You know the children’s guessing game.
It goes something along the lines of, ‘Pick a number, double it, add six hundred thousand, divide it in half, and multiply it by the number you started with’.
If your figure comes to around a million you are Sajid Javid, the UK’s Health Secretary (recently appointed after his predecessor was caught on camera massaging a very different set of figures in his office), and you want your $10.
This is the number of daily cases that the UK population has been threatened with by its Health Minister, in order to find a justification for its latest attempt to strangle the life out of the British economy, its social life and its resistance to the government’s own creeping authoritarianism.
The worst ever day for a single country when it came to new cases was 314.845 cases recorded in India on April 22, 2021. A massive number, but in a country of 1.38 billion, that’s one in 4400. What Sajid is suggesting as the threat to the UK is one in 67 by the New Year! That is 66 times worse than on the worst day in India at the peak of the pandemic. Add to that, in July India had vaccinated with their first dose, less than 40% of its population, whereas today the UK has 80% double vaxxed and 33% have had three.
The Minister’s meth math appears to have come about through magical thinking, something like this.
A government scientist had suggested that though the provable total case of the Omicron version amounted to only 568 cases, he might hazard a guess that there could be up to 10,000 cases in the community not yet noticed. Then he suggested that the cases could double every couple of days. This, concluded the minister in a statement to Parliament, meant that, by January, a million of us could be getting it a day.
Who knows by summer we could each be contracting Covid two or three times a day?
To this Government of trainee gaulatiers was no option but to bring in a new set of restrictions, vaccine passports and yes, according to the beleaguered Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, this means that we should start talking about “mandatory” vaccinations.
This of course is all happening when far as we can tell the Omicron variant, rather than sending us into an authoritarian tailspin of forced vaccinations and enfored social suicide should be cheering us. Infection rates are already tailing off a bit at its epicentre in Southern Africa. No credible studies yet suggest anything other than it is an easily transmissible but, importantly far less dangerous mutation. Just as we can still find the heritage of the Spanish flu in modern versions of flu, coronaviruses, in order to satisfy their own urge to reproduce, become more transmissible and less deadly over time.
This is a good thing.
Well it is a good thing for the people of this world. Not so much for drug companies or politicians in a bind.
Think about this. We were told, here in the UK, that the Government would advise about action on this new variant on the 18th December. Even this was being queried by senior Conservative lawmakers, who thought that it was merely an attempt to stiffen the sinews of its supporters in two important by-elections happening in December.
However, instead of that, the decision (made by what is called the Quad - 4 senior ministers including the Prime Minister) was made on Tuesday evening, the 7th, and merely transmitted to the rest of the Cabinet by text. The rest of us were informed on the 8th.
Something else happened on Tuesday of course, mere hours before Boris decided to go ahead with the restrictions.
A video from last Christmas surfaced, showing his chief spokeswoman, Allegra Stratton (I declare an interest - someone I regard as a distant friend), laughing about there being a party at the PM’s offices on December 18th last year. The key point was at that time Boris was constantly on the TV telling us to lock down, we were legally banned from holding parties. People were being arrested for doing so. People were not allowed to see elderly relatives in their care homes. People were dying, uncared for, isolated, unloved and lonely. And the Prime Minister's office was partying into the night. Worse, it was seen to be laughing about it.
Ms Stratton has resigned. But the suspicion remains. Boris Johnson seems to have decided to punish not his own staff, but the country at large, for his own team’s behaviour.
The fact is, as a nation, the British are remarkably tolerant. We can, and do, deal with and forgive error, mistakes, and even bad behaviour. What we cannot abide is hypocrisy and cant.
If Boris had ‘fessed up, and said, “Yes there was a party, it has been a grueling few months (it had), the team were shattered having worked flat out trying to protect the nation (they had been), but it shouldn’t have happened, and I and we are very sorry for behaving like we were above the law” then the likelihood is that though people wouldn’t have liked it, the video probably wouldn’t have been leaked in the first place. We would have been narked, but would have accepted the apology, resolved to have a better time than the chinless fools in No 10 this year, and got on with it.
Now we are convinced that Johnson is nominatively predetermined to act like a Johnson, and very few will ever trust him again.
There is a by-election on Thursday in a Conservative seat in the countryside. It has never, in history, returned anything but a Conservative. Right now the betting says that the Conservative candidate will lose.
Subscribe to our evening newsletter to stay informed during these challenging times!!