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.