As profoundly disturbing as I find this tweet, I think it’s correct. It’s like we’re now living in a completely different nation to the outward looking, tolerant one which hosted the Olympics.
The question now is, how do we get the UK of 2012 back?
After last night I was hoping for something more positive to write here today. I deliberately didn’t post an entry yesterday because I thought I might have something better to blog about this morning, but what can I say? Like everyone else in England I’m gutted that it didn’t go our way, but I’m currently trying to continually remind myself not to get too wound up about it. It’s only a football match, after all: we only have to wait until the next tournament in a couple of years before it happens all over again. It is no cause for animosity or anger. Italy is just as beautiful as it was yesterday, it’s food and wine just as delicious.
What we should be angry about, though, is what remains: we still have a government which tried to use the Euros to distract us from it’s woeful failings during the pandemic; which cynically attempted to bend the good will created by the results onto itself. When it is obvious that Gareth Southgate was trying to build a team based on principles such as equality and diversity, Johnson tried to barge in and claim it for his own. Had England won last night, no doubt Johnson would now be acting as if he had been instrumental in the victory, or at least had supported it fundamentally rather than, for instance, refusing to condemn the fans who booed while the players took the knee. Southgate and the team stand for principles Johnson manifestly does not, yet he tries to usurp it’s success. That is the type of cynicism we should remain angry about. Things may hurt this morning, but when this disappointment has faded, we’ll still have bigger, nastier things to deal with.
Having been itching for something cool to look forward to for quite a while, I think this could do the trick nicely. Reports are that John Cleese has now finished the first draft of a stage adaptation of Life Of Brian. Unlike Spamalot, it will be a play, not a musical, and will apparently hit theatres after the pandemic next year (hopefully). If true, it will definitely be something I want to go to see. Life Of Brian is one of the greatest, funniest films of all time; a stage adaptation can only add to it’s legacy, taking it in potentially fascinating new directions. After 2014 I assumed that Monty Python was dead, but it now appears that it was just resting.
One of my earliest memories, from when I was very, very small, was watching my Mum type at an old BBC computer. She worked from home, typing the abstracts for old medical research papers. Now that I come to think about it, the number of papers mum must have read over at least a decade of doing that job, then after in her subsequent job in medical journalism, must range into the tens of thousands: she must be one of the most knowledgable people in the field there is. Thus I think we should take this very seriously indeed.
It is a change.org petition, flagged up by my Mum on Facebook, to keep the wearing of face masks in supermarkets and shops mandatory after 19th of July. As I wrote a couple of entries ago, the pandemic is far from over and it is only by working together and keeping our discipline that we’ll ever be able to get past it. Mum knows better than most – far better than any Tory itching to let their rich pals get back to exploiting the rest of us – how essential it is that we keep our faces covered wherever possible. If she thinks it is necessary to link to a petition like this, I assure you it is nothing to ignore.
I just have something quite awesome to report today, and it has nothing to do with last night’s football result. I learned yesterday that Beth Moulam, one of the young people I know from Onevoice, has been selected for team GB’s Boccia team and will go to the Tokyo Paralympics. I think that is incredible news. Her parents, whom I also know, must be very proud. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Beth the best of luck, and assure her that I’ll be watching the competition in Tokyo with baited breath.
You can read Beth’s incredible story, in her own words, here.
As my last prediction was so wide of the mark on Saturday, I’m not even going to try to predict the score for tonight’s football match. I just hope I stay awake to watch it this time, rather than drinking too much beer, falling asleep before kick off, needing Serkan to wheel me to bed and only finding out who won the following morning.
I have written on here before about how I struggle to wear face masks. I can’t wear them: because of my dribble they just slip down my chin and are completely impractical. However, I don’t think that strips me of my right to criticise people who refuse to wear them for pseudo-political reasons. If it was easier or more practical for me to wear a mask, of course I would: they are a vital step in getting past this pandemic. Those who refuse to wear them when they can and should do so out of pure selfishness. By loosening the rules regarding the wearing of masks in public spaces, Johnson is pandering to his core tory voters whose only concern is for their selves. They do not give a damn how many other people might fall ill – their needs and wants come first. It all boils down to the old Thatcherite, ”no such thing as society” which is at the heart of the Tory ethos, which in turn boils down to spoiled children who were never taught to share.
The problem is, society exists, and it is only by working together, as a society, that we’ll ever be able to get past this pandemic. That means we need people capable of seeing things in far broader terms running the country than those we currently have in government. If we allow these fools to continue as they have been, loosening the rules as soon as they can, before having to tighten them again when cases and deaths begin to rise once more, things will just go in an endless circle. Surely we need someone capable of putting the needs of society before their own, of seeing things in terms of the bigger picture rather than the immediate and short term, running the country. If the last eighteen months or so has demonstrated anything, it is the folly of such short term, individualistic mentalities.
Whether the Tories like it or not, we are in this together, and we can only get out of it by working as a society. I might not be able to wear a mask, but I still have a right to condemn others for not doing so, and wholeheartedly intend to. These days, a bare face is a sign of a selfish mind: it tells others you don’t care about them, no matter what you might be exhaling. It is the very mentality which lead to Brexit and Trump, and every day it becomes clearer and clearer that we, as a society, should be better than such idiocy.
Today I’d just like to reiterate my comments here. As we celebrate the seventy-third birthday of the National Health Service, I still think it’s the only redeeming feature of the UK, especially at the moment. As a disabled man, I know that, whatever happens to me, whatever accidents I might have, I’m guaranteed world class healthcare irrespective of my ability to pay. Not only is that hugely reassuring, it is also a source of pride: I’m proud to live in a society which looks after it’s members like that. With that said, I would feel much more comfortable if the people who worked for the NHS got the pay rise they deserve, especially after this last year; and if there weren’t so many capitalist vultures circling, ready to carve the NHS up after Brexit.
In this morning’s family Skype call, my brother Luke mentioned he’d been watching Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon. Now, while I used to enjoy Top Gear, I can’t call myself a fan of Jeremy Clarkson: in recent years he has become more and more of a prat as he has tried to live up to his reputation for being a loose cannon. He wants to be seen as a kind of right-wing, anti-authoritarian figure, famous for doing all these whacky, car related stunts. Some of what he did used to be ok, but since he left the BBC he has lost my interest and respect. This morning, though, Luke mentioned him doing something involving a tractor which I thought sounded cool. I have always had a liking for tractors since I was small. I just looked it up on Youtube, and wasn’t disappointed. My initial reaction to this clip was, “I want one!” but then it struck me that I have enough trouble with my powerchair sometimes, how on earth could I handle a forty-tonne tractor? Then again, if they allow someone as blatantly juvenile and socially irresponsible as Jeremy Clarkson use such a behemoth, why not go the whole hog and let me use one? It would certainly make going to the shops a lot more interesting.