Well, what a week. Where to start…?
Well, on Sunday, The Queen addressed the nation. 24 million people watched.
I wasn’t one of them. Not a big fan of the Royals, me.
I want to make it perfectly clear that, having read the transcript of her message, I have no problem with it. (This is merely an opening clause, bear with me.)
Turns out I didn’t need to watch it, because both the mainstream and social media were all over this. It was a timely reminder, it seems, on a weekend when various parks were closed because people weren’t using them in line with the current rules.
The current rules are not complicated: the parks – presently – are there for people to get their daily permitted exercise, provided they socially distance themselves from others doing the same thing.
So, if you decided to go and have a picnic or sunbathe: you’re a dick and you’ve spoiled it for everybody.
Speaking of dicks, later that evening it was announced that Boris Johnson had been admitted to hospital with the coronavirus. And suddenly, my timeline on Twitter was awash with people wishing him well, hoping and praying for a speedy recovery.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish the man dead. But this is the same man who only weeks ago was boasting about visiting hospitals and shaking hands with coronavirus sufferers, willy-wanging about how he wouldn’t stop doing this; who implemented a plan of allowing the virus to spread through the country so that we could develop “herd immunity”.
A policy which leads us here, to where we are today (I’m writing this on Friday, so this will have changed in the interim), with 65,077 confirmed cases, of which 7,978 have died.
I’m not claiming that all of those deaths were avoidable, but some of them definitely were.
And then we were asked to #clapforBoris, a most unfortunate hashtag, given his legendary if unfathomable reputation as a pork swordsman.
I don’t know of anyone who did this; the only footage I’ve seen was on The Telegraph website, depicting folks clapping and cheering, which turned out to have been filmed two weeks earlier, actually depicting folks clapping and cheering the NHS.
So, no: I don’t wish Boris dead. But I’m definitely not going to applaud the venereal old warthog, and I certainly wouldn’t shed a tear if he died as a result.
Oh no, wait: maybe there would be some tears, because it seems that if Boris did croak, Dominic Raab would be in charge.
That’s Dominic Raab, he of restricted understanding, who announced that he didn’t fully understand that the UK is an island, that Dover is a port, and that France is our nearest trading partner.
There’s so much to say about how thick Raab is, but I’ll let the master of takedowns do it:
Anyway, in Boris’ enforced absence, Raab has been hosting the daily updates, and – credit where credit’s due – has been championing the work of our keyworkers, the NHS staff on the frontline.
Have they got proper PPE yet? Or enough ventilators? I’m not sure. Probably not. But champion them he did.
Many of them the very people that Priti Patel wants to have removed from the country.
Ah, Priti Patel. I should add something about all that the Home Secretary has said or done in the past few weeks, but she hasn’t been seen for ages. Just what you need at a moment of national crisis. But as I write this, she seems to have re-emerged, giving a speech about how the police should just chill out a bit.
And then there’s Matt Hancock. Matt Hancock is such a mouth-breather I’m surpised he isn’t hoovering up all the Covid-19 droplets on his own. In a “Who looks the most gormless?” competition, he would potentially only be beaten by former snooker player Neil Foulds. Or Baldrick.
Schnozzeling up all the bad droplets would be a good thing here: we already know he has super-human qualities, given that he self-isolated for just three days – in direct contravention of the Government’s policy – after he began displaying some of the virus related symptoms.
But anyway, Hancock popped up at the start of the week moaning about how much professional footballers are paid, and saying that they should be contributing more to help the NHS.
Now I don’t disagree that professional footballers are paid way too much, but – Thatcherites take note – the market is what the market is. But they’re a bit of an eaasy target here. Why single them out and ignore…oh, just off the top of my head…Google, Amazon, Starbucks and Vodafone, all of whom avoid paying billions into the public coffers, or any of the billionaires who donate to the Conservative party? It seems spectacularly selective at best.
And let’s not forget that Hancock also said this week that now is not the time discuss increasing health workers’ pay. Actually, now is exactly the right time to discuss it. And this was particularly rich, given that MPs were told they could claim an additional £10,000 in expenses for working from home. I’ve been working from home for almost three weeks, where’s my extra ten grand?
Which brings me back to Our Liz. (See? I told you to bear with me.)
Why is the Royal Family not taking a hit here? The monarchy cost British taxpayers £67m during 2018-19, a 41% increase on the previous financial year.
They won’t be travelling abroad much, if at all, in 2020. There’s a saving there, right?
Two of them, and their child, have just renounced their position, moved to Canada and been told they will no longer receive payouts from the public purse. So what’s happening to that money?
And is Prince Andrew still getting his full whack, despite everything? I know his birthday party was cancelled, bless him – there was a balloon sculptor booked and that’s his favourite – but are we still funding the (alleged) paedophile? Is Woking branch of Pizza Express that close to bankruptcy we have to make sure he can visit there as often as possible?
But they bring in so much revenue through tourists, is the usual defence that gets trotted out in such arguments. Not this year, they won’t.
We should be getting some money back off them, surely?
So forgive me if, when I read the words of the Queen’s broadcast to the nation, where she evokes the Blitz spirit, and asks us all to come together and act appropriately to overcome the common enemy, and then I read how wonderful her speech was received, I just think of this.
Play the tune, Paul: