Tuesday, 30 June 2020

100 days. Raves. Whacking moles. Speeches. Protests.

It’s 100 days since we went into lockdown. So the radio news tells me.

We certainly live in odd times. “Across the country, young people are ignoring lockdown, strapping on bumbags and making for woods and fields. With the coronavirus pandemic having closed bars and clubs and cancelled or postponed festivals, raves are sweeping the UK, just as they did during the “second summer of love” in 1988, when acid house swept the country and ecstasy and bucket hats were everywhere.”

So kids just want to have fun!

And can we blame them when it seems so much that much of the coronavirus crisis is trivialised by our leader. From boasting about shaking hands with hospital patients right at the beginning of the problem, to doing press-ups, to comparing to the matter of re-installing lockdown in areas with local spikes to a game of Whack-a-Mole It seems as though the whole thing is not taken seriously. And it may well be his style but personally I find it a bit offensive.

On the radio news at lunchtime today the newsreader referred to Leicester as the “first mole to be whacked”. I bet the people of Leicester are not happy to be a mole. But until first thing this morning they did not really know what the rules were for their extended lockdown. There seem to be odd standards about delays: children can’t go back to school until we know it’s safe (which I totally agree with) but even though they apparently knew Leicester was having a spike two weeks ago they couldn’t decide to extend the lockdown until they knew it was absolutely necessary!

I have wondered lately how it would have been if this pandemic had occurred 20 years ago before everyone had mobile phones and the technology for a lot of people to work from home and for Zoom meetings to take place. So much of the lockdown would have been so much harder: harder to cope with on an individual level and harder to police on a national level.

But Mr Johnson tells us he is going to build us back to health - economic health anyway - in another speech full of sound bites: Build back better. Build back greener. Build back faster.

It seems he is claiming his ambitions to rebuild Britain echo the achievements of Franklin D Roosevelt (FDR), who carried out a wholesale reconstruction of the US economy in the wake of the Great Depression and is remembered for large-scale projects such as the Hoover Dam.

Here are some of his words:

“It sounds positively Rooseveltian. It sounds like a New Deal. All I can say is that if so, then that is how it is meant to sound and to be, because that is what the times demand. A government that is powerful and determined and that puts its arms around people at a time of crisis.”

It’s strange! I always thought that flattering comparisons with politicians from the past were supposed to be made by other people, not in your own speech.

You have to be careful about saying things against our PM. Here’s the story of a woman who regularly wore a t-shirt emblazoned with “F**k Boris” to demonstrations. Returning from a Black Lives Matter demonstration, she was stopped by transport police and told to fasten her jacket to hide her t-shirt because it displayed an obscene word that could cause alarm or distress. You could not make such things up!

The rain goes on. Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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