A devilish illness has weakened Boris’ ability to protect the UK from the Tory right

Not many folks have picked up on Boris Johnson’s description of the coronavirus as “a devilish illness” have they? So did Boris do a deal with the devil at the crossroads to stay alive? Was it the work of the devil?

Fact is, calling a viral infection “devilish” doesn’t fill you with confidence that the speaker is being led by the science. It’s the language of a medieval priest, and perhaps that’s the best impersonation Boris can offer, since he’s no more led by the science than David Attenborough is led by the prospect of a McDonald’s double cheeseburger.

“A people that elect corrupt politicians are not victims, but accomplices” — George Orwell

It’s judgmental to give a viral pandemic human characteristics but Boris managed to do it twice in his speech of May 10. As well as “devilish”, he also used the word “mugger” to describe the coronavirus. So it’s a devilish mugger is it? Why not come right out and just say it — the coronavirus is a black man living in Tottenham who’s off his face on crack following his release from a 20-year sentence for burglary and rape?

“A people that elect corrupt politicians are not victims, but accomplices,” said George Orwell, and never was this truer than in 2020 Britain, where the accomplices are still at the crime scene, trying to erase their fingerprints from the evidence so future historians will find no trace of their ever having enabled a sociopathic party to return to work with no decent testing regime in place, no contact tracing and PPE shortages for workers in the NHS and care homes.

If you compare the UK today to the Titanic it becomes obvious how little has changed in the way the country is run. The Titanic was supposed to have 64 lifeboats, but only 20 were put on board for its maiden voyage because otherwise the decks would have been cluttered and that would have been unsightly for passengers. On the Titanic, 60 per cent of first-class passengers survived: that fell to 42 per cent for second class passengers and 25 per cent for third class passengers. Not surprising, given that the gates separating the third class quarters were kept locked even after the collision with the iceberg. Oh and by the way, only two bathtubs were available for more than 700 third-class passengers — one for men, one for women.

There’s stories of Boris being unsure about which side to pick in the referendum. Apparently he wrote two articles for the Daily Telegraph — one pro the EU, one pro-Leave — and left it to the last minute to decide which to send to his editor. You can imagine him doing that with every speech ever since: on Sunday the two opposing choices were to either make it clear to the British public that until testing, contact tracing and PPE were all up and running, there could not be even a partial end to lockdown. And the other option was to placate the rabid Tory right—the 1922 Committee, the ERG — who have hijacked the party and are baying for red meat. And, fatally for many UK workers and their loved ones, he chose to please the Tory right. Again. So you useless, work-shy, snivelling scroungers with your hideous furloughs and ridiculous refusal to go back to your schools and workplaces now have to step into dangerous public spaces with and just get on with the business of developing herd immunity. You have to be weaned off your free money and everyone knows the detoxification process can be brutal….

Onwards, the great ship of state sails, with its pirate flag flying over a citizenry deliberately impoverished by years of austerity and weakened by the ruinous process of leaving the European Union. Accomplices in their own shabby decline, watched by a world full of fury and despair for their fate.

We’re an island, and we want our island back, and pretty soon we’ll have the keys to our island, and we’ll close the door and turn the lock, so the devilish mugger won’t ever get in — and only then find out that he was the one that lured us into this hellhole in the first place.

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