Failed state?

Malaysia looks like a complete basket case. That is until you recall that we were seeing over 1,000 covid deaths a day in the UK in both April 2020 and January 2021. They have just hit 100 a day for the first time. We had a thousand more deaths in one week in January alone than Malaysia has had in the entire crisis. Their health minister called the 100 daily death threshold a dark day for his nation; we passed 100,000 total deaths with hardly a blink of the eye. Our death toll is twenty times theirs, though their population is only half ours. It turns out we’re the basket case, despite having the sixth highest GDP in the world, eight times theirs. How easy to condemn the dysfunctional politics of a developing nation half a world a way. How hard to take ourselves to account.

New normal

Chris Whitty’s latest statements give me a dreadful feeling of déjà vu.

Can’t help recalling that in March 2020, he was saying the imposition of Covid restrictions would only delay the anticipated first wave too. So here we are again.

Let’s hope the vaccines have broken the link between infection and hospitalisation. Otherwise, brace yourselves for the reversal of the irreversible return to normal.

Let’s hope we really are “following the science” and not just some impenetrable logic, too opaque for the common man to grasp.

Go now and embrace your superspreader events. Let’s hope the final score is worth it.

Sedatives

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly. We thought we were a rich nation on top of the world, so unlike all those dreadful nations over there.

But all of a sudden, we discovered 25 local authorities on the brink of bankruptcy, the national health service on the verge of collapse and a mental health crisis of mammoth proportions.

Still, at least we have football, the opium of the masses. If we’re lucky, nobody will notice rising food prices, empty shelves, unpicked fruit and veg, and the state of roads.

Long live our buffoon overlords. Rule Britannia.

The mockery of nerd-face

The press and commentariat are all up in arms about the jeering disrespect of two drunkards accosting Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, in a London Park.

It is an awful sight, but as a fellow nerd — though one not blessed with his great intellect — it was hardly unexpected.

Continue reading “The mockery of nerd-face”

Pestilence

We’ve just watched the Box Tree Moth Caterpillar ravage and lay waste to our prized box hedges nurtured over the past fifteen years.

I immediately thought of those whose whole livelihood and survival is dependent on their land and the crops it yields.

We’ve lost nothing but an ornamental shrubbery; others must look on as plagues of locusts and mice devour a harvest meant to last a year, or as rains fail and the scorching sun turns their tilth to dust.

Be grateful for opportunities many others can only dream of.

Talk Radio

Ah, talk-radio politics. In summary: “I demand the right to insult you and what you hold dear: that is freedom of speech. However, stop insulting me with your gestures and protests: these have gone on for long enough now. Stop it.”

Elegy

Revisiting an old manuscript, momentarily I dream of being a writer once more, his words in print. For a day or two, I imagine the draft to have potential, to be considered by an agent or publisher, if only I could just add the spit and polish it demands. Ah, but no, it returns a pipe dream. How could I compete with the brilliant authors whose works are celebrated far and wide? Cowed, I skulk away, back to the salaried role, a cog in the machine, bored and ignored.

Build back better

There is no “build back better”. The coffers are empty. Just more of the same. Another decade of austerity and cutbacks, public services disintegrating before our eyes. The cuts will be sold as a necessary evil, sold to us by billionaire newspaper editors. We will accept whatever we are told, until the next disaster turns into a catastrophe to be staved off with multibillion pound investments in newly created shell companies who will pretend to provide services no money could apparently afford. And once more the coffers will be empty. But we will not care, for men make suitable populist noises. “Build back better” will be the slogan fifty years from now, as men decide to recycle policies tried and tested for five hundred years. Brace yourself for a bumpy ride.