Issue 231: 2020 04 30: Letter to the Editor

26 April 2020

Letter to the Editor

Hopes for a New Normal

A Ragged Trousered Analysis

from Paul Branch


I absolutely do not understand the adulation and emotional support Jeremy Corbyn inspires.  In fact I joined the Labour Party solely to help vote him out, as did many others.  My worst fears came to pass when he portrayed the massive influx of new members as demonstrating support for him….. at which point I promptly unjoined, and received a very considerate and understanding email from the local party chairman when I explained why.

No doubt Jeremy is a nice enough bloke, good to children and animals, but I still fail to see any significant leadership qualities or indeed that other precious talent of being willing and able to work with others of different persuasions. But as I said, that’s all a bit academic now – Jeremy and hopefully his more strident and extreme followers are gone; bring on the new chappie and let’s hope for the best with fingers and legs very firmly crossed.  I do sympathise with Jeremy’s anti-Semitic plight – from my own very limited experience, dealing anti-Semitism is an onerous and confusing affair at the best of times, driven by aggressive politics and shortness of memory rather than faith, but I know nothing of the inner machinations of the Labour Party bigwigs.

Having said all that, I do have a deep and very un-Christian loathing of Boris and his ilk.  He and his mate Dominic Cummings frighten me…. not as much as Trump or Putin, but enough.  The likes of Raab, Hancock, Gove, Patel and the rest strike me as deeply incompetent and totally out of their depth, caught in the Covid headlights.  What do they know of the real world and real people, outside the rarefied world of Westminster politics, and do they care anyway? The 5 o’clock briefings are a cabaret, descending yesterday to pantomime with the entry of the head of the bloody army for goodness sake, in knobbly boots and full desert camouflage kit, to explain the logistics of the PPE cock-up. How typical – all show, all spin, ignore the questions and repeat the mantra over and over again, and at all costs avoid any hint of blame and responsibility.

I keep hoping someone like Laura Kuennsberg will ask real questions like why did we wait so long for a lockdown and seemingly keep ignoring the ongoing experience of other countries; is reusable PPE kit really as safe as the real stuff, and do they realise that the science and medical advisers are just that…. they advise, they don’t lead, and they need to be challenged.

If you think I’m being a bit naive in these ramblings, then there’s worse – I can’t help feeling there’s a bit of an opportunity here to attain a new normal by valuing and rewarding true key workers above TV celebrities and bankers (and sports people sadly), maintaining the current low levels of pollution, sharing our wealth with the poorer countries and wiping out their debts, and sorting out the conflicts and causes of refugees from the Middle East and other hot spots.  Will Boris take a lead in bringing the world together….?   I’d really love to think his recent illness has changed him ….but my money’s more on the Pope.

By the way, have you read The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists recently?   It’s an eerily accurate depiction of the way we live in our capitalist me-first society but written over 100 years ago – a miserable read but I found it quite compulsive.

But enough – if you’ve stayed the pace you must realise I have a bit of spare time on my hands and that I get my naive socialist views out of the letters pages of Private Eye.  I do admit to an occasional weakness for the Telegraph, but strictly the bridge column, crosswords and sports.  It does burn well though.

Paul Branch


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