Pissed-off Toff is catching up with himself, date-wise, on his London lockdown diary. He reflects, in heretical manner, on the act of massive self-harm that we are perpetrating against ourselves … and notes that we have turned into a fully-fledged surveillance state.
MONDAY 6 APRIL
There’s a pattern here.
Bewitched by the doctrine of ‘man-made global warming’, and terrified by the pronouncements of misguided ‘scientists’, our representatives in Parliament were already determined to destroy the fabric of modern life in mad pursuit of a ‘carbon neutral economy’ …
And then along comes the Coronavirus.
This time the scare story is even better, because more immediate. With their rolling coverage, the media gleefully ramp it up to maximum. No prediction is too dire; no exaggeration too wild; no claim too sensational.
Even more than usual, the public are scared witless. And the politicians feel they have to ‘do’ something. So now, rather than merely dismantling the economy, as they were busily doing before, they shut down the country altogether and lock us all up into the bargain.
I do not see that it is possible to ignore the similarities between the ‘climate emergency’ and the Coronavirus ‘emergency’. They are both part of the same phenomenon. What we see in both cases is mass hysteria and generalised panic, first created and then fomented by the TV channels with their rolling ‘news’.
The Devil himself could hardly have done a better job.
* * * * *
Anyhow, out for my late-afternoon walk.
Here are various tramps assembled outside Westminster Cathedral. No ‘social distancing’ for them.
The local branch of Nationwide is open, on reduced hours, for ‘emergency transactions’ only. The notice signs off with the officious injunction to “Be safe, stay home, save NHS.”
Is there no respite, anywhere, from this infuriating hectoring and preaching?
I walk off down an empty Victoria Street.
With its glass-clad buildings and empty streets, it is a vision of some strange dystopian future.
TUESDAY 7 APRIL
For a good hour this afternoon, a police helicopter once again hovers overhead. Since London is deserted, the fuzz are presumably spying on the parks and making sure that there are no groups of young people meeting up illicitly.
The Police do not of course need a helicopter for this task. They just enjoy taking the chopper out for a spin; and it clearly bothers them not one jot that for the many tens of thousands of local residents below, they are destroying the peace and quiet of this glorious spring day. Nor does it bother them that their jaunt in the skies comes at considerable cost to the taxpayer.
Anyhow, since I can’t see the helicopter, but can only hear it, I go out to check on its whereabouts. Outside an abandoned Buckingham Palace, an ambulance is parked. Then it zooms off at full speed, and as it passes me its siren starts up viciously, making me jump out of my skin. Nearby, bicyclists dressed in lycra hurtle along the empty stretches of smooth pink tarmac. And there, too, is that Police helicopter, circling above St James’s Park.
Disappointingly, there’s nobody for them to nick. The people in the park are either lone walkers like me, or co-habiting couples; and there are one or two families with children. This is ‘permitted’.
* * * * *
Out of idle curiosity, I look in at Charing Cross train station. As before, it is deserted, but this time there are a few policemen and a few slobs with the legend “Enforcement Officer” on their backs. What is their status? What are they enforcing? And for whom, I wonder, as I walk past a row of attractive Georgian terraced houses in nearby Craven Street.
Yes. Craven. That’s what we are, nowadays. A craven nation, whimpering with craven fear over a threat that lies almost entirely in our own imaginations.
Only minutes after I leave behind the idle ‘enforcement officers’, I come across a couple of young men in black uniforms ambling along the Embankment with “Patrol” emblazoned on their backs.
Patrolling, are they? Patrolling what? And why? And on whose orders? Again, I’ve never seen this before.
I take a photograph of them from behind. Is this illegal? Probably. Almost everything is, nowadays. Anyway, here they are.
Only minutes later, I come across a couple of men in black paramilitary uniforms with weaponry attached to every part of their bodies, and this time with “Police” on their backs.
When there were real crimes to be dealt with, the coppers were nowhere to be seen. But now that they have more or less admitted that they won’t be catching criminals any more, they emerge from their hiding places, tooled up as though for a war, and itching to assert their authority over a frightened and compliant public.
I try to enjoy the spring weather as I proceed along the traffic-free Embankment and towards the Houses of Parliament.
Returning home, I find a copy of The Evening Standard, which reports 6,149 Coronavirus-related deaths in the UK so far. Versus – what? – 20,000-odd flu-related deaths in a normal year. Nevertheless, here’s Michael Gove, reported uncritically in this paper: “All of us are discovering that this virus has a malignity and a malevolence that is truly frightening,” he claims.
One might put it another way, thus: now that the government has decided to follow the ‘scientific’ advice of a certain Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, a man who has a track record of being reliably wrong about almost everything … now that the government has locked down the entire country on the say-so of this one witchdoctor with his flawed ‘models’, the Gove weasel has to justify the insane decision to reduce us all to beggary. So he’s ramping up the fear.
This evening I am overcome by listlessness and have little desire to do my hour of piano practice.
WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL
Spurred on by the demands of this blog, I’m improving, in terms of digital technology. However, pen and paper are for me essential. And I’ve almost run out of paper.
Walking past the local MailBox outlet, I see a sign informing the public that the place is open “for sending essential letters only”… and I think that I will try my luck. “You don’t have any paper for printers, do you?” I ask the nice East European girl at the till. She gladly sells me the last packet on the shelves.
During this daily ‘permitted’ outing, I come across another small tramp encampment, and more poor drunken souls slumped on the pavements. In good times they might hope to take anything between £20 and £80 a day by begging. But now their income stream has dried up … as it has for half the population.
Evening. An NHS advert on the television urges us to stay at home and says that the Coronavirus threatens the lives of everyone. If not an outright lie, this statement is at any rate a deliberate distortion; because overwhelmingly, the virus threatens the elderly and the infirm. Not that you’d gather that by watching the BBC … or any of the other main news programmes.
Late in the evening I tune in to a programme on London Live in which Brian Rose interviews a certain David Icke. I like Rose, because he treats his guests in a civilised manner and acts as host rather than attack-dog. Tonight he listens with due consideration to this David Icke, who maintains that ‘scientists’ very often get things badly wrong and that ‘man-made global warming’ and the fuss about this virus are scare-stories run up by the media.
So unspeakable are this man’s thoughts that before the interview resumes after every ad break, a notice appears on-screen in which London Live distances itself from the views expressed in the programme. I’ve watched Brian Rose’s show in the past, and have never seen this health warning before. Its appearance can only mean that it is, nowadays, heresy to question the various forms of quasi-religious hysteria which are systematically destroying our lives.
THURSDAY 9 APRIL
Yet another beautiful spring day.
Afternoon exercise. Hidden behind a large statue on its plinth, a Police vehicle is parked outside Buckingham Palace and a policeman is pulling cars over as they head towards Constitution Hill, and stopping cyclists and pedestrians at random. In no case has any offence been committed. I observe from a distance and take a rapid photo.
The policeman now stops two cyclists – father and son, it would seem – and interrogates them. “Where do you live?” he asks. “Hackney,” comes the answer, which I hear clearly across the empty expanse of tarmac. The policeman has found a victim. “Have some sense,” he now shouts. “Get back there straight away.” The cyclists leave, cowed.
The same policeman now stops a man who is walking along harmlessly. An exchange follows, which I do not hear. I approach this man afterwards, as he walks towards me, and ask if the policeman was aggressive. He nods and walks on.
From Green Park, I ring a friend who says that many people he knows are dressing down when they go out, so as to avoid attracting attention. I reply that I am tempted to dress up in as camp a manner as possible and mince around ostentatiously in a cloud of scent, baiting the Police in a game of Roundheads vs Cavaliers.
As I return home, I see a tough black man in a black paramilitary uniform standing outside Waitrose in Bressenden Place. A large blue label on his back bears the word MARSHAL. What is a marshal, I wonder? What’s he doing standing there? Who does he work for? What are his powers?
Thus in the space of a couple of days not only have I come across the Police at every turn, but I have also come across uniformed para-legal figures called ‘enforcement officers’ and other para-legal figures with ‘PATROL’ and ‘MARSHAL’ on their backs. What with this and the snooping helicopters overhead and the CCTV cameras on every street, we have surely turned into a fully-fledged surveillance state.
* * * * *
For roughly an hour between 7.30 and 8.30 in the evening, a Police helicopter hovers above, yet again. Why? The streets are empty and the proles are all locked up in their cells … where, at 8 o’clock on the dot they all start clapping and wolf-whistling obediently, in praise of the accursed NHS, while the National Anthem blares out from somewhere.
At various intervals till late in the evening, coked-out tramps wander along the street below, singly and in groups, yelling incoherently. With them the Police do not intervene. That would be too much trouble … and not nearly as much fun as bullying the rest of us.