Who Indeed…

Who remembers the poor bloke from Hove who went on a sales conference in Singapore last January 2020, then went on a short ski-ing trip with his family in France, then flew home to the UK in early February and went to the pub, as you do, all before realising that while at the conference he had been in contact with a delegate from Wuhan, China…? So for two weeks he had just been getting on with his life, totally oblivious to the fact that he had been infected with Covid 19 and was inadvertently passing it on to others through his normal everyday social contact.

Remember this was all pre-lock-down, pre-pandemic – in fact pre- pretty much any understanding of the significance of the devastation this particular deadly coronavirus would have on the world. The papers all jumped on the story at the time and rather cruelly named him a ‘Super Spreader’ due to his asymptomatic status. I mean, it was cruel because the poor bloke did nothing wrong other than be at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was the first Briton to be diagnosed with Covid. In February 2020. And remember he was asymptomatic, and unwittingly passed it on to several others.

So how come the UK Government claim that the reason they were (and still remain) so adamant in creating a national test and trace system that ONLY tests people with at least one of three main symptoms is that THEY WERE UNAWARE OF THE PREVALENCE OF ASYMPTOMATIC TRANSMISSION! Seriously guys, you’re the bloody Government! All you had to do was pick up a copy of any red-top tabloid back in February 2020 and they would have told you that there was clear evidence of under-the-radar transmission of the virus right from the very beginning – it was the very first case, widely reported in the usual sensational style.

But even now, one year on, if you go online to try to book a Covid test here in the UK it asks if you have at least one of three symptoms – fever, new continuous cough, and a change to your taste or smell. That’s it. If not that specific narrow selection of symptoms, or no symptoms at all, forget about it. Self-isolate if you think you’ve maybe been exposed, but officially we’re not interested in you. At all. No symptoms, no test. Yet when I caught Covid at the beginning of the year I’d already been feeling decidedly unwell for a few days before my strange sense of taste developed.

Headache, dizziness, ear-ache, sore throat – that’s how it started for me. I thought I might be coming down with flu. It was only around the fourth day when I had a strange metallic sensation in the back of my throat and developed a bit more of a cough than usual that I took a test. Things got a bit worse later on but I never did develop a fever. And had it not been for the lock-down imposed after Christmas I’d probably have been at work for those first few crucial days, so even with a mask and sanitiser and social distancing who knows how many people I might potentially have infected?

This virus has a two-week incubation period. Not everyone gets the same symptoms, and some people do not get any symptoms at all. Whether pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, if you don’t test the entire population to see how the land lies, you can’t possibly begin to control transmission. Lock-downs alone are not the answer, not without adequate testing and tracing too. Restrictions have to be there for a reason, to tackle the problem head on not just kick it down the road to be dealt with at a later date… Grrr…!

OK, enough of a corona-rant for today – and sorry for shouting, but really, at times Boris and his gang are the absolute limit! 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Who

An Arse of a Farce

I’m feeling quite put out that my first serious participation in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections since moving from England back to Scotland 18 months ago has been effectively hijacked by ridicule and revenge, like a Monty Python sketch gone hideously wrong. The Scottish Government is run on Proportional Representation although for many years the SNP have pretty much been in charge, and the current First Minister of Scotland is SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon.

There was already a bit too much of a ‘People’s Front of Judea’ versus ‘Judean People’s Front’-style bickering and back-biting feud evident at the top of the Scottish National Party for my liking. And with the cringe-worthy news this week of previous ego-meister Party Leader Alex Salmond newly breaking away from the SNP in some sad little splinter faction, basically adding his brand new ‘Popular People’s Front’-esque ‘Alba Party’ to the indy-mix all on his lonesome, it’s become even more of an arse of a farce…

The question of Scottish Independence has been on the go up here for as far back as I can remember politically, from the 1970s and the indomitable Winnie Ewing who in her time has since served as a Westminster MP, a European Parliament MP, and also a Member of the Scottish Parliament. In fact, her son Fergus Ewing is currently serving as the cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism in the Scottish Government and is to be on the ballot paper again in our area for this next election. I might even give him my vote this time around, but I haven’t decided yet.

The thing is, I’m not a one-dimensional one-trick pony when it comes to my voting habits. I have no specific party allegiance and in my lifetime have voted for different parties, depending on the particular political landscape of the time, where I was living, and the personal bona fides of the candidates in question. Over the last forty years I’ve variously voted SNP, Liberal Democrat, Labour, and even Green Party on occasion. Never Conservative though, it’s never been a party that has spoken to me or for me, and I can’t imagine a time when it ever will.

I’d been so looking forward to the opportunity to have the choice of voting SNP again, but now it’s here I’m not so sure which way I’ll go. The dual economic threats of Covid and Brexit have together created a climate of need for political togetherness moving forward, a time of healing and soothing across the world, and right now I’m not sure what the best way forward for Scotland may be. So one way or another there’s lots for me to figure out in the next few weeks before finally making my mind up on May 6th…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Figure

Scottish Parliamentary Elections

This year we’re going to be holding Scottish Parliamentary Elections on 6th May – there have been two local elections since we moved up from London 18 months ago, but this is our first ‘big’ election since living in Scotland again.

We’ve already had our voting cards arrive in the post, and a useful Government leaflet explaining the whole Scottish Parliamentary election process, but so far only one candidate flyer has dropped through out letterbox. Hopefully we’ll be getting some more through soon or we’ll have absolutely no idea who’s actually going to be running in the election, and so who to vote for!

There’s been a right stooshie lately – no, probably more of a stramash – relating to the way the Scottish Government have (mis)handled a lengthy investigation into past allegations of inappropriate behaviour by the previous Scottish National Party First Minister, leading last week to a failed Parliamentary vote of no confidence in the current Scottish National Party First Minister.

Hmmm… Not exactly setting a good example of a strong and stable leadership, having such serious squabbles at such a high level of Government just a few weeks before an election – recently it’s been far more of an ongoing soap opera saga within the highest echelons of the Scottish Parliament than pedestrian politicians on the ground doing their usual pre-election propaganda stuff.

I suppose we’ll just have to see how it all plays out in the ballot box locally and nationally in about six weeks’ time… 🙂

PS A stooshie is a row or a fracas, whereas a stramash causes more of a commotion and uproar!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Run

Truth and Consequence

Yeah I know, I’m a whole day late with answering this prompt, but lock-down-limbo time plays impish tricks on me and I struggle sometimes to remember to get my days right. But I figured it probably doesn’t matter all that much in the grander scheme of things right now – and as it happens I’ve got far more of an idea today about what I want to write than I had yesterday…

So I’ve had all sorts of frustrated thoughts and feelings floating around in my head since hearing the disappointing but entirely expected outcome of the US Senate Impeachment ‘trial’ of the man-who-would-be-king. Acquittal. Again. Seriously, what an absolute farce of political posturing is that particular partisan example of ‘due process’. Thankfully there were seven brave Republican Senators who put their own moral conscience above toeing the party line by voting along with the Democrats to convict the former President.

But what about the rest? However clever the other 43 renegade Republican Senators think they’ve been in completely side-stepping the issue by using their triumphant-if-tenuous get-out-of-jail card to pretty much say – well yeah we know he did it but he’s not in power any more so we’re letting him off on a technicality – rest assured the rest of the world saw what happened on the day, and what has transpired since the insurrection, and we all know what we heard and saw without needing anyone to provide us with a carefully-edited alternative version of an otherwise obvious truth.

So whatever poor-me ‘witch-hunt’ narrative Trump’s followers choose to present in wily weasel words the whole world saw it all unfold live on TV in real time, backed up on countless social media platforms. Trump lied to the American people, because he lost that election fair and square. He lied and he lied and then he lied some more, just to make sure. Because the only potential ‘steal’ to be stopped was clearly being perpetrated by him. He and his henchmen deliberately whipped up a perfect storm based on perpetuating that basic lie and let it loose to go spinning off to do its stuff, come what may.

Outside of America, Trump’s infamous bad-loser legacy will inevitably go down in world history as a bad example of deluded demagoguery, a disgraceful and embarrassing autocratic abuse of power in a supposedly world-leading democratic country. Inside of America? Well, for now how that plays out in the long term remains to be seen. Will the Republican Party reclaim the right to its own name and regain its moral compass, or will it continue down the slippery slope of selling its soul to a slick snake-oil salesman?

But whatever happens across the pond post-Trump be in no doubt – the former self-styled Emperor has only imaginary clothes to cover his shame, and however many times he and his lawyers and the myopic members of the not-so-grand-old-party-any-more tell us how wonderfully appropriately he is dressed, we’ve all got eyes in our heads and can clearly see the naked truth evident below the grandiose fabrication of alternative facts draped so defiantly in layer upon layer of illicit lies…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Above/ Below

Trump-ty Dumb-ty

Trump-ty Dumb-ty thought he was King
Trump-ty Dumb-ty and his offspring
Played to the racist supremacist right
Urged them to follow with violent might.

Trump-ty Dumb-ty lied that he'd won
Trump-ty Dumb-ty thought it was fun
Watched his believers work up to the kill
Storming the Senate on Capitol Hill

Trump-ty Dumb-ty hates that he lost
Has to win everything whate'er the cost
Bully-boy loser deluded and vain
Let's hope he never holds office again...

The Sky’s the Limit

I’m not really a ‘sky’s the limit’ kind of girl. A ‘world’s your oyster’ believer in never-ending freedom or pushing yourself to do stuff just because it’s possible, whether its really in your long-term interests or not, whether you even want to do it or not.

Even Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in Magnum Force tells us that ‘A man’s gotta know his limitations’ and he’s right, we all need to know what we can and cannot do, should and should not do. We should not as a human race have been doing all the stuff to the natural environment that allowed Covid to produce and reproduce and mutate and maim and kill so indiscriminately across the world.

And the people in power in America should have known better than to allow that narcissistic nut-job in the White House to get away with deliberately pushing the boundaries of common sense and civility in order to create a call-to-arms with a hand-picked angry mob whipped into a frenzy by blatant lies and empty promises just because he’s a sore loser.

We watched them all being worked on, worked up, wound up tight en masse like clapping-monkey clockwork henchmen, watched Trump push them all in the direction he wanted them to go, then run away to hide in the safety of his Presidential bunker as he set them loose to run amok in self-righteous indignation and carry out his seditious insurrection on Capitol Hill.

So now it seems the sky’s the limit when it comes to political backtracking, too, the deafening sound of backwards-shuffling feet, denials and distancing and the holier-than-thou re-framing of fundamental facts amongst the Republican rabble-rousers. Even those whose silence condoned such behaviour are just as complicit as those who actively sought to undermine democracy with spurious objections to the electoral college votes based on illegal falsehoods not facts.

OK, so this wasn’t exactly where I intended to go with this post, but it’s where my Stream of Consciousness has taken me today so perhaps this is as good a place as any to stop…

Hands, Face, Space

To be honest I’m not a great Boris Johnson fan, particularly when he comes out with his population-alienating public schoolboy blustering fluff and guff stuff when standing on the pandemic podium, instead of being clear and concise in a no-nonsense everyday way like Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister.

I believe that many polls show that when it comes to leadership many people in the UK think that overall, Nicola has been doing a better job at handling the pandemic population-wise than Boris.

However, one noteworthy exception in that general skew towards Scotland generally managing coronavirus things better than England (in my opinion) is the UK Government strapline of ‘Hands, Face, Space’, It’s nice and easy to remember and is the perfect description of where we all need to remain most cautious when out and about – keeping our hands clean, covering our faces, and keeping our distance. Simple but effective.

But meanwhile Scotland’s somewhat unweildy acronym for their public safety campaign in this Covid pandemic is FACTS which stands for… wait a minute… just hang on while I look it up yet again… oh yes, there it is…

F for Face coverings

A for Avoid crowded places

C for Clean your hands regularly

T for Two metre distance

S for Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

It may be more comprehensive, but to my mind the fact that I have to look it up every single time makes it a less than useful public information message – so top marks for Boris on this one topic, and it’s back to the drawing board for you, Nicola 🙂

Weekly Prompt: Noteworthy