Never mind the quality, feel the width!

Or, Look over there it’s a Unicorn sitting on a Rainbow!

When I was young it struck me that I was quite often chastised for emulating something that some adult or other had done or said. Now, being what was to be later called a bit of a Bolshie, I expressed my concerns about how this could be right. It seemed that there was a rule that I had to come to terms with that ran along the following lines…

Don’t do as I do, do as I say!

As a child this idea was always foreign to me. I couldn’t see how it was fair. If it was OK for an adult to say something wicked about someone, why was it terrible for me to say the same?

If it was OK for an adult to curse, why was it not acceptable for me to follow suit?

Furthermore, if adults could smoke and drink, why not me?

If adults could cheat and lie, why not me?

It will come as no surprise to regular readers that “Children should be seen and not heard” was not a mantra that appealed to my sense of justice!

At this point I need to emphasise that I am not criticising my own parents, who didn’t curse much; didn’t make a habit of running people down; or generally doing any more than run of the mill, minor, levels of misleading that form a part of most people’s lives, one way or another.

Formative years and The News of The Screws

I’m talking about the kind of thing that seemed to hit the headlines and by-lines when I was growing up. There were all sorts of scandals, indiscretions, slanderous attacks, physical assaults, and even canicide*, carried out by those who should, and generally did, know better.

* OK, I admit I had to research the word for killing a dog. I was in fact alluding to the contract killing of Jeremy Thorpe’s lover’s Great Dane “Rinka” by Andrew Newton and the subsequently denied cover-up.

However, I digress. Once I discovered that one of our Sunday newspapers, The News of The World, contained all sorts of salacious titbits hidden in its inner folds, there was no stopping me. When the paper was discarded, before it undertook its primary role as firelighting material, or toilet paper, I took the chance to scan it for stories involving the rich, the famous and the powerful, who seemed to get themselves involved in all sorts of really interesting scrapes of one kind or another. These articles often involved prostitutes, or at least “loose” women, or groups of neighbours prepared to swap partners at local get-togethers. Exciting stuff for a lad whose sap was rising. Many of these stories seemed to end up with the stock phrase: “At this stage our reporter made his excuses and left”. Even at a tender age, I recall thinking, “yeah, I bet!” It was a little later that I found out that this paper was often known as The News of The Screws for obvious reasons. It was only relatively recently closed down completely as part of a damage limitation exercise by the Murdoch outfit because of its appalling practices.

So, I suppose that all this helped to form my views of both the press and the establishment in this country of ours. How best to sum it up? A corrupt bunch of mutually over-privileged arse-lickers? or is that being too generous?

Watching a string (and it is mainly a second string in terms of quality) of government ministers and sycophantic scientific experts simply making things up at press conferences makes my blood boil.

Ministers of The Clown trot out lies or half-truths to avoid giving any honest answers to questions gently provided by a compliant press. The spectacle is truly sickening.

They deliberately give false impressions talking about thousands of “ventilators rolling out as we speak” when in fact only 30 are due to be delivered in the next week. They deflect by sidestepping questions about lamentable decision-making causing appalling delays by praising the heroic efforts of our front-line staff, on whose behalf the government is working flat out to ensure that they are all tested.

As Roy Orbison almost famously sang…Only Baloney, dum-dum- dum-dumdy-doo-wah

Yes, I’m afraid it is all baloney!

They talk about the need for only essential workers to leave their houses and then write letters to the big bosses of the construction world, congratulating them and basically telling them that they are exempt, and that they should carry on the good work.

And all the time, they roll out a succession of drips and dopes to stand at lecterns next to them, to talk about things that they want to say: About how to wash your genitals or something, whilst washing their hands of the questions they are actually being asked, by talking bollocks.

We have a Prime Minister who broadcasts about personal hygiene, hand washing, limiting social contact, and so on, and is then seen glad-handing all and sundry at various events. Amazingly, he is then inexplicably struck down by the virus. Well, bugger me!

Any minute now they’ll be telling us that other members of the cabinet have got it too. Oh! They have.

Then we have some ridiculously named Royal Highness person – go on just say it slowly, out loud, his ROYAL-HIGH-NESS, and try not to laugh. He has been tested for the virus after reporting minor symptoms and then sods off to seclusion in Scotland. We have important people, doing vital work, that we actually need to be tested and supported and we waste precious scarce resources on this freeloader? Whatever happened to our priorities here then, eh? Or to the rule about staying at home if you think you might have any symptoms?

Not good enough by a long chalk I’m afraid, but maybe we just get what we deserve.

Testing, Testing, Testing: Send out for more fans!

I’ve used this line before, but I make no apologies. When the crap gets this deep, it’s all you can try to do. We did vote this bunch into power and enough of us were apparently convinced, with huge help from the press, that they were the only show in town. Well, now that the shit has hit the fan, it is hard to admit that we might have got it wrong. So we stand around in virtual corners applauding their ineptitude!

It is now too late to order more fans – there is a world shortage. They have been snapped up by every other government that was busy denying that there was any kind of problem at all until it was too late. We will just have to hold our noses and hope we don’t end up standing on our heads.

Still, it is good to see that all of the policies, that were ridiculed as impossible Marxist dogma by our free press in the election run-up, have pretty much been embraced by a Tory government and are being paid for from the imaginary magic money tree. The trick will be to see how much of this brave new world we can hang on to if this nightmare ever ends.

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