Last time we had a health scare ... was it the Avian Flu in 2009? ... when I was still in the Diocese of Oxford, we had a hearty laugh about a diocesan statement which went into great detail about who would take over the diocese if the Diocesan Bishop died; which Area Bishop would be the next domino to fall after that ...
Happily, rather like CJD, that turned out to be a Damp Squib. Thank God for Damp Squibs. This time, when somebody has forgotten to dampen the squib, the Government has been asked which politico will take over if X dies, but has refused to give an anwer. Indeed, the whole business, so far, has been characterised by daily Press Conferences at which actual, down-to-earth, possibly useful, information is steadfastly refused. Gracious me, talk about *n*lly retentive. Talk about condescending charlatans.
We are promised a letter from Boris Johnson to every household in the country ... millions more pieces of potentially infected rubbish shoved into letterboxes and needing to be safely disposed of. You'ld almost think ...
Talking about waste paper ... Johnson once wrote a biography of Churchill. I read it in Blackwells. It was pathetic; even a card-carrying admirer of Johnson, the historian Professor David Starkie, said how embarrassing it was. Johnson clearly has his life directed to one end: just as Churchill saved us from the Nazis, so he will go down as the Man of Destiny who saved us from ... er ... the EU. Coronavirus will undoubtedly have thrown this fanciful trajectory somewhat off course. But I'm still waiting for the Prime Ministerial Broadcast in which he will assure us that, while not the Beginning of the End, "This" (whatever 'this' might be) is the End of the Beginning.
It won't be. Johnson is not even a Montgomery.
But we always have the Conspiracy Theorists, jolly, jolly intellectuals, to cheer us up. However daunting their task, they always make everything connect with everything else, and how brilliantly they rise to each occasion. Being a simple soul, I am completely willing to believe the evidence they will undoubtedly present demonstrating that President Xi's second cousin twice removed once met the Chief Rabbi of Greenland; and that Mrs Xi's hairdresser's sister-in-law once slept with a man who was at the Chinese Embassy in Teheran at the very time when Hannibal Bugnini was Papal Nuncio there and doubling up as Worshipful Grand Master of the Teheran Lodge.
I'm sure that Marks and Spencers, Home of Boring Frocks, must be involved, too.
31 March 2020
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Father you are aware that the term conspiracy theorist was cooked up in the 1960s by the American CIA. A group of real conspirators unequalled in the world.
It is not so bad the government telling us nothing. That's a reassuring norm in these uncertain times. What is stirring my wrath is the media are being entirely complicit. It's like we've become a province of China and the media are state controlled. I've seen no evidence of any serious questions put to a minister or a journalist pressing the minister for answers. I watched last night's ITV Coronavirus Q&A. I'd have probably learnt more watching 'Love Island'. I nearly threw the remote control at the TV. And, I've no idea why Tom Daly taking up knitting helps us learn anything.
Dear Father. When one asks a fellow American, where were you and what were you doing during Operation Urgent Fury, the October 1983 American led invasion of Grenada?- most respond with an expression on their face that makes one think they had just been whacked in the back of the head with an invisible sack of frozen Cod Loins: Wait, what? We invaded Grenada? T’Hell?
Not many Americans remember the last of The POTUS Ronald Reagan’s great military successes and while few remember what they were doing during those first tense ten minutes of that invasion when many American troops were asking themselves, Why are we doing this? and Man, did you think it’d be this humid? ABS is sure they will remember what they were doing and thinking when they look back at V V Day (Victory over Virus Day) and, unless ABS is mistaken (unlikely) they will have emotions as mixed as the numerous cocktails they have been consuming daily.
What the American Government has been doing during this manufactured panic will remind them of Mr. Sam Francis and his explanation of how the American government works to a visiting contingent of Russian officials: In America there are two political parties. The Republicans are the Stupid Party and The Democrats are the Evil Party and every once in a while they get together and do something really stupid and evil. We call that Bipartisanship.
Anticipating the inevitable America victory over virus, ABS knows that Americans will not be able to look back triumphantly to the photos of the virus singing a Treaty of Unconditional Surrender aboard The USNS Comfort and so he has taken it upon his own self to memorialise the pending victory by rewriting The Pledge of Allegiance so future American public school students will remember VV Day.
I pledge allegiance to The Fauci of the Locked Psychiatric Ward that is America and to the epidemiological models upon which he stands, one virus, Uber Alles, under fear, with rebarbative restrictions and suspected criminality for all.
I think that your are rather unfair to Mr Johnson, Father.
He has rigorously followed the scientific advice he has been given. The so-called "lockdown" was delayed as long as possible since there is a limit to how long people will submit to it, and, once it is lifted, there is danger of the virus returning. The whole effort has been aimed at keeping the numbers of seriously ill people below what the NHS capacity is.
Now, whether, at some point in the future, the policy will be shown to be mistaken, we shall have to wait and see. And then we may never know. Given that we do not yet the advantage of hindsight, would you have Mr Johnson act contrary to the scientific, statistical advice he has been given?
I believe that Mr Johnson has done an admirable job in the most trying of circumstances. Why shouldn't he write a letter? The evidence shows that letters are highly unlikely to transmit the virus. It seems rather mean-spirited to slyly hint that, because you do not like his book, he is a poor statesman. What if he does want to emulate Churchill? Is that a bad thing? Churchill wanted to emulate Malborough - he didn't. And, yes, he probably will save us from the awful EU. He may even save us from the worst effects of the virus. I do get the feeling that it is his stance on the EU that prompts your criticism.
Perhaps, you would like to explain (a) what information (apart from who is next in line to lead) you feel is being withheld (b) how and why Mr Johnson is wrong (including references to other countries) and (c) what your strategy would be.
Reverend Father, there are times when your snark is breath-taking. Ad multos annos!
Mr. PDLeck may derive greater entertainment value from the American media, who constantly ask President Trump hard-hitting questions along the following lines: "There are media reports that domestic violence has risen significantly during the lockdown; Mr. President, what message does it send to the American people at this time that you continue to beat the First Lady, and do you have any plans to change that?" Ah, but I remember now that in the last election run-up the British media alleged that Mr. Johnson was an abuser, at least verbally, of his - er - paramour.
If we sometimes get the leaders, and the media, that we deserve, and sometimes very much worse, we should be ever more grateful that our King, and often even His ministers, are very much better than we deserve.
I own and have read Boris Johnson's book about Churchill. It's not very good, I agree, but I still quite enjoyed it for Johnson's entertaining writing style. I spotted two errors myself but there may be many others, I suspect.
I was interested to learn from a homily from the learned and very sound Archbishop Fisher OP of Sydney that we have been here before: churches were closed for several months in Australia in 1919 because of the Spanish flu. Did that happen in England or elsewhere?
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