Panic we must …
Panic! We’re doomed! We’re all gonna die – except TPTB in Westminster, our dear politicians and MSM reporters who are apparently totally immune to a coronavirus infection, as are those in Brussels and the rest of the EU. Well, that’s the impression one gets when scanning the headlines this morning.
The prize for the most inane headline goes to the DT where a columnist has titled her forgettable output thus “Coronavirus has united a nation divided by Brexit and Meghan” (paywalled link). You really couldn’t, as the old saying has it, make it up!
There are some EU-Brexit snippets to be found, this one having a smidgeon of significance:
“Ms von der Leyen called on the UK to clarify exactly what it wants from Brexit negotiations. However, several political commentators said Britain had been very clear on its desire for a clean break from EU regulations and bureaucracy. Sir Keir Starmer has refused to rule out rejoining the EU in a shock announcement at the Labour leadership hustings on Sunday.” (link)
Good to know that the “Rejoiners” are still dreaming of overturning Brexit, and very good to know that Labour will be at the forefront of this ‘dream’. Keir Starmer, after all, looks set to become Corbyn’s successor. That is the same Labour Party who deemed Trevor Phillips unworthy to be a member because of ‘islamophobia’.
However, even though the MSM are full of criticism of the PM for ‘doing nothing’, he and his government have been doing something:
“Johnson will intensify pressure on Brussels in his push for a trade deal next week by publishing a draft treaty for the UK’s future relationship with the bloc. The Prime Minister’s proposal for Canada-style agreement between Britain and the EU, with zero tariffs on most imports and exports, will be set out in detail in a series of legal texts to be released ahead of the second round of trade talks.” (link)
The reasoning is that having such texts on the table before Barnier can present his elaborations will make clear to Ms vdLeyen and the rest that not only do we know what we want, but how this is going to look. This quote from an article in the DT is encouraging:
“Mr Johnson has already made clear that he is prepared to accept the necessary border bureaucracy in order to ensure the UK’s sovereignty is not impinged post-Brexit. EU chiefs may not like his demands, but they cannot pretend he has been anything less than crystal clear. If they sincerely want “clarity” on what Mr Johnson wants, they are being ignorant of reality. In truth, they only want clarity on one thing: whether the Prime Minister will cave in.” (paywalled link)
That observation is an apt description of the machinations inside Brussels. It is again remarkable that leaks from ‘sources’ seem to have dried up. Even the fact that the government is working on such legal texts only became public after Michael Gove told MPs about it:
“No matter how many times Mr Barnier and his colleagues huff and puff about the UK’s demands, in their belief that its exceptional proximity to EU shores makes it impossible to have as loose obligations as Canada, Mr Johnson and his colleagues remain unbowed. As Michael Gove told MPs last week: “Geography is no reason to undermine democracy.” (paywalled link)
Very good – and this is where the Coronavirus comes into these talks. Johnson is ‘prepared to accept the necessary border bureaucracy’ – and given that Italy is now going to put the whole of Italy into lockdown (here, here, paywalled here and here), one might ask how they are going to do this without ‘border bureaucracy’ or indeed actual, physical border control because people still travel, never mind if a whole country is ‘in lock-down’.
I do wonder though if this will stop the ‘refugees’ from trying to get to Austria, Germany or indeed France, and I do wonder if said refugees are all deemed to be somehow immune against that virus.
I also wonder about the general intellectual capabilities of MSM reporters when they write about the rise in patient numbers, even going so far as reporting breathlessly that there are now more new cases across Europe than in China (link, paywalled). It’s not a competition, dear! See also this report, with a lovely map. Have these reporters already forgotten the graphs they published about the Chinese cases? Wasn’t there a huge rise which then petered out? Isn’t there this thing called ‘incubation period’?
No, forget that – our home-grown MSM have other shock-horror headlines for us, such as the government ‘stockpiling body-bags’ (link) because they’d rather fuel the panic than point out that surely being prepared for the worst is what a government ought to do. ‘Keep calm and carry on’ it ain’t!
Of course, that other government proposal is equally shocking, according to the MSM: everybody with a cold or a sniffle should stay home, self-isolating for a sennight (here, paywalled here). Funny how on the one hand they all scream for ‘tougher action’, and for Johnson to do something’, but when there are proposals they’re too dreadful for words.
Meanwhile, it’s time for experts to be given platforms – this one, reported in The Express (link) is saying that the spread of the coronavirus cannot be contained and thus we might see that Italian lockdown take place here as well. The Times has published a report on what all could change in the run-up to a possible lockdown stage:
“The coronavirus outbreak will “present significant challenges” to the UK, Boris Johnson has said. While the impact on the lives of those who are told to self-isolate is relatively clear, the virus is likely to bring a different look to many parts of society. […] Doctors in hospitals and GP surgeries are already being told to use more phone appointments or video services. […] A former government adviser says the outbreak presents an opportunity to reform primary care by shifting half of GP appointments online.” (link, paywalled)
Yay – it’s the 21st Century for ‘Our NHS’, or is it? What about ‘patient confidentiality, and what especially about patients told ‘the computer sez no’?There are more ‘plans’, e.g.
“Sport – The government’s position is that there is no reason to close or cancel sporting events as things stand but contingency plans have been put in place in case the situation changes. […]”Contingency plans might include asking broadcasters to consider making the events free to watch at home. It has also been suggested that broadcasters such as Sky and BT should block transmissions to pubs as they are seen as high-risk places to pass on the virus.” (link, paywalled)
So – don’t go to pubs, is it? Instead, keep schools open for as long as possible because:
“They fear the knock-on effect that [school] closures would have on public services, as well as the wider economy, if parents have to take time off to look after their children.” (link, paywalled)
“The economy” takes precedence over the health of children. There’s more: the government seems to be totally helpless when it comes to care for the elderly:
“If infection from coronavirus spreads among Britain’s 1.5 million workforce of carers or if significant numbers have to self-isolate this could have a significant impact on social care system already under pressure. […] In the event of a coronavirus outbreak in a residential care or nursing home, a temporary suspension of family visits might be introduced but care staff would still need to come and go. About 400,000 people live in care homes and another 650,000 need care in their own homes.” (link, paywalled)
This is the point where we’ll see if government and our nation is truly going to ‘care’ for the elderly. We know that they are most at risk. We know that the younger population and ‘yoof’ believe that they won’t get really ill, that this virus will not affect them. The economy must be kept going, parents must be kept working so schools should not be closed and never mind that infected kids might give the infection to gramps and granny.
This outbreak will separate the sheep from the goats, showing us if we’ve lost our British spirit, about ‘being in it together’ and to make do – or if it’s going to “MeMeMe” and the devil take the hindmost.
Still, let’s do all we can, from taking our personal precautions to not giving in to panic, and above all to