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Acerbic, accusing – Mark Steyn’s take on the crisis


HAVING proved spectacularly inept at preventing the worldwide spread of coronavirus, in early March the World Health Organisation (WHO) tried instead to control the language used to describe the disease. When those infected by Covid-19 curse their luck, heaven forbid that they should ‘stigmatise’ China.

More recently, Amnesty International USA went further and reminded everyone that calling Covid-19 the ‘Chinese virus’ is racist. Any stricken patient who audibly blames Beijing for his or her life-threatening ailment presumably will be cautioned for racial prejudice.

If like the WHO and Amnesty you regard the ‘stigmatisation’ of China as ‘racist’, then the opinions of Mark Steyn are not for you. But for admirers of his acerbic analyses, the good news is that over the past few weeks Mark has upped his output, producing a series of 40-minute polemical podcasts each with the introduction: ‘From my house arrest to yours, it’s your Steyn Show Coronacopia’.

The list to date is here. 

Each broadcast quickly reminds the listener where guilt lies. For example, the get-well-soon message for Boris Johnson (formerly Steyn’s editor at the Spectator and colleague on the Telegraph) with which Mark opened Coronacopia 6, came with the reminder: ‘Let us never forget who is responsible for striking him down: the evil men of the Chinese government and their stooges at the WHO.’

Coronacopia 6 (April 7) can be heard here. 

Interestingly, during this edition the normally unflinching Steyn fears (from 19:50) that in opposing economic ruin the American Right are ‘beginning to play to the caricature’ that they are ‘content to push granny off a cliff’. He frets: ‘There are things to be annoyed about, there are things to be angry about, but it is fruitless and self-destructive to start saying that these people would have died anyway . . . that’s a losing proposition for conservatives now that we’re in it . . . The trick here is to push once we’re out of it, because the Left is ready to do that. They’re already trying to paint Trump as the Death President. Don’t give them the ammo for that.’   

Steyn insists that, long term, ‘the better argument to make is for borders and decoupling from China’. Of the villainous CCP, he asks: ‘How much mischief can one politburo wreak?’ Answering his own question (from 06:00), Steyn is scathing: ‘It’s not just that China lied about the virus. It’s not just that they got Beijing Bob and the WHO to sign off on their lies and announce there was no human-to-human spread of the virus. It’s not just that in January they began hoarding and preventing the export of all personal protective equipment made in China. It now appears that while they’re keeping all the good stuff for themselves, they’re intentionally sending out defective stuff around the world, especially to Europe and North America. The guy who oversees testing in the United Kingdom now says that not one of the 3.5million antibody test kits received from China actually works. Hmm, it’s almost like the Chicoms are trying to kill large numbers of us – or at any rate remind us who we pathetically depend upon to stay alive.’

The West’s increasing reliance upon China – ‘Let’s build a wall across that new Silk Road and get the Chicoms to pay for it’, says Steyn, not entirely in jest – was also one of Mark’s themes in the following edition. Coronacopia 7 (April 8) can be heard here

He begins by reminding us that ‘this virus extended its bony finger from Wuhan because of the lies of Beijing and their regurgitation by the disgraceful WHO’. Later, from 07:30, Steyn adapts the outdated adage from when General Motors was the bellwether of the US economy and laments: ‘In the new world which the globalists have built for us, when Wuhan sneezes, America drops dead. Or at least that appears to be the idea according to Chairman Xi.’

Steyn sorrowfully notes that the coronavirus crisis has shone a light on ‘Trumpian themes . . . open borders, stupid trade deals and the death of American manufacturing’. Also, with the US national debt headed for the stratosphere, and ‘now that all the mills and factories for everything else are over in China’, Mark muses whether before long ‘printing money will be the only work available for America’s workforce’.

The US dollar remains the world’s reserve currency. But Steyn is apprehensive: ‘If you were thinking about the next long-term move that China might make, wouldn’t destroying the dollar as the global currency be the one that some guys in Beijing are working on right now? China thinks ahead: can we?’

He fears not. And in his opening to Easter Monday’s edition 9, Steyn makes the depressing observation that his adopted country has already been outsmarted: ‘The faux conservative Right who got America yoked to China have got it absolutely backwards . . . [they] bet that economic success would make China more like us. Today it’s pretty clear it’s making us more like them – not just on freedom of speech . . . but as we now see on freedom of movement.’

Movement is also being curtailed in the UK – or as Mark Steyn mordantly labels us, ‘the land where everything is policed except crime’. Each Coronacopia includes a segment informing Steyn’s international audience of how ‘the most useless police in the world have seized upon their new corona powers with glee’.

Steyn is seldom vulgar; however, it is understandable that this feature, on the sorry state of our once-respected police, has been titled Brit W****r Copper of the Day. The preposterous Plod whom Mark recently has ridiculed includes the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire who, although he later ‘clarified’ his ‘clumsy language’, did unequivocally threaten checks on the contents of supermarket baskets and trolleys ‘to see whether it is a legitimate necessary item’.

From South Yorkshire Police – the ‘wretched, worthless constabulary’ which Steyn reminds listeners had previously ‘turned a blind eye to the sex slavery that was truly pandemic in Rotherham and other towns’ – he highlights the female officer who was described by her employer as ‘well-intentioned but ill-informed’ after she had attempted to force a family using their garden to go indoors.

And Mark mocks the Metropolitan Police which, even during the current public health emergency, still trawls for ‘hate incidents’ to record and pursue: ‘Even if you’re not sure if it’s a crime or not, you should report it so we can investigate.’

Aficionados of spurious hate crimes might remember Simon Ledger, a pub singer from the Isle of Wight who in 2011 was arrested (and eventually released without charge) because his choice of material had offended a passer-by. The cause of the police complaint was the song Kung Fu Fighting and in each Coronacopia Mark Steyn croons his own version of Karl Douglas’s 1974 number one. All together now . . .

Everybody was Kung Flu fighting

Those stats climb fast as lightning

In fact it was a little bit frightening

Chicoms have expert timing

There were funky Chinamen, from funky Wuhan town

They were chopping bats up, they were chowing them down

It’s an ancient Chinese dish, and everybody says: ‘Delish!’

Chairman Xi will book your flight, you’ll be in Italy tonight

And everybody starts Kung Flu dying

Those Chicoms can’t stop lying

Fake test kits they’re supplying

The whole world they’re shanghaiing

There was funky Dr Tedros, from the funky WHO

He said: ‘Xi is the big boss, I gotta blow’

He made us bow and then he said: ‘Hey folks, there ain’t no human spread’

So go hug a Chinaman, when you’re out strolling in Milan

So everybody is Kung Flu spreading

It’s at your sister’s wedding

It’s in Prince Charles’s bedding

And ISIS’ next beheading

You’re under house arrest

Doc Fauci says it’s best

If you don’t leave the nest

He’ll keep you all abreast

When they start Kung Flu fighting

To sing-along-a-Mark, go to 03:00 here. 

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Gary Oliver
Gary Oliver
Gary Oliver is an accountant who lives in East Lothian.

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