JAN MOIR: All in this together… apart from the entitled and smug crony-demic gang
We are all in it together.
That has been the official refrain since the early days of the pandemic, back when we first squared our shoulders, started stockpiling loo rolls and began spying on our neighbours with vigour, thermal binoculars and a time-stamped electronic notebook to hand.
Or was that just me?
And we are still all in it together —except when it comes to the last packet of pasta on the supermarket shelf.
Or non-observance of curfews when no one is looking.
Or, above all, being a government minister and/or adviser.
Today, being a member of the crony-demic gang seems to mean that you can ignore all of the rules all of the time, even the ones you have devised yourself.
Dish it out, but don’t take it, whatever happens! Your country needs you — to do exactly as you are told. While the elites continue to do exactly as they please.
Michael Gove flew to Portugal for a football match but dodged quarantine upon his return by taking part in a secret swabbing trial.
Today, being a member of the crony-demic gang seems to mean that you can ignore all of the rules all of the time, even the ones you have devised yourself. Michael Gove flew to Portugal for a football match but dodged quarantine upon his return by taking part in a secret swabbing trial
Instead of self-isolating for ten days like the rest of the mugs, Michael took daily Covid tests as an alternative.
How marvellous that Downing Street was chosen as one of the workplaces to trial this new scheme that no one has ever heard of; a simply lovely coincidence and convenience for senior Conservatives who must travel abroad to watch important football matches featuring their favourite teams in fixtures that have nothing to do with the business of government.
Secret swabbing, which sounds like a covert cleaning operation on the HMS Pinafore, might be a totally legitimate way to test safe alternatives to isolation.
However, that is not what it looks like and, increasingly, optics are what matters.
The last thing pandemic-weary citizens want right now is the spectre of yet another strife-swerving exemption for the elites, while the rest of us carry on up the Covid Khyber, quietly despairing as the demented NHS app pinged over half a million people last week, the vast majority of whom have absolutely nothing wrong with them.
One might have hoped the Government had got the message about elitism by now, but no.
Our entitled ruling class just rampage on and on, behaving like Soviet officials of yore, sequestering all the imperial-class caviar stocks and holiday dachas for themselves, while the uncomplaining proles toil in unlit, smelting plants praying for a Freedom Day that never comes.
Look at us, double-masked, super-obedient, hands red raw with high-alcohol sanitisers, nurturing geysers of inner resentment that threaten to blow any day now.
How much more can we take? Matt Hancock puts Mrs Flirty on the public payroll and then breaks his own Covid rules to have an affair with her.
How much more can we take? Matt Hancock puts Mrs Flirty on the public payroll and then breaks his own Covid rules to have an affair with her
Dominic Cummings flees from London when he is not supposed to and his subsequent eye-testing jaunt to Barnard Castle becomes a bitter national joke.
Companies with government connections are enriched with lucrative PPE contacts. Queues are jumped, deals are made, restrictions don’t apply, just sign here.
Again and again, the Government gives the impression that there is one rule for them and another for us, an attitude that unfortunately starts to trickle down the social order.
A study by Sheffield University into behaviours in the early stages of the pandemic found that panic buying was more likely to be associated with women living in higher income households with children.
I knew it! Yummy Mummies. The women who are quite possibly at the root of all society’s ills (and if not, let’s blame them anyway).
In my corner of West London, Yummy Mummies would park their SUV on your cat if it meant little Arlo and Octavia didn’t get their Miki House booties wet on the way to Tumble Tots.
Get between Yum-Mums and their Bugaboos in the dairy aisles in Waitrose and you’d have a better chance of surviving a shark attack.
But actually we are all, say the scientists, mere animals in the pandemic jungle. Apparently, such selfish behaviours and ‘foraging survival strategies’ are entirely natural during times of crisis.
Yet as Freedom Day approaches, a tantalising mirage on the horizon, people are increasingly exhausted by the petty restrictions on our liberty.
However, I’m sure we could put up with it a lot better if we really were all in it together.
Does the Prime Minister truly think the British public are idiots who will absorb all the elitist nonsense he seems to tolerate, and still vote for him? Our patience is wearing thin, Boris.
A moving elegy to the secrets of real lives
Nothing on television gets right to the heart of the human condition quite like Long Lost Family (ITV1), which returned this week.
Despite the plinky emo piano music and Davina McCall seething with empathy, this is still the most genuine and moving show on the box.
Where else do you get to see ordinary people simply being their authentic selves; pouring their hearts out in their own kitchens?
The premise is simple. Family members are helped by Davina and fellow host Nicky Campbell (himself adopted) in their search for missing relatives.
Parents seek children, sons and daughters look for mothers and fathers, siblings call into the canyon, hoping for a returning echo from a brother or sister that might confirm they are not alone.
Nothing on television gets right to the heart of the human condition quite like Long Lost Family (ITV1), which returned this week. Despite the plinky emo piano music and Davina McCall seething with empathy, this is still the most genuine and moving show on the box
What lies beneath each individual story is separation and hidden hurt; guilt and regret; identity and belonging.
It is about family love and family secrets, and you can see it all in every plain and honest face that appears.
John Hacking, a quarry worker from Buxton, Derbyshire, was reunited this week with his birth mother Maureen, who is now 77 and living in Sheerness, Kent. He had been left in a pram in the rain, to be discovered by the neighbours who brought him up, because Maureen said she was desperate.
‘Hello Mother,’ he said when they met, two words freighted with more than half a century of pain.
One often gets the feeling that there is more to these stories than what we see on screen.
However, Long Lost Families remains a moving elegy to the corrosion of secrets and the power of love.
Why the writing’s on the wall for Fergie
Sarah, the Duchess of York, knows that she can depend on me to supply a supportive word or two on whatever her latest venture might be.
I was there with my rotors whirling when she launched Budgie The Little Helicopter.
I was on hand with the kettle for her diet tea campaign. I had my best Jackanory face on when she launched her lockdown Storytime With Fergie And Friends series on YouTube.
And here I am again, cheering to the literary rafters as she publishes her first book for adults.
Her Heart For A Compass is a coming-of-age novel about a Ferg ancestor, someone called Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott.
Sarah, the Duchess of York, knows that she can depend on me to supply a supportive word or two on whatever her latest venture might be
Who she? Never mind.
To promote the book, our girl was in full froth during an interview for an American magazine.
‘When you have a sense of humour and you’re a redhead, everyone takes you for a big hurricane,’ she said. ‘But sometimes, you don’t always want to be the storm.’
And sometimes we don’t want to be caught in the storm, either. But who was she talking about? Ronald McDonald? No, herself.
‘Sarah is there,’ she explained, of the book’s spirit. ‘Good old Fergie’s there, too. But Sarah is authentically present.’
I worry that Ferg is spending too much time with Meghan; mano a mano, duchess to duchess, talking about their time in the royal limelight.
York admitted, perhaps to Sussex, that she often had an ‘extraordinary fear of getting it wrong’ in the royal household. Now she realises that ‘being Sarah is enough’.
Is it really? I’m not sure Prince Philip (RIP) would agree.
Fast food with less nutritional value than the packaging
Slash meat eating by a third, tax sugar and salt, then teach the turnips how to cook vegetables?
That is the gist of a new report by Downing Street food tsar, Henry Dimbleby — and it all seems to have been a total waste of time and money.
The Government has already hinted it will reject the sum of Dim’s snack tax proposals before anyone has even had time to digest them properly.
‘I’m not, I must say, attracted to the idea of extra taxes on hardworking people,’ said Boris yesterday. One can see his point.
Mr Dimbleby, the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, is prescribing fruit, vegetables and cookery classes for les pauvres, the latter to be funded by the proposed new ‘snack tax’.
Good luck with that, for we have been here before.
Jamie Oliver tried to shame Turkey Twizzler guzzlers while promoting lettuce wraps and assorted healthy snacks, but out in the real world it is devilishly difficult to separate citizens from their bad habits.
I can remember when shops in Glasgow housing estates didn’t sell a single fresh vegetable; when even the potatoes were tinned. And this in a country with a potato crop of more than four million tonnes.
Entire generations have been weaned off cooking — because the alternatives are so cheap and easy.
Deliveries, takeaway meals, supermarket chill cabinet ready-made meals — all full of salt and sugar and with perhaps less nutritional value than the plastic they are packaged in.
All that is an unstoppable torrent of bad habits and convenience.
It might be a laudable idea to teach people how to cook — but how do you instil the culture that makes them want to?
Welcome to Jan’s Lonely Hearts Dating Agency, my new lockdown venture in which I try to matchmake the lovelorn, the lonely and the troubled.
Ladies, can I introduce you to my newest client, Charlie Perry.
Charlie is the dream — a roofer and England fan who drank 20 cans of Strongbow and ‘banged a load of powder’ before being photographed with a lit firework blazing away between his bare buttocks before the Euros 2020 final this week.
‘It didn’t hurt, I was so drunk,’ said the man, who also had a stag night tattoo on his bottom and was wearing a £545 Louis Vuitton bucket hat.
Almost all of these signifiers might frighten sensitive blind daters, but Charlie is a catch with a GSOH and WLTM that special woman who would make his life complete and help him Vim his sinks, or whatever it is he does with all that powder.
Send me your details if you are interested. And if you do decide to light Charlie’s blue touch paper, please remember to stand well back.
Welcome to Jan’s Lonely Hearts Dating Agency, my new lockdown venture in which I try to matchmake the lovelorn, the lonely and the troubled. Ladies, can I introduce you to my newest client, Charlie Perry. Charlie is the dream — a roofer and England fan who drank 20 cans of Strongbow and ‘banged a load of powder’ before being photographed with a lit firework blazing away between his bare buttocks before the Euros 2020 final this week
Migrants arrive by the boatload on the beaches of southern England; not a policeman in sight.
Wembley Stadium turns into a war zone, with widespread antisocial behaviour around the arena and hundreds of fans storming inside without tickets; police say, not our problem.
An eco-campaign group dumps a lorry load of plastic waste outside Downing Street, police seem fine with that.
Migrants arrive by the boatload on the beaches of southern England; not a policeman in sight
It could be gelignite, boys! Not bovvered.
Meanwhile, a law-abiding schoolgirl has to isolate after testing positive and all of a sudden it’s a national emergency.
Mum Kathryn Crook was astonished when police turned up mob-handed in a riot van on two occasions to check that her 12-year-old daughter Charlotte was self-isolating.
She says her child was ‘petrified’ and now wants the Greater Manchester Police Service and Rochdale public health chiefs to apologise for ‘overkill’.
Well, maybe so. But surely overkill is preferable to underpowered, especially when public safety is at stake.
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