Get on yer e-bikes, peasants!
Confusion reigns! It’s not just confusion about the virus, the quarantine, the holidays, the campaign on obesity – confusion is pervading the government from the top down. It’s as if ministers and Whitehall don’t know any more nor indeed care what decisions to make and when as long as they’re ‘seen to be doing something’.
Take for example that quarantine edict for holidaymakers coming back from their mediterranean beaches. There was a concerted howl from the ‘travel industry’, and the Spanish PM reportedly said that this quarantine decision was ‘unfair’ because:
“Britain had made an “error” as infections in most regions were lower than in the UK. He said talks continued to try to make the British government change its mind.” (link, paywalled)
Sorry, Señor Sanchez – ‘Our Governement’ only listens to the wannabe Napoleon across La Manche and to ‘Our MSM’. We’re also told that, actually, it’s ‘bad’ in other countries as well:
“Holidaymakers were warned yesterday that “no travel is risk-free” as concern grew that the quarantining of arrivals from Spain will be extended to other countries. Downing Street insisted that rules on overseas travel were under “constant review”, raising fears that the holiday plans of millions will be threatened. At least 11 European countries where quarantine-free travel is possible have suffered Covid-19 increases in recent days, with some reaching higher infection rates than the UK. In the past fortnight Croatia and Belgium have registered twice as many cases per head as Britain. Infections have climbed in France, Germany and Austria too.” (link, paywalled)
Was travel ‘risk-free’ until CV-19 appeared? One might ask why all those countries don’t ban British holidaymakers from visiting their country, to protect their population. One might more profitably ask where precisely these cases have occurred. Are British holidaymakers perhaps spending their days not in hotels and on beaches in the sun but in caravans, fruit-picking?
Apparently, some civil serpents in Hancock’s department have taken on board that nothing must come between Brits and their summer holidays around the coast of the Mediterranean. Thus they’re now ‘relenting’. The quarantine need only be observed for ten days, at most:
“Quarantine for people arriving from Spain and other countries with high levels of Covid-19 will be cut to 10 days under plans being finalised by ministers, […].The Government hopes to announce this week a new policy of testing arrivals from high-risk countries eight days after they land. If they test negative they will be allowed to come out of self-isolation two days later, reducing the mandatory quarantine period by four days.” (paywalled link)
How this is going to work in detail isn’t explained. Apparently, everybody is expected to self-isolate on coming back and then will be tested ‘at home’. That’ll work! And then we read this:
“Coronavirus takes five to seven days to incubate, meaning those who have the disease can be asymptomatic during that period. If people test negative eight days after they have landed, the chances of them having the virus are tiny, ministers now believe. Under Mr Hancock’s plan, they will be told to remain in isolation for another two days as a fail-safe, as well as allowing time for their test results to come back, and if no symptoms arise they will be able to end quarantine.” (paywalled link)
Disguise the fact that test results take two days to come back by declaring this extra two-day period as precautionary ‘protection’. It’s still about ‘asymptomatic’ carriers and, of course, about tests. Inveterate cynics like me have concluded that this quarantine scheme was hastily imposed due to the successful fear & hysteria campaigns in ‘Our MSM’: a rise in case numbers is a sign that the apocalypse is near. But we’ll be fine after ten days, or summink? Oh dear.
So far, ‘Our MSM’ haven’t asked how this mass testing is going to proceed, if there’s sufficient (wo)manpower to do this, never mind if ‘Our NHS’ has sufficient test kits. These are inconvenient questions, as are questions about who will do the ‘home test’ after five days. Perhaps it’ll be the responsibility of each traveller? That’s a reasonable question to ask when we look at the latest guidance ‘Our NHS’ has come out with:
“The new Nice guidance says that patients should be advised that “to reduce their risk of getting Covid-19, they should minimise contact with others and may need to self-isolate before their planned care. […] The new guidance, driven by lower levels of the coronavirus in the community and more availability of testing, was welcomed by NHS leaders who said it would help to tackle a backlog of patients needing treatment.” (link, paywalled)
This latest ‘guidance’ is obviously not about keeping us, the patients, safe, it’s about us helping ‘Our NHS’ by getting tests ourselves and keeping in personal Lockdown so that ‘Our Sacred Cow’ can now alleviate the collateral damage to the Nation’s health thanks to Lockdown. It doesn’t ease in any way the fear many have – and rightly so – of getting infected with CV-19 when entering a hospital:
“In a statement, [Nice] said that the new recommendations aimed “to balance the risks associated with Covid-19 with the potential harms that can arise from delays in elective treatment and diagnostic procedures”.” (link, paywalled)
This guidance surreptitiously shifts the blame of getting infected by CV-19 in hospitals from ‘Our NHS’ onto patients. If you’ve become infected it’s obviously your own fault for not washing hands, for going out without a mask, for not keeping your ‘social distance’. It reinforced the image that CV-19 is lurking everywhere, that it’s like an invisible blanket covering our whole country, from which there’s no escape.
The responsibility for staying in personal Lockdown, just in case, is silently being transferred from government, or rather ‘Our NHS’, to every single individual. This is strange when we recall that mask-wearing is ‘mandatory’ in shops because we cannot be trusted to act responsibly.
This is even more strange because, when it comes to the latest campaign about ‘fighting fat’, we’re all suddenly too irresponsible to decide what to eat unless we’re told by ‘Nanny State’. Moreover, I wondered yesterday if the Diet Food Industry had lobbied ‘Our NHS’ when we read yesterday that GPs now want to prescribe diet food to all who’re afflicted. I am wondering today if the latest ‘prescription’, or rather ‘government aid’, is also due to lobbying:
“Electric bikes will be cheaper under a new subsidy to encourage older people and commuters to get out on the road. Boris Johnson will announce today a £2 billion strategy to spread “the transformative benefits of cycling” following concerns that people shun two wheels because of worries over road safety or cost. In England grants will help cyclists to buy ebikes, which typically cost £1,000 to £3,000. The subsidy level is yet to be fixed but if it mirrors the electric car scheme, it would mean a third off the price.” (link, paywalled)
Let’s disregard that this is a lovely ‘jam tomorrow’ scheme: where are all those e-bikes suddenly going to come from – China? Let’s also leave aside the fact that commuting by bike, e-bike or not, is not an option for the majority of commuters. Let’s ask though if it’s not just the e-bike lobby but also the green lobby who’ve had their fingers in this scheme.
That many town and city councils have used the Lockdown to transform roads into bicycle lanes, reducing car traffic as much as possible, would indicate that this is about greenery rather than ‘fighting flab’. Why people, especially the elderly, would suddenly become physically capable of ‘getting on yer bike’ to commute or do their shopping, especially during the winter months, is a mystery.
I’m getting the impression that our society is changing into one where the physically incapacitated and especially the elderly are being more and more squeezed out of public spaces. The way this is being done is by publicly shaming people into ‘Protecting Our NHS’: by shaming non-mask-wearers, by shaming the obese into losing weight. Keep in mind though that we’ll only be made responsible for our own health when it suits ‘Our NHS’.
I leave you with a lovely piece of news: Sir Mark Sedwill gave a good-bye speech, in which he advised Johnson to:
“cull half the cabinet […] The government is “too siloed” and “too rivalrous”, the departing head of the civil service said yesterday. […] Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, said that decision-making was being hindered by the “preoccupations of Westminster” rather than the “issues which matter to our citizens”. His call for Whitehall reform is striking because it chimes with the views of Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, with whom Sir Mark has clashed in recent months.” (link, paywalled)
Well I nevah! Cummings is right? Cor blimey! Of course, it’s the Cabinet, not Whitehall which needs to be ‘culled’, according to Sedwill – so that’s alright then. For a moment I thought we were witnessing a Damascene conversion!
So it’s ‘on yer e-bikes, peasants’, but don’t forget to self-isolate as well because, should you fall off yer bike, ‘Our NHS’ needs to know that you’re CV-19-free. Don’t worry if you cannot reconcile all those demands, guidances and advices – best stay inside and never come out, right?
Photo by CiclismoItalia