This is a reblog from my other site.
THis is a reblog from my othersiI think if 2020 had a tag line it would have to be something along the lines of “…but then it got worse“. We shall have to hope things get better in 2021…although it ain’t looking great initially.
So the brexiters are now raging that the French, Dutch, Irish, et al have used their right as sovereign nations to close their borders (I thought you can’t do that if you are in the EU?)…in one direction…for a two days (supplies could still get into the UK, they just couldn’t leave by truck, unless the driver was tested). Or in other words a partial no deal brexit (but without tariffs or any checks). Surely the Brexiters should be celebrating, we’ll be riding around on unicorns and reaping the benefits of brexit a few weeks early.
Of course this new lockdown is largely the fault of the Tory government and its incompetent handling of covid. Their failure to get a handle on the crisis provided the virus with the breeding ground to mutate. They were warned that this new strain was circulated as early as the 14th of December (this is when a statement on the matter was first made, likely they knew about it sometime before then), yet they still planned to ignore medical advice and remove all lockdown rules for Christmas. Its not really a huge surprise European governments reacted as they did when they know the Bullingdon clown is in charge over here on plague Island.
And now medical experts are pleading for an extension to the brexit transition period, which if course is also being ignored, because, they’ve been ignoring the experts all along and look where that’s got them – 80,000 dead and counting. Plus, a brexit deal where the UK has conceded virtually everything (as has been the case with most of the trade deals the UK has struck, which generally leaves the UK worse off and a rule taker not a rule maker), oh and we’ve overpaid for the Covid vaccine because, surprise, surprise the EU can get it cheaper than we can (bulk discounts).
Something fishy going on
At least I suppose the French lockdown of the border has highlighted how dependant the UK is on trade with the EU. And how crucial it is that some sort of comprehensive deal is eventually put in place. Consider than on January the 1st it will be illegal for a truck driver to even carry a ham and cheese sandwich across the border without the necessary paperwork. And if that sounds overly bureaucratic, actually no, that’s quite normal at most international border crossings, where they often don’t allow the transfer of fruits or vegetables (e.g. the US allows travellers to bring cheeses across but not meats, tinned food, rice, fruits or vegetables). Some countries even have sniffer dogs to check passengers for any undeclared food items.
And oddly enough, given all the talk about fish, its UK fish products going into the EU that are on very short time scales and most vulnerable to tariffs. Several such companies in Scotland said they will have to likely send their lorries to a dump than wait for the Calais crossing to reopen. Keep in mind that any deal struck in the short term (and a skinny deal seems likely) will not include free trade of all goods and services, as well as equivalent standards, meaning checks are going to have to be carried out in 2021. It would require membership of the EU free trade area to eliminate the need for any checks at the border (and that would take several years to negotiate, not least because it would involve non-EU nations such as Norway and Iceland).
Post-brexit, trade of some products could simply be rendered uneconomic. Delaying delivery of fresh produce by even a single day means its going to be less attractive to wholesalers (who wants to buy two day old fish when freshly caught stuff is available) and some portion will have gone off by the time it arrives. Which on top of the tariffs (plus the fact the driver might not be able to do the run without going over his hours and having to stop) and the cost of filling in all of that paperwork, means its going to be much more expensive and there just won’t be as much available.
So what’s the point in a no deal? Or a skinny deal? Its going to cost the country a fortune, far more than the UK has ever paid to the EU. All just to gain control of fishing rights (an industry worth 0.1% of GDP), which isn’t even going to benefit the fishing industry much, as it just means you can’t export your fish and end up bankrupting the fishing industry. And in all likelihood the French fishermen will blockade French ferry ports and gum up the works completely in January.
In any event, the problems with fishing are within the UK’s control and they always have been, to quote a section from a recent Guardian article:
But the greater injustice by far to our fishers is our own government’s allocation of quotas to large companies. Two-thirds of the UK’s quota of fish goes to just three multinationals ; boats under 10m long get just 4% though they account for 77% of fishers . A Greenpeace report found a quarter of Britain’s quota was owned by five families , all in the Sunday Times rich list…
….British “slipper skippers were allowed to put their feet up and live off the earnings from selling their quota to foreign companies. If concern for our small boat fishing fleet were really the impediment to a vital Brexit deal, the government should be getting tough on preventing this sell-off.
Looks like I’m stuck at home for Christmas, I’m in self imposed isolation as I have a bit of cold (which I’m pretty sure now is just a cold, but better safe than sorry). I’ve gone a modest stockpile of food, as I planned ahead, just in case of something like this happening (I even have some Turkey!). But I’m guessing that there are hordes of people rushing off to panic buy loo roll and spaghetti again, because presumably they are planning to eat so much Spaghetti for Christmas dinner they worry they might sh*t themselves (jingle tills, jingle tills, panic all the way, oh what fun it is to fight in the aisles and dump stuff in my
trolley sleight…I’ll stop now!).
I’ve discussed the issue of stockpiling for general emergencies (such as this) or for brexit before. And suffice to say, if you are rushing off to the supermarket now, you’ve left it way too late. Buying pasta and far more fresh food than you can ever hope to eat before it goes off is not only stupid but pretty selfish.
The solution is to treat it as an inventory management problem. Rather than assuming the supermarket will always have what you want at a reasonable price, have a small floating stock of the stuff you normally eat. That way you don’t have to panic buy and if you get stuck unexpectedly inside (as I am), it doesn’t matter you’ll have enough to cope (as is my situation right now..might you, I might run out of Irish whiskey and have to settle for only the Scottish stuff, but times are tough!).
But like I said this is going to be the problem with brexit after January, fresh food supplies will not be as reliable anymore, they will become more sporadic (one day they’ll be out of peppers, next day loads of them but no tomatoes) and prices will go up. There are alternatives, some fruit and veg are grown in the UK (just not nearly enough to go around, plus have you ever tasted English wine!). There is the option of tinned food or frozen vegetables, although they obviously aren’t as good as the fresh stuff (and frozen veg takes up room I your freezer which is not a forever machine).
How then do the supermarkets stop panic buying? Well I’d limit purchases to a maximum of 2 of any item and a maximum of 12 items total per person for a few weeks (anyone showing up at the tills with 13 items, gets refused service and told to come back tomorrow). There is as much a psychological aspect to the panic buying and its about curbing that behaviour. Cutting the number of items on sale (i.e. one or two brands of soap rather than a dozen) and make sure there is plenty of those items on the shelves (perhaps even closing until they can ensure this). If people see empty shelves one day, then some small number of items the next, the selfish ones will try to clean them out.
Who should be vaccinated first?
Is it just me, but I’ve noticed that those who are in the younger generation tend to be taking this whole crisis a bit more seriously, even thought they are less vulnerable to the disease. By contrast, it seems to be the baby boomers and the older generations who are throwing caution to the win, insisting on seeing family at Christmas, not wearing masks, or having their noses poking out of masks (I’m tempted to get a big dog and train him to bite any exposed noses he sees).
Which brings us to the issue of who should be vaccinated first. Well clearly health workers and those with vulnerable conditions yes. But after that the UK’s plan is to go largely by age. Which you could argue makes sense given they are more likely to die from the disease (and their aforementioned habit of ignoring the rules). But I’d argue that might not be the best solution.
It ignores the fact that certain ethnic groups are more vulnerable to covid. It will take over a year to vaccinate everybody and by then some may have lost their immunity (as the antibodies won’t linger forever) or a new strain may have emerged that the vaccine isn’t effective against. Instead, I’d argue in favour of ring fenced vaccinations around possible super-spreader events.
So that would mean prioritising vaccinations in schools, universities, hospitality employees, shopping staff,etc. This would limit the room for the virus to spread. It could still spread (as not everyone would be vaccinated), but much more slowly, giving more time for more people to get vaccinated and more time to develop new vaccines for emerging strains.
But inevitably, given that baby boomers actually bother to show up to the polls and vote, they will get vaccinated first. And lets be clear, that’s the main reason why its going by age. If young people have a problem with that, start voting and being political active, otherwise you can’t complain about being ignored and put at the back of the queue for everything.
UK is now a Chumocracy
Nigel Farage, when not shouting at the sea or founding far right political parties (anti lockdown or whatever is the flavour of the month), has also been involved recently in some dodgy scams. Given he can’t mooch off the EU anymore (well more precisely off European tax payer’s, remember that UK citizens paid for his lavish spending as well via their taxes) he’s clearly trying his hand at some grifting, given he knows there’s millions of brexiters who are as thick as mince and will believe anything he says.
Earlier this year he was promoting the sale of gold and silver as well as shilling for crypto, which would only make sense if you think the UK economy is going to so completely collapse after brexit and that the pound would become worthless (so not exactly on message here). However he’s now been appearing in internet adverts promoting a fairly dodgy sounding investment advice scam, not unlike the contrepreneur scams I mentioned in a prior post. Yes the person who is most responsible for brexit is a dodgy scam artist, so why are we we going ahead with brexit?
Well largely because of how the media in the UK works. Very little of what I’ve said above is being reported in the mainstream media. For much the same reasons they were slow to report on his extra marital affairs, nor that he applied for a German passport straight after the referendum.
By contrast anyone on the left makes the slightest mistake, they will do a 20 page exclusive and go on about it for weeks. But a right wing politician can be openly scamming people, or the Tories handing out billions in no bid contracts to their chums and it doesn’t get reported. In short, Brexit Britain is not a democracy, but a Chumocracy. And we have the nerve to call other countries corrupt.
Covid and its impact on elections
Equally, anyone thinking covid and the mess that’s to follow in January will derail the Tories (or Farage) think again. The media will develop a goldfish like memory of everything that’s happened this year. They will point to the growth in the economy (its likely by 2024, we’ll be into some sort of recovery, they’ll just highlight the growth, ignoring how much better it would have otherwise been without brexit or a better covid response). They’ll also play the race card of course (ignoring the fact that if there is a problem then now that’s entirely on them).
While labour stands a better chance now they’ve got a credible leader in charge, they are not guaranteed to win. This is why the ridiculous infighting now going on between the Corbyn brigade and Starmer needs to stop. The recent US election shows why. Biden only scraped in, despite the fact Trump is on course to have killed more American’s than the axis forces managed in WW2 (the US death toll is now 3000 per day, that’s a 9/11 or a pearl harbour every single day)…and he still got 47% of the vote.
The one major change will be a level of Darwinian evolution. In that more of the baby boomers and Trumpers will have joined anti-mask protests, got covid and died and thus will be unable to vote in 2024. And some will also die from natural causes between now and then given their more advanced age. Its this demographic shift that is going to be the killer for the right long term, hence why they are trying to pack the Supreme court or make brexit as difficult as possible to reverse.
It might not happen in 2024, but when it does happen, the left needs to keep their powder dry. As I’ve discussed before, I would not spare the rod once the boot is firmly on the other foot. The way to beat the right is to fight fire with fire.
Pardon my war crimes
Trump is going on a pardoning spree of his political allies and basically any yahoo who has vaguely right wing views, such as 4 security contractors who were convicted of war crimes in Iraq. This highlights why letting Trump go unpunished would be a huge mistake. This has to be grounds for charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
There’s also a very simple way to also nip this in the bud. Make it clear that anyone pardoned by Trump will be handed over for trial overseas. So these contractors will be shipped off to Iraq (after perhaps getting reassurances that they won’t be executed, just imprisoned for life). There are precedence’s where by an international court could try Trump and his allies in the Hague (which will be beyond the justification of any US presidential pardoning or Republican interference).
So he’ll simply be digging him and his allies into even deeper hot water by pardoning them. Which means people will quickly stop requesting pardons from him, or even start insulting him on twitter to make sure they don’t get pardoned!
Several of the covid vaccines were developed with the aid of research based off of experiments done using aborted fetises. The very types the pro-life types were getting in a tizzy over the last few years and which they are seeking to ban by their stacking of the supreme court. Well now the Vatican is ignoring the obvious hypocrisy and saying its morally ok to take the vaccine.
I’m sorry but that’s a little bit more hypocrisy than I’m willing to swallow. It does kind of suggest to scientists that the next time the church object to something (cloning, artificial organs, stem cells research, synthetic biology, AI, cybernetics, etc.) they should simply ignore anything the churches say, get around the rules however they must (set up labs in Canada/the EU or across state lines), because as soon as they need those treatments the religious right will be the first in the queue looking for them. Which just means they’ve made themselves irrelevant to the debate. They might ban abortion yes or stem cell research but its just going to be a barrier to certain people who’ll have to take a trip somewhere else not run by bible thumpers.
If you truly believe that such medical experiments go against gods plan, I’m sorry but you can’t take the vaccine. Or you accept the fact that you were wrong to oppose abortion and such research in the first place. Perhaps you could make up for it by donating the money you’d normally give to the church to planned parenthood. Its one or the other.
Going out with a bang
So 2020 has been all round bad, but has it really been that bad? I mean its not like we’ve had anything really bad happen like a tsunami or a large volcano going off….well A) yes we have, Kilauea just erupted in Hawaii and B) there’s still several days to go, don’t tempt fate!