A New Place Of Exile

Richard Hutton

Category: The Right-Minded View

Class war: schools must re-open. It’s for the best, even if everyone dies.

If you ask me – which I am shocked to note, no-one has – schools must re-open, forthwith, for the good of our nation’s children. Every week that goes by, they are missing out on class – and this may cause very real and lasting damage.

I do not say this for my own benefit. I’m merely concerned about the personal well-being of the contemptible little blighters who plague my neighbourhood. I simply cannot bear the thought of them going without – like I had to. It did me no harm, of course – but my generation were blessed with moral fibre, unlike today’s lot.

Many have lost out on years of education, during the past two months. And yes, students and school staff may catch this dreaded virus – and even die, for all I know. But isn’t that all part of growing up? I have lost count of the times it happened to me.

What recalcitrant teachers need to embrace is the spirit of the Blitz. Not the crime wave which ensued during the blackout – or that whole communist insurgency/Savoy Hotel thing (most unruly); but the good part. The part were everything worked out really well – and proved that Britain was the best country, after all. With the flags to prove it.

This is precisely the sort of thing that schools should teach; and there has never been a better time to learn life’s most important lessons. Not trendy lefty concerns – like grievance-based geography; but good old-fashioned common sense, and time-tested values.

Namely, everything is just the way it is for good reason – and if anyone tries to change things, it won’t work; so it’s better not to try at all. Then simply back this up with a well-rounded curriculum: of patriotism, gumption, and dinosaurs.

Speaking of which, so-called teaching personnel would do well to consider the example of true education professionals – such as Reverend Steve Chalke; who justly opines that schools need to restart, as soon as possible, for the benefit of poor children everywhere.

And this is a man of God speaking. The kind of selfless fellow, whose every thought lies with helping the oppressed, and the downtrodden. The fact that his company makes £174 million off the back of state schools is surely the opposite of uppermost in his mind.

I cannot imagine how cynical somebody must be to think that a member of the clergy – a representative of our Lord in Heaven, no less – might care rather more for the material life, than the spiritual one!

Nor is the good Reverend alone. Why, even a former education secretary, Lord Blunkett, and his colleague Lord Adonis, have said that teachers should do the right thing – think of students, rather than their own safety. And re-open schools, promptly [1].

And these chaps are members of the Labour Party: the party of workers and unions. Admittedly, they make a healthy profit out of the school system, whose privatisation they oversaw; but I cannot imagine for one moment that politicians – peers of the realm – would value money more than the well-being of others. I find the very idea outrageous!

I am glad to be joined on that score by another schools minister of yore – Michael Gove. Whose concern, likewise, is purely with the needs of disadvantaged children; and not the financial margins of private companies whose takeover of schools he engineered (the odd discrepancy arising therein is nobody’s business – so let us leave it unmentioned here) [2].

Mr Gove has entirely the correct attitude towards experts, as well, if I may say so. Doctors have suggested that returning to schools is medically unsound, at present; but if what I read on some website or another is anything to go by, the scientific advice is simply not scientific.

In fact, a brisk review of The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Express, The Times, and The Telegraph, reveals that commentators are all of one mind on this issue: it is perfectly safe to re-open schools, no matter how dangerous it may be.

And who are we to trust, precisely? Specialists, who’ve taken years to attain their current level of know-how? Or media columnists, who speak no less authoritatively, without possessing any expertise, whatsoever? The answer seems self-evident to me.

And that is not my only encounter with the patent, this week. The current Education Minister, Gavin Williamson, is determined to re-open schools,  for the sake of “the poorest children, the most disadvantaged children, the children who do not always have support they need at home”, who “will be the ones who will fall furthest behind” [3].

The compassion of Mr Williamson is conspicuous. I mean, it’s not as if he is in a position to help the needy children, he cares about so dearly. Williamson, and his colleagues, are constrained by circumstance.

You see, once their government had ruled-out funding things properly, they were left with no choice but to reduce support for students; and remove social security from parents on low-incomes.

Even Williamson himself voted to reduce child benefit, end education maintenance allowance, and impoverish disabled children. It must have rent his heart fair in twain, doing all of this, given his voluble concern on behalf of the exact same people!

Likewise, free school meals are a vital form of support for many pupils on low incomes. Or at least they had been, until Mr Williamson decided to curtail them. But it’s the thought that counts, surely? Particularly when those doing the thinking are so unused to it.

So let us ensure that children of poor families return to school – no matter the risks to their long-term health. So that Members of Parliament, and company executives, can get back to business as usual. Priming students for their future roles in society, thereby.

*

Notes

[1] A further ex-education minister, now demanding the re-opening of schools, is Alan Johnson: whose number one concern at present is, as he attests, children’s education. Particularly that of the vulnerable and disadvantaged. Many of whom are currently stuck indoors, as they rely on school playing fields for exercise and recreation.

I mean, it’s a pity so many school fields were sold off by Mr Johnson and co.; but that does not detract from the general point.

Similarly, it is a testament to the length and breadth of Mr Johnson’s foresight that he was a progenitor of private finance initiatives taking hold in schools. And elsewhere, of course. While schools and hospitals fell into debt and disrepair as a consequence of these policies, Johnson has profited from them personally. Striking a perfect balance, as I’m sure he would agree.

It would be remiss not to suggest there was something of a conflict between his support for reducing school-teachers’ salaries, via an ongoing pay-freeze, and his professed concern for education; but that could be weighed against the lucrative speakers’ fees he personally commands. Another faultless equilibrium.

[2] Re-opening schools is a cross-party concern: even the former Conservative Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has been demanding that, with regard to teachers and students, we should send them back. Rudd has previous form on putting that sentiment into practice, with certain consequences arising; but let us not digress.

Of note, the Children’s Commissioner for England – Anne Longfield – upbraided the government and teaching unions for their impasse over safety. Longfield urged both parties to stop squabbling, resolve their differences; and find a way to open schools as soon as possible.

They could well follow Longfield’s own example, in my opinion. In 2015, Longfield’s deputy, Sue Berelowitz, took voluntary redundancy, and received a severance package worth £134,000. Longfield then re-hired the same person to work as a consultant, for c. £1,000 per day.

It is the most striking of coincidences, however, that this scandal made headlines in governmentsupporting newspapers, shortly after Berelowitz had published a report, criticising the government’s own failings.

That’s how grown-ups in politics resolve matters properly.

[3] Against the left-wing bias of public servants wanting to avoid contracting fatal diseases, I would ask people to consider the government’s assurances that nothing bad will happen.

The government got lockdown-implementation wrong, true. They got the provision of Personal Protective Equipment wrong as well, granted. And the testing/tracing scheme didn’t work out quite as planned; or at all, for that matter. Nor did their vow to create sufficient ventilators materialise. They got returning hospital patients to care homes wrong, also; and to top it all off, we have the second highest Covid death-toll in the world.

But they have to get something right eventually, surely?

On patriotism

If what I read in the more sensible news publications is anything to judge by, Britain is currently beset with a distinct lack of patriotism. This really has reached the limit, in my opinion.

So, I have decided to do something about it.

My message of defiance may, perhaps, be a touch too vigorous for namby-pamby play-safe sorts; but for those who rank being born in Britain among their greatest achievements, it will undoubtedly prove the very stuff that dreams are made of.

I say there are many reasons for Britons to be proud of our island’s history.

For one thing, Britain created the world’s largest ocean liner of all time, in the Titanic – which sailed almost a thousand miles in comfort and luxury, before meeting a truly memorable end.

For another, our nation’s military exploits have inspired timeless poetry, such as Tennyson’s The Charge Of The Light Brigade. Equally glorious moments include victory on the fields of Peterloo; and the Great Fire Of London.

Therefore, let us encourage patriotism by presenting every true-born Briton with a pair of British-made roller skates, and a native-hewn ironing board – ensuring a swift and mobile workforce; with spruce clothing upon arrival. No matter the weather.

We can also rename foreign things in a British manner, which is much more befitting. Instead of ‘a cup of cappuccino’, for instance: a mug of frothy coffee. Rather than ‘baguette’: crusty bread wand.

You know where you stand with that.

In fact, in my view, it does not go far enough. British food for British people, I say. No imported ingredients at all. It’s high-time that this country got its act together.

Instead of Dutch asparagus working its insalubrious way into innocent British bowls of “consommé”, people will be free to enjoy a fine, slow-boiled, Welsh sheep’s eyeball soup; enhanced with a delicate garnish of rendered Scottish goat’s hoof. Truly English fare – and just the sort of stuff to put hair on the chest of the nation.

Some people may suggest that one can go too far with this sort of thing, but we didn’t win two world wars with half measures. And Britain is doing at least as well with current travails as it did at Passchendale.

True, “flourish” and “prosper” have been downgraded to “survive” and “hopefully” – but it is always important to manage expectations sensibly. Nobody wants to get ahead of themselves. Not in this day and age.

As Rupert Brooke would have written, had he lived to see the present:

The British Patriot

If old Blighty should find itself a-cropper,
Think only this:
We cracked the duty-free Toblerone market,
So the rest shouldn’t be too hard.
We’ve got jam and biscuits, and flags,
And all that.
I can’t see what people are complaining about, quite frankly.
Now blow out your bugles!

I will concede to my critics, in advance, that my views are not those of an educated man – but they are all the better for that.

The Big Debate – Keir Starmer’s first performance at PMQs. Good, terrible, okay, or both?

 

Arthur Blair – politics journalist

This was an assured first outing, from Starmer.

Measured, probing, informed, courteous, calm, forensic, authoritative, and measured: a serious adult in the room, at last. At long last.

I actually cried. Me – a grown man – weeping real tears; at the thought we could have had someone like this as leader of the Opposition during the past few years.

Lost years, in many respects – when Trotskyite-Stalinists ruled Labour; and Momentum thugs roamed the internet: terrorising the good professionals of British journalism, by saying they were wrong about things.

All that on top of making a once great party unelectable – by virtue of their clandestine Brexiteering; and their general unwillingness to listen to the legitimate concerns about free-movement, that all normal people hold.

If only Starmer had been given a position of Shadow Ministerial significance – maybe had some input into Labour’s Brexit policies – how different everything would be.

Today, we saw the dawn of a new age, however. An era of credible politics, for sensible people only.

For instance, instead of saying that the government has been tardy with Covid testing, and needs to improve (as his predecessor was fond of doing); Starmer took a grown-up approach. Namely, suggesting that the government was too slow to react; and should aim to do better.

It was like watching Harry Potter wrong-foot Voldemort, combined with the most stirring speeches about cross-party compromise, from episodes of the West Wing.

I feel represented, for the first time since Change UK became insolvent. After a 5 year absence, Britain has an Opposition again – of the kind not seen since the unveiling of the Edstone.

Why, even Conservative politicians and commentators were effusive with their praise for Starmer – and no sensible person would ever question their sincerity.

 

 

Jolyon D’Isscorse – host of the Left Behind podcast 

The Starmer-cult may have found their messiah, but this was an underwhelming performance; with Sir Kier proving singularly unable to park his tanks on the government’s lawn.

Starmeristas won’t want to hear this, but their beloved leader lacks electability. Under any other person, Labour would be 20 points ahead of the Tories right now, given the state they’re in. This is the worst government ever!

It pains me to say it – I’m just as left-wing as he is, on some things – but I think it’s time for Keir Starmer to go. How many more of us must find ourselves politically-homeless before he does the decent thing, and resigns?

Believe me, I say this with no pleasure at all: I’ve been a lifelong Labour supporter, since 2012; and I support all the same causes as Starmer. Mostly. But we have to beat the Tories – for the sake of voters who depend upon us. And it’s just not working out, is it? 

I hate to say it, but I’ve not heard a single good word about Labour on the doorstep, since Starmer took over. Everybody I’ve spoken to says the same thing: Starmer is just not up to the job – and he’s only keeping the Tories in power. 

I believe Keir is a good man – and I want to see his programme enacted as much as the next socialist; but, if we are to achieve that goal, we have to consider Starmerism without Starmer.

Having principles is all very well, but if you can’t win power, you can’t make a difference to people’s lives. Unfortunately, Labour is now a party of protest.

 

 

Rosa Goldman – occasionally posts comments about politics on social media

It was neither particularly good, nor especially bad. I hope people don’t get carried away by hype from pundits with ulterior motives, and notoriously fallible judgement, just because they’re being told what they want to hear.

Also, that the Labour Left avoid repeating the mistakes of the Labour Right, by finding fault with everything; instead of being more objective.

Only time will tell if Starmer is good or bad overall, though, I think.

The Right-Minded View on social distancing infractions

 

Now, I’m not one to judge by appearances – no matter what they may indicate about a person’s character and morals. So I believed in giving people a fair shake, and the benefit of considerable doubt, when it came to social distancing measures.

However, I realised it was time to act – and act promptly – when my neighbours looked suspiciously like they might be on their way to enjoy a picnic in the local park

Nobody relishes their civic duty more than I. Accordingly, I dialled 999, in order to request immediate emergency assistance; only to be placed on hold, for very nearly an hour.

When someone finally answered, I registered my concerns, in full.

To my surprise – in fact, outrage – I heard them sigh audibly, then found myself being told it was “not an emergency of any kind, whatsoever”. To say I was livid would be the biggest understatement of all time.

I was of a mind to visit the police station in person, there and then – and discuss the matter of recklessly breaching social-distance measures, face to face!

*

Only, unlike others I could mention, I am sufficiently modest to appreciate that the police have enough on their hands as is. What with rogue sunbathers, renegade picnic-conductors, and juvenile delinquents, playing in their own front gardens, for all to see.

That is why, rather selflessly, I have decided to stay indoors throughout this ordeal – in-between making the necessary journeys, here and there (by contrast to many, who have been hoarding enough things to last a fortnight, I took no more than I required to cover the next three weeks or so).

I compare the lackadaisical attitude of far too many people, with the conduct of our nation’s Prime Minster, most unfavourably. Working tirelessly as he has, for a few hours each day – and leading by example. Shaking hands with everyone in a hospital; including no end of coronavirus-positive patients.

And that is merely one testament to Boris Johnson’s leadership.

*

At the beginning of this outbreak, the government said people should carry on as normal; and senior journalists lauded them for their clear-thinking approach [1].

The schools were open. Cheltenham Festival was allowed to go ahead. Pubs and restaurants were in full swing. All carried on unhindered, thanks to the sensible attitude of our government.

But then the science changed, and reality with it. At which point, regrettably the public began letting our government down, rather badly. Going to eateries. Visiting drinkeries. Attending sports events, and turning up at educational facilities. All despite the government’s utmost efforts, at making people behave more sensibly.

I don’t blame the Prime Minister – he’s done his best, by encouraging people not to take the matter seriously, until it was too late.

Instead, I attribute it to our permissive society – where people are not permitted to do certain things, but do them quite regardless of their complete legality.

After all, the government’s advice merely led to an upsurge of mortality statistics; whereas this business of sunbathing, without written permission, is really quite serious.

*

And yet, I’m afraid to say, the general public are not the only ones who have let our PM down, at this crucial moment. Certain members of Her Majesty’s Opposition have been most impertinent.

Now is a time for unity. It is not the time to politicise this issue – by suggesting that our government have gone about things the wrong way. Let alone ask why the Prime Minster and his colleagues felt sufficiently emboldened to pursue the strategy which led us all to this situation, in the first place.

What’s more, mentioning – in the presence of journalists – that the government were supposed to provide 30,000 ventilators while only managing to produce 30, and failed to supply protective equipment for doctors, nurses, and carers, is the very height of poor taste.

Even the Queen has had to take time out from her busy schedule, and politely remind the nation to come together, and stop being so disobedient. Not to mention, ungrateful.

Applauding health-workers, for placing their own lives at risk, and saving others; but not applauding the Prime Minister, who put them in this position to begin with?

And nobody should be asking government ministers how the National Health Service came to be left in such a parlous state; nor why social care has grown precarious during their time in office.

If journalists can manage to refrain from raising these matters, then I see no reason why others cannot follow suit.

Naturally, I am sorry that people feel there may have been failings for our government’s part. But any mistakes will have been made in good faith; and the correct lessons learned. Just like they were during the odd wars, which went awry. The phone-hacking thing. Windrush [2]. Orgreave. Hillsborough. And all that Grenfell palaver. So let us not dwell.

What we need is a sense of community, and togetherness; not recrimination.

Besides, we all know who is to blame: Premier league footballers. As it transpires that their reluctance to hand over a week’s wages, during the past month, is responsible for chronic under-funding of the public sector, during the past ten years.

It’s not as if that could have been resolved by the Prime Minister. I mean, the government can’t simply raise taxes on high-earners: not when many of Britain’s wealthiest people are struggling to get by as it is.

*

No, what we need are sensible solutions. Policies which combine practicality, with sound financial prudence, good old-fashioned commonsense – and, yes, Britishness.

What I propose, therefore, are the following simple but effective measures:

 

• Make crime illegal again: law-abiding felons are the very worst kind, in my opinion. So, let’s nip this sort of thing in the bud – before it gets out of hand. I recommend that anyone who, at birth, looks like they may go on to lead a life of picnics and strolls, should be locked up from day one.

Furthermore, we should station officers of the law in every supermarket throughout the land. Have armed police patrolling the toilet-paper aisle; with a judge, and full jury, situated at every checkout. Casting firm verdict on whether people have bought sufficient essential items to justify any luxuries. Enough pasta to account for a chocolate orange, for example.

Failing that, make proper use of the military. I draw the line at summary executions in the middle of our shops – though others may feel we cannot be too careful; and I am, at heart, a democrat. From the outset, however, I would suggest giving folk a round in the hand, or foot, for relevant offences. Such as a lack of deference to the Royal Family; or for posting outrageous comments on the internet.

Fines or imprisonment will suffice for those who ignore the rules, and sit on benches in parks, for a moment longer than strictly necessary. And we can send vans around public places, insisting that people do not belong there, and should go home.

 

• Refrain from politicisation: I favour pragmatism over politicking. Politicians who simply get on with the job – working across political divides – and doing their level best. Putting country before party; rather than indulging in opposition for opposition’s sake. Which would prove unbecoming.

So, I hope the Parliamentary Opposition continue exactly as is – providing robust encouragement, and hard-hitting praise, with a well-timed tweet, politely phrased; from one day to the next – if that.

Only ever disagreeing with policy if a government minister says something is no longer quite the tip-top idea they believed, the previous week.

In fact, to avoid future unpleasantness, we might consider a change in Parliamentary rules altogether, so that the Leader of Opposition is selected and appointed by the government (I cannot believe nobody has thought of this before). Though, I will concede, this seems unnecessary at present [3].

 

• Keep up morale: here our nation’s journalists may shine as exemplars to all. They have performed admirable service thus far, in fearlessly holding the public to account, for undermining the government.

I have a suggestion for further refinement, however: be more patriotic.

So, for example, instead of dispiriting news headlines like “nearly a thousand deaths occurred in the past 24 hours”, have invigorating lead-ins, like “impressive government efforts are underway to do something worthwhile”.

Likewise, rather than say “the government purchased millions of faulty Covid tests“, say “the Health Minister is doing his jolly best”.

Instead of writing “despite pledging 10,000 tests daily, only 8,000 people were tested today”, try “we’ve reached 10,000 tests per day” (rounding up) “and are on track for 25,000 tests daily” (rounding down to the nearest ballpark).

Instead of “NHS workers and carers have dangerous jobs to perform. Those who died of Covid infection were victims of an occupational hazard, and should have been protected by the government”; use the language of self-sacrifice. Issue medals. Posthumous awards for valour. That sort of thing. Similarly, instead of raising salaries, for the first time in 10 years, simply call people heroes. Then we need think on the matter no further. 

Instead of “hospitals are being forced to ration oxygen, and ‘do not resuscitate‘ certificates are being demanded of disabled people, while doctors are being tasked with deciding who lives or dies” – simply say “pray for the Leader”.

Instead of negativity about NHS staff depending on supplies from adult fetish outlets, and  props from TV hospital dramas; write positive, feel-good stories about the nation pulling together. Fetishists and MPs, side by side, as one. Very easy to picture.

 

• Exit strategy: things went pear-shaped when the science changed – so, let’s simply change the science back. Get everyone out of doors once again, forthwith – it’s the last thing that the virus will expect [4].

 

I appreciate that these ideas may seem radical to some, but I contend they are vital if we are to avoid the Coronavirus pandemic having negative repercussions for our government.

After all, it is not Boris Johnson’s fault that his policies have had consequences.

True, people forewarned the PM, and the PM ignored them; but that is simply everyone else’s fault, for not trying hard enough to leave Mr Johnson convinced. Reality really should have tried much harder to impose itself, far sooner, as well.

And, if need be, Johnson and his ministers can face some tough questioning in a select committee one day, a few years down the line. If indeed it does turn out that some few of their decisions were a spot off-tangent, they can be granted life peerages in the House of Lords, as punishment.

That shall surely suffice.

 

 

 

Notes

 

[1] Those countries which adopted populist measures, like lockdowns, were wrong – but now they’re doing the same thing as Britain. So, belatedly, they are right. The fact that they copied us, several months before we began doing it, just goes to show how faultless our government has been all along.

 

[2] While it is fair to note that roughly 33% of Covid infections affect people from ethnic minority backgrounds, even though they comprise only 13% of the UK’s population; I’m afraid that asking why this circumstance arose is playing politics. Really quite unacceptable. So let us say no more about it.

 

[3] One person who understands the gravity of the situation facing our government, is the new Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer.

Instead of confronting Boris Johnson with difficult questions, or asking about people falling ill in detention centres and prisons – because the government won’t release them – Sir Starmer has given the Conservative Party nought but constructive feedback. Wishing it well, and all the best, in its future endeavours.

If his predecessor was still in office, I have no doubt the situation would be completely different. In fact, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest failings was that his politics were quite often political.

Accordingly, I expect he would have used the present moment to score one or two political points: like, demanding pay-rises for carers; rent-freezes for the jobless; and an end to immigration policies which will see NHS workers lose their right to reside in Britain, once the pandemic has ended, and they are no longer serving our government’s purpose.

In my opinion, real opposition means supporting the government. Perhaps posting an inspiring tweet, about laying politics to one side, and coming together in celebration of our differences, at this challenging time.

Not talking about “official responsibility”; let alone demanding “accountability”.

 

[4] Other ideas of mine include:

• Replace social security with televised re-runs of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, celebrating Britain’s glory.

• Neighbourhood Watch schemes to be tasked with reporting disrespectful tweets about Boris Johnson, to their authors’ employers (off-colour comments about other politicians are perfectly acceptable, and a matter of free-speech).

• People should only travel in groups of one, or less.

• If new laws against sunbathing do not curb the practice, what I propose is to block out the sun entirely. I would imagine this can be achieved using some kind of giant umbrella, maybe a parasol; or possibly an oversized spoon, of some variety.

• Members of the public should be thanking our government for the nice weather.

• When things get back to business as usual, we should have an inquiry into how and why members of the public let the Prime Minister down so badly – by doing exactly as they were instructed, before it was suggested that they do something completely different; instead of following the government’s clear guidance.

 

Transcript of the Cabinet’s COBRA meeting about Coronavirus

 

Present

Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson, Matt Hancock, Dominic Raab, Dominic Cummings, Rishi Sunak, a Civil Servant.

*

Johnson: If you ask me, somebody ought to just jolly well do something about this bally virus. It’s not on, I say, dash it.

Civil Servant: We await your orders, eagerly, Prime Minister.

Johnson: Ah, er, I mean, um, which is to say, of course, if, if, well, that is, if, and then, and when, and also, I mean, especially, what, gad-gad-gadzooks, man! What?

Raab: Can’t we use 3D printers to just, you know, print the cure?

Johnson: Can we – can’t we do that?

Civil Servant: There is no cure at present, Sir.

Cummings: Has anyone checked online for information about the cure, like I suggested?

Williamson: I have – there was quite a lot about it, in fact. Wikipedia says “The Cure are an English rock band, formed in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1978”. “Still active”, it adds here.

Cummings: Shut up, Gavin.

Hancock: What if we outsmart this virus, by using reverse psychology. Say to the virus: ‘go ahead – we want you to infect everyone, so they all die; we don’t care’?

Johnson: No, no – then it will know our tactics, and outflank us. Think harder.

Hancock: I find that sometimes the best way to think, is to avoid thinking at all.

Cummings: A practice at which we excel.

Williamson: Could we not just tell the virus to shut up and go away?

Johnson: Gavin, please. This is a serious business; and I want sensible suggestions only.

Raab: Could we use the army, to shoot the virus, with guns?

Johnson: No. Can we?

Civil Servant: Indeed not, Sir.

Cummings: You people are stupid. And that’s why you people are stupid – because you’re stupid.

Williamson: I’m not stupid. I think very hard, and am almost always right.

Johnson: That’s enough. Now, think, dash it, chaps. Think harder than you’ve ever thought before.

Civil Servant: Are you sure that will be necessary, Sir?

Hancock: I read something the other day, and according to an authority…

Johnson: An authority on what?

Hancock: Countryside churches.

Johnson: No, no.

Raab: Thinking. Thinking.

Sunak: Perhaps the smartest strategy is to have no strategy?

Cummings: We’ve already got that nailed.

Raab: Thinking. Thinking.

Williamson: Can I think as well?

Civil Servant: There is a first time for everything, Sir.

Johnson: Right, I’ve got it! By jingo, I have.

Civil Servant: Yes, Sir?

Johnson: Well, now, it seems to me…

Civil Servant: Sir?

Johnson: If, if my calculations are correct…

Civil Servant: Sir?

Johnson: And some fair few of those continge-thingies hold steady…

Civil Servant: Contingencies, Sir.

Johnson: Yes, those – that what we should do is…is…is…

Civil Servant: Sir?

Johnson: Approximately…

Civil Servant: Go on, Sir?

Johnson: Where was I?

Civil Servant: You must tell us your plan, Sir.

Johnson: Really? Right. Yes. Yes. What if, instead of fighting this virus thing, we all just, well, you know, voice our disapproval of its comings and goings, and all that sort of jazz, instead? Tell it what for. Leave it in no doubt about who is really in charge.

Civil Servant: The situation would seem to demand a more robust approach, Sir.

Johnson: Really? I thought I had it there.

Raab: I have an idea.

Johnson: About what?

Raab: I’m not sure – I hadn’t thought that far ahead.

Williamson: Wait, I’ve got it. I know what we need.

Johnson: What?

Williamson: A plan.

Johnson: Well, what is it?

Williamson: A plan? It’s a sort of, like, kind of detailed proposal – for achieving something.

Raab: Could be just what we need.

Sunak: At times like this, I say we should listen to the science. Do whatever the science tells us.

Johnson: What does the science tell us?

Raab: [Reads from phone] Oh, oh – ‘low battery’.

Johnson: Any different science to hand?

Hancock: [Shakes Magic 8 ball] ‘concentrate and ask again’.

Johnson: Ah. Very well. And, so, again?

Hancock: [Shakes Magic 8 ball] ‘better not tell you now’.

Civil Servant: If I may quote the health briefing, which evaluates the government’s present course of action, Sir.

Johnson: Yes?

Civil servant: 250,000 deaths, Sir.

Johnson: Lummy, what? Bit of a rum to do there, chaps. Nevertheless, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

*murmurs of assent*

Sunak: How many preventable deaths can we submit, and still get re-elected?

Johnson: Ah. Good question. Pertinent. Pertinent. Any ideas?

Civil Servant: Quarter of a million would seem excessive, Sir.

Johnson: Quarter of a mill? Is that more, or less, than 250,000?

Civil servant: Correct me if I’m wrong Sir, but would quarantine not be advisable?

Johnson: Quarantine?

Civil Servant: Restrict peoples’ movement, to contain the outbreak, Sir.

Johnson: Ah, I see. I see. People can just spend a week, indoors, doing nothing. We shall lead by example!

Civil Servant: You appear to have said the quiet part loud, and the loud part quiet, Sir.

Cummings: This really is a quandary. On the one hand, we can do something. On the other, we can do nothing.

Hancock: It’s impossible to say which of those is the best course of action, to stave off disaster.

Williamson: What can anyone do, if we rule-out doing anything?

Johnson: Wait, I’ve got it – I really have this time.

Civil Servant: Really, Sir?

Johnson: This is nothing that a brisk walk, and bit of British resolve can’t cure – or I’ll be bound!

Civil Servant: Are you quite certain, Sir?

Johnson: Certainly. Everyone should just jolly well go outdoors, and breath deep in the fresh air.

Civil Servant: Are you sure that’s wise, Sir?

Johnson: Um. On second thoughts, everyone should, should just jolly well stay indoors; and hold their breath until this thing blows over.

Civil Servant: Indeed, Sir?

Johnson: In fact, everyone should just jolly well do both – and do neither; at the same time! Meeting adjourned. Now, who’s for a game of cribbage?

*

Briefing for journalists

We need civility in politics. Not competence. Politics should never be political.

The Prime Minister did not make an error of judgement. It was the facts which were wrong. The science may have changed, but his opinion never shall.

Besides, the other guy offered free internet. And while people may die, due to government inaction, at least they’ll die under a PM that can sing the national anthem, dash it. Most of it, at any rate.

Further measures will be undertaken, as the situation develops.

Coronavirus is the free-market success story of our time

 

I’m not entirely sanguine about the onset of a disease-laden apocalypse. However, it may serve an instructional purpose, yet.

This is the worst health-crisis in a generation. In fact, if the situation overseas is anything to judge by, it could cause no less than a fraction of the fatalities that austerity has done.

Thanks to decades of private-sector efficiency, however, the nation’s health service is primed.

Instead of ten hospitals, with a thousand beds to care for stricken people – we have one hospital, with coats piled up on the floor. Ready and waiting. This, my gut tells me, is more than sufficient.

Thus is Boris Johnson, as Prime Minister, snatching the cellphone of fortune, from the journalistic hand of infestation.

What Johnson has got right, and other world leaders have got wrong, is turning this crisis into an opportunity.

Unlike the hard-left, with their doctrinaire view that leaving a million people to die is not entirely proper, the Prime Minister takes a more pragmatic approach: let 95% of the population get infected, so the other 5% don’t.

You cannot fault the government’s response, no matter how badly flawed it may be [1].

They have provided a clear and compelling plan of action: ranging from ‘do nothing’, to ‘do something’, to ‘do something else’; and then right back to the beginning. All while maintaining the nation’s morale, by reassuring people that their loved ones will perish.

This scientific-only endeavour is derived entirely from the government’s behavioural insights team.

It entails sophisticated modelling – combining medical and mathematical techniques into one core strategy: encourage people to wash their hands, while singing happy birthday. Then hope for the best.

Also, continue to work throughout the rapidly-spreading epidemic, because they’re afraid to lose employment; and avoid visiting GPs, because they can’t afford to take the time off.

This may lead to thousands of deaths, of course; but from an entirely disinterested economic perspective, is that wholly unwelcome?

It’s survival of the fittest in this world. Or of those with the most to lose, at any rate.

And besides, there’s nothing to stop the recently-deceased undertaking perfectly productive roles in society; despite the absence of registered brain activity, or a pulse.

Be it functioning as draught excluders, or ballast on shipping; or as politicians, and journalists [2].

So, keep calm, and carry on, I say. We’re all in this together. Though, admittedly some people are a little more in it than others.

 

 

 

Notes

[1] Instead of adopting the populist methods of China and South Korea, in putting public health before profit margins, Boris Johnson has applied the grown-up politics of indifference toward mass fatalities. Not unlike the pragmatic approach to our nation’s military sojourns, as it so happens.

Rather than raise awareness of diseases, and ask what causes/prevents them,
perhaps we should just call doctors and researchers ‘illness sympathisers’, or ‘apologists for infirmity’; and conclude that disease is evil – therefore the only way to cure it is by blowing hospitals up.

Anyone who prefers a rationally considered strategy, to an ill-thought-out kneejerk reaction, is not be trusted – and must be condemned by columnists in the Observer, Times, Guardian, BBC, Telegraph, along with the Dailies Mail and Express; until they recant.

 

[2] Some people were aggrieved that the BBC decided to seek Nigel Farage’s opinion on the coronavirus, given that he is not an elected official in any respect – and has no expertise and insight to offer on epidemiology; or any other subject at all, for that matter.

This is entirely the wrong conclusion, however.

I think we’ve all had enough of experts, with their expertise, talking this country down. What this situation requires is a Brexpert, with Brexpertise; taking a patriotic approach to matters.

Foreign pathogens, coming over here and taking the jobs of hardworking British diseases like Flu, and measles? It’s not on.

The Right-Minded View: on Amber Rudd being no-platformed

I was shocked to read that upon a recent visit to Oxford University, Amber Rudd encountered a hostile environment; and was was made to return home. A place she had not been back to, since departing earlier that day; where she spoke only the language, and merely had family.

I’m not robust and unfortunate – I just believe that no-platforming a politician who misled parliament and acted unlawfully is wrong. Outrageous, and wrong. And rude. And offensive, and hurtful, and wrong.

Amber Rudd may have deported people, for no reason beyond their ethnic background – but they only died; whereas Rudd had to suffer the inconvenience of being disinvited to a student symposium, whilst on a train. And we all know how much trains cost, these days.

So, I think we can safely deduce the real victim here, quite frankly.

Now, admittedly, “deportation targets” and “abuse of power” sound bad; but it should not be forgotten that the Windrush policies were supported by the majority of MPs from all parties – including three successive Prime Ministers. Not to mention being endorsed by virtually every media outlet you could mention.

Any wrongdoing in evidence must therefore surely have been inadvertent; or, we would certainly have heard more about it. Just plain rude to suggest otherwise.

The Labour leadership contest: there can be only one choice for the sake of sense and moderation.

Having spent the past five years averring that the next leader of the Labour Party needed to be a working-class woman from the North, I’m proud to say that Keir Starmer fulfils this criteria admirably.

He is the woman that this country has been crying out for, in my opinion. And the electorate shall not be found wanting.

If what I hear on the doorstep is anything to judge by, countless people just could not bring themselves to vote for Labour at the last time of asking – due to the party’s ill-conceived stance on Brexit.

That is why the person who devised it is best placed to step in, I would venture.

Now, admittedly, the self-same Brexit policy of Starmer’s creation caused Labour to be nobbled forthwith during the GE; but, if you ask me, heavy defeats are a small price to pay for electability [1].

And that is merely one of the many qualities Starmer has at his disposal.

For starters, he has an appealing amount of credibility. And finally, he has a credible level of appeal.

All of this is backed-up with a clear strategy: win, and so forth.

While the means could not be simpler.

Northern, Brexit-supporting voters, and Southern Remain-supporting folk, should be easy enough to win over en masse – through the simple mechanism of saying they are both right.

And should the youth-vote wobble, Starmer could simply rename himself Starmzy. Then release a concept album dedicated to reworking hip-hop classics – until they reflect a more pragmatic and moderate purview on modern life.

Instead of ‘Fight The Power’ for instance, we could have ‘Moderate Progress Within The Generally Accepted Bounds Of Convention’. That should be more than sufficient to conquer the sensible centre-ground of musical taste.

There are potential obstacles, I will concede. But if failure is inevitable, then Starmer has already proven he can fail successfully [2].

It may well be the case that other candidates have better ideas – but far too many people these days have ideas as it is. And far too much politics has been going on lately for my liking. So it will be nice to get back to business as usual.

Sometimes the best direction of travel is to just stand perfectly still. On that score, Sir Keir Starmer will deliver.

 

 

[1] As with a great many other lifelong supporters of the Labour Party, I found myself left with no choice but to vote Conservative, tactically, in order to prevent Corbyn taking Britain out of the EU.

In fairness, I have voted Conservative ever since Corbyn took over; and at every opportunity before then. But that is purely because it benefits me financially to do so – not due to political sympathies of any kind.

Not on some issues, at any rate.

 

[2] Those who wanted a second EU referendum were warned it would split opposition to the Conservatives – gifting them an easy election victory, and guaranteeing hard Brexit.

But, thankfully, Starmer’s voice of sense and moderation prevailed: Labour committed to a second referendum. And, in the event, the Tories barely even won the subsequent General Election, by a landslide.

Why Boris Johnson is quite right not to visit flood-stricken areas.

Impertinent questions have been asked of our Prime Minister’s whereabouts, following the recent flooding throughout Great Britain. The sheer bloody cheek.

If you ask me, people ought to try being patriotic once in a while.

What naysayers fail to appreciate is that these floods are being caused by BRITISH rain – the very finest precipitation in the world.

And the left-wing bias of media coverage, to date, frankly beggars belief. These floods are not an embarrassing failure for the government’s part – but a classic example of a free-market success story.

Instead of limiting flood-water’s access to emerging markets, by raising barriers, our government’s long-term plan has seen heavy deluges rewarded with exponential growth – due to their daring innovation, and risk-taking flair.

So let the floods compete on an equal footing with mankind, I say.

Sure, some people will fail to adapt to the rising tide and – to use the overly emotive language favoured by the left here – drown; but that is merely their own fault for not working hard enough to stay afloat.

It’s survival of the fittest in this world, and those British people who adapt to this new challenge, and compete with the flood waters of today, will become the leaders of enterprise tomorrow.

You can’t say fairer than that.

The Right-Minded View On Eugenics

In these politically-correct times, people are limited to columns in daily newspapers, appearances on nightly shows, interviews in weekly magazines – and hosting duties on hourly talk radio broadcasts – should they wish to say something the slightest bit contentious.

Therefore, I am only too thankful for the courage of countless pundits who are brave enough to say what we are all thinking: that some people naturally deserve more opportunities and wealth in life, because they are inherently superior.

This is due to something called eugenics. Or biological destiny, if you will.

Let me explain.

 

It is indisputable that parents who live on low incomes, in the poorest areas of a country – with the weakest local economies – experience a 95% likelihood (with only a 5% margin for error) of giving birth to children who are poor.

By contrast, parents who live on high incomes, in the most affluent parts of Britain – surrounded by abundance, and plenty all the while – are equally liable to raise a child who is wealthy.

There is no evidence to support this claim at all, but members of the non-scientific community consider it a simple fact that these divergent circumstances can be due to one thing, and one thing only: not societal inequality, but inheritance of the poverty gene.

(The “fifth gene on the right”, according to one government advisor – recently retired).

 

Consequently, my gut-instinct tells me that we can overcome problems of impecunity, the absence of educational opportunities – and the dearth of equality – not through fairer government, but via the straightforward expedience of selective breeding.

Now, it’s all well and good to deplore this scheme on ideological, political, or moral grounds. But it’s really quite another to conclude that it wouldn’t work in practice.

In fact, selective breeding was tried with some success in Yorkshire, only recently, whence the most intelligent men in the Eastern provinces were encouraged to breed with sheep in order to increase the overall IQ of the flock.

Which they did, promptly – with gusto.

Admittedly, the average IQ of the livestock actually decreased slightly – but barriers were broken, nonetheless. A clear triumph for this kind of science.