Spring is here

Lockdown Diary (6) – 10-15 April

in Diary

Day after day the sun shines in a cloudless blue sky while the capital in lockdown continues its prolonged act of suicide

FRIDAY 10 APRIL

The long Easter weekend has begun, and the thoughts going through my mind are in stark contrast with the cloudless skies on this perfect spring day.

When I reflect on the insanity of this mass hysteria, on the freedoms that we have given up without even a whimper of protest, on the way in which we have, overnight, become a nation of imprisoned serfs, and on the way in which the entire country is blithely committing suicide on the orders of a panicked government … when I reflect on this, bemusement, despair, disbelief and anger battle for the upper hand. 

I’ve even very largely stopped thinking about sex.

* * * * *

Nevertheless, out for one’s daily walk … not on a leash; or not yet, at any rate.

The roads around Buckingham Palace are closed to traffic (except for the Stasi in their aggressively hi-viz SUVs), and this Easter weekend the Mall and Constitution Hill have become a temporary pleasure park for the newly enslaved populus … and also race-tracks for very fast and very fit cyclists.

Constitution Hill: now a racetrack for super-fit cyclists

In Green Park, I see a group of four young people lying on the grass. Are they co-habiting students? I doubt it, since all students have returned home. So they’re probably breaking the rules of our new enslavement. Good for them.

Is this small gathering illegal?

Hyde Park Corner, too, is now the domain of bicyclists … and this pretty young girl on rollerskates reminds one – as pretty girls do every year – that spring is here.

Spring is here

What, incidentally, are the young doing for sex during the ‘lockdown’?

And at what stage do they rebel against enforced chastity? Soon, I hope.

SATURDAY 11 APRIL

The perfect spring weather continues, as does the surreal contrast between the glory of nature reborn and our own act of self-destruction at this most beautiful time of the year.

I walk past Victoria Coach Station, now locked up, reminding me that even if I wanted to leave London, I would not be allowed to do so. It makes the defunct USSR look like a haven of sanity and freedom.

No more buses out of London
Can you spare £8 for a bed for the night?

Outside Waitrose on the King’s Road a homeless youth is begging for £8 to pay for a bed for the night, and is asking everyone for this sum, specifically.

A man in a high-visibility yellow jacket is letting people into the shop on a ‘one out, one in’ basis.

But why the hi-viz jacket? What’s the danger? What’s the emergency? It’s all part of the hysteria, I suppose; all part of the deranged mindset that brought us to where we are. 

Because – be sure of it – our current position is the end-result of a loss of sanity that has been going on for a long time. Of this I will write at a later stage.

I’ve been trying, without success, to find some lamb for my solitary Easter Sunday lunch; and as I walk back up the King’s Road, a tantalising smell teases my nostrils. Someone is barbequeuing lamb chops on a nearby roof terrace.

Yes, it must be difficult being a dog, when one’s masters are at the table.

SUNDAY 12 APRIL

Easter Day.

In the afternoon I go, again, for a walk on the Mall. As noted previously, the smooth flat surface of the pink tarmac here is irresistable for super-fit men on their sports bicycles … and today it is being enjoyed by a muscular lycra-clad figure who from time to time whooshes past, disappears into the distance, and then blazes past again in the opposite direction. Up and down the Mall he goes, at immense speed.

At some stage this olympic sportsman leaves the scene, and as the sun declines I glimpse a solitary man walking right down the middle of an empty Mall.

Solitary figure in the Mall

Here is a short video of the roads outside an empty Buckingham Palace.

I suppose that at some stage I’ll have to stop posting images of empty roads. But the strangeness of it still astounds me, every day.

MONDAY 13 APRIL

A certain Bill Bennett, formerly US education secretary, causes a sensation with his claim, during an interview on Fox News, that the Coronavirus business is a panic run up by the media and that the lockdown is absurd. I watch a video-clip from the interview and make a transcript of it. Here are the most important parts, with my annotations in square brackets.

Bennett: “The University of Washington model [based on Neil Ferguson’s model, which was used to justify lockdown in the UK] is what everyone has been going on. It’s been wrong most of the time, by overstating the numbers. We’re gonna have fewer fatalities from this than from the flu [that we see every year in any case]. For this, we scared the hell out of the American people, we lost 17 million jobs, we put a major dent in the economy, we closed down the schools, we shut down the churches. This was not, and is not a pandemic. But we do have panic and pandemonium as a result of this.”

Interviewer: “If you get [this virus], you have a 98% chance of survival …”

Bennett: “For your average American, there’s two-tenths of a one percent chance that you’re gonna get it [i.e. a 0.2% chance of getting it]. And if you get it, you have a 98% chance of recovery. These things are very rarely heard out there. People with co-morbidities: heart disease, very high blood pressure … these are the people at risk. But we’ve scared the heck out of everybody. There’s been too much ‘Let’s roll up in a ball, let’s hide under the bed’ … This is not the way America works. Let’s get back to work!”

But in a time of panic, the voice of common sense is not heard, and Bennett is dismissed by the pundits and is savaged on social media. I’d like to get a message of support to this excellent man, but don’t know how to do so.

TUESDAY 14 APRIL

The Office of Budgetary Responsibility releases its report on the likely economic effects of the ‘lockdown’. It makes for horrifying reading. 

Assuming a three-month lockdown, GDP in the second quarter of this year will, predicts the OBR, be 35% lower than in the first quarter. When in normal times the government gets very worried if GDP falls by so much as 0.1% from one quarter to the next, this figure is almost unthinkably awful.

But it doesn’t end there. Again assuming a three-month lockdown, the budget deficit will skyrocket, and the national debt will rise above 100% of GDP, which will turn us into something approaching a zombie economy. (Because when the national debt of any country rises above 90% of GDP, you reach a tipping point after which that country resembles a doddery OAP on life support … waiting, indeed, for a virus to finish it off.)

Oh, and among other things, the eurozone might collapse, says this cheery report.

Commenting on all this, an analyst on the investment site Stockopedia writes: “These figures are SO bad that lockdown has to end by early summer, or there won’t be anything to come back to.”

Nevertheless, if this lockdown destroys the EU (I mean the corrupt and totalitarian institution; not, of course, the admirable individual countries which, misguidedly, belong to it) … if this lockdown destroys the already moribund EU, then perhaps I’m rather pro-Coronavirus, after all …

* * * * *

Long conversation with a landowning friend in Essex, where masses of ordinary people, most especially belonging to the lower orders, are rapidly running out of money. Crime will inevitably rise. Already, fly-tipping is rife in his area, with newly unemployed workers, desperate for cash, offering to take rubbish off your land for £200 and dump it elsewhere, illegally. I say that polls nevertheless suggest that nine tenths of the population are in favour of lockdown. “They aren’t asking the right people,” replies my friend.

To my disbelief, he also tells me that bonfires have been banned. In his part of the world, at any rate, they are now illegal.

I struggle to absorb this news, which offers further confirmation – as if it were needed – that the world has gone stark raving mad.

WEDNESDAY 15 APRIL

Once again, nature brings a perfect cloudless spring day … the better to enable us to dig our own graves.

On a more local level, the peace of the early morning is destroyed by the loud whine of a machine extracting the contents of a nearby cesspit. That’s enough to have me gnashing my teeth. Then, from a street not far off, comes a cacophony so unbearable that I go out to see what’s up.

They are installing broadband. This involves an angle-grinder cutting out a path for the trench in which the cables are to be laid; and then a power-drill smashing up the tarmac and the concrete beneath. The noise produced by these two machines working in unison is satanic.

I walk off to do a bit of ‘essential’ shopping (gin, milk and dishwasher tablets) … and here’s a group of tramps and homeless fraternising at a table outside a closed pub. I am deeply shocked by their disregard for the excellent ‘social distancing’ rules that the rest of us so rightly and wisely respect. From a distance, I deploy the zoom lens and take a photo. But one of the tramps sees me. “That’ll be a tenner, mate!” he shouts out “For taking a photo of us!!”

A tenner for a photo

A tenner, eh? Not the usual three quid? As I queue up to get into the local Sainsbury’s, a thought enters my mind. Perhaps the tramps in conclave have decided – all things considered and current market conditions duly taken into account – that the asking price for photos should be £3 for an individual portrait, and £10 for a group portrait.

* * * * *

A correspondent emails me to express dissident views about the deaths of elderly folk who were in any case at the end of the line. “If, this time round, the flu wipes out more of these barely sentient old dears than it normally does,” he writes, “then so be it. Many in the medical profession agree with me. Privately, of course. If they said this in public they would quite possibly be executed.”

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