I OFTEN wonder what my dear departed dad, who fought in Africa during the last war, would make of the last 20 months. That generation who fought against tyranny at real risk to their lives, not knowing if they would ever return to Blighty and pondering when, and if, they would ever feel the warm embrace of their loved ones again . . . what a generation they were!
My dad and I shared a sense of humour. I have wonderful memories of sitting together in the 1960s and crying with laughter at Hancock’s Half Hour on our 14in EKCO TV. So I think my dad would do as I do and employ humour to cope with the current insanity.
Looking down from his perch above, he sees all these people rushing around wearing masks of all colours, themes, shapes and sizes, putting them on and taking them off with no particular logic to it. He sees the streets and public areas littered with discarded or lost examples. He sees ‘park and ride’ areas turned into ‘Covid testing stations’ and manned by dozens of people wearing yellow vests who walk around in circles chatting and drinking tea. His observations take in ‘lockdowns’ and he cannot quite get his head around the fact that some people who seem to have nice houses and gardens rarely leave their properties but have a constant stream of delivery drivers bringing them stuff. His inquiries might lead him to the knowledge that ‘key workers’ are free to move about with impunity, apparently immune from the dreaded Covid – he wonders about this. He sees the signs in chemists’ windows advertising free Covid tests for those with NO symptoms, which takes him back to the time he left Africa at war’s end with a serious dose of malaria: he didn’t need a test for this as his yellow skin, serious loss of weight and aching bones told him everything.
He sees some people who leave their shopping in their car for three days or more so that the virus dies and he sees others whose expenditure on disinfectant has risen to prime position in their weekly shop. He is not ignorant of the fact that camping stoves, tins of food, dried foodstuffs and bottled water, not to mention alcohol, are all competing for garage and loft space with the mountains of toilet rolls that have been stockpiled for months. He is fascinated by this obsession with toilet rolls: coming from a childhood home with an outside loo and torn newspapers, he cannot fathom it.
It’s a mystery to him why the rich and famous are free to travel wherever they want and that they can mingle, sans mask, while their waiters and waitresses have to muzzle up. Practising the ‘Covid swerve’ to maintain social distance seems to him to be like a new form of dancing, but without the music.
It is the mask mania that fascinates him most. Though people now have a choice, many still carry on this perplexing ritual. During the war my dad was familiar with ‘gas masks’ which had a real function, but a flimsy, Chinese, chemical impregnated piece of disposable plastic is neither use nor ornament. I couldn’t begin to explain it to him, but I might refer him to the government’s ‘Mindspace’ document and their ‘behavioural insights team’.
Even my dad, ever the optimist and always ready to see a spark of humour no matter how bleak the situation, would find it hard to raise a smile when it comes to the ‘vaccine’, the rollout of an experimental gene-altering jab to include children. Its effects are already causing death and injury across the globe on a scale that would have left Josef Mengele drooling. Nothing to laugh at there so better to turn the ridicule on those who are pushing this for all they are worth.
Of major league importance in these stakes is that tub of lard who wears a black suit topped off with a fetching black mask as he slouches next to whoever he is sharing a photo opportunity with. My dad doesn’t recognise our PM; he thinks he’s a cartoon character plucked from the pages of The Addams Family. After all, prime ministers in his lifetime included Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee and Harold Macmillan. He wondered, when the present incumbent was seen flying about on a zip wire, how this bizarre behaviour became part of the qualifying process of someone aspiring to political leadership.
Not to mention the modern fixation with disastrous failures who act as advisers not only to the government but to the World Health Organisation (WHO) via Imperial College London. Professor Neil Ferguson is a fine example of ability being inversely proportional to influence. Dad would wonder just what it would take to be prevented from being in a responsible position after a career which resembles a series of train crashes:
2001: Eleven million sheep and cattle culled during the foot and mouth outbreak.
2002: He predicted that 50,000 people could die from exposure to BSE; there were 177 deaths.
2005: He predicted that 150 million would die from Bird Flu; between 2003 and 2009 there were 282 deaths worldwide.
The biggest joke, and one that Dad would find laugh-out-loud funny if it wasn’t so deadly serious, is that we have gone from people like Alexander Fleming, Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee and Nye Bevan, and the untold numbers like my dad who risked their lives for freedom and democracy, to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Neil Ferguson, Matt Hancock, Chris Whitty et al, all of whom risk OUR lives for their nefarious ends. Put like that, my dad would see the joke really is on us.