From outside Nº10

Oliver Briscoe

Dear Robert,

Rishi did his best but his announcement was clear, the PM had decided and by the time you read this, his orders, without Parliament, will have been imposed. Yet where is the PM? Sick I think. Perhaps he only has a passing September cold, one of those Dido & Hancock failed to foresee. 

I ignore all this and then the anger flares watching these spineless lackeys on television. How can these men sit there, bare-faced and garble ‘lies, damn lies and statistics.’ It is the smug, assumed ignorance, of these men which most frustrates; repeating a line, a single-minded view, to pretend there are no doubts when there is no certainty around. The government scientists, like the mendacious ministers, they too go on television, without certainty, touting their hypothesis as the basis for the rule of Law. From my days at university I had always been struck by how narrow-minded scientists and academics could be; giving proof to right decisions, asked by policy stubbornly pursued. All one with the government line, without much concern for what they are proving. Lockdown only delays, it does not answer. It does not even work but people defend it like faith, waiting for Godot. ‘We need to stop the spread? To what end? Until the vaccine comes? When is that happening? [silence]’ Quite. The same goes for mask wearing. A Government out of control months ago, still ill-prepared today, cannot convince many that stopping the spread was worthwhile. How they squandered our goodwill.

The back and forth we see now, whether we close pubs, universities, offices, is what we always knew would happen, people would have to weigh what they value most. Government will never close schools, they cannot face that summer fiasco (but what could you expect from Williamson, who was fired for leaking defence secrets–this whole cabinet, resigned rejects and hangers-on).

Most who die are either very old, quite ill, or rather unhealthy; the 1% of August deaths. They know who they are, they can stay at home; my grandfathers and my great aunt agree. ‘Stay at home, save lives’ an old banner hung, as if in the stocks, against the iron railing around a garden square. Tell that to those who have died quietly, afraid in their homes, too scared to go out, too scared to get the care that Britain owes them too; their deaths are not in vogue. 

In this madness I have known someone commit suicide, someone who’s grandfather died from an unchecked cancer, but no-one who has died of Covid, as is probably true for most of you. As the distance of this virus is felt, the fact of its low-impact becomes clear; a few dozen thousand deaths, out of a half a million yearly average, many of those overlapping, or preventable if not for sheer incompetence–sending the sick back to care homes, leaving empty hospitals. The Government has never before held itself to a moral imperative to save lives at any cost; otherwise Munich would be the enduring victory, with tyranny always the price.

What we are doing to the North is tantamount to betrayal. We will lose the red wall for this and rightly so. Starmer may win and so he should. Boris wanted to level up the North and now he’s set it back for a decade. This is what happens when one gives in to fear; when adviser advise and then decide; what happens when someone choses life for another, at the cost of other lives. This is the work of weak Men; Men without principles.

Chargé D'affaires - Depuis 2020