Covidity of Errors

I can barely bring myself to list all the COVID-19 disasters in Britain, land of the free, home of the Brave, and God’s own country. It’s not pretty. But someone must.

We had the smartphone app to help with contact tracing. Didn’t work. Cost: £11 million. We had the Nightingale hospitals. By the time they were ready, they were not needed. More millions. We had the panic lockdown in schools with no plan to reopen. Cost: priceless, loss of education attainment and momentum for millions, and never mind the stress of home school. We had the air bridges. Ditched before they were opened. We had the quarantine before the air bridges. Foolish, and unique in Europe, even though we had the worst outbreak here. Arrogant, perhaps.

We have cricket, in which the ball was (or is still? I’ve lost track) a “vector of disease” even though a football is not. We had the notion that one person could visit 5 people but 5 people could not visit 1. We have benches coated in crime scene tape. Theatres on their knees. Even the once-mighty National Trust was brought low. You can swim in a pond but not in a swimming pool. We ditched track and trace (incidentally, the same brand used by the Royal Mail) because it looked too difficult, and then decided we had to do it no matter what the cost.

By then, of course, there was nothing to track. We have no idea how the virus spreads, actually. Is it hands? Is it spit? Is it contaminated hard surfaces? Take a guess. We have no reliable tests. The tests which test whether you have it now don’t work and the tests which look for antibodies mean nothing, after it emerged that T-cells seem to be helpful, which require another type of test that is not an antibody test. Any medical school fresher can tell you about T-cells, yet it was weeks before I first heard of them in relation to SARS-CoV-2.

The best anyone can say is that we started lifting lockdown for the same reason we entered lockdown: because everyone else was doing it. If you follow the herd, you might get trampled, but you won’t be blamed. But we will blame, and we are blaming. Public Health England couldn’t find two gloves to rub together in a Turkish souk. They couldn’t source enough tests so gave up. They’ve been chasing their tail for months. They’re going to be abolished, and who will notice?

Matt Hancock is a national disgrace surpassed only by the weasel known as Gavin Williamson. No wonder teachers are rebelling against this clownish technocrat who couldn’t lead a class of Reception children to the toilet. Hancock sees software as the answer to all evils even though he has no experience. His first endeavour was an app known, I kid you not, as Matt Hancock. This is the app-store equivalent of writing “Ed Balls” as your first ever tweet.

Would you like to download Matt Hancock? What kind of man goes into Westminster politics with a name that looks like the word hand merged with the word cock? Someone with no understanding of satire.

Boris Johnson writes his own satire. As fit as a butcher’s dog is not a phrase you will hear on the Clapham omnibus. This is because nobody knows what a butcher is any more, or whether he might have a dog at all. Frenzied press-ups on a Zoom meeting is not the test we apply to a Prime Minister of Her Majesty’s Commonwealth. It is a test we apply to our gym instructors, only they all quit due to loss of earnings.

Can you stand any more of this? If Middle England feels as wretched as this, no wonder that the proles of Leicester ignored the lockdown. “You only have yourselves to blame” is exactly the kind of teachery claptrap that Gavin Williamson will enjoy. I have already decided, on pain of death, not to obtain a so-called mask. Not even a designer fabric one. Anything that requires a mask, I will not partake in. I am not sitting for 4 hours on the Eurostar looking like Dick Turpin. How to ingest the booze? I am not wearing a HazMat suit to have a beard trim. I will figure out the hipster razor myself, thank you. How hard can it be? I boarded aircraft only grudgingly before, and now have no wish to return. If I can’t drive or boat, I won’t go.

Am I unique? Some say so, and they’re not being kind. But I have the feeling that the silent majority have had enough of this “levelling up” government before it even got going. We’ve had enough of fake billions that amount to a hill of beans. New deal? Forget it. The only deal you’re getting is if you already sit pretty on a WFH-enabled job that is basically emailing your chums and attending Zoom in your pants to see if you can get away with it. If you’re of the lower orders, you’re toast. The only crime is that Corbyn would have been a thousand times worse.