Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Pandemics for Morons

A bit like using a sat nav, you need to have at least some sense of the direction you should be heading rather than simply placing absolute reliance on the route information provided. If you don’t, then just one misplaced digit in the destination postcode and you could be heading for trouble. 

This small can of session beer (3.9% ABV) is 1.3 units of alcohol. Chris Whitty is Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Adviser to the UK government. Chris recommends that men and women in the UK should not regularly drink more than fourteen units of alcohol per week and even then, he warns that “there is no level of regular drinking that can be considered completely safe”. I bet he’s fun at parties. But it’s his job. And you wouldn’t expect the Chief Medical Officer to be anything other than circumspect with his advisory offerings but then neither would you expect anyone with a modicum of common sense to conclude that such advice is anything other than cautious in the extreme with probably a bit more caution on top just for good measure.

So we should probably conclude that Chris gets paid £260,000 a year primarily to give advice to morons.

Now I am sure that the UK must indeed possess its fair share of morons. Unfortunately, it seems that some of them are currently employed as ministers in the UK government. Instead of applying the Does It Make Sense approach to Covid-19, government ministers - none more so than the prime minister Boris Johnson himself - have preferred instead to subscribe to Chris Whitty’s advisory services for morons. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not blame Chris Whitty. We all have to make a living and it must be nice when opportunity arises to prove your worth. And I doubt if running the country was ever part of his original job description either so we can’t grumble that we aren’t getting our money’s worth out of him. But it is the politicians who are supposed to be running the country and our current lot, both in government and opposition, have proven themselves - with a few notable exceptions - to be morons when it comes to the handling of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

When videos started emerging out of China this time last year purporting to show citizens collapsing in the street, residents being welded locked inside their own apartment blocks and hazmat-suited goons sterilising empty streets, did we immediately jump to the conclusion that we’re doomed and we’re all gonna die.  And when the source of the virus outbreak was supposedly linked to the wet markets in Wuhan, did we all think yep, that probably makes sense, the fact that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is just up the road (where they’ve been working on coronavirus strains in bats) is probably just an unfortunate coincidence. And when videos emerged of the good people of Wuhan last August, now free from lockdown and partying away in celebration at having defeated the virus, did we all think to ourselves fair play chaps, now that you’ve been un-welded you probably deserve a bit of a do.  Or did the thought cross our minds you know what, even notwithstanding the Chinese Communist Party’s hard won reputation for openness and honesty, I’m not sure I entirely believe all of that.

But if you’re the Chief Medical Adviser to the government whose brief is to give advice to morons then, to be fair, you’re never not going to err on the side of caution, particularly when the prime minister comes calling. And notwithstanding the fact that the country had previously prepared for such eventualities with the ready-and-waiting UK Pandemic Preparedness Plan, you can’t be 100%, no-doubt-about-it, absolutely, completely absolutely, and absolutely again certain that this previously well-researched and sensible contingency planning will actually work. But the Chinese seem to have got it right. So let’s dump our Pandemic Preparedness Plan and recommend that we copy China instead. But remember, Chris doesn’t make the decisions. He only offers advice. To morons. Which brings me to Boris Johnson.

Boris historically has always been an instinct politician. He is smarter than he looks but not as clever as one might hope. He is certainly not one for detail but he knows that of himself and therefore relies on good, clever people around him. And the voters like him. You don’t win an 80-seat majority if that’s not the case. Indeed I liked him. Until he turned into a moron.

Boris had never doubted his instinct until this time last year when the following three factors combined to deprive him of his BoJo and transform him into a moron. 1) The SARS-CoV-2 virus presented itself as a clear and present danger to the world. 2) Boris went down with and was hospitalised by the resultant Covid-19 disease, and 3) Boris also went down with Expectant Father Syndrome or, to give it its proper name, Couvade Syndrome. Couvade Syndrome is a proposed condition in which an expectant father experiences some of the symptoms and behaviour as his pregnant partner. These can include weight gain, altered hormone levels, disturbed sleep patterns and lots and lots and lots of doubt. It’s the perfect time to strike if you’re a life insurance salesman but it’s about the worst thing that can happen to a bloke when he’s faced with the onset of a pandemic whilst trying to run the country. You’re just not yourself …….and a Snickers bar isn’t going to do the trick. THERE’S A KILLER DISEASE ON THE WAY - WHO YOU GONNA CALL - PROFESSOR CHRIS WHITTY.... oh dear.

Twelve months ago, we did have a killer disease on the way but three months later we pretty much knew who it was killing and who it wasn’t. Armed with this knowledge, do you think we should have concentrated our efforts on protecting the vulnerable whilst allowing the vast majority - who were not at serious risk - to get on with their lives? Or should we lock down the country, crash the economy, ruin lives and livelihoods and subject the population to a psychological barrage of fear, intimidation and coercion to bend them to our will - just to be on the safe side you know. What do you think Chris? Well Mr Prime Minister, if it were me.

And thus Boris Johnson, minus his BoJo, signed up to Professor Whitty’s Pandemics for Morons Plan whereby one applies the Does it Make Sense rule only, it would seem, for the purpose of determining the opposite direction of travel. Such has been the appalling mismanagement of this crisis by the government that it is no wonder conspiracy theories abound. The fact that the government appears now to be hell-bent on introducing vaccine passports can only feed into such narrative. Make no mistake, this is all on Boris’ head. But the panglossian in me still leads me to conclude that it is incompetence rather than conspiracy which has led us to where we are now. To be precise, it is Boris’ incompetence fuelled by Professor Whitty’s Pandemics for Morons.

Last week, our esteemed Chief Medical Officer at the government launch of a new campaign to emphasise the comparative safety of outdoor socialising, was quoted as saying (in terms of the virus transmissibility); “The evidence is very clear that outdoor spaces are safer than indoors. It is important to remember this as we move into the next phase”. Jeez. That bloke certainly earns his money eh? And of course, he hasn’t been deprived of his livelihood, nor his financial future, nor his liberty I shouldn’t wonder if indeed he lives his own life by the precautionary principles he espouses. So Chris is sitting quite comfortably in the back seat of Boris’ Jaguar XJ Sentinel as it poodles along. Unfortunately for the rest of us, it’s Boris who is driving the bloody thing and he doesn’t seem to have realised that the final destination appears to be right off the end of a cliff. Now, call me a cynic, but that doesn’t make much sense to me.