Of course I have no informed opinion about when to shut down the Lockdown, or any of the other matters surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. I’m the last person to ask about matters of the body, for years having confused my stomach with my bladder. From this position of ignorance, I understand that much seems to depend on whether people who have had it once are thereafter immune and non-infectious. If they are, then obviously they should be allowed to wander, hug and congregate at will. But I don’t think the scientists have established that yet; and even if they do it will require a mass programme of testing to separate the healthy sheep from the sickly goats. The sheep could then be given badges or tattoos to wear in public. Any goats found among them would of course be rounded up and locked in cells.
As is usual in circumstances like this, when you’re dependent on others’ expertise, the temptation is to question the motives of the experts and their mouthpieces (in this case the politicians) rather than the evidence itself: the old ‘ad hominem’ approach. That after all is how most of Donald Trump’s supporters appear to proceed: by simply doubting or even rejecting out of hand everything that is said by the ‘fake’ media, or by the Democrats, or by experts, or by ‘the elite’, and anything that was done by Obama, simply because of who said it or did it, without stopping for a moment to examine the evidence or the arguments per se. (Sorry about the Latinisms, which won’t endear me to this kind of person.) We on the (British) Left tend to do this as well: to dismiss anything coming from the mouth of a Conservative, for example, as bound to be affected by prejudice or evil motives. ‘Look who’s saying it.’ ’Nuff said.
One of the motives being attributed to the Johnson Government by the Left is some version of ‘herd immunity’ (in Sweden, incidentally, it’s called ‘flock immunity’), which, by letting the disease run amok, will weed out the vulnerable leaving only the healthy surviving. I think that’s what Boris meant when initially he advised us to ‘take it on the chin’: a striking phrase, even Churchillian, but – like all his metaphors – it’s not entirely clear what precisely it’s supposed to mean. It’s said to have been suggested to him by Dominic (Demonic) Cummings, though there are of course precedents – TR Malthus and A Hitler being the most obvious ones. At present the ‘losers’ would include the elderly, and those with ‘underlying conditions’; which is why the disease is currently so rampant in retirement and care homes. The elderly, of course, tend to be thought of as economically ‘useless’, and even a ‘burden’ on society, which is why culling them would be of benefit to the nation, especially with the prospect coming up – we are told – of the worst trade depression in 300 years.
That would include me. I’m over 70 and with an ‘underlying condition’, which means I would be one of the first for the chop. Up to now I’ve rather basked in the position of doing my patriotic duty by staying indoors and lounging on my sofa, with supplies being brought to my door by Tesco’s and good neighbours, so that I don’t get infected and infect others. But perhaps I should re-think. I might be doing more for my country by allowing myself to be culled.
Well, I’ve had a good, lucky life, and a longer one than I ever imagined possible (with my ‘underlying condition’). So perhaps I should volunteer. If so, however, I’d like to make a condition: that I take down certain others with me. I could make a list; headed of course by Boris, Nigel and Rupert, but probably a few hundred names long. My £950 p.m. pension would be a bit of a saving for the State, but probably not enough to make my death alone worthwhile. So: only if I can take those other bastards too. Is it a deal?
To lift lock down is partly a social class issue with the owners of capital seeking an early resumption of profit making while the proletariat will, if the unions are doing their job, resist endangering their physical well-being. Trump and Johnson are no doubt under huge pressure from the business interests, who support and finance, them to lift restriction under the cloak of the national economic interest, while the scientific advice on lock down is clear in anticipation of a probable second wave. Johnson is finding his public school bumptiousness and Churchill imitations increasingly futile.
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