The first week of lockdown in Britain has seen the most sustained period of fine weather I’ve ever experienced in my 22-year sojourn on this island of perpetual wind and rain. Never has it been so bright, calm, temperate and invigorating. On solitary walks down deserted streets and river paths, keeping a careful distance from other humans when they sporadically appear, you find the air has the light crispness of early fall, while the sun – unimpeded by any cloud – imbues the body with the warmth of spring. As a friend remarked, it’s an inversion of the pathetic fallacy: while human affairs are falling apart, nature is at its most serene.
At the moment, Britain seems to have arrested its headlong slide into the “American Carnage”™ that Trump has loosed upon the unfortunate land in his charge. But it has been near thing. With the supreme arrogance that only comes from centuries of inbred elitist stupidity, the Johnson government of toffs and twits wasted weeks of precious time pursuing a course of “herd immunity”: essentially letting COVID-19 sweep through the populace and cull the old and weak, while praying that the rest of the population would build up a natural resistance.
This, you might think, would be a risky proposition, especially given the fact that no one knew exactly how this novel coronavirus worked or how it might mutate as it worked its way around the world. There was also the fact that the British approach flew in the face of WHO recommendations, which were proving effective in containing the virus elsewhere. But Johnson, a well-known, lifelong goof-off, was being led in this, as in all things, by his “special advisor,” Dominic Cummings. This creepy libertarian replicant has long advocated Steve Bannon-like principles of tearing down the “administrative state” – especially commie claptrap like the NHS – while exalting executive rule unencumbered by the pesky machinery of representative democracy. Just before the COVID crisis hit, Cummings had to fire one of his own special advisors: yet another cranky twerp who, it was found, had been a bit too open in his advocacy of good old-fashioned eugenics.
But with the arrival of the virus, Cummings himself could now eugenicize to his heart’s content, on a grand scale. Relying on dubious modeling based on woefully incomplete data, Johnson’s government adopted a strategy that, if carried through, could have killed up to 250,000 Britons, although they were hoping for a low-ball of “only” 20,000 or so. (One can see the bug-eyed, smooth-pated Cummings in the Cabinet Room, telling Johnson in true General Ripper style: “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed!”) Government officials talked of the “herd immunity” strategy. Johnson made a speech telling Brits that a bunch of their loved ones was about to die, which, strangely enough, didn’t go down all that well. So the Tories began denying that they were doing what they had said they were doing and were obviously still doing.
This Trumpian circus went on until March 12, when a new study by Imperial College, based on the actual data of the pandemic so far, showed that Boris and Dom’s dimbulb plan would kill close to half a million people, maybe more. Panicked by the facts – or, perhaps, by the exposure of the mass death they’d been willing to accept – here is where the Tory toffs and twits finally diverged from the Trumpian approach. Instead of denouncing the Imperial study as “fake news” and continuing their resistance to containment, they turned on a dime, jettisoned the “herd culling” plan and began adopting the WHO measures.
Naturally, being the stupid, inbred elitists they are, they went about it in a half-assed fashion, wasting two weeks with vague, often contradictory “guidelines” and “suggestions” that left the nationwide open to the spread of the virus. And when they finally pulled the trigger on an enforced lockdown, they dithered for days – and are still dithering as I write – about providing sufficient support for people now without work and, for the most part, without pay. Nevertheless, spurred on by relentless pressure from Jeremy Corbyn and many others, the Tory government was forced to offer far more substantial assistance for ordinary people than our fightin’ progressives in the Democratic leadership have even proposed back in the States.
To riot in understatement, it has been an unedifying spectacle all around. But also a clarifying one. The murderous contempt which our elites feel toward us has been confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s in the open now: their willingness, their eagerness, to sacrifice thousands, even millions of lives in order to preserve their reeking, bloodstained dominion. All the clown make up of the ludicrous front men they push to the fore – Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro, even trembly, sputtering old Joe Biden – can’t hide the death’s head that is capitalism’s true face. This crisis is the last stop on the road to destruction: theirs or ours. And you don’t need a weatherman to know which way that wind should blow.