As our plague statistics continue to rise, and the curve on the graph becomes steeper, one of the ministers in our current regime has urged young people "not to kill your Gran".
He means that young people, whose own experience of the plague may be neither life-threatening nor painful, should remember that the malady might spread from the young to the elderly ... whose vulnerability may be greater.
The slogan "Don't kill Grannie" was in fact tried out a few weeks ago, but was then dropped because, I suspect, it seemed a little OTT. Its crudity and vividness is not quite in our national 'laid-back' style. That the slogan has been dusted off and is now on display once more suggests a degree of panic among our masters.
Of course, you will expect me to declare an interest. I am of grand-parental ... is there a less inelegant term? ... age.
But I am male, not female, so, apparently, my preservation is a less engaging cause. Actually, my sex makes my statistical vulnerability greater. Males excite the plague to even greater paroxysms of malevolence than females do. And, even pre-plague, men died younger than women, so that Grandfathers were more of an endangered species than Grandmothers.
So why "Do not kill grannie"?
Women are more cuddly than men. They arouse more of our protective instincts. And don't fail to notice here the subtle use of hypocoristic forms, 'Gran' or 'Grannie', rather than 'Your Grandmother'. Even cuddlier!
Sweet little old ladies indeed arouse more protective instincts than we nasty old men do. This particular variety of prejudice manifested itself in a British sitcom which portrayed an uncuddly old man called Victor Meldrew. And, a generation before, there was Alf Garnet. I wonder if the censorship department of the PC clerisy would permit such raw portrayals of old women. I leave to your imagination how the sisterhood would respond, if it did.
Regular readers will probably guess my next bit ... this is all horribly reminiscent of the religion of biodiversity, in which sweet cuddly indigenous British red squirrels need all the help we can give them, but we hear comparatively little from NSPPGUMR, the National Society for the Protection and Propagation of Gigantic Ugly Mutant Rats. Or from the MMPL (the Malarial Mosquito Preservation League). Or CLM (Covidvirus Lives Matter).
And we kill about 600 unborn and unseen and uncuddled humans daily, without batting an eyelid.
Silly sentimentality does have its lethal side. Never trust somebody who uses soppiness to buttress their stupidity.