Saturday 25 July 2020

Thought Picnic: Killing their people with incompetence

Nothing to hold my confidence

I have many views about how I think there is no upside to Brexit if at any time I thought the government of Boris Johnson had a tenth of the acumen, principles, competence, and/or the capacity of the coalition war cabinet of Winston Churchill, I might even consider they’ll pull off a useful EU deal.
Their response to the Coronavirus pandemic already shows they are completely incapable, the excuse that they did not know enough about the virus to act with alacrity, preparedness and purpose does not wash, because governments all around the world had the same access to the information we also had, New Zealand, South Korea, and Germany are good examples, even Scotland rejigged their response to contain it.
Killing their people with bluster
The difference is they took the information and acted on it, testing, detecting, isolating, locking down, monitoring, tracing, and informing truthfully. These are what others did without boasting and with a clear grasp of the realities they faced. The virus had no time for bullshit and there was no vacuous optimism that could take the place of effective action. It showed up Johnson, Trump, and Bolsonaro as windbags and their citizenry is paying for it with deaths that top the global tragedy of this pandemic.
For all this, I was listening to a programme on BBC Radio 4 the other night when I heard the last few lines of a poem, haunting and dangerously fearful, I stirred from my slumber to look it up. Brian Bilston encapsulates the tragedy of our times, both on Brexit when he wrote it two years ago and now as we bungle a deal as much as we bungled the response to the Coronavirus. I am sorry, whilst I have no instant hope to give, I hope the only way is up from this rock bottom splatter at the bottom of the cliff. [BBC Magazine: Brian Bilson - 'How I accidentally became a poet through Twitter']
Hold my hand while we jump off this cliff
‘Let’s jump off this cliff – it’ll be fun! A right laugh!’
urged all the people (well, I mean just over half
of those who had bothered to speak up at all).
I peered down at the rocks; it was a long way to fall.
I said, ‘This cliff’s more than three hundred feet high
and my doctor tells me if I jump I will die.’
‘Cliff-jumping’s fine!’ they said. ‘Don’t trust doctors, trust us!
We read all about it on the side of a bus.’
Worried, I met up with my local MP.
I shared my concerns. He was forced to agree:
‘Why the rocks below would smash you to bits!
Where did you get this idea of jumping off cliffs?’
‘It was the will of some of the people,’ I said
and his expression changed to another instead.
‘I think,’ he revised, ‘you’re being melodramatic.
The problem is you. You’re undemocratic.’
On the clifftop, we waited. In silence we stood.
Then a voice: ‘Remind me, why is cliff-jumping good?’
But we looked down at our shoes, baffled and stumped.
Then, out of embarrassment, we held hands and jumped.

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