MasksSo, I guess we’re all Spinal Tap now – furtively looking for the door leading to the stage and always ending up back where we started in some anonymous concrete corridor. The perennial state of déjà vu we’ve been living through ever since the very first lockdown is one upon which many words have been lavished, not least on here; yet one reaches a point where it feels as though there’s little new left to say on a subject that has reshaped all our lives to varying degrees over the last couple of years, simply because there isn’t; it’s like watching a recording of the same football match every day and having to write a completely new review of it after every viewing. As we take one step forward and then two back over and over again, the sense of fatigue and utter exhaustion with this never-ending cycle can either push one into resigned compliance whereby there’s no energy remaining to resist, or it can equally intensify one’s anger with the authorities constantly imposing a lifeless design for life mandated by those exempt from living it; but any such anger of this nature generates its own despair, for it has nowhere to go and is ultimately doomed.

In order to maintain any kind of facsimile lifestyle that bears a passing resemblance to life as it used to be, compliance is compulsory – otherwise, you’re out in the cold. The examples of Australia, Austria and Germany are ones that until very recently most would have decried as characteristic of regimes in North Korea or China, certainly not allegedly free democratic societies in Western Europe or the Anglosphere – yet so few critical voices are raised to denounce these outrageous abuses of human rights and civil liberties, least of all from elected leaders of nations founded on the kind of principles that separated the free from the enslaved. The ambivalence of shrugged shoulders at best and the hysterical demand to go even further at worst have provided a real-time history lesson as to how all those distant purveyors of totalitarianism managed to get away with what they did to their people. Anyone who has read books or watched documentaries on the Nazis or the Soviet Union over the last half-century has always been able to do so with a smug detachment that made the crimes committed under those systems typical of a less civilised culture in which the public were somehow not as sophisticated as they are now, because (of course) we’d never fall for any of that.

Stoke fear and panic, introduce emergency measures, ensure the co-operation of media, generate an Us and Them mindset to quell opposition, saturate the population with an advertising campaign to normalise the abnormal, rebrand the meaning of ‘freedom’ so that it comes with oppressive accessories contradicting the former meaning of the word, grind people down to the point where they have no option but to obey and accept the unacceptable, and before you know it we have witnessed a first-hand demonstration of how it’s done. And still there will be millions who cannot see it – just as millions couldn’t see it in the 1930s. Yes, that is how it’s done – and that’s how it was done by all those far away regimes we read and watch documentaries about, all the ones we used to think we would never fall for because we’re so much more sophisticated now.

Perhaps the further time travels from the moment when Hitler or Stalin or Mussolini were present tense, when those to whom such figures existed in living memory are surrendering to mortality, perhaps that’s where the real danger resides. We maintain respectful remembrance by placing wreaths at the foot of monuments every November, yet we cannot recognise those same forces of evil in our own time because they’re nothing like those strange characters our forefathers sacrificed their lives to vanquish; they don’t have comedy moustaches or dress in pseudo-militaristic outfits, for one thing. No, how can one compare Boris or Biden or Macron or Merkel or Trudeau or Arden to Adolph or Uncle Joe or Benito? What they’re doing they’re doing for our own good, with our best interests at heart – they’re not invading other countries or dropping bombs on each other, are they? Of course not; they don’t need to. Their weapons of war are psychological, for what they really share with the old-school dictators is absolute moral certainty, an unshakable conviction that they are right and anyone resistant to their worldview is wrong. There is no middle ground, no myriad grey shades. And only psychopaths have absolute moral certainty; that’s why they’re so dangerous.

Any lingering pretence that either Left or Right is somehow ideologically superior to the other and has exclusive ownership of the moral high ground has been rendered utterly redundant by events since the spring of 2020. In Blighty we supposedly have a Government of the Right, yet an opposition supposedly of the Left has been clamouring for even more repressive measures throughout this period, ones that are utterly at odds with the beliefs the Left has traditionally stood for and extolled. When those beliefs are expressed now, they are shouted down by the Left even louder than the Right – in fact they are reclassified as ‘Right-Wing’. Any critique, however reasoned, is immediately consigned to the flat-earth basket case department housing the rabid anti-vaxxer, the 5G conspiracy theorist, and the Mr Icke range of exceedingly good fruitcakes. One cannot acknowledge the seriousness of Covid to the most vulnerable in society, accept the necessity of vaccinations in keeping the coronavirus to a more manageable level, and yet simultaneously air concerns over the anti-democratic tactics of democratically-elected governments. If you go along with the first two, you have no place going along with the last.

It increasingly appears that those who have profited – not in a financial sense (though many have) – from the situation since the first lockdown are reluctant to relinquish the source of that profit. Why, though, would governments that now have previously-unimaginable control of their people want to let go of it? Why indeed would media outlets that have thrived on the drama of the pandemic saga want to see the final credits roll on a franchise that they’ve done so well out of? Like a lover incapable of accepting a relationship is over desperately struggling to rekindle the romance of its beginnings, the beneficiaries of pandemic Britain see no reason why we cannot carry on instead of moving on; what we wake up to find ourselves confronted by today is effectively the second honeymoon, the lamentable attempt to recapture the halcyon days that are beyond salvaging. Both parties are no longer the same people they were at the start.

Anyone with half-a-brain could foresee that where we are now was inevitable. A new variant pulled out of the hat like the proverbial magician’s rabbit was the most predictable of plotlines, as was the sudden reversal of restrictions being lifted and a kind-of normal life being lived again. So, we’re back to bloody masks and the double-jabbed are being emotionally blackmailed into endless boosters that this new variant is apparently immune to, and the few current exceptions from the resurrected rules will no doubt be added to the list within a matter of weeks. And then maybe Christmas will be cancelled again and we’ll be back to having no more than six people in our homes and then it’ll be one more lockdown and we won’t know if we’re living in 2020, 2021 or 2022. And anyone who points this out will be demonised as some sort of unpatriotic fifth columnist with the same lazy ease with which a critic of Identity Politics is labelled a racist or a Transphobe or a homophobe or an Islamophobe or a Fascist or a Nazi. And however hard we search for that elusive stage, we’ll only get so far before we find we’re back at the same point we started at – and all we want to do is shout ‘Hello, Cleveland!’

© The Editor



12 thoughts on “THE SECOND HONEYMOON

  1. The most disturbing aspect is that, despite all our hard-won freedoms and advanced communications, allowing all of us open access to both data and opinion on any subject, the great majority still seem only too happy to swallow the messages and accept all the restrictions.

    What better example than the ever-so-democratic Swiss, who trust their governments so little that they retain the power to call a referendum on any topic with only a small number of plaintiffs, yet they have obediently voted by a two-thirds majority to maintain Covid restrictions on their apparently valued freedoms. As ever, proper propaganda trumps free thinking any day, even in the most developed liberal societies which believe they are educated, intelligent and free.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Another aspect for me has been the ongoing silence, or just plain compliance of those who aren’t known for their reticence when it comes to criticising government. At the same time, the most unlikely candidates have taken up that particular mantle. Reality has done a 180 degree flip, so it appears.

    On a lighter note, perhaps Robert Robinson … Robinson … would be up for a format revamp: Working title, ‘Mask The Family’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I know I’m repeating myself but Ireland is even worse. As I think I remarked before, it’s easy to brainwash a small population.

    The hopes and dreams and aspirations of the young are being sacrificed on the altar of a bunch of neurotic old biddies who will be dead soon anyway. I’m so fucking tired of the bullshit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to keep reminding myself I’m fortunate I happen to be in England when it comes to just the UK alone. Whenever I think it’s been bad here, the thought of living through this in either Wales or Scotland sounds like it could’ve been even worse. So much power invested in so many bloodied hands.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Saw some fascinating data the other day comparing the infection graphs of England and Scotland after England lifted restrictions but Scotland kept them. Exactly the same patterns. Which all seems to indicate that it’s nothing whatsoever do do with infection control, it’s just an ongoing power-trip for the terminally inadequates who purport to govern there.
        That’s not to say the English governors are any better, but maybe they suspect that they have a more tenuous hold on their population so don’t fancy the risk of exposure.

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      2. An interesting article in the current ‘Private Eye’ notes that 26 private hospitals had their costs covered during the first twelve months of the pandemic, receiving £2.15bn from NHS coffers to provide extra capacity for Covid patients, despite providing just 3,000 of 3.6m Covid ‘bed days’ – or 0.08 percent of the total.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A propos of nothing in particular, what a grandstanding arsehole John Mann turned out to me.

    What an interesting journey he has had in the last decade from damning Thatcher to auditioning for the role of Paedofinder General to Anti-semitism Finder in Chief (ok, I just made that phrase up and it’s not the most elegant) to Tory peer.

    I know a lot of people despised Corbyn and I wasn’t his biggest fan but he wasn’t a traitorous opportunist, he was consistent throughout his career in his viewpoints (some of them wrong ones, granted.). Sure, he voted against the Labour party whip on many occasions before becoming leader but it was largely on moral issues like the Iraq war and he was often right.

    Right, that’s me soapbox rant du jour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I admire principled politicians of all parties, those who are consistent in their position, even when it doesn’t align with their party policy or it disadvantages them. Problem is, their numbers are diminishing with every passing year, as the temptations of greasy-pole advancement ensure that any earlier principles can be quietly jettisoned along the way.

      Whether they are right or wrong is often hard to prove, although Corbyn was certainly as right on Iraq as he was wrong on other issues: what matters most should be that Parliament encompasses the full range of genuinely held opinions, distateful as some may be, which is sadly something far less likely now than ever before. That’s something worth ranting about.

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  5. Dear Victoria

    Hello from England, UK! Thank you so much for your post. I keep on the lookout for the sane which sadly seem in limited numbers at the moment. Here in Sussex it appears they are in very short supply.

    Anyway, I thought you and anyone else who cares to read them might like my pages/post on Covid 19 etc. I cover all-sorts, but not yet the licorice kind!

    Please note I do use humour as necessary to lighten the mood and help make the points. They say laughter is the best medicine so I try my best.

    Kind regards and a happy New Year.

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

    Please excuse the nom-de-plume, this is as much for fun as a riddle for people to solve if they wish.

    Liked by 1 person

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