CAST your mind back to earlier this year, when the coronavirus first seeped out of China.
Do you remember how people leapt on anyone who mentioned where it had come from?
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It was no coincidence lorries were queuing at Dover just as our negotiating deadlines ran out[/caption]
Whenever Donald Trump dared to call it “the China virus”, “the virus from China” or “the Wuhan flu”, his opponents said he was being racist.
His political opponents called for people to visit their local Chinatown. The leftwing mayor of Florence, Italy, even urged the citizens of his city to find a Chinese person and hug them to combat racism.
And God help anyone who suggested closing the borders. Back at the start of this year, that was evil as well as racist.
So it has been interesting to see the different standards at the end of this year when it comes to Britain.
Last week the Government did the decent, honest thing and alerted the world to the fact that a new strain of Covid had been identified here. It was the right thing to do.
If the Chinese authorities had been as honest this time last year, the world might not be in its current mess.
But wow, did the world react differently.
The countries of Europe immediately announced they were shutting their borders with Britain. No leftwing mayors (that I know of) called for people to hug the nearest British person.
And the press in France, among other places, were perfectly happy to call this “the English virus”.
As a result, we had lorry drivers being turned away from the port at Dover, huge tailbacks and talk of truckers needing corona tests before being allowed to continue with their work.
None of this happened in isolation. This country ends its current trading relationship with the European Union at the end of this month.
Exiting the common market is absolutely vital for this country to get back its sovereignty and trading rights. But of course, the EU was unhappy about ever giving us a good deal. And it was unhappy at the idea of the UK walking away without a deal. In fact, in a major blunder, the EU seems to have believed this country would never walk away. They thought we would take whatever was offered to us.
But we didn’t. Our Government rightly held out until the last moment for Britain to get the best possible deal.
A deal that makes sure we aren’t stuck in the single market in all but name. Now it looks like we might have that deal. But it was only possible because we were happy to leave without one.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others were clearly shocked by this. Which is why this deal seems to have come at the 11th hour.
Of course the EU always wanted to punish us for our 2016 vote — not only to ensure we don’t thrive outside the common market but to make sure other countries in the EU don’t feel tempted to follow us out.
If we are seen to do well, the most extreme EU leaders — like Macron — think the EU will fail. So they need to punish Britain.
It was no coincidence lorries were queuing at Dover just as our negotiating deadlines ran out.
Macron seized the opportunity a new strain of the virus gave him to do a little punishment-beating of the UK.
Guy Verhofstadt and other maniacs in the EU have been issuing blood-curdling threats against Britain on social media.
Well, they are wrong — as they have been wrong on everything else. Britain hasn’t been terrified. Our Government didn’t buckle.
We held our nerve and, in the process, have shown the EU what good negotiating — and democracy — actually look like.
MEGHAN and Harry left the UK in order to protect their own privacy.
Yet since arriving in the US they seem to have done nothing but invade their own privacy. They have given interviews, done pieces to camera, made announcements and launched shows.
Harry and Meghan have done nothing but invade their own privacy since quitting the Royal Family to protect their privacy [/caption]
Their latest ruse for keeping themselves out of the public eye is to start a podcast, after signing a massive deal with Spotify.
The couple said: “What we love about podcasting is it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen.”
I suspect what the couple love about podcasting is the bags of cash Spotify gives them for doing it.
They went on: “When we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.”
When I hear them waffle on like that, I wonder if they’re connected to anything at all. Reality, for starters.
Royal of six
PRINCE Harry’s brother and his family got a bit of stick this week for appearing to break the rule of six.
On a walk, William and Kate appeared to meet Prince Edward and his family. No harm was done and I find the criticism a bit rough. They were outdoors at Sandringham and apparently hadn’t been intending to form a group. While trying to stick to the rules, we shouldn’t become Covid puritans.
Wills and Kate walk with Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Wessex[/caption]
And we should allow people a bit of leeway. Not least for people like William and Kate, who seem otherwise never to put a foot wrong.
Laugh in face of risk
I LIKED the geezer interviewed on the news on Monday about lockdown Christmas.
The TV interviewer was clearly after tales of woe. “I was meant to be going to the mother-in-law’s, but I ain’t got to go now, so it’s a right touch,” he said with a great beaming smile and a thumbs-up.
Humour is what we need – like the geezer who was chuffed about not seeing his mother-in-law[/caption]
That’s the spirit.
It wasn’t just uplifting but a reminder of an attitude of good humour that used to be more common.
The Covid threat is serious, but there are lots of serious threats – from driving a car to exercising . . . and visiting the mother-in-law.
Each day we manage risk and humour is one way we’ve learned to deal with it. But in recent years we have become deadly serious about risk. And increasingly risk-averse.
Worse, whenever something goes wrong we seek someone else to blame. That attitude has climaxed this Christmas.
Like so many bosses, government has come to fear the risk-averse, lawyer-happy public.
They think we can’t make sensible judgments and that we will blame them, whatever happens.
Now we have to be protected from ourselves, and cocooned in our own homes.
I prefer a different Britain: One that is cheery, knows how to deal with risk and cannot be kept down.
Of course we shouldn’t take stupid risks. But if we are informed, we can choose for ourselves what is dangerous and what is not.
Where does One start?
EARLIER this year when coronavirus began, there weren’t many people we wanted to hear from.
But the Queen was an exception. Her broadcast to the nation, finishing with “We will meet again”, was perfectly judged and just the uplift we needed.
I can imagine Her Majesty’s Christmas message: ‘2020. Well, where the hell do I start?’[/caption]
But how will the Queen start her speech on Christmas Day?
Traditionally she sums up the year that has passed and takes some positive aspect of it to look forward to the one ahead.
Various wags online have mocked up a photo of the opening of this year’s Queen’s speech with Her Majesty sitting in front of the tree and saying: “2020. Well, where the hell do I start?”
REMEMBER Ming the Merciless? The British Board of Film Classification would rather you didn’t.
It is so worried about him that it has added a warning to Flash Gordon.
Flash Gordon now comes with a warning – because Ming the Merciless was played by Max von Sydow[/caption]
What’s the risk? The hammy acting? The subtlety of Brian Blessed’s performance?
No, it is that Ming was played by the late Max von Sydow, who was white. And the character is meant to be Asian.
So viewers could be offended, apparently.
If you start adding warning notes to Flash Gordon, where would you stop?
So glad Gaddafi a goner
THIS week saw the anniversary of the 1988 Lockerbie disaster. 270 people were killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in mid-air, sections of the plane then landing on the small Scottish town.
Despite years of investigation, only one man has ever been convicted for being behind the bomb that brought down the plane.
When it came to Lockerbie, the Gaddafi regime did everything it could to stop justice being done[/caption]
He has since died. Now, on the 32nd anniversary of the disaster, US officials have announced charges against another man.
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The suspect is a Libyan intelligence official currently in custody in Libya. He will be extradited to the US to stand trial.
Many have been frustrated over the years by the slow wheels of justice. But those wheels were slowed deliberately. Just as deliberately as the bomb was placed on board. The Libyan regime of Colonel Gaddafi did everything it could to stop justice being done.
Even when it admitted to having been behind the bombing. One more reason no one misses the mad dog of Libya.
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