The Coronavirus Diaries, 12th April 2022

J sent me a text today asking if I had given up blogging. No I haven’t, but I have been busy. Still it was a good nudge. Yes, I thought, I’ll try to blog this evening. There were a few things I thought I might write about. Then I saw that Boris Johnson, Prime minister of the United Kingdom, had been fined for breaking lockdown rules, had made an apology, but did not intend to resign. How dare he? I watched the news. I am outraged. I am insulted. I am ashamed.

One woman interviewed described Johnson’s behaviour as ‘a bit naughty’. Since when did we apply the expectations we have of toddlers to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet? Johnson said he offered his apology with ‘openness and humility’ and that he ‘fully respect(ed) the outcome of the police investigation’. Oh yeah? Openness and humility are clearly just words to Johnson. Words that could be cake or carpets in this scenario for all it would mean. Ditto respect. I’d quite like to hear someone interview Johnson about respect. I take that back: I don’t like seeing Johnson in any shape, interview or form. Still less do I want to hear more of his lies and prevarications. Life is too short.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 11th February 2022, parallel worlds

We’ve been living in strange times for quite a while now, but right now some things in the UK are really off the wall. We have a public school educated, billionaire chancellor who is in real terms cutting the poorest and most vulnerable families incomes so that hypothermia, starvation or a combination of the two may be their fate, and he doesn’t seem to think that more than just expressing passing sorrow for the hardship of their lives he needs to do anything. Lack of imagination, callousness, just another example of how many of us are simply expendable.He is also a front runner to take over when finally, if ever, Boris Johnson, is ousted from 10 Downing Street. The current leading alternative is Liz Truss. I can’t even bring myself to describe Liz Truss. He own party nicknamed her the human hand grenade.

Maybe it was looking at these two front runners which inspired someone, and I’m afraid I was too gobsmacked by the message to take in who it was, a politician, someone at number 10, I don’t know, to say that the Met had better think very carefully before fining the Prime Minister for breaking Covid rules on the grounds it might destabilise the country. WTF? In what parallel universe is it morally ok for a Prime Minister to break the rules over and over again he has himself set, and walk away unscathed while someone sitting on a park bench to eat a sandwich when those same rules applied to be fined?

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 14th January 2022, Party On

Parties eh, they are not always such a great idea, are they? A friend introduces you to a girl, no sweat, you might think, though she seems to think you do sweat, that you sweat a lot. We won’t go into the details of what happened, you can read about it in the newspapers I’m sure, but things apparently got intimate. And then it turned out the girl might not have been quite such a free agent as you might have thought, though of course, silly me, I’d forgotten, you don’t remember meeting her at all, let alone having sex with her.

Years pass. Whispers about the teenaged girl you don’t recall having sex with become shouts. Turns out she was trafficked by your friends, one of whom has committed suicide in jail, the other is now a convicted sex trafficker. How could you have known? You never read, thought Lolita was quite a jolly name, maybe you could have given it to one of your girls if you’d thought of it at the time. Now the girl wants to take you to court. You! Unbelievable. She doesn’t give up despite the brush offs you and your lawyers give out. She doesn’t seem to realise you are her better, one of the upper privileged classes, and if you did have sex with her, which you absolutely don’t remember, she should count herself privileged that someone of your standing, someone with your lineage – William the Conqueror no less, yes we know he was also known as William the Bastard for the obvious and other reasons, but all the same – should even touch her hand, let alone get naked and unsweaty with her. Those damned American courts don’t seem to understand who they are dealing with. Christmas was at least isolated so you didn’t have to be with a bunch of family members who had all been discussing you and were now intent on disowning you. You’ll understand, won’t you? It’s to protect the family. Mummy. But what are you without your titles? Without your vast wardrobe of uniforms and dressing up clothes? Without your entitlement and automatic access to the best of everything? A shallow, stupid man. A man full of self-pity and indeed pitiful in many ways, yet hard to pity.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 13th January 2020

As I was clearing up after breakfast I was thinking that this year I really should sell first the boat then the car. The car at least seems to be on the same page, though determined to cause me unplanned expense first. As for the boat, I have a feeling that however great my resolve is ona cold wet day in January, one lovely weekend in May will soften it.

I had booked a slot at the local recycling place to leave my defunct towel rail and some other bits and pieces including a ex-toaster of Celia’s. Off I went. All well until I was half a mile from home and there was a sudden bumpy feeling, a funny noise and I recognised the sign of a severely flat tyre. A puncture as it turned out. I don’t have home start as the garage is just across the road, but I should have read the small print, as home start means within a mile from home. It’s a long and tedious story, but it looks more than likely I shall need a new wheel. Ho hum.

I have been following the live updates re Trump’s impeachment fairly obsessively. On the news tonight several Republican senators answered the reporter’s polite enquiries with almost identical words along the lines of this is a stunt by the Democrats at a time when we need unity. My guess is it was a format of words they were advised to say, but some were clearly angry. It sounds reasonable until you think about what it means, which is that somehow by drawing a veil over those people who attacked the capitol, encouraged, urged by Trump, and over the President‘s words too will heal wounds. No it won’t. It would send a message to all those other people who have demonstrated peacefully that Trump and his supporters are given leeway and not held to account. As indeed they are. Remember Black Lives Matter? That’s all about how black people do not enjoy the same freedoms, the same respect, the same treatment by the police and the law as white people.

Uncomfortable truths have to be faced. Not just in the US, everywhere. We have our own deniers here. People who cannot see that white privilege exists. People who say we shouldn’t worry about who got rich due to the slave trade and whose descendants still grow fat on the exploitation of human beings. It’s long ago, they say, as though that had anything to do with it when the effects are still felt today. Try saying that to a Scot who hates you for being English because of Culloden, never mind that your family hadn’t even arrived here when that battle happened. It’s an inherited guilt.

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So Mr Johnson, What did Mr Putin do for you in 2016?

We know social media, and in particular Facebook, was responsible for targeting voters in the 2016 referendum with false information. We know that the Leave Campaign has been found guilty of breaking the rules, though mysteriously this is still often referred to as an allegation, and was even denied by Fiona Bruce on Question Time last week.
For those of you still unconvinced, you can read about it here, not as reported in a newspaper with a particular view, but the Electoral Commission’s actual report. Continue reading

Back to Brexit

You would think that there had been no march on Saturday, no five million plus signatures on a petition asking for Article 50 to be revoked. Europe is talking about it, the world is talking about it, the UK government isn’t. No. The day after the march our esteemed Prime Minister met renowned Brexiteer MPs, people who would be quite happy to leave the EU with no deal. The Prime Minister followed this meeting up with a speech where she spoke about the British People (yep, they’re being evoked again but apparently my birth certificate lies and I am not one of them) and how they would not countenance not leaving the EU. No mention of the march, the petition, the fact that the referendum was advisory and not binding, and had it been binding it would have been declared void because of illegal activity by the Leave campaign.
Not. A. Word.
There’s the usual baloney about respecting the ‘will of the people’ respecting ‘the result of the referendum’. Nothing about respecting those who march peacefully, who follow the rules, who do not threaten civil disruption, public mayhem if this goes ahead, who engage in debate not rhetoric and meaningless slogans. Continue reading

The Wheel Will Turn

Anger is only useful if it fuels action.

Yesterday’s anti-Brexit march felt useful. I wasn’t on it as I was working, but just seeing the pictures gave me a sense of solidarity, a sense of hope; this madness will stop.

If it doesn’t, those of us who wish to remain in the EU will continue to campaign to return. Please don’t talk to me about the will of the people, or democratic process. When the referendum was held in the early 1970s and people voted to stay in the EU, or Common Market as it was then known, the leave campaign sprang into action immediately. To paraphrase a meateater’s saying, what’s sauce for the lentils is sauce for the butter beans.

Democracy is about argument, not things set in stone.

My outrage meter was just returning to somewhere above normal after POTUS’ announcement that he would reverse his inhumane decision to separate children from their parents and then blame the Democrats, when I realised it doesn’t apply to those families already separated. The trauma those children have undergone for this Trumplestiltskin to make a point, beggars belief. I cannot begin to imagine how this is going to affect them in their adult lives. The insecurity, the realisation at a much too young age that their parents cannot always defend them will leave an indelible mark. And all because this man likes to think he’s strong, and that this is the sort of thing strong men do. The truth is he’s weak, and the weak never know how hard they are hitting you. Continue reading

Divide and Rule and the Windrush Generation

Such excitement chez Isobel (and Cat) this afternoon when I located the lottery ticket I bought for last Friday’s draw and checked the winning numbers. I am so inured to reading that there are no matches that it took a couple of seconds for the news to sink in and to understand that I am a winner. At last! I haven’t yet claimed my prize and am not sure how I am going to spend it. £8.10 may not be a life changing amount, but after months of zero it’s quite exciting. It could get me three quarters of a glass of champagne in a not too fussy establishment; pay for more than half the ticket I have bought to see Our Country’s Good next week at Stratford East; buy two and a bit copies of Saturday’s Guardian; buy four entries to Saturday’s Lottery. However you look at it, I’m a winner.

Not so the Windrush generation. I thought my country couldn’t plumb new depths after the fiasco which was the referendum in 2016, but in an increasingly crowded field for acts of shameful inhumanity it seems the race to the bottom is being fought hard. We’re told the government has apologised, that there will be compensation, compensation described by MP Kwame Kwarteng as generous. Oh that’s alright then. So you may have lost your home, your job, your entitlement benefits and health care, been threatened with deportation and locked up in a detention centre not knowing where you are going to be this time next week, but now you can sleep easy in your bed as the government has promised to make amends. Continue reading

Prophylactic Names and Parliamentary Responsibility

I don’t think I could ever fall in love with a man called Nigel, or Donald. They are names that just don’t do it for me. Try imagining passionate moments with a man with either name. “Oh Nigel!” “Oh Donald!” No. It sounds like something from a bad sitcom. Comedy names; cartoon ducks.

Shame the parents of the current prominent owners of these names didn’t just practise safe sex rather than landing their offspring with prophylactic names. Maybe the new US President parades his family so often to show how against the odds, and I am not just talking about his name now, he has managed to persuade three women to have sex with him.

That Nigel Farage has also children makes me realise there is no accounting for tastes.

But I do find it incredible that family men can be so cavalier with the future of the planet. On the news tonight there was footage of Trump signing a document that could mean the go ahead to oil pipelines. He chooses to ignore the evidence about climate crisis and puts all our lives, all life, in jeopardy, spouting figures for jobs that presumably he has just made up as no one else has those figures, as though jobs now make up for the loss of polar bears tomorrow. Continue reading

Pictures to Follow

The grebes are nesting, but not next to das Boot. This year they have chosen a spot on the river. I watched them busy collecting material. It seems much noisier spot than in the marina, but I suppose most grebes don’t have the luxury of off river facilities. I took some pictures, but it don’t know they show more than vague outlines.

I forgot MasterB’s harness so he can’t have shoreleave, and this time he seems rather keen. I’ve been playing with him, but it can’t be as interesting as the smells he’d have found out on a walk. Indoor cats must miss out on a lot.

 

The forecast has been so dire I nearly didn’t come. But in my heart of hearts I knew I wanted to be here and if there was a chance the weather might be kind, I would come. So there I was this morning, still vacillating, but at the back of my mind choosing the things I would pack. Pity I forgot the harness. Maybe if it’s quiet tomorrow morning I’ll risk taking him ashore and letting him run free. Not if it’s windy though. I don’t want any accidents when he gets back in board.

 

The journey east was varied. We left in sunshine, drove through hail with winds that swept the rain sideways across the roads. Pedestrians in Stratford outlined by garments wrapped round them. Then more sunshine; winds that chased clouds across impossibly blue skies; scatters of raindrops.

 

There were roadworks. There are always roadworks in spring. One lot had us crawling several miles until we were clear. I stopped at a petrol station and filled the tank.

 

Near the start of the undulating road across the fens that leads to the marina I nabbed half a dozen eggs from the nice egg lady. The road seems even more undulating than a week ago. Mary and her two uncontrolled but beautiful Labradors was here. They ignored her commands and jumped up at me. MasterB, so had been quiet and accepting most of the journey began to cry plaintively as I emptied the car. I wanted to get the bed made before he came aboard. When I let him out of his box, he made big eyes and sniffed everywhere before taking refuge under a pillow.

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