The Rules

It’s such an interesting time to be alive and hopefully we won’t catch the disease causing this pandemic and die. I have found the last year quite fascinating in terms of planning, managing and governing. I might eventually get to the point of this communication but I think I want to start with the initial response from the UK government in February and March.

The very nature of disease communication means that once a communicable disease is in your country you are very unlikely to be able to stop the transmission – more so if the disease has a gestation period of a few days and then lasts for a couple of weeks. A deadly disease such as Ebola or Marburg is actually quite difficult to catch, I mean, once you’ve got it you are fucked, but it’s still hard to catch. Something that can travel in little airbourne particles or remain on surfaces is going to be much harder to stop. The current SARS-Cov-2 virus is a little bitch with 1/3 infected people being asymptomatic and many others getting just a mild version. Currently in the UK the death rate is 500 people a day. People are fucking dying and it’s sad.

Back in early March I can remember telling friends, family and colleagues that we needed to close borders even before we had our first case in the UK. In fact it was likely the first case was already in the UK and probably from Italy but you can’t wait for the first case. You have to be pre-emptive and shut the borders. This, is, of course, terrible for the economy, but good for lives. Our government seemed as though they were rabbits stuck staring at the headlights as the truck thundered towards them to kill them. No-one in government had the guts to make the call until it was too late. I suspect that these fuckers were just hoping for a nice quiet five years of “governing” so that they could then collect and use all the power they wanted. It’s what the current brand of inarticulate and intellectually challenged group do.

We missed the chance to shut down and minimise the effects of the pandemic across the country for many reasons, but mostly because our “leaders” are not leaders. The first wave of the pandemic resulted in a complete country shut down with education moving online and a massive hit to the economy which will be paid off over the next few generations. I’d like to tell you that the pandemic and the planning required was a surprise but it wasn’t. The government had commissioned a report into threats to the UK back in 2017 and a pandemic was there. It’s always been just a matter of when in time and not if. The problem is that humans and society are terrible at planning for things with a low probability of happening or if the threat is too distant.

If we have a look at the threat to society from anthropogenic climate change then we can see that life is going to be utterly shit for most humans in around two generations time. Now some people are bothered by this and are trying to get things moving politically so that the human race can cope. But for most people this event is too abstract, too far away, and doesn’t concern them. Any efforts we put in place would mean massive changes to the way our current society works and that is too much for most people to think about and definitely not anything for the short-termism of national politics to act on. So, planning for rare but deadly events isn’t something we are good at. We know it’s something we aren’t good at and so you would hope that people in government would put policies in place to ensure that we are prepared. There are people paid to think about how we cope in these situations.

What I have found socially interesting over this year is the reliance on “The Rules”. Early on the government came out with rules for society to work and maintain the health as best we could for people. We had briefings from senior ministers, all of whom I wouldn’t even leave in charge of cooking and egg if I knew them personally. The current government were voted in on the back of racist ideologies left over from the Brexit bullshit along with a perpetuating fear of “communism” in the guise of a socialist leader of the main opposition party. Having discussed some issues with a friend who votes differently to me it seemed clear that he was soaking up Facebook headlines rather than what was actually Labour policy and when I cleared up the actual truth about “renationalisation of the railways” he didn’t believe me because five minutes later he mentioned the same headline. The current “leaders” of this country are liars, bullies and racists (even the ones with darker skin than traditionally associated with “England”).

[As an aside I’m reading “How To Argue With A Racist” by Adam Rutherford – I highly recommend it for anyone to read. I don’t think the arguments are new to me, but it’s nice to have a source of information where the truth is clearly set out]

Early on the government set out the “rules” for society and also changed the LAW so that these rules could be enforced. The “rules” changed many times over the last nine months but everyone followed the rules as best they could because we Brits are a rule loving society and while some people obviously don’t give a fuck about the rules most people did their best because they were following the rules. I went to work in the weeks of early March because I was following the rules. I personally thought it was fucking bonkers that schools were still open but we were waiting for the government to tell us what to do. The problem is that the government weren’t doing the right thing. I’m not saying that with hindsight, I said it at the time. We should have shut the schools much earlier than we did. But even though everyone I spoke to knew what we should do we followed the rules because that is what we do. Even, it seems, when we know the rules are wrong.

I know that when we moved to online teaching everyone at my school worked their asses off. Every day I would end with headaches after staring at the PC screen for so long. The “administration” of running online lessons was immense. Everyone wanted to do the best for their pupils and we still do. That is why we are teachers. We love our subjects and we want to pass that knowledge on, we want to give young people the skills to be good people in the future. Yes, there are some teachers who seem to hate their job, or worse, be terrible at it, but that is expected. The vast majority are excellent people who want the best for young people.

So, we followed the “rules”. We did as we were told. We had the school open for key-worker children and some of us volunteered to go in and supervise those children. We worked remarkably hard to come up with grades for our examination groups. We know the pupils and we had the evidence so we set up grades. We followed the rules because that is what we do. We opened the schools back in September because that is the rules. We have done everything that has been asked of us, because those are the rules set in place by the “leaders” of this country.

The problem is THE RULES ARE BULLSHIT.

What do you do when you know the rules are a misguided attempt to maintain everything working the way is always has. What do you do when you are threatened to be taken to court when you know that infection rates are high enough that it would make more sense to move all your teaching online for the last week of term. We know what is best and works for our local societies but we have been fucked over by the government bullying schools and local areas into submission because when they went to their private school everyone was there to serve their needs.

The absolute privilege and self-righteousness of those “in-charge” of our country is huge. They believe they were born to lead and run this country. They believe they know what is best for the country. The current crop of senior conservative politicians are the worst possible collection of humans I have seen in power in this country in my short time on this earth. They are hopelessly lost. Had this country not been going through TWO massive problems right now we could have possibly survived five years of these wankers. But, the problems of Brexit along with this current pandemic [500 PEOPLE A DAY ARE DYING] is too much for the feeble twats we voted in charge. So what do we do?

We follow the rules set out by those idiots. We have a strange relationship with the rules. We need rules there so we can work out how to run things in a “moral” way. I thin the rules are there to try to make things seem fair. They don’t make things actually fair because the rules are written by entitled idiots. But the rules at least attempt to make things fair and clear for people to follow so that we can exist together and not kill granny. A lot of rules seem self evident, along the lines of the golden rule of “do no harm” or “be nice”. We don’t all walk around murdering people because we intrinsically know that is wrong, we also know there are rules against it, but I don’t think we need those rules there. We know rape is wrong, we know racism is wrong. If we follow the “do no harm” ideals then it’s reasonably easy to figure out what we should do.

We try to codify the rules so that we all have the correct basis for what we do. If you are powerful enough then you can bend those rules to your advantage but for the most of us we follow the rules. The problem still is that the current rules for running this country are terrible. Who is pressuring you to make sure that you can go visit your grandma and kill her over xmas? Who is it making the current “leaders” relax the rules for some mid-winter celebration. For fuck’s sake, virus transmission is quite easy to understand and yet we are allowing people to have some more “freedom”. Many won’t understand or listen to the rules. Many will travel. There will be a spike in January. It’s fucking obvious. It’s a bit like forcing schools to stay open. Headlines two weeks ago covered that teenagers were the fastest growing group of positive cases. But we are told to keep the schools open and so we do.

What do we do when we have finally had enough of the “rules”. Most other countries would have a revolution. People would rise up and tell those in charge that we want change. Not this pathetic country. We are so controlled to think that our leaders want the best for us that we don’t get onto the streets. Even then, when we do in overwhelming numbers the government do jack shit about it. A million people marched against the illegal Iraq war. But we went and killed over 100,000 people. A million people marched against Brexit but those fuckers still didn’t have the balls to say – “hold on chaps”. It’s almost as if we are conditioned to think that those in charge are benevolent and selfless when the absolute opposite is true. There isn’t a perfect form of government but our current crop of leaders are stupid assholes.

Early on in this pandemic the politicians were attempting to explain that they were “following the science”. This was their excuse for doing the things they did. Let me just clear something up here. Science can give you information. In the early days of new science that information is sketchy and likely to improve over time. Science can give you facts to the best of our knowledge at that time and the more evidence we get the better and more reliable that information can become. Science is a tool for understanding the universe. Scientists as individuals are prone to bias as much as anyone else and so we have systems to try and filter that bias out. All science can do is give the government the best filtered information we have at that moment. Science doesn’t have the answers to “what should we do”. All science can do is inform you what might work. It is politicians who make the decisions based on what they have been told. Science can inform the politicians. The politicians make the decisions. They are the ones who own the rules we have been following. If they are too thick to understand the science or if they just choose to do their own thing then it is the politicians we should blame.

All the information we have been given in this country has come from politicians. They have done a terrible job. Yes, it must be particularly hard to do those jobs at the moment. Yes, anyone would find it hard. But we can blame the current crop for being utterly useless. We can blame them for being unable to comprehend the consequences of their decisions and we can blame them for doing things wrong.

FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE A DAY ARE DYING.

Too Little

This is communication number 1664 and so it seems worthwhile to point out some of the things that happened in the year 1664 C.E. The English took control of New Amsterdam and it was renamed New York. England had been through the Commonwealth and was now back as a Monarchy with Charles II in charge. Such a shame in some ways although the rule of Cromwell was horrific. This country has such a reliance on a feudal system even to this day. It is supposed that some people are “born to lead” and those people just happen to be born to the same families who have already led.

I keep trying to collect my thoughts on this current world of ours as we undergo such restrictions to try and slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Today I will stick with our government’s response I think rather than go on about the lasting political and social change that needs to happen.

From observations in China and countries in Europe it is clear the our current government lacked in it’s response to the virus. It’s like they don’t understand the terms “exponential” and “growth” even though it’s part of GCSE and A Level mathematics and I suspect it’s talked about in science lessons too. This country needs to remember that our government lacked action until way too late.

Firstly, everyone is going to get the current coronavirus. What’s important is reducing the number of people who have it at any one time. This way our [massively underfunded and ripped apart] NHS can do its be to cope with the onslaught. Once the virus started to spread from the far east, it was almost too late. That was the moment to shut down the country. Our bars/pubs and schools should have been shut TWO weeks before the government actually did it. You can’t wait for the deaths to start mounting before you shut everything down, most people will be infected by then. The way to control this thing is to know where it is and who has it. It is therefore vital that everyone is tested. That is another aspect of this disaster. If people with symptoms are tested then we will know whether they have the virus or not and we can isolate those who do. The others could return to their jobs and continue to help.

The spread of this virus will now continue at a massive rate because this government took too long to shut the country down. There are concerns with shutting the country down also, many families are awful places where violence and terror rule. People will die in their houses. There will be a cost to this isolation. This government is one ruled by money rather than believing in any form of social debt to those who make up this country. You can see that in the dedication the donors to the tory party have to the UK in refusing to pay the due taxes. They have trust funds and personal companies, they hide their money away to “reduce their tax bill” which is seen as “honorable” by some because it’s their money and they’ve earned it. Which isn’t true. They owe tax. They should pay tax. Their loyalty to this land is so shit they avoid doing what they should while maintaining a level of control which we, as a country, seem to forgive because of this feudal system that still plays on our minds.

Much like the classic Faderhead song goes “Take Your Fucking Meds”, we should have a chant across this land of “Pay Your Fucking Taxes”. I moved onto taxes as a way of symbolising the lack of respect our leaders and industry giants have for the systems of this country and the lack of caring they have for those of us in the lower echelons of society. They literally don’t care and that was why the response of the “leaders” of this country was entirely lacking in the early stages of this disease. If Johnson and the others ever let the report into this disaster public it will show their lack of action cost lives. Mind you, they haven’t released the report into Russian influence in the recent general elections have they? I wonder what they are hiding?

God, it annoys me sometimes how I come across as a complete paranoid loony left person. I think that’s what you feel when you grew up in the 80s when the left was seen as a joke and Thatcherism was at its height. It’s built into my psyche to be suspicious of those on the left, all those news articles and constant hints at communism in the 80s have messed me up and make me feel guilty for being on the left. But, I do know that I am right about it all.

The Nicest People

I recently had to spend some time in the company of the NHS. In case you aren’t sure what the NHS is, well, it’s a health service that I pay for through my National Insurance contributions. I pay these in the knowledge that the money will either help me when I need it or help other people. Maybe I’m an odd one because I am happy to pay my fair share of money to help others who are less fortunate than me. I consider this a social duty. I will quite likely rant on here one day about how we should make everybody pay their fair share, too many people in this country try to avoid paying to help others. While that might seem very black and white it’s not and the arguments are complicated.

There’s a communication that has been in draught form for about three years where I explain my politics and the reasons behind it, but it will be long and rambling and possibly unpopular. As an idea of what I think I am currently considering the idea that many wars are caused by those in power aiming to maintain their fragile grip on power and to do that they send millions of “little people” to their death. That’s not my final thought, it’s just part of the things I’m considering. This came about because the end of World War One was more caused by the German people rebelling and the Kaiser resigning than any military gains by the allies. The UK government then did its best to quash any forms of rebellion in the UK. It’s why the Eton arseholes still rule us. Anyway, you can see my thoughts degenerate into anger and swearing quite quickly. Another day for the reasoned arguments.

 

 

The point of this communication is to praise the lovely people I met at the hospital and how they couldn’t have done more to keep everything happy and safe. So many of the professionals who came and talked to us had heavy accents but I don’t care about that. In fact I’m glad about that. It highlighted how much our medical service relies on people who come here from abroad and our country is better for it. The whole system worked well and all the workers were brilliant. It’s never an easy time being in hospital and I have nothing but praise for the people who helped us.

 

 

It’s so galling then that our government continues to bolster itself into a situation that will culturally and financially ruin our country for the next thirty years at least. This along with the chronic underfunding of all public services over the last ten years truly has ruined our country. I am so fucking angry at these things. But maybe that’s for another day.

My Voice Is My Passport

This calendar year my passport runs out, during July. I want to get out of this place in August and so I need a new passport.

So, I looked online and found the information about how far in advance I can apply, what documentation I need and how much it costs to get free passage across non-existent lines between countries.

I had to do the following:

  • Fill in the online form
  • Pay £75 or so
  • Take a new photo
  • Send old passport back
  • Wait

I have to say the whole experience was really good. I could use my phone to take a new picture and upload that via the website. Then the money thing was easy also. Lastly I had to send my old passport back via the standard post.

Within two days of posting I had a text message telling me they had my old passport and that the forms and pictures had checked out and I should await my new passport. I do think this is impressive service for a government department. One more day passes and I am told the new passport is posted and should be with me shortly.

It turned up and was shortly followed by my old passport with the corner cut out.

You’ll be pleased to know that I still look like a thug.

FFRF

Signed up to the Atheist out of the Closet campaign on Freedom From Religion Foundation website. Also starting to listen to their podcast. Like it.
They do very good work in USA making sure church and state separation is maintained. We could do with something like that over here, but our parliament is hard wired for religion. Our head of state is the leader of our church! We have bishops in the House of Lords ffs. When can we get rid of that? Current plans are to have representation from all major religions in the Lords. How stupid. When do you know to stop? How do you choose which religions? How big do they have to be? Remove all religious representation and let them lobby like everyone else (not that I’m keen on lobbying groups).

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