Liars in public life, loo roll scrum and cutting back Christmas

*Photo: Covid – Lockdown 2

First published in the Isle of Thanet News of Friday 6th November 2020

SO here we go again! Lockdown Number Two has begun and the “clinically extremely vulnerable” have received their letters from Matt Hancock, on how to protect themselves. Including the advice to “try to stay 2 metres away from other people in your household”.

While this may be relatively simple/a blessed relief if you have a large house/been married a long time, it is wholly impractical if you live in a small flat with young children. Which is the (possibly literal) fatal flaw in the plan. While the extra-susceptible are urged avoid the shops, eschew public transport and only work from home, anyone sharing their domestic space is not! According to the instructions, their kids should still go to school, and their partners or housemates can still go into their places of employment – even if they are key workers at high risk – or join the scrum stockpiling paper for the loo.

Doesn’t that rather defeat the object? Surely for the sake of four weeks, the entire household should keep their heads down, since it is that clinically vulnerable group who are most likely to fill the hospital beds? Indeed, if the Vulnerables had been ordered to stay indoors a little longer – I did suggest it, but Boris ignored me – then we might not be looking at an NHS crisis at all…

I AM A LITTLE BIT in love with Rory Stewart. And never more so after reading his splendid analysis of our Premier’s tenuous relationship with the truth. The former MP, when reviewing The Gambler, the recent biography of Boris Johnson by Tom Bower, has declared that our Prime Minister has “mastered the use of error, omission, exaggeration, diminution, equivocation and flat denial. He has perfected casuistry, circumlocution, false equivalence and false analogy.” And he doesn’t stop there. Mr Johnson, Mr Stewart declares is “equally adept at the ironic jest, the fib and the grand lie; the weasel word and the half-truth; the hyperbolic lie, the obvious lie, and the bullshit lie – which may inadvertently be true.”

In fact, he concludes, Boris Johnson is “the most accomplished liar in public life”.

Here, I would have to take issue. Like many of us, I’m sure, I have been glued to the coverage of the US elections, with my heart in my mouth. In the interests of accuracy, I feel the good Rory should temper his words. The most accomplished liar in public life… in Britain?

UNABLE to drag myself from the Trump horrors, I fell asleep on Wednesday night with the radio on. When I woke in the early hours, I thought I was still having a nightmare until I realised I was listening to one of the Trump Juniors. Eric Trump – clearly as deluded as his father – was ranting on about fraud and corruption and vote-stealing, sounding like a petulant schoolboy as he finished with the whining conclusion that “it isn’t fair”. I fear we haven’t seen the last of the Trumps in politics and can look forward to the spectacle of Eric attempting to claw his way back into the White House in 2024. Someone should tell him in the meantime, that life ain’t fair. If it was, his father would never have been President in the first place.

AND because there is no justice, people are still dying of this damn virus, while others complain about having to wear masks, break the rules and most mystifyingly bleat on about “saving” Christmas. Christmas is one day of the year, for which we overspend and overeat. Couldn’t we see this as a golden opportunity to do things a little differently? Scale it down, perhaps? Give the kids a few trinkets, but have a national pact for the rest of us to remember its true spirit for once – for the religious, what could be more Christian than saving lives? – rather than maxing out the credit cards on tat. The benefits will be endless. You’ll save money, can spend the day vegging out on the sofa, and will only have to see the relatives on Zoom. Meaning that you can cry: “Oh no, the internet’s going!” as soon as you‘ve had enough of Great-auntie Flo banging on about the price of sprouts.

I’m thinking a nice Government slogan.  Maybe along the lines of Keep it Small & Keep it Simple (KISS). And definitely avoiding anything over-complicated like Give Over Our Noel, Take Heart Eternally & Pursue In Slighter Style.

www.janewenham-jones.com

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