RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Look on the bright side — It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (but I feel fine)
Welcome to Week Three of The End Of The World As We Know It. Like most of you, I’m just as baffled as when it all kicked off.
At the beginning of March, I wrote that my default position on these health scares is weary scepticism. But when my trusty GP advised me to cancel a routine visit to his surgery, just to be on the safe side, I was prepared to admit that something out of the ordinary was going on.
Trouble is, I still can’t work out what’s occurring. And what really bothers me is that I’m not particularly confident that anyone else has a clue, either.
Temporary laws have an unfortunate habit of becoming permanent. And, as this column constantly points out, if you give anyone any modicum of authority, they will always, always, always abuse it
Initially, I was reassured by Boris Johnson’s cool-headed, measured reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.
There was no complacency, but he managed to convey the impression that everything was under control.
Yet within a couple of days, the Government had switched to full headless chicken mode and we were hearing alarmist predictions of a half a million dead.
Since then the country has been put on a war footing with the daily introduction of ever more draconian restrictions on freedom of movement and assembly.
Our rookie Chancellor has been widely acclaimed for ripping up his recent optimistic Budget and hosing down the coronavirus crisis with hundreds of billions of pounds of borrowed money.
We’re assured he had no option, although any Labour Chancellor who attempted such a reckless gamble with the nation’s finances would have been excoriated by the same people now cheering Rishi Sunak to the rafters.
Grizzled old socialist O.J. Corbyn can only wail like a jilted lover, as the Tories enact the Left’s wildest totalitarian fantasies. Cue Gladys Knight. It Should Have Been Me!
Initially, I was reassured by Boris Johnson’s cool-headed, measured reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. There was no complacency, but he managed to convey the impression that everything was under control
Yesterday, in another move which would have been unimaginable a month ago, a Conservative Government effectively renationalised the railways.
At this rate, they’ll be re-opening the coal mines and appointing Arthur Scargill as head of a reconstituted National Coal Board.
All bets are off. We are truly living in a Looking Glass World. You’d be forgiven for thinking that ministers are making it up as they go along. There is the justified suspicion that they are simply covering their backsides and would rather be monstered for doing too much, rather than too little.
But, to be fair, what else can they do? Which one of us would envy their position? Not me, guv. I have enough trouble deciding whether to watch the latest Netflix blockbuster or another rerun of Minder.
The politicians can only take crucial — and potentially fatal — decisions based upon the evidence with which they are presented. Boris, like me, is a committed civil libertarian.
He must have hated having to put the country in lockdown last night. So I’m relieved the Government has agreed that the unprecedented package of emergency powers drawn up to tackle the spread of the virus will be reviewed after six months.
We’re assured he had no option, although any Labour Chancellor who attempted such a reckless gamble with the nation’s finances would have been excoriated by the same people now cheering Rishi Sunak (above) to the rafters
Temporary laws have an unfortunate habit of becoming permanent. And, as this column constantly points out, if you give anyone any modicum of authority, they will always, always, always abuse it.
On the other hand, if our leading scientists and best medical minds tell the Prime Minister that failure to act will result in hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths, he must accept that advice. The experts may be horribly wrong.
They might be making it up as they go along, too. But would you take the risk? The only way you could test their prognosis to destruction would be to do nothing and tally up the eventual body count.
So I’m reluctant to point the finger at anyone in government who has been thrust into such an invidious and unenviable position. My concern all along has been about a lack of joined-up thinking.
Yesterday, in another move which would have been unimaginable a month ago, a Conservative Government effectively renationalised the railways. At this rate, they’ll be re-opening the coal mines and appointing Arthur Scargill (pictured above) as head of a reconstituted National Coal Board
For instance, it’s madness telling everyone to stand 6ft apart and then cutting Tube and rail services in half, ensuring that those who have to travel on public transport are crammed together like sardines.
And how does shutting pubs and restaurants, to stop people transmitting the virus, square with allowing demented scrums of greedy hoarders to climb all over each other in supermarkets trying to get their hands on the last pack of toilet roll?
What’s more, the policy of refusing to elaborate on the ‘underlying medical conditions’ of those unfortunate people whose deaths have been attributed to Covid-19 has only added to the fear and confusion.
Still, whatever reservations we might have about the course of action the Government has embarked upon, we can only hope and pray it works. Look on the bright side, and look after yourselves, however inconvenient self-isolation might be.
You can make your own sanitiser with vodka, apparently. Mix it with soda water, ice and a slice of lime and sip it regularly, rather than waste time rubbing it on your hands.
With any luck, it may not be The End Of The World As We Know It. And I feel fine. For now.
One casualty of the crisis has been the Ann Summers chain of sex shops, which is closing for the duration.
But not before selling out of its entire stock of edible, penis-shaped pasta. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s a new one on me.
Still, now we know what ‘penne’ means in Italian. I suppose Ann Summers could always start flogging sexy nurses’ uniforms to panicbuyers who want to pretend to work for the NHS, so they can jump the queue for essential supplies such as lager and toilet rolls.
Come to think of it, there’s probably a niche market for ‘key worker’ outfits.
On my first local paper, there was a reporter who kept a shepherd’s crook in his car boot, so he could take advantage of the pubs opening all afternoon when the livestock market came to town.
One casualty of the crisis has been the Ann Summers chain of sex shops, which is closing for the duration. But not before selling out of its entire stock of edible, penis-shaped pasta
Later, when I wrote for London’s Evening Standard, we backed on to Smithfield meat market, where the pubs were allowed to open all night.
Some of Fleet Street’s finest stuck on the overnight shift would often sneak out in the early hours for a swift pint.
The bars were only supposed serve bona fide traders, and at least one enterprising hack is said to have owned a bloodstained white coat to help him pass muster.
The standing joke was that no one knew if he was a butcher …or a surgeon from nearby Bart’s hospital.
You can’t shame these morons
Today’s edition of Makes You Proud To Be British comes live from every major supermarket in the country.
It’s pointless saying that those subhuman morons who day after day after day have stripped the shelves bare — depriving the elderly, the vulnerable and key NHS staff of everything from food to bog rolls — should be ashamed of themselves.
They have no shame. They should have been dragged into the car park and clubbed like baby seals.
Today’s edition of Makes You Proud To Be British comes live from every major supermarket in the country
Belatedly, the stores have introduced dedicated shopping hours for health workers and the vulnerable.
Even these sessions have been gatecrashed by gannets desperate for stuff they don’t need and almost certainly couldn’t afford to buy, if they had to pay cash.
The only good news is there will be a day of reckoning when the hoarders have to pick up their credit card bills for this disgusting selfish avarice.
Let’s hope they all go bankrupt.
At the weekend, we took a drive in the Hertfordshire countryside to stop us going stir crazy. Just before the Potters Bar junction above the M25 turning, there was an electronic message board exhorting motorists: ‘Covid-19. Remember to wash your hands.’
What, while you’re driving? Imagine being pulled over by Plod with your hands in a bucket and singing God Save The Queen, twice. Would you mind blowing into this, sir?
One of the most bizarre panic-buying images was the sight of grown men pushing trolleys piled high with bleach and detergent.
When was they last time any of them nipped out for a crate of Domestos? They probably have no idea what it is. I was reminded of the classic episode of Rumpole, when Horace went shopping with She Who Must Be Obeyed.
Spotting a large tin of Vim in her basket, he inquired: ‘What do we do with all that Vim? Do we eat Vim?
I was reminded of the classic episode of Rumpole, when Horace (above, left) went shopping with She Who Must Be Obeyed
Source: Read Full Article