After reading just two pages of a recent edition of the organ which calls itself ‘Britain’s best quality newspaper’, Pissed-off Toff realises that he can hardly bear to open any paper at all; and prey to despair, he wonders, once again, whether he should find a way to leave this country.
So relentlessly apocalyptic is the TV news, that I have not watched it once in the last year. Nor, over the same period, have I watched the BBC’s Question Time; this current affairs programme being designed to induce apoplectic rage in the viewer as he sips a late-night glass of whisky by the fire in his drawing room. Now, however, my hatred of the world we are constructing for ourselves is so far advanced that I have almost entirely stopped reading the newspapers, too.
The other day, however, I did buy a paper. Or rather, it came free with the purchases I made at a nearby branch of Waitrose. So why not take it? Straight away I wished I hadn’t bothered; because after glancing through just two pages, I threw the bulletin aside, unsure whether despair, anger, or sheer disbelief was uppermost in my mind.
This, now, is the reaction induced in me by any newspaper on any day. So let us take the contents of those two pages, at the end of which I could not go on; and let us look at them in some detail.
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The newspaper in question is the 5thApril edition of The Daily Telegraph. ‘Everyone in the country will be encouraged to take two Covid tests a week to show they are not infected, Boris Johnson announces today,’ starts the lead piece on the front page. Then: ‘While the tests are voluntary, the announcement could pave the way for workplaces or businesses to ask staff or customers to show they have a negative result.’ This, we read, could form part of a so-called ‘Covid certification’ scheme ‘through which the public would be required to prove they have had a vaccine [etc etc]’. Furthermore, ‘trials of vaccine passports and test certificates to let people visit theatres, cinemas, sports grounds, nightclubs and musical festivals this summer […] will also be confirmed.’
In other words, despite the claim that these hugely intrusive tests will be ‘voluntary’, no-one who fails to take them will be able to lead any sort of ordinary life. In effect, the tests will be compulsory.
And here, in the same lead article on the front page, Matt ‘the prat’ Hancock weighs in with the Orwellian double-speak which is now part of our daily lives. “The British public have shown over the last year that they quickly adapt and always do what is right in the interest of public health,” he intones. “And I know they will do their bit by getting tested regularly in the months ahead.”
Let me translate this into the honest language of an increasingly distant past. “Over the past year,” the Hancock twerp might have said, “I have – rather to my surprise – realised that the British public will do exactly as I tell them, no matter how absurd, arbitrary and downright idiotic my commands. I have enjoyed every moment of this. Indeed, I am so enjoying the seemingly limitless powers at my disposal, that I am thinking of telling everyone that from now on, in the interests of their own health and safety, people can no longer walk from A to B. From now on, I’ve decided, when people wish to go somewhere on foot, they will have to hop there, on one leg only. Wearing a face-mask, of course. And you know what? I wouldn’t be surprised if I got away with it; just as I’ve got away with everything else. Anyhow, in the meantime, anyone who fails to take a voluntary – sorry: I meant ‘compulsory’ – Covid test five times a day will be fined at least one million pounds.”
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Still on the front page, a piece to the right of the lead article informs us that the treacherous Michael Gove, now conducting a review of the scheme to introduce so-called ‘vaccine passports’, has generously promised MPs that they will be given a chance to vote on the matter. This sentence alone is terrifying … implying, as it does, that parliament might, as a favour, be allowed to vote on a further move towards the creation of a society in which no-one is free to do anything whatsoever without the state’s explicit premission. This sentence alone demonstrates the extent to which the Johnson criminal and his crazed associates now rule by diktat.
And in the same piece, we are reminded that for people coming into or leaving the UK, vaccine regulations – draconian and byzantine in equal measure – are now well-establishe. Indeed, as I write, it is illegal to leave this country except in the most limited circumstances. And even for those few who are allowed to travel abroad, the cost and bother of doing so are now so considerable as to effectively rule it out.
So only half-way down the front page, I am forcefully reminded that I am trapped in a new totalitarian state; and I am fuming with rage.
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But that’s just the beginning. Because lower down this same front page comes the news that in order to hit the economically suicidal target of reducing ‘net carbon emissions’ to zero by 2050, the ‘decarbonisation’ of every single home in the country is to proceed apace. And today we focus on the government’s plans to replace all existing gas boilers with so-called ‘heat pumps’ … despite the fact that these largely untested contraptions cost a fortune to install … despite the fact that they are bulky, noisy, inefficient, and expensive to run … despite the fact that they act as incubators for the life-threatening legionella bacterium … yes: despite the manifest lunacy of this utopian policy, the government intends to press ahead with it.
To find out more, I turn directly to page 10, where my fears for the future are not just confirmed, but increased. ‘Gas boilers in new homes will be banned from 2025,’ reads an article covering two-thirds of the page, ‘and by 2050 all homes should be using a low-carbon alternative.’ In fact, this is incorrect, because in November of last year the government announced that in order to expedite its bold plans for a ‘carbon-neutral’ economy, it was bringing forward the ban on gas heaters to 2023 … tomorrow, basically.
As if this were not enough, the government also ‘wants the majority of homes to be EPC C by 2035 […] That means retrofitting measures in the two-thirds of homes that are currently EPC D or below. Measures might include double or triple glazing, solid or cavity wall insulation, and underfloor heating.’
For those not yet familiar with the awful new lingo, ‘EPC’ stands for Energy Performance Certificate, and ‘retrofitting’ means messing about with existing buildings which are quite all right as they are. And what the paragraph reported above means is that in addition to replacing a form of heating which is cheap, efficient and tried-and-tested with a form of heating which is expensive, inefficient and untested, the government will be bringing increasing pressure on every household in the country to make alterations to their homes which will be not just extensive, but also horribly expensive.
Nevertheless, says an official at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, “the UK has a strong track record in improving the energy performance of its homes.” Furthermore, “We are committed to going further and faster.”
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The enormity of all this defies belief. And at some level the government is aware of it. As Philip Dunne MP, chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, says, it will “require education” to convince people that such far-reaching measures are necessary. And who will pay for them? What will happen when the owner of a house is ordered to make changes costing perhaps tens of thousands of pounds and says he doesn’t have the money? (For what it’s worth, the average cost of a full ‘retrofitting’ job is estimated at £18,000 … all of it to be paid for by the houseowner.)
But in creating a utopian future, we do not worry about such things. Nothing must get in the way of the dream. So on the two pages in this edition of The Daily Telegraph that I was able to read before casting the newspaper aside, we are reminded that coal-fired power plants have already been phased out. We are reminded that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 (again, that’s almost tomorrow). And we are reminded, ominously, that the next phase of an increasingly invasive carbon-reduction programme ‘will require individuals to make much more personal changes to the way they travel, [to the way they] heat their homes, and [to] what they consume.’ Not to worry, though. As we are informed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the destruction of our way of life will create ‘hundreds of thousands of skilled green jobs.’
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Really? What sort of ‘skilled green jobs’ will these be, I wonder? Environmental police with ever more extensive powers, perhaps? Compliance officers who can fine us at will? Educational commissars to indoctrinate us in the fundamentalist religion of ‘man-made global warming’? No doubt. And when all industry has been destroyed in the drive to ‘carbon neutral’, when the gas grid has been shut down and the internal combustion engine banned, and when for all our energy we rely on unreliable wind turbines and sun-panels … when this happens, there will, I suppose, be ‘green’ employment in abundance, though not necessarily very skilled. Yes: there will be jobs a-plenty turning the treadmills to generate electricity for a single meagre light bulb; jobs rowing boats across the Channel to sell hand-made hemp to the inhabitants of Gaul; jobs tilling the fields by hand in a new world of medieval poverty.
If I perhaps exaggerate, it is only a little. Allow me to direct you to my review – in the Review section of the present blog – of a new novel by Ross Clark entitled The Denial. Set somewhere in the near future, this vision of a squalid and oppressive ‘carbon-neutral’ Britain looks more convincing by the day.
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It is significant, also, that in those two newspaper pages that I could bear to read, we were reminded of the two great scares that have induced our nation to acts of self-destruction on a gigantic scale. First, the Covid scare; and then the ‘man-made global warming’ scare … both of them figments of our imagination.
Because it cannot be repeated often enough that as viruses go, Covid is nasty, but not especially so; and this is not, by now, a controversial assertion, but an established fact. Equally, it cannot be repeated often enough that ‘man-made global warming’ is not a fact, but a contested thesis which numerous authorities reject as either unproven or unprovable; but in the name of which this country, more than any other in the world, is committing economic suicide.
Oh, and just in case there wasn’t enough madness on those two newspaper pages, we learn, at the bottom of the second one, that single-issue lobbyists are pressing for the government to ‘strengthen the mandatory accessibility standards [for all new-builds] without delay.’ In other words, they want the government to introduce laws making it compulsory for new houses to be built in such a way that disabled people have easy access to them, whether or not the builder wants to build such houses, and whether or not the future owner wants to live in them.
Such enhancements will involve four features: level access to the entrance; a flush threshold; sufficiently wide doors and circulation space; and a loo at entrance level. Thus every new house – or at any rate a fixed proportion of new houses – will have to be wheelchair-friendly. I don’t doubt that the lobbyists will get their way. They generally do.
We can of course forget about any new building legislation that might be genuinely useful. An Essex-based landowner tells me, for example, that as a result of the determination of developers to cram as many housing units as possible into the smallest space, the garages of many new-builds in his area are so narrow that when you drive your car into them, you can’t open the door to get out. But for the government to legislate against the construction of unlivable rabbit-hutches would be a humane and sensible course of action. We can therefore be sure that it will be ruled out.
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Tossing aside the newspaper in disgust, I reflected, as I now do on a daily basis, not just that the country of my birth has gone stark raving mad; not just that the sole business of the government, nowadays, is to persecute and oppress us; not just that we are witnessing the creation of an all-powerful police state … I see not just this; but also that the vast majority of the population are quite happy about it.
When, in the not-too-distant future, they find themselves tilling the fields by hand before returning to eat a ‘mandatory’ vegan meal in a freezing-cold ‘carbon-neutral’ hut; when power-cuts are the order of the day and fires and wood-burning stoves are illegal; when air travel is banned and when ownership of a proper petrol-fuelled car is a distant memory; when, in short, the life of most people resembles that of a medieval serf … then they might finally wake up to the cost of the mass lunacy which characterises our times. But by then it will be too late.
So I ask myself the same question, every day and every night. At the age of sixty, without money, and prey to deep and paralysing despair, might I find a way to leave this doomed country? Or should I stay to observe and record the madness?