Well, it’s been an interesting week, hasn’t it?
Is anyone genuinely surprised by a single thing that has happened?
The massive over-reaction of the Police to people quite safely walking in the countryside. The gleeful vindictive collaborators and curtain-twitchers. The twitchfork wielders. The minor slebs, last seen on Celebrity Big Brother a decade ago, who are suddenly anointed to issue authoritative pronouncements on matters legal, moral and epidemiological. The complete failure of government to do an honest cost-benefit analysis on the measures being taken, instead sacrificing the entire economy on the altar of political optics. The unprecedented printing of money. The triumph of emotionalism over rational empiricism, and authoritarianism over liberal democracy.
I recommend to you this excellent interview with Peter Hitchens, conducted by the lately and provisionally rehabilitated James Delingpole.
So what comes next? Well, I have a few random thoughts:
The sweeping powers granted to police are all well and good but with extremely limited resources, they’re going to find it increasingly difficult to enforce the arbitrary rules as restlessness grows and people wake up to how absurd and draconian this all is. Which will lead to a ratcheting up of penalties, to include prison time without the bother of failing to pay a fine first, and to an broad expansion in the range of people who will be authorised to enforce the rules. PCSOs, traffic wardens, council inspectors, private security guards and many more people will be drafted in and granted powers of dispersal, issuing of fines and of arrest. Civillian informants will be actively encouraged and enlisted, possibly even incentivised.
The argument between the advocates of the Imperial model and the Oxford model will escalate and degenerate. It will be argued over prominently in parliament and in the media, by people with arts degrees, long after it ceases to matter whose model was right. The argument will return when we’re at a point where we can look back at the data and decide whose model was right. At which point we disappear into the weeds with endless arguments about how deaths are recorded and reported in different countries and at different points in time.
There will be a groundswell of the usual suspects campaigning hard against any idea of curtailing of globalism. They’ll be sure to invent some new isms and phobias. Expect David Lammy, JK Rowling and Gary Linekar to feature prominently, with Gary Linekar waving his ‘I lived in Japan’ credentials like they’re a George Cross, a Purple Heart and a Nobel Prize for Economics, Medicine and Peace.
We will see in retrospect that the curtailment of our liberties and economy went on far too long, but the questions of political cowardice, opportunism and the precautionary principle will go largely unexamined. As I’ve said before, even when the government does decide to loosen the chains on us, they won’t take them off. These powers will stay for ever and the next time there’s a similar panic, we’ll go to bed before a man in Mongolia coughs, and wake up after the fingermen have closed the schools, offices and roads (but not the borders).
As after every episode of money printing, house prices will increase at an accelerated rate. The proportion of the population that can afford to buy a home will plummet. Large corporations and money men will make a fortune.
Again as I previously mentioned, cash is now out. George Osborne’s old ambition to abolish cash money will be brought forward again and implemented with a gusto that ought to alarm any clear-thinking observer.
Taxes will rise. On individuals, obviously. Not on massive corporations, which will be on long-term welfare after the government crashed the economy into a ditch. Some of the money they’ve been given, out of our pockets, will be spent on lobbyists to forcefully remind the government that they could not possibly be expected to bear this burden.
And as if the economy wasn’t in the khazi already, consumer confidence will be utterly hollowed out. Millions of people who have been living paycheque-to-paycheque are currently being reminded of their precarious financial positions. Faced with the prospect of this happening again next year, a lot of those people are going to decide that it’s better to have £10k in the bank after all than to have an impressive new BMW on the driveway, and a trip to the Maldives on the calendar.
Finally, the BBC will get a stay of execution, and will be brought inside the tent by this government. Team Boris had hitherto been going after the BBC with some alacrity. Watch all talk of ending the licence fee fall silent. The BBC is ultimately – whatever you may think of its political biases – a tool of the government of the day. In a time when bread is hard to come by and all the circuses are cancelled, the government will need a state broadcaster – and they will become a state broadcaster in a way that most of us have never seen before in the UK, but anyone who is familiar with RT or Press TV will know all too well.
Honestly, I find it very difficult to see a way back from this. And by ‘this’ I do not mean COVID-19; I mean the ludicrous and reckless response to it.
But… I will forgive the government a great deal if it makes using the expression ‘X in a time of coronavirus’ a capital offence. Lazy, unimaginative dipshits. We’re not impressed that one of you once heard of the novel ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’, I bet none of you ever read it, and the first one to mangle the original Spanish version of that title will be taken to Porton Down to test vaccines on.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter ‘Griblet’ who draws this to my attention. I think it speaks for itself.
Former Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley called the police powers brought in to restrict movement “weak, insipid and they will be very difficult to use.”
This includes the police being able to fine people £60 or £120 for disobeying lockdown rules and also having the power to disperse groups and check reasons for travelling.
Mr Hurley said the police cannot possibly enforce this lockdown in a “normal way”, especially with their forces depleted due to illness, self-isolation and childcare issues.
“We need to be able to take instant on-the-spot sanctions on the street with people because the police cannot afford to get involved in rolling around and fighting with people who then infect them.
“Then they take them to the police station where they then contaminate the police station, contaminate the cells, contaminate all the other prisoners.”
Colour me stunned.
To paraphrase Archer, “Oh, is that what you want? Because that’s how you get Norsefire!”