28 June 2020
Brits at large aren’t generally renowned for their intelligence or sensitivity and we saw more proof of why this is last weekend when an estimated half a million of them squeezed their sweaty bodies together onto Bournemouth beach last weekend and another bunch of immortals gathered at Anfield to celebrate Liverpool’s topping the Premier League.
We already know Boris Johnson locked Britain down a week too late and he’s now easing it while some epidemiologists aren’t sure if the pandemic has yet even reached the half-way point. Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, has said, “If people … start behaving in ways that they normally would have before this virus happened, yes, we will get an uptick for sure … I expect there to be a significant amount of coronavirus circulating at least [through the winter and into next spring] and I think it is going to be quite optimistic for science to come fully to the rescue over that kind of timeframe.”
Who’ll give me odds on the second surge of infections and deaths being sooner rather than later?
As I predicted in my blog of 29 March, the number of people looking for new homes outside the bigger cities has increased dramatically. A poll taken by the London Chamber of Commerce showed that 13% of the capital’s businesses are already anticipating giving up permanent offices and relying on people working from home. Now watch house prices.
At least the number of identified cases and deaths in the UK were falling. In America, they’re still rising and decisions about easing lockdowns aren’t made federally but at state level and some states, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, who did ease the restrictions are now having to close down again.
To add to the confusion, the White House confirmed on Wednesday, when 34,700 people died of the virus, the highest one-day total since late April, it was going to stop funding 13 Covid-19 test sites, seven of them in Texas. Donald Trump’s final solution is clearly to stop counting the dead.
Trump, of course, won’t issue a federal order about locking-down because he wants to be re-elected in the autumn and doesn’t care if a few hundred thousand more BAME and poorer people die. I’m waiting for him to get the virus himself, spend a couple of months recovering, emerge a greyish colour with optional orange blotches, and lose the election.
His campaign rally in Tulsa on 20 June used the late Tom Petty’s song ‘I won’t back down’. Petty’s family has issued a formal cease and desist letter to the Trump campaign saying his family “firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would not want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together”.
Other musicians have denounced Trump’s use of their music, including Neil Young, Rihanna, Elton John, REM, Adele, Guns N Roses, the Rolling Stones, Pharrell, Queen, Prince, Aerosmith and Earth Wind & Fire.
Which reminds me that, at a recent Conservative party fundraiser, one of the prizes was dinner with Michael Gove and his wife, Sarah Vine, and I reckon – yes, you’ve guessed it already – the first prize was dinner without Michael Gove and Sarah Vine.
There’ve been two knife attacks this week, in Reading and Glasgow. The latter killer was shot dead by the police. Why don’t the police just shoot at their knees, or somewhere else which will ‘just’ disable them so they can talk when they’re feeling a bit better? I understand that, if there are other people close to the killer, they might not want to risk hitting someone else but the killing of the terrorist on London Bridge when he was being held down on the ground in November last year was a cold-blooded killing even though they feared he was wearing a suicide vest.
Incidentally, have you noticed that the victims are always described as such kind and lovely people after they’re dead. Why don’t the knife nutters kill the really nasty people who nobody liked?
Bernie Ecclestone, a former CEO of Formula One, has claimed black people are more racist than white people and said “In lots of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are [sic]”. There’s nothing anyone needs to add to that.
New research by the House of Commons library shows that up to one million more people in the UK could become unemployed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic without more government support, taking the total to 3.8 million, which would exceed even the 3.3 million the UK achieved in 1984 in the glory days of Maggie Thatcher.
Also this week, a Nobel prizewinner broke two world records: Bob Dylan’s new album outsold an album from Neil Young’s archives and topped the charts, making him the oldest artist ever to release an album of new and original songs and the oldest man ever to have a number 1 in the album charts. He’s had 8 chart-toppers before which equals Paul Simon’s record of 9, but Vera Lynn topped the charts when she was 92 and still a clean-living idol; I wonder if the deep down dirty Dylan will make 92?
This week’s gold star for kindness (and considerable graciousness) goes to the Grammy-winning country group The Dixie Chicks who have dropped the word Dixie from their name and are now called The Chicks. ‘Dixie’ is a word used to encompass the Southern US states, especially those that belonged to the Confederacy, that were inextricably associated with slavery and racism, and this isn’t where they’re at.
Knowing that there’s already a group called The Chicks in New Zealand, they checked it was OK with them first and then issued a formal thank you saying “A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to ‘The Chicks’ of NZ for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name. We are honored to co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters”.