Crony-Capitalism And A Clapped Out Boris

There is something seriously amiss with the British Prime Minister. A few months back a woman called  Annemarie Plas, a Dutch national living in south London, had the idea that all Brits should head out into the street on a Thursday evening at a prearranged time and either clap for an indeterminate length of time, or bang pots and pans, beat drums, play bagpipes or any other infernal noise making apparatus. Presumably, it was to somehow relate to the employees of the National Health Service folks’ gratitude for the job they were doing.

It was not the the brightest of ideas , but no doubt Mevrouw Plas had her heart in the right place.

Sick people in their houses felt worse, pets terrified by the din bit their owners, and any hospital workers within range must have considered it the most irritating and disturbing of rackets. I know many folk, who were sane enough not to take part, and said they dreaded Thursday evenings and were glad when it was over.

There were some for whom the very idea was ludicrous, a few who refused to be coerced into the mindless pandemonium every week. Even health workers were at first bemused and then somewhat irritated by the whole process. Some were heard to say it wasn’t clapping they needed but proper protective gear and equipment to do the job, and which the government was grossly irresponsible in failing to supply.

No sane person would criticize Tom Moore for his efforts to help the NHS by walking a hundred laps of his garden at the age of one hundred years. He raised a lot of money (£33million) and no doubt the NHS benefited from it.  What is sad is that he felt he had to do it in the first place. Boris Johnson and his government have failed miserably throughout the  entire pandemic, with the sad result that thousands of Brits have died needlessly due to their government’s incompetence.

Always the showman, Boris Johnson had the bright idea that everyone in Britain should exit their abodes on Wednesday the 3rd February at 6pm, and there should be a national clap for old Tom Moore.  When the Prime Minister declares it, it behooves Brits to comply, so out they came in their thousands to applaud old Tom. They made so much noise it’s amazing it wasn’t heard in France.

Nobody in France heard it, and unfortunately the guy it was all for never heard it either. Tom Moore was admitted to Bedford Hospital on Sunday 31st January, tested positive for Covid-19, and died two days later. He was just two months short of his 101st birthday.

Boris Johnson likes to think of himself as the the reincarnation of Sir Winston Churchill.  Churchill never asked his countrymen and women to clap in unison for anything. He would likely have thought the idea ludicrous. He’d have been right.

Rest In Peace Sir Tom Moore. You did something for your country.  So did Winston Churchill. It’s more than can be said about Boris Johnson and his incompetent  crony-capitalism government.

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The Great Vaccine British Fake News Story

“This is what Brexit was all about,” roared the ring-wing British press as vaccinations of Brits continued apace, while EU residents lagged behind due to the likes of AstraZeneca and other companies unable to fulfill  EU orders  even though they were legally contracted to do so.

It’s a simple question: why?

AstraZeneca, one of the biggest providers of the vaccines, states it was a ‘first come first served’ basis and the British government got in with their orders first, so now everyone is praising them for getting something right.

While EU nations, and many others, were busy trying to control the virus and save lives in the initial stages of the pandemic, a horrifying situation was emerging across the Channel.  People were dying in their thousands, tens of thousands, now, one hundred thousand plus.

Britain now has the dubious honour of being the country with the most deaths per capita of population. But, hey, if they ever find a vaccine, the UK government’s got it covered. Never mind how many die or are incapacitated in the process, if a vaccine is manufactured the government’s going to look like the saviour of the people. Great politics, guys!

Yet Britain’s a relatively small island, with a population around sixty-eight million.  Surely, that number of vaccines is really a drop in the ocean compared to the amount needed throughout the world, or even in the EU with its population of four hundred and fifty million?

So what’s all the fuss about?

The fuss is actually about, not sixty-eight million vaccines for the UK, but a staggering three hundred and sixty-seven million doses.  Even allowing for AstaZeneca’s vaccine supposedly needing two shots (now somewhat in doubt), that would still leave two hundred and thirty-two million unneeded doses that could be used to vaccinate half the populace of the EU and buy time for the drug companies to get their act together and increase their production.

Here are the figures straight from the horse’s mouth, otherwise known as one of the most right-wing newspapers in the UK, the “Express”.  Of course, it was bragging, with a video of the Prince of Brexit, Nigel Farage, to accompany it.

“Oxford-AstraZeneca: 100m
Valneva: 60m
Novavax: 60m
GlaxoSmithKline: 60m
Pfizer-BioNTech: 40m
Janssen/Johnson & Johnson: 30m
Moderna: 17m

This equates to more than five doses per person in the UK, which is a sharp contrast to the orders made in other developing countries.” (Express)

What was the title of that post I wrote last week? Oh, yes, I remember, “The ‘Fuck You, I’m All Right, Jack’ Phenomenon”.

The EU did the sensible thing. They concentrated on saving lives. The UK government didn’t. Consequently, the EU didn’t begin to order vaccines until it knew vaccines would be available. They were three months behind the UK with their orders.

Read the British press and you’d believe the EU was trying to pull the hypodermic needles out of the arms of Brits. No such thing, just those 232 million doses that will be going begging, or going rancid, that the UK does not need.

I’m so glad I live in France. If I’d lived in the country of my passport, it’s possible I wouldn’t be writing this today. I may well have been one of those 107,200 (and rising) unfortunates who died a horrible death because their government did absolutely nothing to stop it.

I may have to wait another month longer for my vaccination. What the hell, I’m still alive.

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Joe Biden: The XL Keystone Cop

Joe Biden’s been in office only a few days but already he’s picked a fight with his nearest neighbour. The XL pipeline, designed to carry oil from the Alberta Tar Sands to Oklahoma and beyond, has been a bone of contention for years.

In March 2012, then US President Barack Obama  gave the go-ahead for the southern section of the pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, saying, “Today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”

Three years later, in February 2015, he changed his mind and vetoed a bill for further construction of the pipeline.

Two years later, Donald Trump reversed that veto and the pipeline was suddenly on again.

On his first day in the White House, newly-elected President, Joe Biden, signed an order revoking the permit and all construction within the USA was terminated.

There can be little doubt among responsible people that Biden’s decision was the right one. In these times of climate emergency, and the urgency to reduce and eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, any potential to increase those emissions has to be prohibitive.

Two thirds of the world’s population now believe there is a global climate emergency.  The Guardian reports today:

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) questioned 1.2 million people in 50 countries, many of them young.

While younger people showed the greatest concern, with 69% of those aged 14-18 saying there is a climate emergency, 58% of those over 60 agreed, suggesting there is not a huge generational divide.

Even when climate action required significant changes in their own country, majorities still backed the measures.

In nations where fossil fuels are a major source of emissions, people strongly supported renewable energy, including the US (65% in favour), Australia (76%) and Russia (51%).

This report gives a clear mandate to governments everywhere to get on with the job of reversing climate change by eliminating greenhouse emissions and returning this planet to the green and pleasant land it was before human greed decimated its natural bounty.

Jason Kenney, the Premier of Alberta, doesn’t agree. He wouldn’t, would he? The Canadian province of Alberta has long been happy to rip apart the landscape, decimate the environment, and destroy native American lands in its quest to make money.

Jason Kennedy called Joe Biden’s axing of the pipeline, “a gut punch.” He’s demanding Canadian  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take action against the US by imposing economic sanctions. The problem for Jason Kennedy is that he’s put all Alberta’s eggs in one basket. Who would know how much he has personally invested in the pipeline?

With the end of his new pipeline blocked at the US border Albertans are going to be rightly unhappy when their jobs are no longer there and no other industry to replace them.

Should we feel sorry for Jason Kennedy? The time may well not be far off when people like him, who continue to deny the climate crisis solely in pursuit of their own self-interest, become the new traitors, outcasts in a world where pure self-interest, without thought for the welfare of others or the wellbeing of the planet, becomes unacceptable, or even criminal.

Bring it on!