Monday, 9 November 2020

BACK IN THE COVID - The Lockdown 2 Diary, Day 4 & 5

DAY 4

So never mind the Covid. Today is a day for history to record that humanity recovered its optimism. The future for our planet and our great grandchildren might be better than it seemed just a short while ago. 

Biden and Harris are now President and Vice-President elect of the USA. Trumpty Dumpty fell off the wall!

An interesting defeat too. It will not be lost on Trump that since the Republican party has kept the Senate so far and gained a few seats back in the House of Representatives. This election was not so much a rejection of Republicans but a rejection of Trumpty Dumpty himself, personally.

The Senate might still go to the Democrats but this will not be known until January when a run off for two seats takes place in Georgia. 

Bigotry, racism, nationalism, continual and blatant lies, illegality, fraud, media suppression, corruption, cronyism, division and hatred are no way to govern a country and the citizens of America have rejected them emphatically. 

To our modern sensitivities and attitudes it is remarkable that Trump was ever elected in 2016 but then again we did elect an identically unqualified and mendacious charlatan in the UK too. I think I might be in a minority in my now elderly baby boomer peer group but I am sufficiently well informed, detached and particularly more liberal minded to look beyond the narrow confines of generation politics which in my view is behind these events. My explanation for this aberration in human progress lies in the opportunistic capitalisation of events by what I tend to call the “old guard” to defend its domination, power and wealth in one concerted, last ditch attempt to retain all that power.

The constituency to which these forces and their client wannabe despots appeal is my own older, largely conservative (with a small c) generation which idealises tradition, exceptionalism and nationhood and which is so resentful of change. Such voters are easily roused to defend a past they see slipping away against cultural dilution, racial diversity and an instinctive, ingrained horror of behaviours that would have been deplored or even illegal in their own lifetime and are now “in their face” as it were.

These same voters would more likely than not deplore the behaviours of Trump and Johnson. Their erosion of law and order, vilification of the judiciary, their constitutional outrages, incompetence, pathological mendacity, media suppression, a lack of transparency, unfairness, nepotism and rampant corruption in normal times. But they are now under threat and willing to overlook blatant immorality, law breaking, corruption and undemocratic rule because they are under threat. Their world is dying out and this is fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of fear and hate of immigrants, foreigners, progress, science, gender equality, the demise of religious belief systems and above all change.

The “old guard” have sown their seeds of discontent. This “old guard” is the last remnant of a feudal, aristocratic or pseudo-noble, asset owning elite that is making its last stand. History records that prising power from this elite is a tough, slow and still incomplete political process. Whether that be in voter enfranchisement, education, taxation, land ownership, education, employment rights, health provision, any area we can think of the status quo has been fought over tooth and nail by this privileged elite in defence of their vested interest and almost total power over us. 

The slave trade is a good example. Moral objections were by-and-large circumnavigated with tacit acquiescence by a right wing, authoritarian Church whose very canon condones slavery. Even when it was eventually abolished provisions were made to compensate slave owners for their “losses” and slavery did not in fact immediately end. Today slavery still exists.  If you are employed on a wage too low to support your family or pay sky high rents and are forced to work long, unsafe hours for cruel bosses, to moonlight or do extra work in the gig economy or resort to criminality you are to all intents and purposes enslaved by a regulatory and tax framework formulated to benefit the “old guard. From this impoverished unhealthy servitude there is no escape other than into homelessness and it is still the fate of millions to be languishing there under mountains of debt yet working all the hours they can.

Maintaining this ancient feudal power is the motive behind the sponsors of populist figures like Trump and Johnson. There are dark, shadowy forces behind Trump, Johnson and others which are exerting real power over our lives through these two hapless figures who are merely dancing puppets. It is also no small thing that 80% of the British Press is owned by 5 billionaires and many, if not most of the UK’s cabinet are highly religious.

And if anyone is inclined to believe we live in a democracy, we do not. The last thing the “old guard” want is democracy, parliamentary sovereignty, scrutiny, accountability or checks and balances. They pay lip service to it but they hate it. Ask yourself why welfare payments are inadequate, why no-one can survive on the minimum wage, why taxation is anathema. 

We are at a ‘Y’ in the road to a civilised future. The forces of the “old guard” intent on containing democratic institutions, controlling the legal system, destroying checks and balances, maintaining a low paid workforce in captive servitude, controlling the media and minimising individual rights have met, and are ranged against, a liberal, educated moral, humanistic generation which dreams of a society in which their government legislates in the interests of society as a whole and for each citizen equally. A government that cares for and protects it’s citizens and their nation as equal individuals, with equal rights, opportunity and freedoms not as productive slaves maintaining a privileged elite.

These times then are existential for both sides, there is only one road forward. Trumps demise and his exposure as a mendacious, bullying charlatan fronting a right wing coup just might be the turning point into a new age. It happened on 7th November 2020 when the world slept through a night with apprehensive uncertainty and woke to a dawn of hope. 


As I wrote this little rant the sky outside modulated to a weird, ominous colour and an image sprang to mind of a huge incandescent orange freak exploding in an uncontrolled angry display of petulance which was bathing the whole world in a pervasive, distasteful afterglow.

Almost immediately it brightened up out there and the garden passed into a better mood.

DAY 5

Successful trials of at least one Covid 19 vaccine were announced today adding substantially more optimism to the global frame of mind. A 90% effectiveness is claimed which, to put it into perspective, compares favourably with the 67% effectiveness claimed for the flu jab. 

Speculation regarding the impact of Trump’s demise on Brexit negotiations has been rife today. We shall probably know more as early as this week. Interesting times indeed. 

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