I HAVE left the Re-education and Personal Development Centre on Arran. Jordan has not.
The insect-based diet left us all hungry, but Jordan especially so. When he was supposed to be working he was often searching for the carcases of seabirds chopped up by the wind turbines recently installed on the island by the Scottish Environmental Protection Committee. Consequently, he was obliged to spend another month at the re-education centre.
Before I departed I was required to attend a leaving ceremony. The few who had been model trainees publicly apologised for their past misdemeanours such as trading in meat tokens, shaking unsanitised hands and wood burning. In return the Centre Manager gave them each a gold-coloured mask incorporating the rainbow tribute to our Glorious Health Workers, and five beef tokens. Everyone else, including me, was given a large pack of bog-standard Chinese masks, a bag of roasted ants and a stern lecture about future behaviour.
The ceremony concluded with the nauseating Centre song, written by the Covid and Environmental Committee member Hancock, and inspired by the Russian National Anthem. We had to sing it every evening after dinner:
All hail to the vaccine Pfizer or Astra
Moderna or Sputnik it doesn’t matter
We pledge our lives to medicine
We neither fear nor faint in unison
Strong in our friendship tried by fire
Long may our rainbow flag inspire
On my return to the mainland I regained my status as a Grade Two Covid Marshal. I was paired with Bogdan (also Grade Two), a Pole, who came to the UK many years ago to work on the North Sea gas rigs (now mothballed).
On our first day he didn’t say very much. It was Universal Basic Income day and we were busy with our tape measures checking social distancing in the Primark queue and looking for those who were not triple masked.
Those in the queue were generally compliant as a new variant has just been identified. It is a combination of the Millwall, Moldovan, Manchurian and Derby variants and has been named the ‘MillyMollyMandy’ variant. Vaccination appointments are already being made.
As the week wore on Bogdan became more talkative. He revealed that he was once a Grade Three Covid and Environmental Marshal, and because of his exemplary behaviour was recruited to train for an elite and secretive organisation called the Special Antivirus Service. Its motto is ‘Who Snares Wins’. He spent a month at a base in mid-Wales learning how to stalk those who criticised the Covid and Environmental Regulations in order to gain evidence that ensured their transfer for a long stay at a Re-education Camp.
Bogdan said that no one wore masks at the base, and meat was freely available. He told me that it was not compulsory to watch the BBC’s hourly Covid and Climate News and nobody read newspapers.
Had he qualified, Bogdan would have become a Grade X Marshal with multiple privileges. However he left when he recalled the stories his father had told him about the brutality of the Polish secret police, the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa. He never believed the British would follow their example.
The heat pump at my social housing hub has still not been repaired.