Monday, 20 December 2021


No. Not the weather. Rather it was the rowdy debate in the House of Commons and, specifically, the torrents of unseasonal, ill humour that we saw from the government backbenches. We have become used to it over time but something snapped on December 14th. People I know who have always voted conservative were aghast at the vituperation and sheer nastiness and declared they couldn’t vote conservative again. Was it because of the parties, the Boris buffoonery, sleaze or resistance to government policies on health?

Coronavirus: Tory rebel Desmond Swayne in stern warning to PM as lockdown  begins | Politics | News |

None of these. It was the performance of backbenchers like Sir Desmond Swayne that made many feel they could have nothing to do with people like this.

I quote his remarks at some length because they were so distressing to many:-  

"On a typical winter’s day, between 200 and 350 people will die of flu. Do we hide behind our masks? Do we lurk at home, working from home? Do we demand that people provide their bona fides before going to a venue? Do we require people to be vaccinated as a condition of keeping their jobs?

Do we take seriously some of the extraordinary extrapolations that we have been given, particularly given the previous record? The fact is that those are things that might take place, and we have to balance them against the known costs and damage to enterprise, economy and society.

Desmond Swayne proves himself to be the Muhammad Ali of stupid – the  stupidest of all time | The Independent

In the end, it comes down to a matter of opinion—a matter of our prejudice. Typically, we are capable of organising our lives and making those decisions for ourselves. We decide what our risk appetite is and what we are or are not prepared to encounter. Notwithstanding the carnage on our roads, which is certainly killing more people than covid at the moment, some of us still decide to drive. It is a matter of opinion.

It comes down to letting loose the dogs of war—getting the fear factor into it and getting the officials, the members of SAGE, Independent SAGE and SPI-M and all those who speak in their private capacity out there twisting the fear lever……

The Government, having administered this Ministry of fear, are absolutely complicit with their officials and organisations who have designed and delivered it. In doing so, they have abandoned any principle of social democracy or liberal democracy, absolutely beyond anything that we have endured in recent living memory, in the history of this pandemic. As a consequence, having abandoned what might have been their ideology, they are rudderless and so much more at risk of the opinions and predictions of the advisers to whom they are in hock."

In fact 1,460 people died in road fatalities in the UK 2020. 147,000 people have died of Covid so far. That’s about 5 times the number who typically die of flu.

Coffin - Wikipedia

Fear? Yes, most people are frightened and it seems more people support recent Government measures and accept it’s their social  responsibility to protect others as well as themselves. Unmasked people on buses are the exception now. Large indoor gatherings are being generally avoided. 

A real shame' if enforcement needed against Aucklanders not wearing masks  on public transport, Chris Hipkins says |

Should we not welcome debate? Of course we should. But as Sir Desmond, himself admits “typically we are capable of organising our lives” but typically we also find it helpful to have scientific advice. 

If we look at Europe we find most countries take a much tougher attitude to lockdowns and personal restrictions than we do in the UK.

This may not make this the most convivial Christmas ever but “typically” we are pretty good at making the best of things. So let’s do that now.

The Christmas lights displays you can see without leaving your car - Hull  Live

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