How to screw up

Rent day conversation. Landlord likes his rent in cash. Not cheque or money transfer, but in physical Euros, which I have to get from the bank every month. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it gives me an excuse to pass through Gardai checkpoints. Colum (Not his real name) and I enjoy a cordial relationship. We pay him money every month, occasionally shoo wayward livestock back into the sheds and meadows, exchange gifts over Christmas and talk when time allows.

“Morning Colum. How are you coping?” I asked him.
“Fairly well I suppose.” He said with a slightly morose air. He’s an Irish farmer, what can I say? “How’s yourself?”
“Dodging the checkpoints.” I grinned cheerfully. “Otherwise we’re good.”
“Ah yes.” He intoned in his slow Western brogue. “Those people up in Dublin are not handling this Covid thing well are they?” I’m glad he’s not a Cork or Kerry man, they speak too quickly, spilling out words like a river in spate, and even with my trained ear I find them hard to follow sometimes. Their speech is quick and musical, full of reiterations, back eddies and redundancies. Fun to listen to, but hard to understand properly. Colum’s slow western drawl is quite relaxing by comparison.
“Well, they’re politicians.” I replied.
He looked at me gravely and said. “They’ve not got much of a handle on it have they?”
“No. You got that right.” I responded and changed the subject. “Money? Receipt’s made out.” The pleasantries and signing off complete, we bid him farewell and he went back to his work, and we to ours.

He was right of course. The current crop of politicians, Tory, Labour, Limp Dems, Greens, Liberals, Democrats, Fianna whatever label they put upon themselves, are not doing a good job of handling what is in reality, a fairly minor crisis. Yes, people have died, but a good many should not have done. Politics prevented usable anti-viral treatments being applied and thus cost lives, as well as sent infected patients into non-infected environments full of the vulnerable. The grapevine tells me Hospitals aren’t giving anti-virals but using steroids and ventilators instead. Because of politics. Beds have been cut. Because of politics. In short, ignorant politicians panicked and made a mess. And are still panicking because no-one wants to admit they were wrong, or be the first to admit being so.

No government that I’m currently aware of, is applying or recommending known remedies, like improving metabolic health with simple means that work for everyone. This is stuff that was commonly printed in ‘Home doctor’ books available in the 1960’s and before. Even today, Doctors recommend them. Cut sugar intake. Eat a balanced diet. Cut down on Bread and rice. Get out for a walk every day in the fresh air. Do something physical. That way you’ll have what they call better ‘metabolic health’ and so be less likely to suffer the worst of any disease.

Now we’re in this crazy logjam of lockdowns and restrictions, maybe because no country wants to be made a pariah by other nations who will probably use the freedom within a neighbour state as an excuse to have a little trade war, or other such one-uppersonship to curry favour with their respective electorates. No politician wants to be first to ease the lockdowns, because for them the restrictions aren’t an issue. They can get all those little services the general public is denied. Apart from Boris Johnson, do any of these characters look badly groomed?

The thing is, those of us with an operating brain cell have things called memories. We remember previous virus outbreaks. We check our sources. We double check the evidence. Where possible we go to the base stats and don’t trust spin or regurgitated press releases. We also listen to the real world; for example, overheard in a Supermarket yesterday. Woman to checkout operator, “Oh, me Mam had the jab a few weeks ago and she still got Covid.” And that’s not the first time I’ve heard people say similar things within audible range over the last week or two. That’s from a very small sample size. All you need to do is keep your eyes and ears open.

You won’t read much about that in the political or media mainstream. The best they have is “Shut up and do what you’re told.” while people lose their livelihoods and human rights.

I agree with my farmer landlord; the politicians and media have it wrong. This pandemic has been an object lesson in how to screw up. And haven’t they done that in spades?

2 thoughts on “How to screw up”

  1. Do the locals understand you? (Last word in italics.)
    And do you and they change the way you speak so as to be understood?
    I love accents, dialects, whatever. The more the merrier in this dull uniform world.

    Liked by 1 person

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