2007 - 2021

Have a Very Scary Christmas, Let’s Kill Granny

When Santa Johnson comes bearing gifts, we should have a long, hard think before succumbing to his seasonal blandishments. This is a man who plays to the gallery, often with disastrous consequences, as when – presumably egged on by Jockey Club steward Dido ‘track ‘n trace’ Harding and MP for Newmarket, Matt Hancock (though they deny it) – he supported backing the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 10th, long after Covid 19 had gained a foothold in Britain. Gloucestershire soon became a hotspot, with 147 recorded deaths, and 150,000 racegoers subsequently spreading it around Britain and Ireland.

The Liverpool-Atletico Madrid match, held on March 11th – the very day the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a pandemic – was another act of madness. It was attended by around 3000 fans from Madrid, which was already hoaching with Covid and under lockdown.

Talk about asking for trouble. The first confirmed cases in the UK were found in York on January 29th, when two Chinese tourists were taken ill, however there were almost certainly cases in Scotland on, or shortly before, January 22nd when three students from Wuhan were hospitalised in Edinburgh with respiratory problems – yet for some inexplicable reason the first officially recorded Scottish case was on March 1st.

Could it be that old feeling of deja vu all over again? With the Christmas ‘relaxation’ it isn’t simply a matter of bah! humbug! versus Ho-ho-ho, but a finely balanced judgment as to the likely death count – for make no mistake, these anticipated inter-generational family get togethers will exact a toll. There will be other outcomes, too. Covid-19 isn’t just a grim reaper who’s going around harvesting the elderly. The young, it is now emerging, can be vulnerable to ‘long Covid’. This can have devastating effects – neurological, pulmonary, cardiovascular, among them. It not only delays recovery. It can also devastate lives, possibly leaving some bed-bound with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for years. Fate should not be tempted.

I was intrigued to note that while Radio 4 was reporting a ‘four nations’ approach to the Christmas parole as if it was a fait accompli in which the devolved authorities had fallen in with Boris’s ‘bread ‘n circuses’ yuletide parole scenario, Radio Scotland seemed to think it was still under consideration as far as Nicola & co were concerned. So which is it? The First Minister was expected to make up her mind in a few days after further discussions with Michael Gove, apparently. No-one seemed to pay the least bit of attention to Hogmanay, which many Scots regard as the highlight of the year.

She will, I hope, take into account the well known fact that attitudes to Christmas are very different north and south of the border. Although Jesus (remember him? The guy who threw the moneylenders out of the temple?) plays a vanishingly minor role in his eponymous winter festival, insofar as it remains a date on the liturgical calendar it isn’t the most important one. That’s Easter, by a long way. So why not forget Christmas, on the whole, and delay all the razzmatazz until the 4th April, resurrection day, at least if you’re vaguely Christian? Let’s face it, for our Lord, being born was the easy bit. We’ve all managed that. The real unique selling feature was the coming back from the dead. Those of a sceptical turn of mind have other options.Scotland’s spiritually unattached could perhaps delay their hoolie until Burns Night, which should leave plenty of time for memorising Tam O’Shanter.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the closest you were likely to come to anything resembling a Christmas tree north of Dalwhinnie was a sitka spruce plantation mantled in snow. In those parts, the Kirk took a fairly dim view of these Anglo-Teutonic appurtenances as popularised by Charles Dickens and Prince Albert – but then came TV spectaculars with Andy Stewart, annual repeats of It’s a Wonderful Life and High Noon, until Bond and The Muppets took over. and pantos in Eden Court Theatr. Then there was that incoming species the locals referred to as ‘white settlers’ who traded up from the south to sample the rural delights of places like Dornoch and Portree, bringing their Christmas decorations with them.

The annual jamboree, in any event, has long degenerated into a shopping event, courtesy of Chris Cringle, the retail industry, and Bernard Matthews. We needn’t kid ourselves. No longer does a stocking with a bright new penny, a mandarin, and a Mr Potato Head or a Barbie Doll suffice. Parents are now regularly being emotionally blackmailed into buying their children electronic gizmos which lie well beyond the understanding of any pretend daddy-cool, while messrs Bezos and Gates buy up the world.

In the dreich midwinter, of course, having a bit of fun fair lifts the spirits. After all, the Druids had their Solstice, and the Romans their Saturnalia, so why shouldn’t we let go a bit? It’s only fair. But fun can be deferred, especially if it saves Granny’s life. It isn’t as if we’re all condemned to the Gulag. After all, apart from Mr Graham-Bell’s excellent telephonic apparatus, we can Zoom and Skype until we’re blue in the face, meet up in the local park, and shout at The Crown and similar saccharine Netflix fictions all day and all night. Not so bad, really.

Apart from that, have a terrific lockdown Christmas, an even better New Year, and make a date with Granny sometime in the spring.

Comments (13)

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  1. Michael says:

    Some interesting comments regarding Covid from former Chief Scientific Advisor with Pfizer, Dr Michael Yeadon…

    An open letter to Matt Hancock

    Dear Mr Hancock,

    I have a degree in Biochemistry & Toxicology & a research based PhD in pharmacology. I have spent 32 years working in pharmaceutical R&D, mostly in new medicines for disorders of lung & skin. I was a VP at Pfizer & CEO of a biotech I founded (Ziarco – acquired by Novartis). I’m knowledgeable about new medicine R&D.

    I have read the consultation document. I’ve rarely been as shocked & upset.

    All vaccines against the SARS-COV-2 virus are by definition novel. No candidate vaccine has been in development for more than a few months.

    If any such vaccine is approved for use under any circumstances that are not EXPLICITLY experimental, I believe that recipients are being misled to a criminal extent.

    This is because there are precisely zero human volunteers for whom there could possibly be more than a few months past-dose safety information.

    My concern does not arise because I have negative views about vaccines (I don’t), Instead, it’s the very principle that politicians seem ready to waive that new medical interventions at this, incomplete state of development- should not be made available to subjects on anything other than an explicitly experimental basis. That’s my concern.

    And the reason for that concern is that it is not known what the safety profile will be, six months or a year or longer after dosing.

    You have literally no data on this & neither does anyone else… read in full at: https://twitter.com/MichaelYeadon3/status/1302725167588798467

    1. James Mills says:

      As a life-long feartie when it comes to needles , I am happy to fully endorse your timely warning on Covid vaccines , though I fear we will be in the minority .

    2. David Somervell says:

      Be VERY careful when reading anything by Yeadon. He may have been high up in Pfizer but this does not place him well on the credibility front … and his pronouncements are being bandied around by people saying there is no need to fear about the second spike etc etc. Treat with kid gloves. Or rather roustabouts’ gloves?

  2. Michael says:

    The following also make for interesting reading/listening from Dr Michael Yeadon…

    Dr Yeadon explains the PCR test and its limitations: https://lockdownsceptics.org/lies-damned-lies-and-health-statistics-the-deadly-danger-of-false-positives/

    Dr Yeadon on TalkRadio explaining the problems with the PCR test and the dangers of false positive results: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch7wze46md0

    Dr Yeadon on TalkRadio explaining why the Coronavirus pandemic is ‘fundamentally over in the UK’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FQUmw5QljM&app=desktop

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      Yeah, Mike Yeadon’s expressing an informed opinion, which isn’t dissimilar to that which has been expressed by the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration. It’s one informed opinion among many. Other experts, who are more or less equally informed, have arrived at different opinions. That’s science for you.

      Herd immunity is the goal. How this immunisation is to be best effected is a matter of controversy within the scientific community. It’s around the ‘best’ of the ‘how best’ that (taking economic, moral, political, as well as scientific factors into consideration) the differences of opinion largely buzz.

  3. Blair says:

    Found on the Internet:

    “Before the Reformation in 1560, Christmas in Scotland had been a religious feasting day. Then, with the powerful Kirk frowning upon anything related to Roman Catholicism, the Scottish Parliament passed a law in 1640 that made celebrating ‘Yule vacations’ illegal.”

    Nicola Sturgeon will probably have to bow down to Boris under Equal Opportunities Reserved Matters for the UK Government decision. You can be fairly sure everyone is at risk, not just Granny.

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      The English parliament also passed an act to that effect in 1644. The English parliament repealed its act in 1660; the Scottish act wasn’t repealed until 1712, after the theocracy lost control of the state in Scotland, following the Union of 1707 and the dissolution of the Scottish parliament into the new UK parliament, which régime-change paved the way for the Scottish Enlightenment and the advent of modernity.

      Now, that’s something worth celebrating. Merry Christmas!

  4. Alba woman says:

    Dulce et Decorum Est …eh Boris? Not on your Nellie Boris!

    Thank you for an excellent piece.

  5. Josef Ó Luain says:

    A wonderful encapsulation, echoing the sentiments of more then a few of us methinks. Thank you.

  6. Mike Horne says:

    I cannot believe the stupidity of the Westminster government, for the sake of two days, they are willing to risk a huge proportion of older people, for it is they that are at greatest risk.Why do we want to go out when it is dark, and yet we know daylight is just around the corner,I think the decisions that will be taken in Edinburgh, will not mirror what the buffoons in Westminster are coming up with. I just want to see next year as getting back to normal, safely for everybody.

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      Just remember: restricted social gatherings at Christmas aren’t compulsory. If you’re worried about smittin ithers or gettin smitten yersel, feel free to keep yourself isolated. It’s a grown-up choice the government’s given us, not an instruction.

  7. Wul says:

    FFS! The perfect excuse for the Christmas I’ve always dreamed of but never been able to have ( me, immediate family (the ones I live with) good grub, telly, log fire, CD player, beer, books, wine, chocolates, all-day drinking and no need to drive anywhere , no need to exchange gifts, no need make small talk) and they’ve went and ruined it.

    Bahhhh!

  8. Richard Easson says:

    And a merry christmas from Dornoch, the Ambridge of the North.

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