the sugar came the stick, that measures would be tightened again if there’d be more infections.
We’re now allowed to sit on park benches and exercise outdoors twice daily – gawd, we’ll become so healthy! We should work from home but if we can’t we shouldn’t. Oh – and get to work not using public transport: if you don’t have a car, walk or get on yer bike. So keep being good little lerts, dear Brits, and enjoy the parks – never mind that the weather has turned cold and miserable!
This new strategy ‘will be driven by health concerns, not economic necessity’, said Johnson. Indeed – that’s presumably why he announced officially that quarantine measures for travellers will be put in place from June onwards. That’ll help drive the case numbers down! Even Sir John Redwood in his Diary entry today (here) hasn’t yet grasped the fact that it’s insufferable to talk about illegal immigrants only under the aspect of people trafficking when these illegals are are free to go where they want while we are still under Lockdown.
As the predictable comments from the predictable politicians are all over the headlines, with the ministers leading the Celtic Fringe nations telling us they will do their own thing (sorry, Scots and Walians: you voted for Sturgeon and Drakeford), let’s look at private reactions to that Johnson speech. Nigel Farage tweeted this after Johnson had finished – and it sums it up for me:
“Never in the field of human statesmanship was so much said to such little effect.” (link)
Here are comments which came in during the speech – for GDPR reasons I can’t name names:
“Disappointing to the point of being pathetic.” – “Pathetic, spineless whimper of a response to a country in ruination.” – “Watch the tidal wave of redundancies now.” – “Looking at how dumbed down the Boris speech was I have to assume that the average IQ in the country is about 75.”
However, we Lockdown sceptics are clearly in a minority, and that speech was aimed at the huge number of Brits who’ve been frightened into staying at home, wanting the Lockdown to continue. One reader wrote that they’d gone onto Facebook after the speech and found that facebookians were ‘grovelling’ and saying ‘thank you Boris’ for keeping us locked down. That is not surprising when we see the results of an anonymous poll by a market research firm, published in the Times this morning:
“Only 3 per cent of people admitted to having left the house for non-essential reasons during the past week, polling shows. However, when the question was asked anonymously this figure jumped to 29 per cent. Anonymous polling also prompted many more Britons to acknowledge having failed to abide by the two-metre rule (35 per cent, up from 16 per cent in surveys conducted without anonymity); and spending time with friends and family who do not live in their households (31 per cent, compared with 8 per cent).” (link, paywalled)
I suggest that these 29-31% are those who have started going to work since last Monday and who have tried to use their common sense but are scared to say so by the internet vigilantes who post comments such as ‘have you thought that your irresponsible behaviour is killing people’? The interpretation by that Market Research firm supports this view:
“The study, conducted by Decision Technology, a market research agency, indicated that many people have exaggerated their compliance with lockdown rules to avoid social shame and embarrassment. The findings showed that “people are ashamed to admit failures to comply, which demonstrates a strong social pressure to adhere”. Decision Technology uses the unmatched count technique — basically anonymous polling — to elicit more honest answers when asking respondents sensitive or potentially embarrassing questions.” (link, paywalled)
And what do we call a society where ‘social shaming’ is enforced by ‘neighbours’, online or in real life? ‘Tis a totalitarian one, isn’t it.
Meanwhile, ministers ‘are furious’ because they weren’t informed about the content of that speech. I suggest that’s because their civil servants are all “working from home”, just as these ministers are. There are still a sufficient number of ‘sources’ though, phoning their pet journalists:
“One Cabinet source compared Downing Street’s secrecy to Tony Blair’s “sofa government” as they said ministers were finding it increasingly difficult to do their jobs because of the lack of information they were being given.” (link)
Aww – shame, innit! ‘Working from home’ doesn’t seem to be, ahem, ‘working’. That’s what happens when the whole of government is in the grip of the same fear they’ve imposed on the whole country, relying on “Teh Science” and never mind that this Ferguson model has been discredited. That, you understand, is ‘fake news’, ‘conspiracy theories’ – and you must not listen to those people! Only qualified government ‘experts’ are qualified to tell you what to think, helping you to stay good little lerts …
The Trade Unions have now entered the Lockdown arena in full industrial strength, telling the government to ‘improve safety’ or they won’t go back to work. Well, of course they won’t, as long as we taxpayers keep paying them to stay at home:
“Britain’s largest unions warned ministers yesterday that they will not recommend their members return to work unless the government strengthens new Covid-19 health and safety rules for employers. […] Unions said a draft of the plan, which they were shown last week, did not go far enough and represented an “open goal” to bad employers to flout the new rules. They demanded that all employers should have to draw up and publish detailed risk assessments before they reopened, stating what measures they had taken to make work safe for their employees.” (link, paywalled)
Oh yeah – ‘good trade unions’, supporting their workers whose wages are paid for by us taxpayers at the moment, against bad employers who’re just waiting to do their workers harm. I wonder what those Trade Unionists will tell their workers when businesses go bust and jobs are lost. ‘You’re safe from CV-19, so it was worth it’?
The worst though are the Teachers’ Unions which are not going to budge. It’s irrelevant that children are not getting the education they need, it’s irrelevant that the risk for children to get infected is ‘staggeringly low’ (link) – no, teachers want ‘security’ and protection:
“Teachers could refuse to return to school unless children are disinfected at the gate and the transmission rate drops, union leaders insisted yesterday. Unions are “tooling up” teachers with health and safety legislation so that they can defend any decision to stay at home.” (link, paywalled)
That, in a nutshell, is what this is about: teachers want justifications for staying at home and not doing their job – and forget about the children. There’s more:
“Teachers’ leaders reacted with dismay to the prime minister’s announcement that schools could reopen in three weeks. Within an hour of the prime minister’s speech almost 50,000 teachers said that they disagreed with his plans to restart lessons from June 1. The plan was opposed by 85 per cent of those responding to a poll by the National Education Union and 92 per cent said that they would not feel safe with the proposed wider opening of schools.” (link, paywalled)
They want PPE for themselves – they want kids to be ‘disinfected’ at the school gates like cattle – but educating them? Nah – that’s ‘risky’ … Think about this though: ‘Our MSM’ have been full of articles by female writers about how they cope or don’t cope with the Lockdown – one even went so far as to say that this Lockdown is a male oppression instrument. Thus it’s worth remembering that the majority of teachers who are now so fearful and can’t contemplate going out into the corona wilderness to do their job … are female. The ratio is 69.5% laydees to 30.5% men (link). The lesson here is that the ‘gentle’ feminists are running for the hills when asked to do their job. Don’t they want to be national heroes like the nurses?
And finally – this Lockdown, given the intransigence of the Trade Unions, may well end in tears- not because of CV-19 hanging around, as is the habit of all viruses, but because of this:
“I fear a showdown is coming with the teaching unions – and with other unions, too. The rail unions have been awful blockers in recent years; they can be relied upon to use coronavirus as a pretext for calling further politically-motivated strikes. Stand by, then, for the pandemic of discontent.” (paywalled link)
Perhaps we should open the betting on how long Johnson will stay as PM … we however will be as intransigent as the Trade Unions and