Monday, 16 March 2020

Bury your Parmesan while you can

Samuel Pepys was nails. Seriously. Read his diaries and you'll see he swanned around London during the 1665 plague. Not bovvered mate. People were being shovelled into mass graves every morning and he just nonchalantly strolled past and carried on eating chops and shit.

And then the Great Fire's flames licked the sides of his house before burning out. When the fire was already burning he thought he should probably do something. So he buried his cheese collection in his garden. And then probably leaned against a tree having a fag while daring the flames to actually touch him. He was probably immune to the bubonic plague, and the fire was just luck. He later survived having a tennis ball sized bladder stone being cut from his body by slicing his perineum with no anaesthetic. I mean look at him. Nails.

Anyway, basically, I wish he was in charge of the UK during the coronavirus pandemic. I wish anyone was in charge of the UK other than Alexander Johnson and his puppet master Cummings. Most of the panic happening right now is down to one thing: no-one trusts this government. We have a liar and a charlatan in charge. Someone who barely bothers to show up for work, and someone who organises 'emergency' Cobra meetings for the next day. After elevenses.

Someone who clearly just couldn't wait to be king and now is very put out he's expected to give a shit about a country of 66.4 million people. Two-thirds of whom hate his guts. And the other third presumably finally waking up to what they've done. Imagine only realising the Tories are a horrorfest when you're in danger of dying because of their inaction.

Because inaction it is. Anyone who believes this utter arse that Johnson is working on the (secret) evidence shown by (unnamed) scientists that is better in every way than anything that the World Health Organisation is desperately screaming at him from afar, I've got a vaccine to sell to you. He is stalling because he doesn't want to tank the economy. And every hour, every day and every week he stalls means more people will die in this country of preventable deaths due to this virus.

If his party hadn't decimated the NHS since 2010, we'd be in a better position to fight this. If his party hadn't instigated Brexit and driven off tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and support staff we would be in a better position to fight this. If his party hadn't sidelined and wasted billions of pounds on vanity schemes and bullshit defence budgets and HS2, we'd be in a better position to fight this.

He lies. He's lied all the way through his career. He is a liar.

So when he says carry on as normal, don't.

When he says in a single press conference that everyone 'should avoid pubs and social gatherings and practice social distancing' while at THE SAME TIME keeping schools, colleges and non-essential businesses going, don't listen.

Work from home if you can. Change your social life. It won't be forever, but it must be for now. Don't go to the pub, don't for god's sake try and go on holiday, don't go to gigs even if they aren't cancelled. Keep your kids off school and keep in touch with your local community. Check on your neighbours, volunteer to help where you can, keep clean, keep safe and be careful.

Watch out for each other at a local level because the government is not interested in helping you.

And bury your Parmesan while there's still time.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Well... shit...

The last time I posted was February 2017. It was a post about being terrified and not in control of world events that felt they were spiralling out of control.

Three years later and I can say that my unfounded anxiety was an hysterical overreaction and everything is fine.

It's FINE.

Apart from half the world is on fire, half under water, uncontrollable plagues of locusts are devastating crops in East Africa and now a global pandemic that will kill millions of people around the world is here. For real. Right now. And all of that's just since Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson became our PM. That's his actual name. 'Boris' is the cuddly nickname that has (apparently successfully) covered his obvious psychopathy for long enough for millions of people to actually vote for the lunatic.

I read a lot of Tudor history. I'm currently reading The Mirror and the Light. It's phenomenal. I used to read Tudor history and feel smugly glad that I'm a 20th century person. We're so much more educated and enlightened. We're not ruled over by insane megalomaniacs who actively want people dead. We don't live in fear of imminent death from diseases we can't control or treat. We are free to say what we think and we can trust that our state leaders at least try to do the best for us.

And then the world shifted. Just as I found personal happiness, everything else fell down the toilet. I'm not saying those two things are linked. But you know. Here we are. Far more likely to have been Bowie's death that opened the portal to the shittest timeline possible, to be fair. A timeline where Donald fucking Trump is still president and will probably win a second term. That's if elections go ahead and he doesn't take a leaf out of Putin's playbook and just scrap the whole pretence of democracy.

Whatever your thoughts on Brexit, the Tories, the fatuous joke of a prime minister the UK elected on purpose and the real puller of strings, the inexplicably revolting Dominic Cummings, surely none of us want to be here. Marooned apart from Europe, no allies, a joke on the world stage, no clarity on trade, no clarity on the crisis that is worsening every day. We're adrift in a sea of absolute shite and Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is at the bridge. Or in the fridge. Somewhere. Who knows. Probably on holiday in Mauritius.

We're divided like never before. Angry. Disenfranchised. Afraid. Scared. Belligerently arrogant. Sure that our immune systems will save us from a disease that has no precedent. Sure that we don't need to self-isolate. That it doesn't matter if we go out and carry on and that anyone who's openly worried is hysterical. We're politicised. We're damaged. And we cannot look to the political leaders of this country to guide us through this.

This is not a war with a clear enemy. And that bloated fool in Number 10 is no Winston Churchill.

Tomorrow is the 19th anniversary of the worst day of my life. The day my dad died. His death devastated me. It devastates me still. I lost him before his time. Way before his time. He was 56 years old.

Two days ago the prime minister told us to take this pandemic on the chin and to prepare to lose loved ones before their time. I wonder if he can even conceive of what that means. The devastation it will cause.

And for the first time since 16 March 2001, there's a part of me that's weirdly relieved that my dad isn't here anymore. Because he won't have to deal with this shitstorm. And  he won't die in an overcrowded ward. He won't be triaged away from ventilators and intensive care beds in favour of younger people because we don't have enough resources. He won't be treated as expendable collateral damage by a government that has systematically destroyed one of the finest healthcare institutions in the world until it's on its knees just in time for the kind of pandemic that hasn't been seen since 1919.

What am I saying? That the world is so awful and the outlook so bleak that I'm glad my dad's already dead? That's dark even for me.

Welcome back.