Confused of Scarborough has written to the Guardian today:
Your advice on Mask Hygene is of only moderate help. If our face masks, of whatever variety are to be treated with the same level of suspicion as we have for rats, where does that leave our clothes? Why doesn't anybody tell us to wash our clothes after every shopping trip?Would that be a step too far? And for the hirsute, like myself, why aren't we being told to shave our beards off, since we can't get a tight fit like the clean shaven? Perhaps one of your correspondents could provide some advice on that one.
A recent post on the Intercept’s website considers the options and probability of Trump facing prosecution once he leaves office. Whilst he is president, he has immunity from prosecution over federal offences, but given the nature of his business dealings there seems to be plenty to go at at a state level. I wonder if elected, whether Joe Biden would pardon him, as Gerald Ford did with Richard Nixon. It has been suggested that Trump could even pre-pardon himself, although such a move has never been tried before. The Intercept’s view is that the elite is at the end of the day more likely to look after its own. It would be a bad precedent for them for one of their own to go to jail.
One hopes that Benjamin Netanyahu will not face such lenience if he is found guilty on his corruption charges. One of his predecessors of course did go to jail—Ehud Olmert—on corruption charges. Another populist leader talking of going to jail is Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who is in the news for saying he would happily ‘serve his country in prison’ if found guilty of ordering or at least being in some way culpable in the deaths of thousands of alleged drug dealers (none of whom had the opportunity of proving their innocence of course). Populist leaders love to proclaim their law and order credentials, but as we’ve seen in the UK with the Cummings saga, what constitutes the law is flexible. Especially so when you get to appoint the judges, as clearly Johnson and his cronies would love to do here, or indeed as the Law and Justice Party has already done in Poland (not to mention Trump’s hundreds of judicial nominees).
It would be good if Trump, Netanyahu and Duterte could share a cell together somewhere. Their company would be made immeasurably more jovial if joker Johnson were to join them, but as things stand the only current investigation into his misdemeanours appears to be the London Assembly’s inquiries into his potentially corrupt relationship with American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, who has now admitted that they had an affair. So far then, full marks to Israel for setting a precedent. Let’s hope they follow it up this time round, and provide an example other leaders may wish to dwell upon.
Accusations have been levelled by the Tories against Kier Starmer and Andy Burnham of late that they have been ‘playing politics’ over Covid. Which is a bit rich of course, particularly in the case of Starmer who has bent over backwards to appear as unpolitical as possible. The phrase ‘playing politics’ is one a failing government always dusts down to throw at the opposition, when the opposition attempts to do its job. It’s interesting to note how long it has taken this government to get round to using it. Yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ‘I’m sure the willingness to put politics aside in the national interest, and in the interests of the people we serve will save lives and protect livelihoods.’ Put politics aside? What does that mean? That Hancock and the rest of his crew are no longer politicians, but have become dedicated professionals, like GPs and first responders? The irony is that the statement demeans the profession of politics, and that it is a profession is not in doubt. Look at all those who have started their political careers in Oxbridge. Why would any politician wish to be taken seriously when they themselves accuse their peers of ’playing politics.’ They give a very strong cue to the public to think the same. The statement is doubly ironic when one considers who or what the Prime Minister is. The more mendacious overtone of the statement is that there is only ever one breed (i.e. whoever is in government at the time) capable of running the country. This tautology is the basis for a great deal of arrogance, and the hubris which almost certainly as night follows day leads to the downfall of the ’serious’ politicians.’
The news that Labour will probably abstain again on the ‘Spycops’ bill—which would legalise illegal undercover activity by the state—is a sign of how far the party has sunk into a managerial abyss since Starmer took over. We shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, that such an establishment-approved leader is willing to knuckle under. But what is legal and what is not is something the opposition ought to get a handle on. It seems it’s wrong to agree with the government when it says it will pass laws breaking international treaties (such as its withdrawal agreement with the EU), it’s maybe right and maybe wrong to give immunity to the MoD against legal action from ‘lefty lawyers’ (and British servicemen and women) and now of course it’s maybe OK to let undercover state operatives commit crimes. Apparently, that’s partly because such activities could be scrutinised by the Intelligence and Security Committee (the same committee that covered itself in glory reporting on alleged Russian meddling with our precious bodily democracy). That all this is happening now can’t be a coincidence. The expanding totalitarianism of the Johnson/Cummings state includes delegitimising discussion of anti-capitalism in schools and the threat of defunding universities if they don’t sign up to the discredited IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. It’s what you might call a good Covid to bury bad news. And Starmer and his crew are more obsessed with poll ratings and distance-from-Corbyn than they are in opposing this calamitous government.
+I fear John McDonnell, the former shadow chancellor may have upset the entire Christian community. He told Huffpost yesterday, speaking in favour of another full national lockdown, that ‘you can revive the economy over time, you can’t resurrect the dead.’ I can see he will need to clarify his remarks. What he meant was that Boris Johnson can’t resurrect the dead. So far as we know.
+The Guardian recently declared how it was going to become zero carbon, in a spurt of self-congratulatory leadership. Good luck with that. But good intentions cannot come at a cost, so there are still full page adverts for gaz guzzling SUVs. One that has particularly got up my nose shows a Range Rover ploughing up a river in the countryside. Exactly what section of the Guardian community shares the mentality that would find such an image attractive? Perhaps the Mad Men know something I don’t about G-readers.
+Catching up with climate change news, this headline caught my attention: Brain-Eating Amoeba Moving North Across America, and Climate Change May Be Why This rather disturbing sentence appeared in Newsweek where you can read all about it. I was searching for a link between the story and the current crisis in the White House. I suspect they're keeping it under wraps for now.
+Even as the plague stalks the land, there are reasons to be cheerful, and I can happily report that I am already in receipt of one of the benefits of Brexit. It’s making such a difference to my life. Yes, my new driving license now bears the Union flag! I could barely sleep last night as a glow of patriotic bliss flowed through my red, white and blue veins, oh happy morn joy to be alive! But what’s this? In its traditional place the EU flag is still there on my bit of plastic. Presumably if I’d left my renewal until the 1st of January it would have been removed, at the end of the transition period. Now I feel betrayed and distraught. My hopes shattered. So it’s back to Covid then.
+Or maybe not. A particularly annoying HM Government (an oxymoron if there ever was one) advertisement appeared in this morning’s paper headlined ‘Going to Europe next year?’ It says ’The rules around mobile roaming will change in 2021.’ In other words, mobile operators will be free to reintroduce charges and shake their customers down without any interference from the EU. The picture in the ad is one of those always, gormlessly happy thirty somethings who never seem to have anything more useful to do than appear in gormless ads like this. UK’S NEW START, the ad says, LET’S GET GOING. Check Change Go—its traffic lights signal. We’re being talked to as if we were six year olds at the start of an egg and spoon race, rather than the beginning of one of the biggest –self-con tricks of all time.
+I think there’s too much going on in the world today for me to find time to read the report of the inquiry into child abuse in the Church of England. Top lining the news tonight, it has garnered the usual wringing hands response from the C of E, but there’ll be no resignations, no accountability at the top. It rather begs the question of where is the top in the C of E? Surely that’s somewhere in the divine stratosphere, where everything comes down to God’s will. I suppose it does. I wonder how many child abusing clerics justified their actions to themselves with a reference to Abraham’s promise to God to fulfil His command to slaughter his son Isaac? The C of E rather answers the age old question about whether you need the divine to lead a moral life.
+It’s rare that I feel inclined to support Boris Johnson but his pledge to massively boost wind power should be supported. I know he’s probably over-promising again, and maybe doesn’t even expect it to happen, but he has stirred up some of his antediluvian backbenchers to protest. Not just them. Here’s Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner (according to the Daily Mail) ‘Labour also suggested the PM should be focusing on the pandemic, with deputy leader Angela Rayner saying Mr Johnson should 'set out how he will get a grip and tackle the crisis at hand'. Open letter to Angela: Dear Angela, The climate crisis is a thousand times worse than Covid-19. You get a grip. Yours etc., CC.
All over the world people are praying for Donald Trump’s recovery from Covid-19. It must be working, since he has tweeted that the experimental treatments he’s been getting are ‘miracles from God.’ He must be in direct contact with the Divine. Perhaps the Chinese should watch out. The Divine Being must now have them in His sights for trying to poison the five times Nobel Peace Prize winner. Nominee, whatever. But was it really the Chinese? I thought all poisonings now had to be blamed on Vlad the Inhaler. Surely what we are witnessing is yet another example of Russian interference in Great Western Democracy? The biggest prayers for Trump’s recovery will be coming from Kim Jong-Un, Narendi Modi, Jair Bolsanaro, Boris Johnson, Benjamin Netanyahu, Rodrigo Duterte, tossers all (Johnson doesn’t look out of place in that crowd it has to be said, just more buffoonish). At least we could harbour a small hope that sufficient Republican Senators get Covid that they will be suitably incapacitated during any votes to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. But for now, let's just kneel and pray, and let nature take its course.
The scumbags at the Scum were clearly mightily pleased with yesterday’s frontpage story of Jeremy Corbyn’s breach of the ‘rule of six’ banning more than six people meeting indoors, with a picture of nine people sat around a dinner table enjoying a ‘posh’ dinner. One wonders who amongst these friends shared the photo. Salivating over its exclusive, the Scum contacted a couple of Tory MPs to bear witness, and share their profound disgust at Corbyn’s behaviour. One of these was Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, who along with his Durham colleagues was forced to make a statement back in May on the behaviour of Dominic Cummings. It has to be said that Holden and Co. weren’t too impressed by Cummings’ ‘irresponsible’ behaviour but most of their statement (online at https://www.richardholden.org.uk/news/statement-county-durham-mps-dominic-cummings) sought to minimise that behaviour by largely dwelling on the government’s phenomenal success in tackling Covid-19. So perhaps there wasn’t the complete scent of hypocrisy one might have expected when Holden told the Scum ‘The champagne socialists of the London-centric Labour Party consider themselves above the rules that the rest of us must live by.’ The same perhaps could not be said for his fellow Scum quotee, David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale. Morris is a proven rules breaker, as a House of Commons report from last October
( https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmstandards/771/77103.htm) makes clear, dealing with his breach of rules relating to declaring his financial interests. After a complaint was made against him Morris eventually was forced to apologise to the House, but only after he had impugned the integrity of the Commissioner for Standards, as the report says ‘The Commissioner acknowledged that Mr Morris had “recently been through a difficult and testing period, and that stress can affect an individual’s usual behaviour”, that she understood him to be “deeply apologetic and remorseful for the tone adopted in your earlier correspondence”, and that she was “happy to accept [his] mitigation and apology for the tone of [his] previous correspondence, and […] that no disrespect had been intended to me or my office’. So Morris had an excuse and a context for his behaviour! This didn’t make him think twice before telling the Scum ‘Millions of Brits are quietly sticking to the rules to defeat this horrific virus while Jeremy Corbyn is swanning around at a posh dinner party. People have had to delay weddings, been stopped from going to funerals, and friends and families have been torn apart by these tough restrictions. It is beyond belief that an MP – and someone who claims to stand up for the common man – has behaved this way.’ It must be a matter of concern that at this ‘posh’ dinner party, and as the Scum gleefully reported, our Jeremy was wearing a ‘checked shirt.’ Just how posh is that?
From October through December I have a modest exhibition celebrating all of Yorkshire’s lighthouses at the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre. This comprises a photo and sketch of each of them, 16 in all. These stretch from the very north eastern tip of the historic county of Yorkshire at the mouth of the Tees, down to Whitgift, near the confluence of the Ouse and the Trent. I began this project originally as part of my MA in Fine Art (now completed with, ermm, distinction) but in the end chose to do something else on that front. So having the chance to mount this small display in an appropriate setting is satisfying. My brief re-acquaintance with studentship has thankfully expired before the onslaught of a new Covid wave. I don’t envy today’s students at all. No parties! No vomiting! No intimate contact!