Rant

Now. I know the other week I said that I didn’t want to just come on here and moan about how hopelessly inept the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis has been, or what absolute dullards/heartless bastards our Goverment is made up of, and I really want to keep to that.

You can sense a “But…” coming this way, right?

But…it’s rare that a week goes past when something doesn’t get my dander up, and this week, that thing came on Thursday. (There were things before that, of course: Johnson’s absolute inability to answer any question Kier Starmer asked him at PMQ’s for the umpteenth week running, for example, but given the frequency of that happening I figured I can mention it at pretty much any week I choose going forwards.)

But on Thursday, a new low, and a sneek preview of how things are going to be for the next few years at least.

For on Thursday, there was a vote in the House of Commons, tabled by Labour, to bring in weekly COVID-19 tests for NHS workers.

This is a no-brainer, right? We all saw first hand the explosion of gratitude across the nation to out NHS workers, with weekly rounds of appreciative applause echoing up and down our streets. We want to protect them, so they can continue to protect us, right?

We all remember Boris, standing out on Downing Street, having announced that the NHS had saved his life (the recuperative powers of watching Withnail & I previously having been unknown), joining in with the clapping before retreating back indoors to carry on making his buses out of wine boxes, write another racist article for The Spectator, try and mount anything which looks vaguely female, or whatever it is that he does behind closed doors. And he was not alone amongst the cabinet in taking to the streets, or as close to the streets as their moats will allow them, to join in the applause. There were the usual suspects: Raaaaab, Patel, Hancock.

In the meantime, there was the sloganeering. There was the very clear:

…and the rather less clear:

Not so much about protecting the NHS in that one, but that’s implicit, right?

I mean, it must be when you look at figures like this:

In case it’s not clear, those jobs -particularly the ones towards the top of the list – are predominantly the lower-paid, who can’t work from home but who have been told it’s okay to go back to work.

Just to pick out some of those: there’s Nurses crashing in at #5 with 101 deaths linked to Covid-19 between 09/03/20 and 25/05/20; Nursing auxillaries and assistants at #10 with 61 and, in with a bullet at #1, it’s care workers and home carers with 204 deaths linked to Covid-19.

So you would think that, in these new times, where we appreciate the work our NHS and care workers do, ensuring they – and by extension, us – are protected by way of weekly checks would be an obvious way for our politicians to double down on their words of praise.

But you’d be wrong. The motion was defeated 344 votes to 198.

If you’d like to see how your MP voted, you can check here. Spoiler alert: of those 344 votes, 343 were from Conservative MPs, and 1 was from the DUP (Jim Shannon, who seems to think the Government haven’t quite got enough out of that £1 billion they lobbed in their direction to prop them up after the 2017 election.)

343 MPs more concerned with toeing the party line than actually doing something good for once in their otherwise vacuous existences.

If you disagree with the way your MP voted, you can let them know by emailing them. Just Google their name and you’ll find an email address.

So you’ll forgive my cynicism, skepticism, call it what you will – but I’ve never believed the Tories when they say that they value the NHS. Right there is a clear indication that actually they don’t give a fuck about them, or, by extension, about you.

*****

She & Him are a collaboration between singer and actor Zooey Deschanel (probably best known over this side of the pond for her roles in sitcom New Girl and films Elf, Yes Man and 500 Days of Summer) and M. Ward (of…um…M. Ward and Monsters of Folk fame). Since I read about the above on Thursday, I’ve had this tune by them lodged in my noggin:

She & Him – This Is Not A Test

More soon (unreliable broadband allowing).

Mask

It’s been a pretty frustrating week for me, with my broadband crashing sporadically, popping back up again for a short time before crashing again, which made working from home pretty much an impossibility. Out of five days, I think I managed to work for a total of about two and a bit days, time which, since the issue was with my IT rather than work’s, I feel duty bound to make back up.

Friday was a total waste, as I waited in for a BT engineer to arrive, who never did. Cheers for that. But as I sat watching the Glastonbury coverage on the BBC last night, suddenly a message popped up on my TV screen: Your BT YouView Box has reconnected to the internet.

And so here I am, for as long as the connection lasts.

What I’m trying to say is that if my posts for the next few days seem uncharacteristically brief, it’s because I’m trying to get as much written as possible before my broadband inevitably goes down again.

Recently on these pages, I predicted there will be a second wave of Covid-19, because the rules regarding our behaviour have been relaxed too quickly.

What, of course, I should have also said is that the likelihood of a second wave is greatly increased by those who take no notice of the rules/advice anyway, and you only have to look at the recent pictures of people going to the beach in the past few days – and indeed, those going to parks and beaches historically through the “lockdown” – to see that social distancing has not been observed by too many people.

One of the recent rules that has come in is that when travelling on public transport, one must wear a face mask. And so the other day, two or three days after this rule came in, I thought I would see how closely it was being observed.

I needed to get provisions, and my local supermarket is within walking distance, but the bus goes right past my flat, so I thought I’d catch that and see how closely the new rules were being observed.

The bus in question is one like this, and under normal circumstances it probably can carry 30 – 40 people:

As it pulled up to the kerb to collect me, I noticed a poster on the doors which read something along the lines of: “To observe social distancing, this bus will carry a maximum of 8 passengers. Driver have discretion to allow up to 11 passengers, where large groups are travelling together.”

So, I got on board, tapped in, and joined the…wait, let me count….14 other passengers. None of whom appeared to be part of a large group; a couple of people were sitting together, but were clearly not with anyone else.

And I looked around; of the 14 people (not including me) 7 of them were wearing face masks. 3 had face masks, but they were around their necks. 4 had no face covering at all.

Who do you blame at this point? It would be easy to point the finger at the driver for failing to implement the rules, but then again would you want to be the bloke refusing to let people on the bus to go home? These drivers get enough grief as it is, without having to enforce new rules.

No, I blame you, the general public. It’s been well known for weeks that face masks on public transport is mandatory, so to my mind there’s no excuse in failing to comply. Goverment messages might be unclear or contradictory, but where one isn’t – “Wear a face mask on public transport” – there’s no excuse.

It seems there are still some people who either think the rules don’t apply to them, or who consider it an infringement on their civil rights, without bothering to consider the rights of those who don’t wish to catch anything from them.

Wise up.

Looing at the sleeve of this, I’m not totally convinced Iggy is talking about the same kind of mask – it’s a bit too Zed and The Gimp for my liking – but it’ll do to illustrate a point:

Iggy Pop – Mask

And just in case you didn’t get that Zed and The Gimp reference, then a) why have you never watched Pulp Fiction? and b) here you go, but this is as Not Safe For Work as can be, and c) spoilers:

Saturday morning, eh? S’what this kinda content was made for.

More soon (broadband reliability allowing).