Why am I not surprised when I see the latest reports, articles and opinion pieces on ‘that’ virus in certain of our ‘quality papers’ (paywalled), a.k.a. Broadsheets: it’s about Boris-Bashing and that’s it.
It is also noteworthy that the papers ‘for the plebs’ apparently have decided to go for a ‘division of labour’, with the DM filling their pages with reports on every aspect of the coronavirus outbreak while The Express is the go-to paper for Brexit news.
Let’s start with Brexit and the Trade negotiations which won’t take place as planned in the coming week because of COVID-19. The Express (link) reports that, In stark contrast to our negotiating team, Michel Barnier’s draft plan has of course been leaked – to the Guardian, from which The Express copied their text. So I put a clothespeg on my nose and went to the Guardian in the hope of finding a link to that draft document. Link there was none, but if you must, see their report here.
There are other Brexit stories in the Express – on Galileo and how we ‘must surrender’ (link), on Fisheries where the EU seems to have climbed down (link) and a revealing little report on what the BBC correspondent Katya Adler said. Here’s the relevant quote:
“BBC’s Europe editor Katya Adler said the bloc has grown “anxious and irritated” over the lack of progress on the issue of the Irish border. Ms Adler told the BBC’s newscast podcast: “Somewhere the EU is really not pleased with any progress because it does not see any, […]” (link)
That’s how Remainers reinforce their ‘critique’: it’s in the BBC, which is then copied by The Times, so it must be true, and we must all cower before the mighty Barnier who is … ‘irritated’. Don’t ask if we, perchance, also ought to be irritated.
Meanwhile, Peter Foster, that staunch Remainer at the DT, writes – shock-horror! – that British travellers’ passports will be stamped upon entering the EU:
“It is understood that a UK request for nationals to use electronic e-gates was rejected because the EU’s borderless Schengen zone does not currently have the technology to accommodate “third country” nationals. “The technology is being developed in the next couple of years and, when it is available, it should be possible for UK nationals to use it – but until then they will have to queue for a stamp in their passports,” said a source with knowledge of the talks. […] As well as using separate lanes to those used by EU citizens, the advice also warns that travellers may need to show a “return or onward ticket” and demonstrate that they have enough money for their stay in the EU country. The guarantee of free mobile roaming charges will also end.” (paywalled link)
Oh dear oh dear oh dear! The horror! It’s rather petty, but in the current times of COVID-19, where people are told to stay away and EU borders are being closed, this report might be just a tad irrelevant. At least we’ve learned that Peter Foster still has ‘sources’ …!
While Brussels has finally come up with a master plan – ‘health checks’ for everyone at the borders (link) – and while Ms vdLeyen said that this outbreak threatens the Eurozone economy, she still said that unilateral travel bans should not be employed and that of course everybody must ‘work together’. Kumbaya, innit!
The first Remainers are now creeping out from behind their sofas, demanding that there simply must be an extension to the deadline. The DT published an article yesterday, written by David Henig, who is director at the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) and ‘former trade negotiator in the UK government’ – meaning he was part of Ms May’s and Oily Robbins’ team, and thus an ‘expert’.
He is full of concern for the poor civil servants who will be stretched by the pandemic, as will business, and says we must also think of the poor EU administrators. None of them can possibly also deal with the Trade negotiations. His conclusion raised my blood pressure to new heights:
“Perhaps it all looks like yet another remainer plot to foil the will of the people, to which I’d say have more faith than that. We’re already out and this is about the UK making our own decisions and a time of global crisis, and quite frankly about doing the right thing when we have a choice. […] I have suggested a simple formula of an extension of only the exact period of time lost to the global pandemic. There may have to be a minimal financial contribution, but that right now is not worth getting upset about. It will all be over soon. Delay full Brexit now and stay in control. Fail to do so and be asked about it on a daily basis, distracting numerous public sector officials as well as business.” (paywalled link)
It’s all oh-so-reasonable – but note well his proposal, that the extension be ‘only’ as long as the global epidemic lasts. According to the WHO and to UK estimates, it’ll last a long time. So we’d have to stay in, with all the uncertainties for business, and would have to pay only ‘minimal’ Danegeld – with no guarantee that we’d not have to pay more, to support all the damaged EUrozone economies. The comment posters under that article were having none of it.
As our MSM are falling over themselves reporting about sports events being cancelled, about London Transport perhaps having to go into lockdown (link), about the WHO ‘taking a swipe at Johnson’ (link), that ‘Western tourists’ are apparently being denied entry into East Asian countries (paywalled link), and an alarmist report from Wales (link) where ‘20,000 people’ might die because ‘10,000 died in the last flu epidemic’, showing that officials have a very relaxed attitude to numbers when it comes to promoting their Panic Agenda, there are two items which are worrying, one less so than the other.
We read, firstly, that the local elections this May will be postponed for one year (link) – fair enough, you can’t have hustings when people are self-isolating and gatherings with more than 500 attendants are cancelled … Sorry, London, you’ll have an extra year of Mr Khan …
The other is that a ‘Corona Virus Bill’ will be rushed through Parliament before the end of this month (here). In that report, the Bill sounds reasonable and reasonably benign. The Times however reports rather worrying aspects:
“Emergency laws to help to limit the spread of the virus will be introduced after the number of people infected in Britain rose by 200 in 24 hours to 798. The measures, seen by The Times, will also let councils lower standards in care homes to deal with staff shortages. The legislation, which ministers intend to push through parliament in two weeks, will equip the government to deal with the disease. Ministers believe that the virus will infect the majority of the population, and the laws will stay in place for two years.” (link, paywalled)
The Times has only seen a draft, so there’s no point in quoting what they’ve made of it. We can get hot under the collar when we know the proper text. I just want to draw your attention to the time-span of two years for which this Law will remain in force. Remember the proposal above to postpone the end of the transition period? That ‘little time’ looks to be two years … two more years of paying an ‘insignificant sum’ of Danegeld …
These new ‘emergency laws’ also illustrate that government officials – civil servants, national and local – will get powers to interfere with our civil rights while being allowed to abandon their oft-proclaimed ‘duty of care’ for which we pay them our taxes.
And finally, about that demand to “scrutinise” the government models. I don’t know what this is supposed to achieve except give Johnson-bashers more stuff to bash him with:
“Scientists have demanded that the government “urgently and openly share the scientific evidence, data and models it is using” to allow independent experts to scrutinise the findings that have led Britain to make choices different from those made by many other countries.” (link, paywalled)
The underlying agenda here seems to be to show that the measures taken by Johnson are insufficient. He apparently ought to have immediately gone ‘full China’, or at least ‘full Italy’. It’s as if the ‘hour of the experts’ has finally come, giving them powers to abolish democratic control for ‘security’ reasons because we, the people, are deemed to be too ignorant to look after ourselves. After that panic-buying of bog rolls one would have to agree that those experts might have a point.
That is what I find frightening, that so many well-educated people seem to believe taking China-like measures is a price worth paying, reassuring those who are apparently incapable to take a step without nanny state telling them what to do, holding their hands. It also provides a great model for those experts demanding ‘measures’ to ‘save the planet’. Is that the society we now must look forward to?
Take care, be of good cheer and don’t let the ‘experts’ dismay you! Wash yer hands and