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Sunday, 26 July 2020

Dug In Like A Tick

I hate to remind you all - I know we spend a lot of time not thinking about it - but Donald Trump is the president of the United States.

We couldn't believe it when it happened, we are still in a position of disbelief each day, and when it comes down to it, I think we'll write off these past four years as some kind of mass hallucination. Maybe.

I'm not going to dig into his policies. I don't feel the need to. You know where I stand on the topic, as a human being with a degree of empathy.

However - it seems that the populace have become aware of this man's con artistry and general awfulness. He is polling terribly. Almost every poll for the entire US has him behind Joe Biden - who, lets be clear, I am not super stoked about getting the job either, but if we're picking an STI, I'll take the one that itches the least.

I am aware that the popular vote isn't what actually decides the US electoral process, which is its own problem. Which just adds an air of uncertainty to the whole thing, that accompanies another level of uncertainty - mass vote manipulation. A large swathe of US citizens, by various means, having the ability to vote taken away from them. The attempted dissolution of the postal vote / US Postal Service, the mass incarcerations and criminal charges following protests, the closing of polling stations in areas that classically don't vote a certain way.

Can all of that overcome the damage Trump has done to himself?

And if it doesn't - and if he loses - if the electoral colleges do what they didn't do four years ago...

...what happens then?

Well, he's implied - indirectly, in a kind of Schrodinger's Idea kind of fashion - that he might not accept the result. For a variety of reasons.

I say Schrodinger's Idea because - well, you've all known someone like this. Someone that will float something that most people around them won't gel with, without seeming to be very invested in the notion. Just a joke, they'll say. Just trolling. Just being funny. Just to see who bites, and who doesn't - to see how much resistance there is. It's a classic abuser technique, as it happens.

This happens a lot in politics. An idea will be "leaked" and the backlash measured. This happens because the idea is potentially socially costly to the people fronting it up, often because the idea will (if executed) be harmful or detrimental to a significant swathe of society as a whole. It's a case of trying to see if they can make it fly, if they can convince the populace of the merits of the notion (real or imaginary) rather than have them focus on the flaws.

Look at Brexit; the idea was floated as a "Just A Thought" concept back in 2013, when David Cameron started making noises about renegotiating our EU membership. He wasn't idly speculating in the pub with his mates, he was seeing what we said and did about it. There wasn't an immediate uproar against it, and the anti-EU sentiment had been stoked gently and quietly for decades, so that's as much license as he and his needed.

So what happens if Donnie goes through with it? What happens if he barricades himself in the Oval Office and plugs his fingers in his ears?

Fact is, we aren't sure.

If the army, or the national guard, or the secret service, or even the FBI or CIA, have protocols for this kind of thing - they haven't been made public. I would like to believe that they DO have a protocol for this kind of thing. As anathemaic as it might seem for the democratically elected head of state to refuse to leave when the state elects someone else, coups are a semi-regular occurrence worldwide, so it can't be that alien a concept. Especially given that the CIA funds so many of them.

What really matters, though, is what the rest of the executive decides to do.

There's a lot of people in the White House that are only there because they're friends with this dude. There's a lot of folks that have benefited hugely from his being in power, because you can get away with absolutely egregious shit when the entire population is standing in slack-jawed horror at the last thing the president himself has done. I daresay that they would support his barricading, and would try and stir up their base to action - which means boogaloos and proud boys all over the place, and probably a bunch of Klan as well.

Everyone else, though? Senate, Congress? It might benefit them to just... pass on executive power to the person that won the election. Like, it doesn't matter that Donnie is in the White House right now, he's not the one in charge. He's not the President any more. He's just a guy in a room, surrounded by useless sycophants.

Technically speaking, the US military wouldn't have to obey his orders any more; and given how he has treated them at various turns, I don't think that there is a significant ground swell of Trumpism amongst the upper echelons of the Pentagon. So I would predict that the army would go along with the status quo, and refuse to assist the former President - though I doubt they would do anything direct to try and remove him. How bad would that look? US army invading their own White House?

If removal happens, I think it would be the secret service that would be the ones to do it. They are beholden to the office, not the man; and all of a sudden there is an intruder in the White House, which is a big deal. He needs to be removed without delay.

And if he does go down this route, and if he does refuse to leave, I guarantee you there will be no dignified end-of-movie resolution to the affair. Just another long, sad, dejected walk out to the car - potentially in cuffs.

...honestly gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

The Nobility

Before we get into this I'd like to draw people's attention to the fact that:

1) The Black Lives Matter protests are still ongoing and will continue to do so until real results have been achieved that aren't simple corporate and governmental virtue signalling, and

2) Unmarked federal agents in military kit are literally snatching people off the streets in various places in the US with no justification and no guarantee of freedom or fair treatment.

Stay involved, stay informed.

Now, to business.

I'm going to open with this screenshot of Rishi Sunak, our Chancellor of the Exchequer, espousing some of his virtue.

Specifically I am going to point out this particular sentence.

And where's the harm in that, one might think? The nobility of work. Everyone loves a bit of hard work, right? It's noble to go in and put in your however many hours. You go in, you do your time, you shed your sweat, you get your pay, you go home, and you feel proud over nobly doing your duty.

Nobility. An interesting choice of words.

I've talked about work ethic before, and it relates to this - that there is a universally accepted ethically good attitude towards work, and how I am a bit of a hypocrite for having a work ethic but also having the thoughts we're going to discuss.

See, there's this... thing about work. As in both the concept of employment, and also the notion of undertaking physical labour. There's a thing about it being above reproach, about the notion of working being total and universal, and about how hard work is the be-all and end-all of human existence. It's a uniquely Conservative worldview.

Who here remembers this song from Dumbo?

Still not sold on how deeply this notion is embedded in our culture? How many stories do we get told by our older family members about how hard they used to have it, and how that was better for whatever reason? It's like the suffering brought about by worse conditions has a virtue applied to it. Imagine the attitudes of your older friends or relatives when they talk about people on benefits or receiving governmental help or charity, who haven't worked for it, who are expecting "something for nothing".

Ah but I get ahead of myself. First, let me delve back in time. WAY back.

Ever since we've had social groups and individuals in those social groups capable of performing different tasks, division of labour has existed. It's a very basic concept - someone has to go and stab the mammoth, someone has to stay home and watch the kids. The alternative is just not worth any numerical advantage it might offer, as any parent that has had to take their kids shopping when they're in a bad mood can tell you.

As social groups grew, as our tools got better, as we started to shift away from hunter-gatherer existence to arable and pastoral existence some 11,000 years ago, it became clear that less time needed to be spent stabbing the aforementioned mammoth. It took less effort to nurture the crops, guard them and prepare them for eating, than it did to go and bring the food home. So there was time to do other things. There was time for leisure, to have more children, to raise and teach them, to make things that weren't strictly needed for survival, such as art and music. We had, by dint of our growing brain pans and our tool use, earned free time.

We had also earned mercy. Margaret Mead - cultural anthropologist of renown - pointed out that, in her eyes, the beginning of actual civilization was a 15,000 year old human femur that had broken and healed. That broken femur was a concrete example of humans helping someone else without immediate reward, someone that couldn't care for themselves. This would have been even easier once crops became widespread. If one isn't constantly chasing one's next meal, one has time to recover from an injury that could easily prevent them from catching that meal and starving to death.

In truth, we owe as much of who we are as a species to the fact that we had time to NOT work for our survival than the things that we did TO survive.

And then along comes...

That's it, hierarchy. Or, specifically illustrated here, The Divine Right Of Kings.

The moment that we start having people in charge, people who lead and have others that follow - we see resource start to trickle upwards. The leader gets the biggest hut, in the most basic example - does he go out and get the mud and sticks himself? Probably not. Does he take from a mutually gathered pool of mud and sticks? Probably. Does that mean he gains more from the labours of others than they do? Definitely. (Is he definitely a he? You didn't even notice I was doing that, did you? Question everything, my friends!)

Humans have a base minimum resource need to exist. If you have eight humans, and one of them doesn't want to put in the work to meet that resource need, that human needs to convince the other seven that they need to do more than THEY need to as a minimum - so that the one can benefit from the excess. And if that human also wants a big hut, well, then you have to convince them to do even more work. Just hope that nobody notices that they work that much harder each day and have less to show for it.

Thus, we come across the origin of selling work as a noble virtue. Peep a couple of these bible quotes.

So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him? (Ecclesiastes 3:22)
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. (Proverbs 12:11) 
And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. (Luke 10:7)

And I believe we have all heard variations on the phrase, the devil makes work for idle hands, which is believed to have originated in a letter sent in the 4th century by the theologian Jerome: Do something, so that the Devil may always find you busy.

Having actual slaves, actual indentured people who are literally forced to perform labour for a leader (or collective of leaders), was a practice so common that I barely need to touch on it. It's a practice that continues today, even right now as we speak, though it is dressed up as prison labour. That said, one can't have an entire population that are literally enslaved - one needs a significant percentage of their people to not believe they need to be freed, so it is good for them to see that the key to a good life is to put in work, all day, every day, under the circumstances provided.

Oh hi, Feudalism. A big old pyramid scheme, with the king at the top, the nobility in the middle, and the peasant class at the bottom. There's your nobility of work.

Oh hi, Victorian workhouses.

Springing up in the 17th century as a means of providing something for poor people without upsetting the pockets of not-poor people, the workhouse was where you went if you didn't have any money. Because it is a sin to offer a hand of help to people that aren't making themselves useful.

Herein we find where this ethic becomes useful: because if you lionise the worker, and you enshrine as holy the notion that one has to work for their supper (even while those higher in society don't do so), then you can very easily adjust your thinking into believing that those that do not - or cannot - work, don't deserve any help. It allows one to demonise the concept of "something for nothing". Describing monetary or fiscal assistance to those of the lower classes as "handouts", while describing such a thing to businesses as "stimulus".

It is a weapon that can be aimed at any number of individuals that certain more conservative states might decide need to be the enemy of the day. Refugees, for example. Immigrants. Local disenfranchised populations. Teenagers. Protesters. The homeless. So on. Also, it is used to dismiss individuals who are opposed to being charged for things they feel they should not be charged for, for whatever reason. Tuition fees in the United States are a good example; most arguments that they should be forgiven or eased are met with some derivative of "you can't have something for nothing", often accompanied by a "back in my day". The word Scrounger gets used a lot, too, as a pejorative. This specific point of view can get shored up very easily by television programmes that demonise and villainise those who rely on benefits or external support - just one wing of the Right Wing Propaganda Block of programming that goes out daily on British TV.

What we can also do, at this point, is we can imply that it is only through hard work that one can gain wealth - and thus by the simple facts already established, we arrive at wealth being a virtue in and of itself, which makes it even easier to demonise those that don't have any. You're seen as a better person if you have plenty of cash, because it is implied that you worked for it, which is an inherently good thing to do. If you don't have cash, you are seen as a worse person, because you obviously haven't worked.

Let alone the hundreds, nay, thousands of reasons why effort put in doesn't equal reward gained - or the hundreds, nay, thousands of reasons why one can work hard and put in their virtuous noble labour and still end up bankrupt and homeless. If one is poor, if one is having difficulties, they can just work their way out of it - even if they can't. To the purveyors of this particular mindset, every problem that a person has should be overcome by them "just working harder".

That is the narrative. Right there. We justify our existence through our work, so those who do not or cannot can be dismissed, and so we do not have to provide assistance for anyone. We reject and deny and condemn those who want or expect "something for nothing", because everyone has to work, everyone has to contribute, and pay no attention to those carving off massive shares of what profits we make to keep themselves comfortable.

Except that phrase I keep using. Something For Nothing.

That concept is treated as a closed system, totally independent of any other factor. That this individual, regardless of their personal circumstances, wants - and perhaps expects - to receive some kind of benefit, for no effort or repayment. That's how it is phrased, and most people who will use the term in the context of wanting to deny others any kind of help or support will mean it that way.

This of course ignores how these benefits or fiscal forgivenesses are funded, and that is through tax - billions and billions of pounds worth of tax every year. This tax is used on a wide, wide variety of things - but it includes such things as benefits. Your tax money isn't ring-fenced; road tax on vehicles isn't solely used for maintenance of highways, National Insurance contributions aren't solely used for the NHS. It all goes into one single large fund, which is used to pay for everything that society needs - or so the plan goes.

So if you have had a job for a long time, and lived in a local council, and have bought things in local shops, and have a car that you drive, then you have paid a lot of tax; and if you are unable to work for a period of time, that means that, if you ask for some fiscal support to not - you know - starve, then you have already contributed to the fund that would actually support you.

What about someone who comes to this country from somewhere else? A refugee for example? They haven't done any work. Thus, if they expect any help, they are asking for Something For Nothing! They can't have it, because they haven't worked, and work is good, and work is noble, and not working isn't noble! (Or at least, so we would be led to believe.)

Well here's the thing; the third highest contributing tax to the national income is Value Added Tax, which is applied to the sales of damn near everything.

I have probably discussed this before, but just living in this country, even if you are having your housing provided by the state, means you still contribute to the economy - multiple times over. You walk into a shop and buy a £2 bottle of fruit juice - 40p of that goes straight to the treasury, and the profit the shop has made on the fruit juice is added to their total profits, which also get taxed as corporation tax. The people that made the juice? Yep, they pay taxes on their profits too, as do the people that made the bottles, the labels, and everyone else. Turns out that just about everyone pays tax, if they don't subsist on lichen and sunlight.

Even if they were given that £2 by the government - the government gets so much of it back so quickly that the actual cost to the government is so much less than the actual sum of money handed over. Anything that doesn't end up back in the tax coffers either goes into bank savings - which thanks to the eighties can be gambled on the stock market, for good or ill - or cycled through an endless churn of businesses that ends up stoking the economy as a whole.

But none of that matters, of course; because work as a virtue - and thus wealth as a virtue - is an ideology, projected into the world by those that have the money, and picked up by those that want the money and to not feel guilty about it. Be good, be obedient. Do your work. Make the money for the owners. That makes you a good person. This educational film will show you why.

The constant march of work-worship has its costs, of course. The arts suffer constantly, due to their not being seen as worthwhile unless one can make a profit from them. Even actual documented evidence that shows that working a four-day week improves productivity by 40% - more than accounting for the extra day workers don't spend at their desks - gets roundly rubbished and ignored.

So when Rishi Sunak says he believes he believes in the nobility of work, he is echoing something that his fellow Conservative politician Iain Duncan-Smith said, which is: Work makes you free.


Even if it can be proved that an objectively kinder, objectively more merciful system and methodology is actually better for the economy and the individual alike - while people that believe in the "nobility of work" are in charge, it is not something we shall ever see.

Remember: Rishi Sunak and Iain Duncan Smith alike both voted to end free school meals for children, despite their own meals being paid for by the taxpayer.

Just something to think about.

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Readers Request - Ace, Voyager, Jonathan Frakes

That's right, due to it being my birthday next Tuesday it's another round of Readers Request, so let me just get something out of the way.

There we go. Okay. Let's get to it.

Of all the Dr Whos and companions which are your favourites individually and the best pairing. - My favourite doctor is a hard choice, but I think I'd end up going with David Tennant - on the understanding that I haven't watched the most recent doctor - and my favourite companion is, was, and always WILL be Ace. Best combination? Tennant and Martha. Any day.

And why is it bonnie Langford? - Sorry...

Did you get any nice participation prizes for managing a whole year of meeting the minimum requirements for being not dead? - I got a Redemptor Dreadnought that I am looking forward to having anxiety over painting... and then actually painting, obviously.

Is Rasta Nav real? - Jah bless.

What was your best birthday gift ever? - This. I was on left of stage way up in the nosebleeds but it was mindblowing. The travel back was a bit of a lark, but...

Best Weird Al parody - I dunno about the BEST one - but my FAVOURITE one is this one:

Where were Voyager 1 and 2 when you were born and how far have they gone since then? What perspective does this knowledge give? - Buckle in for this one, folks.

When I was born, Voyager 1 was almost two years travel out from its encounter with Titan, and was well into its Extended Mission. Eight years from that point, it would take the last picture of the solar system needed for the System Family Portrait, below.

Voyager 2 was almost a year's travel beyond Saturn after its close encounter, and three and a half years away from its encounter with Uranus.

They are both travelling at different average speeds, so they have both travelled a different distance since I was born; Voyager 1 has travelled 20,386,209,600 kilometers (at around 17km/s), and Voyager 2 has travelled 18,587,426,400 kilometers (at 15.5km/s). Those are some big numbers. For comparison - that's around 136 and 124 AU respectively; that's 136 (or 124) times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Simply a massive distance.

What perspective does this give me? ...well. ...we're very, very small, in terms of the universe. Perhaps we could ease up on the ego for a while, give everyone else a break.

What song caught you off guard in a moment? Not necessarily a song that made you remember a person, but say out in the world you suddenly heard a song and went 'wait what?' - The Disturbed cover of Sound Of Silence. I was listening to the album the day it came out; the rest of the album is just... okay, you know? Mediocre. Just listening away while I was doing something else. Then this song comes on and I am pole-axed for the entire runtime. Just absolutely blown away. I listened to it on repeat for the rest of the day - I must have listened to it at least two dozen times the day it was released. Just absolutely kicked my ass.

Favorite doughnut from Krispy Kreme? - Simple chocolate ring.

If limitations of covid/ space/ time etc weren’t existing - how/where/when would you spend your birthday? - So. If we also assume that my health was okay, aka no limb and joint failure and no lung issues - get a few rooms in a nice hotel in a city somewhere. A hotel with a nice hotel bar. Perhaps close to the beach. Spend a week just eating local food, occasionally buying funky things. Sounds like a ball.

What is your zombie apocalypse plan - Go jack a car. Drive it to Co-Op, ram-raid the doors, get into the back. Load as many canned goods, bottles of water etc as I can into one of their trucks. Drive the truck down to the harbour. Steal someone's boat. Boat out into the middle of the solent, not over a sand bank. Drop anchor. Wait. Zombies can't swim.

If you could learn one art/craft/making-skill, what would it be. - I would love to be able to play music. Guitar perhaps? I know I know cliche but... failing that, drawing cartoon-style.

If you could have any animal in the world as a tame pet (and assuming space/supplies etc weren't a concern), what would it be. - One of THESE bad boys

If you could institute one policy that every government in the world has to follow, what would it be. - Universal Basic Income funded by enhanced corporate and capital gains tax - and if those taxes are avoided or not paid, then your company gets nationalised, immediately. Time to start giving something back.

Are criminality and deviance the same? When does something cease to be deviant and become criminal? - Criminality is a breach of legality; deviance is a diversion from accepted standards. It bears mention that something being morally wrong is also separate and distinct from both of these factors. A deviance should be considered criminal if it is, well, against the law. If it's a deviance that nobody even thought to make illegal - well, how many people does it hurt? How much potential for damage does it have? Is it harmful to society as a whole? That's the questions you gotta ask.

Should scientists be looking for genetic explanations for criminality/sexuality etc? If not, why not? - Well... what if they find that there is one? ...can you trust that information in the hands of today's governments and corporations? Given that it is relatively easy to get genetic material from someone. Ask not how this technology would be used by the most benevolent ruler - ask how it would be used by the most greedy, autocratic, self-interested power-monger you can imagine. If they can determine behind closed doors that someone has a predilection toward criminality, then they will be able to justify doing something about it, or not, as they see fit. Which just means another tool with which to punish and persecute and oppress people. But of course, any Eton graduate's children wouldn't be subject to such scrutiny, surely? And thus the system becomes not only pointless, but dangerous. And in terms of sexuality - imagine Russia (and its current massively homophobic/traditionalist authoritarian attitude) mandating that every child be checked for genetic sexuality. Given how they treat anyone that isn't heterosexual, would it be ethical for that information to be in their hands? We all know what governments are capable of doing. That's also assuming that either of these genetic tests are 1) 100% accurate and 2) overriding of nurture or life experience. Nobody is born a criminal.

Should politicians be held criminally accountable for actions that they take within their roles? If not why not. - Yes. Absolutely. If that would make them afraid of doing things which could lead to people dying, or getting hurt, or committing fraud - GOOD. They're MEANT to be accountable. That's why we elect them. Not that you'd think it, given how much this current crop of bastards can get away with before even thinking about resignation; and I am pretty sure our local MP could literally stab someone in the street and still pick up a 70% share of the vote, because he has a blue rosette. They should also explicitly be viable targets for class action suits.

What is your favourite smell? - New book.
Which is your favourite emotional state/emotion? - Uuuuh... that's... a tough one. I guess... belonging, combined with happiness and satisfaction? I think.

This video of Jonathan Frakes asking you things -

No, no, happy, at least 15%, no, not very, no money whatsoever as long as I had a comfortable bed, no, yes his name is Tom, sorta, only that the 49ers lose whenever I watch them, no, no, no, no, they sure have the income for it, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, no, I think this question really dates this video because no, YES WHENEVER I SEE IT

What franchise did you have high hopes for, only for you to become disappointed as time went on? - God so many, but let's say that the biggest two were the Alien vs Predator movies and the Michael Bay Transformers movies. The rage I could vomit into the cosmos over those, I swear to god. How do you fuck up just about every single aspect of five whole movies and still make money?

What franchise/thing would you like revived (toys/cartoons/films etc) - Centurions, Jayce & the Wheeled Warriors, Swat Kats, Visionaries, the second run of Thundercats, the Patlabor anime, Animorphs, the Babylon 5 spinoff Crusade, a movie or TV series based on the Rising Stars comic by J Michael Straczynski, Squats in Warhammer 40,000, jeez all sorts...

Interesting bits of Steam Punk that you've come across? - I'm not massively into steam punk stuff myself; now if you ask me, the really cool shit is diesel punk. I think steam punk got very popular very quickly, which immediately 1) dilutes the initial ethos into something you can sell literally everywhere and 2) means that everything gets a steam punk iteration, which... kind of undermines the entire thing. Besides - Victorian values are icky, even if they do result in big rolling cities that eat other cities.

Top 5 things you've enjoyed about Doctor Who -  Daleks in general. The special weapons Dalek from Remembrance Of The Daleks, the first episode I ever saw. Some of the music. Some actual wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. And this speech:

Well folks. That's it. That's this week. Thank you for coming along for the ride. Next week, we're back on it.

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Creepy Creepy Creep

Anyone ever seen a dog, when it is told it can't do or have something?

You ever seen them do the thing where they look a bit guilty... but don't back off, don't go off to do something else, they just kind of... linger? Just wait about?

If they're told to not eat something, have you ever seen them just... sniff at it? Just look at it? Oh, not EATING it, oh no no no! Good dog, told NOT to eat. Not eating. No. But... looking is fine, right? Sniffing fine, right? Yes, that's just fine.

Have you ever watched as they try and do the thing that they were about to do? Just... maybe a bit sideways, maybe slowly, as if hoping that you won't notice, if you do it slowly enough?

Perhaps you have seen one of the braver canines pause when told no, take a moment, and then just do the thing anyway, because the five-second time period in which you meant the thing that you said has passed now?

I love dogs.

You ever noticed how kids do the same thing?

In a boring place like a waiting room or something, where they have to spend periods of time just being still and relatively quiet, and being considerate of other people, and in an environment that is so not-kid-friendly it hurts?

(Most kids anyway. When I was a kid I loved to just sit quietly, especially if I had a book. That explains a lot.)

So a child, who is understandably bored and antsy and not looking forward to having to see a doctor, is asked to stay still. Now they don't know how long this is for - waiting times in a doctors office are a mystery anyway, and a lot of children have the same timekeeping capacity as dogs. There are three times: The Past, The Next Five Seconds, and An Infinite Period Of Time Impossible To Imagine.

So the child becomes still. ...for a while.

How long until there is looking around and exhaling? Until there is leg-kicking? Until there is wriggling and shifting? How long until the kid is up on their knees on the seat, looking around, and complaining about being chastised because they haven't GONE anywhere, they're still HERE, they haven't even DONE anything...

But chastised all the same, the child becomes still, if sulky.

Until the cycle begins again.

Another thing that kids do - when told to not go upstairs, they will agree, but then maybe sit near the stairs, or on the stairs, and look up the stairs, and then sit a little bit up the stairs, and then have another look up the stairs, but they aren't UPstairs so - and then they're just upstairs because every step prior to that one was fine.

That's just kids, though. Right?

Now - and I apologise for this - picture our government.

Yep, that's them, right there. They look like the equivalent of Bulk & Skull from a UK variant of Power Rangers.

Now imagine that a massive pandemic starts spreading across the world, that you had months of warning about, and that your plan to deal with involves not helping anyone, not following the proposed pandemic measures from an exercise conducted in 2016, and instead just letting people die because it's more economical.


Now obviously the general public heard about this and were outraged, so the government backpedalled on it immediately - and even claimed later that there was no herd immunity plan at all, despite there being clear evidence that there was, as reported here.

So measures are put in place - begrudgingly, and slowly, leading to a significant quantity of preventable infections and deaths. Doing what a lot of other countries did, sort of. The messaging coming out of the government was fairly limp, but what do you expect, they aren't very capable.

Some other countries enjoy success. Notably, countries that went in hard and fast on the lockdowns, and didn't faff around for ages saying "well maybe stay at home if you want but everything is fine".


...then what if we open just a little bit?

What if some of our advisers and MPs just... go and... you know? Go off and do things? Not EVERYONE obviously just some people?

What if we open just a little bit more, and change all of our signage from "red iconography stay home stay home STAY HOME" to "green iconography wishy washy be alert maybe"?

What if we open yet more, before we've even tabulated the figures from what happened the last time we relaxed lockdown?

What if we shift the onus of responsibility from the government onto the British public, so that it is the people's fault if anything goes wrong?

What if, after all of this, and after all of the half-assed messaging about staying home and wearing masks and social distancing, we then open pubs at 6am on 4th July - but INSIST that everyone will socially distance and wear masks and be safe and definitely do all the stuff they were told to because drunk people are famously good at following instructions? Just like reopening schools, filled with schoolkids who - also - are famously good at following instructions?

Just hoping that you wouldn't notice?

Because they haven't SAID "herd immunity", they're just doing everything NEAR herd immunity, and it's not THEIR fault that the public are doing what the public are doing, and they haven't even DONE anything...

Yeah, that's where we're at.

Setting a stopwatch for two weeks again. And if you've been to the pub, please don't take it personal if I don't want to hang out.

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