Scotched, On the Rocks

As I pour myself another Dettol on the rocks, I’m reflecting on where we go from here.

To be frank, it’s a toughie given that boofing a cocktail of methamphetamine, LSD, and ketamine wouldn’t have got us to a conceptualisation of the present milieu. There’s so much mayhem in the world right now that Kim Jong-Un has reportedly wrenched himself away from the Pearly Gates in order to have one last crack at it all.

The Prime Minister has now popped back to Number 10, and it was magnificent to see his Churchillian performance in which he said precisely nothing. Or at least that he wasn’t intending to vary the current roadmap, which he is not prepared to divulge. Or he is simply not prepared. It’s one of those.

As it stands, he does not wish to reveal our exit strategy from the lockdown, presumably because her wants to outwit the virus. You can almost see President Trump sagely nodding in approval. It is clever, after all.

And Boris is no intellectual slouch himself – though he did manage stretch Cicero in his quotation of ‘salus populi suprema lex esto‘ (‘the health of the people will be the highest law’) which has tested the patience of purists who have pointed out that ‘salus’ refers to political health and security. I guess they’ve not heard of poetic licence. And we’re all running somewhat low on our humour reserves at the moment.

Well, at least he managed to test patience as has indeed been promised, so we can chalk something up.

The charlatans of the popular press lunged forward to pull apart the Ciceronian repartee, but not to pull him up on his interpretation of ‘salus’ (they wouldn’t have spotted that, being marginally dimmer that a low-wattage lightbulb). No, they’d picked up on traits attributed to Cicero (as if they’d know) and let their own dishevelled moggy out of the bag by demonstrating that when you cut and paste from Wikipedia, you are at the mercy of an unqualified author as well as your own asininity.

All very ironically ultracrepidarian of them. They’d be better off following the noble (or is it Nobel?) Trump or joining me for a double Domestos and lime.

But back to Boris and his next steps. Apparently, continuing as we are will now consolidate our success in battling coronavirus. Wow, 21,000 people dead and a shafted economy with still no end in sight. You might remember one of the medical head honchos setting forth that limiting the death toll to under 20,000 would be a success. Looks like the bar has now been moved. Well. that’s post-fact UK for you.

If you include those checking out in homes, care establishments, and other institutions – not to mention those who died in hospital but who did not meet the Government’s reporting criteria for inclusion in the data – you can double that figure and then add some. It’s in the region of 45,000 tickets that have been punched.

Still, as they say, ‘One death is a tragedy. One million, a statistic’.

Once we re-open, and the furlough money stalls, watch how many businesses vamoose into the sinkhole. Substantial debt, plus a decreasing market, and a requirement to reach profit from a standing start.

I moreover fear for all those businesses who will have been dipping into that deferred VAT pot. Come the end of the year, that will have yielded a large and urgent debt. And we all know how little leeway HMRC accord when monies are owed. By 2021, it’ll be everyone for themselves and some very short memories.

If today’s tub-thumping told us little, yesterday’s daily debacle told us loads.

The triumphalist revelation that levels of shoplifting have been slashed reflected a desperate bandwagon jump for a government gagging for some positives. Most of the shops in the UK have of course been closed for the last six weeks.

I’m afraid that there won’t be any good news from this caper. Only bad, or worse news.

Same again please, landlord.

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