The Coronavirus Diaries, 27th December 2021 Boxing Day Plus One

I thought today was Boxing Day as it’s a Bank Holiday and the day after Christmas Day is called Boxing Day and is usually a Bank Holiday but this year it was a Sunday, so the Bank Holiday is today, but Boxing Day was still yesterday. Confused? Join the club.

I was working yesterday. It was outside and first thing in the morning the rain was pelting down. I was wondering how my clients would react if I turned up in waterproof over trousers but fortunately, as promised by the weather forecast, the rain eased off.

Some people are lucky and they love their work. On days like yesterday I am one of those people. I just enjoyed the whole day. Then at home I read the paper. Finally it appears people are waking up to the reality of Boris Johnson, liar in chief and total disaster for this country. Maybe I should be happier that the truth is dawning on so many who have chosen to follow his lies, but the fact that they have so eagerly believed his nonsense makes me wonder what sort of country I am living in. And heaven help us, there are still some who think he’s doing a good job and that Jacob Rees-Mogg is a gentleman. The future does not look good. Also if BJ goes, who is in line for the job? Liz Truss perhaps, Dominic Raab, Rishi Sunak, or maybe Michael Gove who has recently been very silent, suspiciously silent in my opinion. None are examples of politicians who put country ahead of personal ambition.

I strongly believe no one should be able to be a representative, elected to the Commons, or nominated as in the Lords, who does not pay their full share of taxes to the treasury, has offshore investments, hedge funds, owns or has shares in companies who practise tax avoidance, has money left in trust funds to make sure their funds remain intact, or at least very lightly taxed, for future generations of their family while the playing field for others becomes less and less level. If you are in position to make decisions on how taxes are spent you need to pay them. Actually, even if you aren’t in that position you need to pay them. We need our roads, our hospitals, our schools.

Years ago I used to watch Have I Got News for You every week. Now I rarely see it, but I saw two episodes back to back the other day and was struck at how they kept bashing Keir Starmer as boring. He doesn’t strike me as boring, though perhaps if you enjoy flamboyant lies and fatuous incompetence, his trademark seriousness, attention to detail and evident decency may make seem unglamorous. But if that is boring, I’ll take it any day over what we have now. Look back at the twentieth century and the prime minister who had the greatest impact on my life was Clem Atlee. I was not yet born when he was prime minister, and his name was overshadowed by that of Churchill throughout my childhood, but I am eternally grateful to what he achieved during his time at the helm. This is what it says about him in Wikipedia:

Attlee had inherited a country close to bankruptcy after the Second World War and beset by food, housing and resource shortages; despite his social reforms and economic programme, these problems persisted throughout his premiership, alongside recurrent currency crises and dependence on US aid. His party was narrowly defeated by the Conservatives in the 1951 general election, despite winning the most votes. He continued as Labour leader but retired after losing the 1955 election and was elevated to the House of Lords; he died in 1967. In public, he was modest and unassuming, but behind the scenes his depth of knowledge, quiet demeanour, objectivity and pragmatism proved decisive. Often rated as one of the greatest British prime ministers, Attlee’s reputation among scholars has grown, thanks to his creation of the modern welfare state and involvement in building the coalition against Joseph Stalin in the Cold War. He remains the longest-serving Labour leader in British history.

Churchill was reputedly rude about him, calling him a sheep in sheep’s clothing. That damning accusation of boring again. Yet it appears Churchill did not say those words, was in fact an admirer of Atlee, though their politics differed. He is known to have said these words: ‘Mr. Attlee is an honourable and gallant gentleman, and a faithful colleague who served his country well at the time of her greatest need.”

Which shows that while Johnson would like to be seen as the new Churchill, he is very far from it. Johnson’s miserliness of spirit, his flagrant narcissism, will never allow him to recognise, let alone publicly acknowledge Keir Starmer’s many qualities which cast his own into deep shadow. I look forward to the day when Johnson’s face is no longer on the television, in the papers, but I no longer trust the British electorate not to vote for another charlatan.

By this time next week we’ll be in a new year. I may or may not make resolutions, but I hope that in 2022 we shall see a serious concerted and united effort worldwide to tackle climate change, that the far right will sink back into the miasma and evaporate, that this country will give itself a good shake and step back from the nationalistic, spiteful rhetoric which has become so familiar.

Happy New Year.


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