As the applause dies down…

A few short months ago, people all across the UK were coerced by peer pressure to stand outside their homes one evening a week and give a round of applause “for the NHS”.

For those of you unfamiliar with those three letters in that order; National Health Service, the UK’s biggest employer, the state run, centralised health service.

Everyone from the Prime Minister to babes in arms were out there every Thursday doing impressions of performing circus seals to celebrate a massive bureaucracy overseeing a clinical negligence bill that is increasing at a worrying rate (doubling over the previous four years).

And then there’s this:

What’s the likely consequence of that, do we think?

Bill’s Opinion

The Cancer Research charity estimates 350,000 urgent cancer appointments were missed or delayed. They speculate this might translate to 35,000 additional deaths.

That speculation is obviously as scientific and as credible as the original Imperial College model that got everyone into this mess, of course; can a subsequent cancer death really be proven to have been avoidable or was it just earlier than might have been reasonably predicted?

But nonetheless, the absolute number of increased deaths from cancer isn’t zero.

Repeat that for all manner of treatable diseases and conditions.

Then close your eyes and repeat the mantra, “we cannot make trade offs, one life lost to covid is one too many” until you forget all the inconvenient evidence to the contrary.

WHO could’ve known?

The World Health Organisation has amended its advice to governments over the efficacy of quarantine lockdowns.

“We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Dr Nabarro told The Spectator.

“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

This is the WHO’s latest volte face (a better term than “back flip”, surely; back flips result in you facing the same direction). Some of us are old enough to remember that “the situation in Wuhan is contained”, there was “no community transmission” and that “masks aren’t effective”.

Let’s add those to the list of statements not to be believed, along with, “the cheque is in the post”, “of course I love you” and, “no, I definitely promise to pull out before it’s too late”.

Anyway, this is not exactly helping the various leaders around the globe who score high on the “authoritarian” end of this quiz, which, until the start of this year, we wouldn’t have thought included people like that Churchillian libertarian, Boris Johnson.

Some awkward press conferences await Jacinda and Dan, for example. Well, there would if we had the remnants of a functioning press.

Bill’s Opinion

Just stop pretending. We all overestimated the risk back in March.

Just admit it and we can all get on with our lives and doing the things that make our short time on the planet tolerable; visiting family, playing sport, taking holidays.

Enough. Enough.

Banana splits

Perhaps this is the best illustration of how bifurcated the perception of the world is on some of the most important issues facing humanity:

Depending on your source of news, the names on this list are either worthy recipients of the prize or a combination of the incompetent and mendacious.

It’s such a mix of opposites, one almost expects some names to disappear off the page as they cancel each other out, as if when matter and anti-matter combine.

The latter part of the list has more than a hint of trolling to it; one struggles to think what Erdogan and Putin have done to progress peace, love and understanding, for example.

Obviously, we can all get behind the campaign to vote Piers “I never hacked a phone” Morgan as this year’s Peace Prize winner, if only to ensure the end of the Nobel Committee.

Bill’s Opinion

Regardless of your opinion on who should win it, this list tells us everting we need to know about why the world is currently the way it is.

Credibility level: Smollett

America is in crisis. The demand for hate crimes is outstripping supply.

As with all supply-side shortages, unsatisfactory, sub-standard products flood the market as a consequence until the natural balance is restored.

Consider the sad tale of Althea Bernstein; the likelihood of this “hate crime” happening as described by Ms Bernstein is so small it would need to be measured by an electron microscope.

Althea borrowed her Mum’s car, drove to near where a riot was occurring, replete with an large arson attack, then returned home past her curfew time with some light burns.

Anyone who reads this story and believes that four boys actually sprayed her with lighter fluid through a car window and followed it up with a lit cigarette lighter needs to seriously take a deep breath and down a cup of coffee.

Nonetheless, some high profile folks have accepted this at face value.

Who?

A couple of dumb football players, for a start. Let’s face it, critical thinking isn’t a core competency for kicking and catching a ball, but Todd Gurley and Oren Burks have managed to underachieve the already low intellectual expectations for their profession.

This is exquisite, though; Megan Markle spoke with Althea for 40 minutes. Apparently, “Meghan and Bernstein formed a connection over being biracial, and Meghan advised her to stay away from social media to avoid seeing negative comments“.

Negative comments such as, “liar, liar, pants on fire“, presumably?

Bill’s Opinion

You, I and everyone we know will read a story like the one Althea told her mother to justify coming home late with light burns to her face and immediately guess what happened; she disobeyed her mother, went to the riot and got splashed whilst having some innocent fun with Molotov cocktails.

That figures such as the football players and the ex-Princess are prepared to publicly state their support for her version of the evening leads us to believe only one of two things is true. Either;

1. They really are so gullible that this story seems credible. In which case, we should pity them, or;

2. Like us, they realise this doesn’t pass the sniff test but have decided to pretend that it does.

If (2) is correct, perhaps Theodore Dalrymple’s explanation is the best way to understand what is going on:

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

Decisions have consequences

The Guardian is likely to publish an awful lot of columns along this theme over the next few years as many of its readers and writers come to terms with the inevitable atrophy of their ovaries; I don’t want children but being an aunt is the joy of my life.

The writer then proceeds to tell us how great it is to have nieces and nephews and that it is the happiest experience of her life. However, she’s still very happy with her previous decision to not be a mother.

Very happy.

Very, very happy. Honestly.

See, doesn’t this paragraph just ooze happiness:

Adrienne Rich states that motherhood is a patriarchal institution. It shames mothers into a specific set of expectations that are impossible to attain. Mothers are judged for allowing their children to use devices, co-sleeping, engaging in paid work, not engaging in paid work, being fat, being thin, breastfeeding, using formula – the list goes on. I have seen what must be sacrificed – body, career, relationships – and how this is never enough for a culture that is always wagging its finger at you. I have witnessed the bravery it takes to be a mother in a patriarchal world, and I do not wish to cast myself in that net. It is the act of mothering, Rich defines, which is the potentially empowering experience.
This paragraph is brought to you by the adjectives, “bitter” and “projection“.

Also, let’s have a moment of contemplation for the fact a functioning adult human wrote the words, “motherhood is a patriarchal institution” without any hint of irony.

Bill’s Opinion

In recent years I have noticed an increasing number of female colleagues my age who are waking up to the reality they were sold a lie and made the wrong life choice.

At some point in their past they were told or independently developed the idea that the benefits of motherhood were not material enough compared to what they might have to give up.

Now, since their eggs have died, they are able to regret this choice at their long leisure.


The attitudes to this seem to fall in to three main categories;

  • Bitter and angry. This often results in an increased career focus. If you’ve ever met a woman in the work environment whose behaviour is on a par with or worse than the most offensive alpha males, chances are they are childless,
  • “Living well is the best revenge”. Instagram account full of images of ostentatious partying and holidaying, always the oldest person in the nightclub.
  • Quiet melancholy. The stereotype of the cat woman exists for a reason.

I am genuinely sad for them.