Saturday 9 May 2020

Guest Post: At The Blunt End

From our longtime BTL champion, Electro-Kevin

Well here we are, regulars at the Capitalists (not) @ Work Arms and how honoured I am to spend a moment serving behind the bar rather than arguing with customers in front of it.  (If I've offended anyone I didn't meant it.)

We may be a nation all in this together but I disagree that we are a nation united, as The Sun trumpets this morning.  We are not.  We are one that is deeply divided.  This disease has opened up every fissure in this land and by golly, aren't there a lot of them!  Continuity Remain vs Brexit for one, managers struggling to start up businesses vs no-win-no-fee lawyers (aka 'elf 'n' safety); then there's devolution.  Oh my!  Whatever England may need right now, we are going to get what Scotland wants.  Boris could not make a bold decision even if he wanted to because Nicola Sturgeon simply says in advance of his addresses "This is what Scotland's doing [financed by, errr, the Treasury] and we don't want to come out of lockdown".  So England can't come out of lockdown because if we do the death rates will undoubtedly climb and will contrast badly with Scotland's which the BBC will point out with glee.

We are in a game of duck-and-cover, soon to turn into Whack-a-Mole because we simply have to start thinking about making a living once more.  I feel it in the air that we are about to see the return of soup kitchens and there is no assurance that there will be a vaccine any time soon to stop that.  I'm pretty sure it won't all be over by Christmas so the only thing that can prevent us from tipping into the economic abyss are very hard decisions of which our comfortably furloughed and suntanned people (particularly on state wages) are unready to stomach.

I really don't envy anyone in a position of authority in our divided country these days. There are no easy decisions.  The situation is awful from every angle, especially politically.  This the most exquisitely wicked disease to screw up the West.  The Goldilocks disease.  Not too strong, not too weak, not too impossible to cure... juuuust right.  Tepid enough to royally bugger us up.  And on that note I'm afraid to report that owing to social distancing, C@W Arms can no longer serve you the All-Day-Breakfast.  We can, however, chuck some tepid porridge at you with a ladle - the bad news is that it tastes foul, the good news is that there's plenty of it.

Tuck in!



Nigel Sedgwick said...

We are united in the urgency and importance of the issue.

Keep safe and best regards

Anonymous said...

The issue is simple. Comprehensive stupidity. The whole world has lost its sense of proportion. People who are not exposed to germs will have no immunity to them, hence stay at home guarantees a second wave of unwellness. Good luck to us all.

microdave said...

"We are one that is deeply divided"

That includes Lockdown "Leavers" vs "Remainers", for want of a better description. Many people were proclaiming a few weeks back that there would soon be mass civil disobedience if the lockdown continues. But the millions currently enjoying a taxpayer funded break from work, don't want to return to their humdrum jobs, and so there is no united public to make a stand. Can you imagine the consequences when one large protest meets another from the opposite faction?

E-K said...

Yup. Let's see when the food and utilities get expensive.

Nessimmersion said...

Economy 25% smaller = 25% smaller state.
Imagine the rats in a sack fight determining where the cuts are to be.
My vote is for the most enthusiastic boosters of the lockdown to have a disproportionate share of the cuts.

Scrobs. said...

Well-said Kev!

The good news is that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are resuming garden waste collections from the 18th May!

The other good news is...

Nick Drew said...

@ Economy 25% smaller = 25% smaller state

Nope, that's only true if the state is 100% to start with

There are plenty of lefties who have a plan for that to be where we end with ...

Matt said...

If economy was 100% before lockdown (with government at 40%) then if economy drops to 75% government should be then 30% (or 25% smaller than it was).

Sobers said...

" We are one that is deeply divided. This disease has opened up every fissure in this land and by golly, aren't there a lot of them! "

I don't disagree, but I think it has always been that way. However what has changed in recent years is that people from one side of the divide have monopolised the State sector, and basically have all the power. The other side is powerless. 50 years ago you would have been able to find plenty of Tory voters among those in the State nomenclatura, because the Labour party was the party of the working man, rather than of the middle classes it is today.

So thats why its becoming so rancorous - you have a divide as ever, but one side has realised it can't change anything, because the other has got all its followers on the levers of power, even if they win elections. And the Left have always used vitriol as a weapon. Result - what we see today.

Nessimmersion said...

Clerisy vs Yeomanry - good description of the divide, with all the NHS apologists / lockdown boosters on one side and those who will have to pay the bill on the other.

david morris said...


The prevailing mantra is ‘stay safe’. When we exchange the valediction ‘stay safe’, what we’re saying to each other is that we should prioritise protecting ourselves from risk; it means we must not be harmed. What we’re doing by chirping ‘stay safe’ to each other is building a national subconsciousness which defaults to risk aversion. Indeed, it reflects the Health & Safety culture and precautionary principle approach which now pervade our society, and which have costs and benefits to our way of life. As the Covid-19 crisis proceeds and the economy and our normal social functioning disintegrate, we’re telling ourselves – by chanting ‘stay safe’ to each other – that above all else we must not risk death by Covid-19. That’s what ‘stay safe’ means.

Here’s the worrying thing: polls show that the British are more nervous about ending lockdown than almost anyone else in the world. We’ve had it drummed into us at every waking moment to ‘stay home’ and ‘save lives’ whilst telling each other to ‘stay safe’. It’s small wonder, therefore, that we’re not minded to come out of the bunker any time soon.

But is this the correct strategy? For how long should we chant ‘stay safe’ to each other before we should start chanting ‘let's do it!’ to each other? What determines the moment at which we’re sufficiently ‘safe’ to start heading towards whatever post-lockdown normality looks like? On balance, will we be happier as a society in the long run having stayed at home, locked down for a protracted period keeping ‘safe’, or would we be happier as a society in the long run if we behaved normally and kept the economy functioning?

H/T Moraymint

Nigel Sedgwick said...

It is difficult to be certain about David Morris saying "NS........The prevailing mantra is ‘stay safe’" - whether or not it is aimed at the NS of me. But I find no other NS.

I personally have always written "keep safe" as a very important alternative to "stay safe". This is to make it a self instructive choice and reminder of that very personal responsibility; an obvious elision of "keep yourself safe" - for no one else has a greater responsibility to do so.

So (despite what I think of your comment, be it aimed at me) I say again:

Keep safe and best regards

E-K said...


The guy is becoming my hero. He's of the Left btw.

E-K said...

And this, of which my own feelings reflect.

Sorry to draw so much from the Daily Mail. "At the Blunt End" was meant to be self deprecating (the opposite of the sharp end.)

Also. When America is attacked for having the highest death numbers in the world I look at the Covid Update site and (adjusting for population differences) see that it is almost exactly the same as the EU's.

Jan said...

The lefties in the MSM/BBC/politicians etc etc have all totally lost the plot. They have no idea what the real world looks like for most people and they are in their own little bubble totally isolated from real life.

They've managed to infiltrate all sections of society so their fear-based view of the world is what we see ad nauseam. As said above Boris and the Tories are completely boxed in so probasbly their best strategy is to become more and more vague and just hope people come to their senses and quietly get back to normal. I find it cheering that there were lots of groups in the park in Hackney. We all need to just do what we always used to do and stop living in fear.

I've done my normal 2-3 shops per week and I've used cash each time. I'm convinced more people have been exposed to the virus than is realised and have some immunity. The antibody test would show this if only they'd get on with developing one. The sooner we just get on with it the sooner the virus can pass through the population and we get the herd immunity.

The lockdown has given the NHS time to properly prepare so now they should be able to cope if there are more cases requiring hospitalisation. I don't think this view is being callous just facing reality.

E-K said...

Bang on the money as to why Boris is being vague, Jan. The Left/lawyers are using the Empoyment Rights Act 1997 S.44 "refusal to work - unsafe conditions" to bypass what should be industrial action with a ballot. They are forcing employers to consult their insurance policies or to have to come up with draconian safety cases.

At least self employed people have more freedom to go about their business... which they have to in order to survive.

(I hope it doesn't look like I'm trying to run this site.)

Charlie said...

E-K, Dan Hodges is a Blairite rather than a full-on leftie, but let's not hold that against him, because having followed him on Twitter for quite some time, he seems to talk a lot of sense and calls out rank hypocrisy when he sees it. Which, given that he is associated with the Labour Party, is often. Don't look at his replies though, because they're utterly hate-filled (the Momentum mob and their various idols, Owen Jones included, obvs, absolutely detest him).

Regarding lockdown, there's really no excuse for cratering the economy, given the Covid numbers. The shouty "blood on Boris' hands, one death is too many" lot need to be roundly ignored and normal life resumed. In a high-risk group? Then exercise some judgement and stay at home if you decide that you need to. It's not the government's fault if an 85 year old asthmatic with a history of lung disease decides to enjoy himself by going out for a drink at the Legion and later croaks it WITH the Vids.

It really pisses me off that a bunch of, let's call them what they are: miserable Puritans who are never happy with anything, decry me as a craven, selfish idiot for e.g. going on a long bike ride or nipping to the shops for a few cans of lager.

And don't get me started on league tables. Declaring winners and losers at this point is like calling the result of the London marathon at Cutty Sark.

Well that felt good. /rant

Amicus Curiae said...

One of the most dangerous individuals in the UK at the moment is Lord Sumption. Former Supreme Court Judge and a medieval scholar so will know a few things about plagues.

Why is he dangerous? He can cut through the spin, nonsense and vacuous statements of the political classes to give a clear insight on what is necessary going forward. He sums up the whole issue in the phrase "Life is not the avoidance of death"

Read the whole article

Anonymous said...

I see the teachers somehow beleive they are more special than the healthworkers....