Tuesday 17 March 2020

The Virus and the Left

Wow, we have copped Interesting Times, right in the solar plexus.  Given that these days, everyone operates under the slogan never let a good crisis go to waste, there's a lot of manoeuvering in prospect.  And lucky old Alex Salmond, eh?  And lucky old Labour Party (EHRC report).

Now then, the Left: and first to Xi, the ultimate leftie.  He's probably thinking he's ridden this one out, and taken the opportunity to ramp up universal, highly-granular state micro-control into the bargain - so a rather good bargain it may seem, to him.  As we wrote in Feb, mass outbreaks elsewhere may take the heat off him good and proper.  Now all he has to do is promote the "US biological warfare" meme in his spare time.

Now to our own miserable Left.  Obviously they are itching to go Full Hostile against Boris' handling of the thing, and of course they have the luxury of making free, cowardly sniping attacks, thinly disguised as innocent questions etc.  They have form, bigtime.  In WW2 they sniped at the National (coalition) government mercilessly: Churchill survived several ultra-close votes.  At the start of the war, of course, the far left opposed it altogether, on Uncle Joe's orders, as a capitalist war against his ally, that nice Herr Hitler.  And at the height of the Battle of Britain (as Londoners of my father's generation never forgot) the Liverpool dockers were on strike.  Oh, the luxury of opposition.

And then of course there was the relentless work of the Labour Party to advance their strategic cause, triumphing in 1945 while the war on Japan was still being waged.  Don't all the Labour hopefuls dream of playing Attlee to BoJo's Churchill?  (Though they wouldn't want to push the analogy too far.)

Trouble is, notwithstanding the free hits the Left can make with their peashooters, their opponent Boris-Cummings seems to be sticking to the rather compelling advice of his impressive and highly-regarded scientific advisers.  Experts!  So all the predictable Polly Toynbees and the silly Simon Jenkins have to hold back a bit (just a bit), because what do they know?   And because the government's sages advise differently to the foreigners (and who on earth would want Christine Lagarde running their banking?) ... oh, all manner of puzzles for a lefty to grapple with.  (Even Aaron Bastani is a teeny bit inclined to be impressed by the government's actions.  And what are the Euro-maniacs to say?  "Extend the transition period" (© Lisa Nandy 2020) is a pretty feeble battle-cry from a desperate politician.  (Where are Starmer and Wrong-Daily in all this, BTW?)

And: what do I know?   Except that there's an acid test coming soon.  Perhaps the most interesting political development is the would-be Red Guard of Momentum supposedly mobilising its private army of 100,000 to Do Good in their communities.  This tries to tap into the strand of altruism, love and goodwill (sic) that definitely is to be found within the nastier rantings of the youthful 2017-vintage Corbyite left.   (Seriously, it really is in there, in all the bile.)  Now my observation is that, however honourable this sentiment, it doesn't typically stretch to the traditional kinds of Salvation by Good Works like actually rolling up sleeves and becoming a decent, hardworking local councillor.  But who knows?  The Chinese CP gained power by many years of slogging away at local level, solving ordinary people's pressing practical problems.  Oh, and adroit military tactics too.

Interesting Times, eh?  Keep safe, everyone.


UPDATE:  Kier Stamer has duly broken cover with this pious and platitudinous pile PrĂ©cisI want to be Attlee ...


E-K said...

I fear that Boris has already caved to the Left "save the NHS at all costs."

We are on a two pronged skewer: *Save the NHS* and *Must Not Discriminate.*

It's been "save the NHS !" at huge cost for a long while now as it's the new industrial wing of the Left since the mines and unionised engineering were closed. (My old 45rpm scratched record out of its sleeve)

(All that money spent on tits, bum and gender reasignment should have gone into biohazard suits and masks for doctors.)

What *save the NHS* has become in recent days is *the NHS must not be put in a position where it has to refuse treatment to very sick people*

I'm afraid that we are at war. This is what war looks like.

The NHS is not under threat but it's being made out that it is. People are going to die in large numbers but that need not be a collapse of the NHS.

What WILL collapse the NHS is a collapse of the economy that funds it.

We are also in thrall to a culture that is more scared of offending people than it is of closing down the economy - which is why the virus is here in the first place. Maybe there was a political/economic cost to offending the Chinese at the outset of this crisis that made it worth admitting the disease into our country.

But now... our government looks like it is about to put us into full lockdown for a disease of which 80% will suffer only mild symptoms !

We should have isolated only the vulnerable and those over 70 but instead have done the usual when it comes to anything from knife crime, obesity, drinking, terrorism... and that's to put EVERYONE through the strip-down, tax penalty, scanner... ANYTHING rather than be beastly to one group.

We are going into full lockdown instead of letting the 80% behave as normally as possible in order for there to be a country left for the old to emerge to.

What we are not seeing in Italy is that she is now a third world country and will stay there. We are yet to see the starvation and the civil disorder. This will kill many many more than the disease itself.

What we have not yet seen in China is whether or not lockdown has stopped the disease.

The towns will remain boarded, the bars and restaurants closed, possibly never to return - precincts given up to marauding gangs who will kill more old people (for their food) than the disease ever did.

All we should ask of the Boomers (most of whom never fought a war) is to shelter for a bit (even the fit ones) and those who refuse be put to the back of the queue. Yes. It's discriminatory - that's because the disease is discriminatory. And we're not asking them to go over the top of a trench with a rifle - just to hunker down for a bit.

So now I'm seeing deserted trains and I'm about to go on a two-day week... and then what ? Who knows. But the money I have left can't go on supporting people in my community as it used to and I'm one of the lucky ones.

Boris is bombing us 80 percenters (who would experience mild illness) back to the stone age to live like cowering animals in caves rather than as upright human beings.

We could have kept the economy on life support.

Instead - I fear - we are going to see a return to starvation in this land which will kill far FAR more than the disease itself. All because we are too squeamish to accept that we are at war and that war requires targeted sacrifice and the aim for a zero casualty rate *to save the NHS* is, in fact, abject surrender to both the disease, surrender to the Left and surrender to the Thunbergists.

E-K said...


The local shops are out of loo roll so I bough all the Rizzla packets they had.

Thud said...

Bloody hell Kev! maybe not quite that bad.

david morris said...

In the fullness of time, and the immediacy of this episode recedes, there surely must be a reckoning for the chattering classes. & Piers Morgan.

Raedwald said...

This is a profoundly interesting turn of events. One that is very publicly sorting the sheep from the goats. We've seen cowardice, fear, hysteria, undirected inchoate anger, sheer embarrasing stupidity and demands for privileged treatment from those who are in the public eye as role models. People aren't stupid - they can see it.

The fall-out will be spectacular

E-K said...

Thud - My wife and I are already paying for services we are not getting to keep people afloat. The spinning class instructor (we've hired one of his bikes to have at home - we don't need it), the yoga teacher's getting her money even though she's had to shut down classes.

People are going to start getting hungry very soon.

We won't be able to continue this if we go on less than half pay (as is likely.)

Charlie said...

The bank I currently work at, having decided only a month ago that I'm a disguised employee and should be taxed not only as an employee but also as their employer, sent me home without pay today, with immediate effect.

My house deposit fund will now be used to pay my rent, the kids' nursery fees, buy food etc. However, if I'd already bought a house, I'd get a mortgage holiday and probably qualify for universal credit. Instead, I'll get f*ck all help. I don't actually want it, preferring to stand on my own two feet, but by Christ it's testing to see billions hosed around while you stay dry.

jim said...

Back in medieval times Italy got the plague. The burgers of Florence shut down the roads in/out, locked everyone affected in and provided wine/cheese/bread in baskets on ropes lowered from windows. Much whining about the cost, people soon got fed up with lockdown and snuck out and gathered or climbed balconies and the corrupt snuck past the roadblocks. But Florence 'only' lost about 12% compared with 25% to 40% in other cities.

For the UK there will probably be a Stewards Enquiry round about August where Germany, France and the UK get compared. This will be a danger point for Boris if his plans have not gone well. But TBH I doubt there will be much difference to complain about. Very wisely Boris is tracking practice elsewhere. Not much room for Momentum et al unless things have gone very pear shaped.

Anonymous said...

@jim, we're not in medieval times.

A lot is said about isolation, but that assumes the virus will take the huff and go away rather than as soon as things start getting close to normality we'll be back at square one very, very quickly. South Korea are finding that out today.

Realistically, it's here to stay, and it's about managing it so that our systems aren't overwhelmed.

Economically, governments are going to need to borrow, and borrow heavily, to stave of Kev's Threads-esque prediction, so I'm expecting in the next two years every nation on the planet deciding to forgive themselves a load of debt. If everyone is bankrupt, then no one is.

We've needed a reset button for a decade, they could just represent the event that will cause the global economy to be rebooted to normality. Some nations will be upset (China) as they discover all that debt they've bought turned out to be mythical, but we can run a Martin Lewis special with Xi being a sad panda.

The US has grokked that people need paying as it looks like they're going to send out a cheque to everyone. We'll need to follow suite - I'd suggest a temporary UBI (which, should it happen, will be hard to reverse) rather than muck about with SSP and rent holidays, times like these demand a simple, universal tool, not the typically British, bureaucratic, overcomplicated boondoggle bodge job that's the equivalent of building a flat pack from Taiwan. We excel at muddling through, but that's mostly because we're experienced at surviving self-inflicted wounds.

A lot of businesses are going to go boom - some maybe deservedly, some not - including, I hope, the US airlines who decided to piss all their spare cash on buying back shares. Nationalise them, and then sell them off later, fuck bailing them out. That goes for Beardie too, sat on Necker island with all his wealth moaning the government should bail Virgin out. Sure Richard, we'll just send the military into your tax havens too and extract your cash to help pay for it, eh?

Now is the time for the very wealthy to either get very philanthropical or very, very quiet, be they captains of industry or faces of fame, because otherwise they're going to come out of the other side with nations with pointed questions and pointy sticks.