The stupidity is baffling.
From Portugese villas, travel bloggers tell journalists how annoyed they are about having to spend a WHOLE afternoon rearranging flights. From middle-class homes, retirees appear on television to fret about whether their traditional summer break to the Med is on or off.
And let us not forget the celebrities who have Instagrammed their sudden dash to the sun in a range of expensive bikinis, and are less positive about the marketing opportunities of their upcoming quarantine.
All of these people are in their predicament because they believed a government that is absolutely stuffed with the sort of people who give the clown community a bad name.
Pennywise, after all, did at least have a plan.
A clown that kills people sets about it thus: locate people, frighten them silly, kill, repeat. A government that kills usually does so by means of blunder, bluster, and budget cuts.
But here we have a government that blundered, spent more, killed lots, and *then* frightened people silly, while simultaneously convincing large numbers they could pretend the pandemic was over, by going to countries with worse vaccination rates, variants, and health systems.
And it’s not like this was the first time. They told us to go on holiday, then told us, mid-holiday, not to, last summer as well. If you remember, that joke was so good even a government minister fell for it.
It is hard to know when the set-up for this summer’s prank began. Was it in February 2020, when Boris Johnson was encouraged to write a book to fund his divorce rather than be allowed into COBRA meetings to suggest the Chief Medical Officer inject him with a deadly virus live on TV?
Was it at Christmas, which he declared on, then off, then if-you-must, and promised that two jabs of vaccine were equivalent to a suit of armour worn inside the skin?
Or was it this January, when 66m people were told to stay indoors for 5 months, while 1.5million people trotted through border control into a test and trace system that is burning £50 notes just to make the country smell rich, and quarantine laws that are so under-funded only a millionaire can afford to obey them?
Who knows, for the origin of jokes is often buried in cultural norms, puns, and piss-takes, and this PM is so good at perverting all three that when the history of his administration is written it’ll be called The Bumper Book of Fun: Gaffes As Government Policy.
Either way, he stirred the pot of the virus, threw in some wild ingredients, and gave the resulting new variants a headstart before announcing it was a race with a vaccine which was slightly out-of-date.
He might as well have tied his own feet together, put a sack on his head, and chewed soap, before announcing he’d be attempting brain surgery with a spoon.
The custard pies just keep coming. Ho, ho, we have a world-beating test and trace system! SPLAT. That’ll be £37bn, please.
Tee hee, let’s close schools, open them for a day, close them again, vow to leave no children behind then spend a tenth of what’s needed to do less than we promised! SPLOP. They can stop wearing masks, too, oh look they’re the most-infected demographic in Britain.
What larks! Not locking down soon enough, locking down for longer, whining about how damaging lockdowns are, then doing whatever is necessary to make them worse. Then doing it all again! And again! Nothing funnier than a joke you’ve heard three times already, is there.
All in the name of protecting the NHS, of course, which makes millions more resentful about the only group of people doing anything to save them from all this. And which neatly ignores the fact that the NHS is at threat of collapse only because these clowns spent so many years practicing the sort of malicious financial slicing that, in a marriage, would be considered torture.
And let’s not forget the meta-joke here: the idea that a deadly, worldwide disease can be done away with in little over a year.
Plague was with us for 6 centuries, and 3 pandemics; smallpox hung around for two millennia; even with every modern trick up our sleeves, AIDS took 30 years to be effectively treatable. Back to normal in 18 months? You makes oi larf.
And so here we are, watching a 5-ring circus in which clowns who keep falling flat on their face tell the audience to go on holiday, then not to, while firing freshly-mixed virus out of Nerf guns, and braying about the damage caused by the lockdowns we need because of them.
And if you think this is all their fault, you’re wrong; you bought the ticket for this show. And you knew, when you did, it was led by a showman who had made a mess of journalism, two marriages, several families, insulted all of Liverpool, embarrassed London, wasted millions on things that were never built, and has no skill in the thing he does most often, which is lying.
You knew he carried with him inexperienced wingnuts, hardliner headbangers, fanciful fruitloops, and the sort of people that, in normal circumstances, you would cross the road to avoid.
But he wasn’t the other guy, who was much the same but less of a laugh. He offered you Brexit, which has so far been exactly what he said it wouldn’t. And he is entertaining, in the same way as Just William on a spice-fuelled axe rampage.
You can hardly be surprised that this government keeps updating the virus, while millions of us still await vaccine 1.0, that your holiday was ruined, and the ferret has been reversed so many times it’s foaming at the mouth and chewing its own tail.
But there are a couple of things that might surprise you.
Firstly, in all of this you are incredibly fortunate. Lucky enough to blog for a living, or retire on a pension that can afford holidays, and that the worst thing in your immediate future is the prospect of 10 days at home and some bureaucracy.
And secondly, you live in a country where most people are more sensible than you. Three quarters of them want to keep on wearing masks, four-fifths want more quarantine, and half of them don’t want to ease the restrictions which Johnson insists he wants to lift in spite of them.
And 75% have no intention of holidaying abroad – making the country, and the NHS, safer for prats like you.
With so many people thinking the best course of action is the opposite of the one he suggests, it’s no surprise that prankster Johnson has shunted the critical reviews of his japes until after he’s sold you tickets for the next show.
And it’ll likewise be no surprise that you’ll bite his arm off, on the basis the other guy isn’t as much fun.