Liberty Day and the Johnson Variant

Britain, and unfortunately Scotland, is now caught in a vicious cycle of stupidity, cleptocracy and nepotism. We are caught in an endless loop of a political culture and a society conned by a fantasy that we can return to “normal” by very limited change of our behaviour. We are perpetually locked into a narrative of “release” boosted by mindless “libertarianism” and corporate capture.

This is the BBC political reporter Nick Watt being mobbed by conspiracists and anti-vaxxers:

On the 18 May the Guardian’s Marina Hyde wrote: “Yesterday, on the very day people were permitted to travel again – with countries arranged into green, amber and red lists, as long advertised – Matt Hancock explained that people should definitely not travel to amber list countries. Then why are they permitted to? Is our travel policy some kind of dare?”

We are ‘led’ by people who are completely incapable of leading and giving people (any) harsh truths about what’s going on. Our bumbling incoherent clown PM is the focus of our attentions but he’s only the pinnacle of this farce. As the latest four week delay is announced the cycle is complete: vaccinate; continue to rush back; avoid any real change that is required; endless failure; new surge; repeat repeat repeat. Nothing is learnt, nothing is gained.

Hyde noted almost a month ago: “It’s all about individuals using their common sense and taking responsibility, apparently. Which, I think you’ll agree, means so much more coming from a government that let at least 20,000 – TWENTY THOUSAND – people enter the UK from India just in the period Johnson was delaying imposing his travel ban. ”


We’ve been doing this for a year and half now.

That’s a really slow learning curve. So what’s going on?

‘Travel’ – ‘business as usual’ – ‘opening up’ act as a set of grotesque fantasies to pacify people. Cheap flights and the inalienable right to fly anywhere are a deal we do for our work lives. The “economy” which exploits most of us is used as a totem, but the deal is breaking down. The deal was this: you do shit jobs and have a poor quality of life but you’ll be allowed a brief respite, a reward which often looks like a short and sunny boozy holiday to make it all alright.

This perverse cycle has now been brought into play for the use of “the economy” (which is code) and we are all complicit in this death-game.

The Delta variant has been doubling every ten days.

Every ten days.

The perversity of this is that the Brexiteers have championed the end of “freedom of movement” just as the entire political class and the corporate lobbyists have made the inability to restrict our borders a number one priority. Meanwhile every distinct ‘sector’ moans and whines about their own exceptionalism that they have been treated terribly and worse than any other. Truly there is “no such thing as society” in these circumstances.

Of course they’re right – looking at the fans zones and football circus – while whole industries can’t function is galling in the extreme. Money talks.

This is a life lesson in hyper-capitalism and globalism which requires constant growth constant consumerism and constant movement and openness for some and brutal restriction of movement and sanctuary for others. So go figure. This is what’s happening right now. The cycle is crystal clear. The idea that we will “come out of this” by just doing the same thing over and over is mystifying.

We are dying from our obsession with a growth economy. But it’s not our growth, and its not our economy. If we realise this we can recover, if we don’t, we can’t.

There is a limit to Rishi Sunak’s ‘benevolence’ and we’re about to reach it. The need to figure this shit out is urgent.


Comments (23)

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  1. Derek says:

    Growth is important to the tories, and also to new labour. It isn’t important to the island; what’s farmed/grown here should feed who’s here.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Ah! A subsistence economy.

      It was the failure of its subsistence economy that led the Scottish government to engineer a union with England in the first place.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Colin Robinson, and now we know the price of that transaction. Lesson learnt.

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          Do you really think the cost of the Treaty outweighed the benefits? Or that a return to a subsistence economy, as Derek advocates, would be a Good Thing?

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @Colin Robinson, you do pack in your logical fallacies. We cannot return to 1707, the choice of two is a false dichotomy, the benefits are relative and subjective, and the lessons learnt may be rich and complex and lead to whole new vistas of options. And of course, subsistence is at least survival, something that is endangered by modern threats.

          2. Colin Robinson says:

            Who’s talking about a return to pre-1707 days? Derek’s talking only of a return to a subsistence rather than a growth economy, with all the attendant risk that would entail.

      2. Ed says:

        Bollock’s ! 315 years go England needed Scotland just as much as it does now

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          Indeed! It needed to secure its northern border after the Scottish parliament threatened to dissolve the personal union of the Crowns unless the English parliament agreed to an incorporating union that would give Scottish merchants access to England’s colonial markets and lift the country out of its failed state. Until that threat materialised, England wasn’t all that keen on sharing anything but a monarch with Scotland. At the end of the day, however, Scotland got its wish and never looked back.

          Of course, other narratives are available.

  2. Mouse says:

    It’s funny how the easy-going liberal green London mayor (as depicted by left-wing commentators), suddenly turns into the fascist who is going to eat your children (as depicted by left-wing commentators). Moo.

    The biggest mistake were the lockdowns. Stringently regulating incoming travelers without a lockdown worked infinitely better in Taiwan. Their government TV plague communications were hosted by a cartoon dog while we had politicians and a dentist telling us how to breath. Maybe we still do? Who cares.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      It’s not funny (absurd) at all. It’s the perfectly reasonable exploitation of the pandemic as grist for the political mill. Everyone’s at it. It’s part of the praxis of our postmodern ‘the sky is falling’ catastrophe politics, which is itself an expression or ‘ideology’ of crisis capitalism.

      This too will pass.

    2. Niemand says:

      ‘easy-going liberal green London mayor (as depicted by left-wing commentators)’? This was never the case. No idea what gave you that impression. He was despised by the left as mayor. The mistake they made initially was to assume he was relatively harmless given his shambling, jovial persona but it was soon realised this was all a con.

  3. Tom Ultuous says:

    Johnson has never given up on herd immunity, he’s just paid as little lip service as he can to the science while using it as a means of handing out chumocracy contracts. The latest ridiculous Tory soundbite “the UK has the most stringent border controls in the world” often goes unchallenged yet they didn’t even have the most stringent border controls in the “UK”. The Scottish government made all arrivals quarantine in a hotel on arrival in Scotland at a time when England were restricting it to “red” countries. Had they followed Scotland’s leads the Indian variant might never have arrived. Instead, anyone coming from India to Scotland went via England to avoid the hotel quarantine. I’ve yet to hear a Scottish politician point out that the high infection rate in Scotland is down to Johnson’s bungling. Are they saying it but it’s just not being reported?

  4. SleepingDog says:

    The British Empire has always used megadeath to open up markets (and woe betide anyone less well-armed who takes back control of their own land or people or resources), but I suspect that many anti-lockdowners are merely champing at the bit to extend their personal sexual exploitation and abuse zones. Some more advanced conservatives can manage with virtual feelings of relative dominance over designated ‘losers’, but others are compelled to seek the thrill of looking social ‘inferiors’ in the (averted) eye. Of course, once the UK electorate has completely lost control over its own infrastructure, it will be the rest of the world looking down (and some of them have long memories and a rather more accurate grasp of history).

    1. Paula Becker says:

      I’m an anti-lockdowner and so far as I know I do not have a ‘personal sexual exploitation and abuse zone’ . Can you explain what you mean by this and why you are insulting people in this manner?

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Paula Becker, do you think that is something people are likely to spontaneously admit to? Anyway, the UK Parliament takes commercial sexual exploitation seriously
        but this (from a complex of evidence) is only the tip of the iceberg of known and potential abuses. Throughout the history of the UK, when people of privilege have talked about liberties, it has often been in the context of using other people as their property. I would be surprised if this has much changed, given even the current government’s recognition of modern slavery in the UK. While many people seem to view the lockdowns as a temporary but necessary inconvenience, it is not clear what freedoms the anti-lockdowners are eager to exploit, but their notable behaviour does sometimes have an abusive, anti-social and irrational character. Police have said that increases in domestic violence during lockdown was inevitable, as zones of abuse were curtailed. What I don’t know is how many of the violent anti-lockdown protesters were known to the police, and for what previous reasons. I suggest more research is needed.

        1. Paula Becker says:

          That’s quite a stew of incoherence you’ve got there Sleeping Dog. Keep stirring!

    2. Colin Robinson says:

      @SD Don’t you think that willful abusers are more likely to want their victims to remain trapped and isolated and therefore controllable in lockdown?

  5. Paula Becker says:

    Scaremongering garbage from Mike Small. Yesterday 3 people were recorded as dying with a positive PCR test for Covid. That’s 3 people out of a population of 68 million.
    And as Dr Zoe Harcombe pointed out there are fewer people in hospital with Covid 19 than there are hospitals in the UK.

  6. Vic says:

    It’s so apparent, having just spent 10 days in Ardnamurchan and Mull, that ‘business as usual’ or even more extravavagant is in play. “People” aren’t aware of the bigger financial picture at all. Likewise the global environmental disaster approaching. It’s all about ‘ go and play and spend’ to support the ‘economy’. The only thing that is supported is the large economic businesses and structures that are leading to our inevitable destruction. We are just like lemmings.

  7. Paula Becker says:

    ‘the cycle is complete: vaccinate; continue to rush back; avoid any real change that is required; endless failure; new surge; repeat repeat repeat’
    It’s almost as if Mike Small has got an inkling of the faulty logic of the official Sturgeon/Johnson narrative. Why would it be that after millions have recovered from Covid and millions have been vaccinated we have a new surge in cases? Is it a) The vaccines don’t work very well or b) Using PCR testing with a cycle threshold over 30 gives meaningless results or c) a combination of both?
    Would you care to take a stab at answering this conundrum Mike Small?

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Cases of infection will inevitably surge with every relaxation of restrictions and as physical communication increases. The trick is (as it’s always been) to keep the spread of the viruses under control until we achieve herd immunity through vaccination and develop more effective treatments for those who do fall seriously ill from them, which was the rationale for our imposing restrictions in the first place and, now, for relaxing them only cautiously.

      We’re getting there, slowly but surely. Patience, Paula!

      1. Paula Becker says:

        See my note above. There are currently less Covid cases in hospital than there are hospitals in the UK. So clearly it would be perfectly safe to remove all restrictions today. But this has nothing to do with Health and everything to do with Politics. Nicola Sturgeon has a vote in Hollyrood coming up in the next two weeks which would extend her emergency Covid powers until March 2022 or possibly even September 2022. Obviously she can’t remove all restrictions and then ask for an extension to her emergency powers – so she delays release for three weeks and talks up the latest scariant variant.
        Why does she want emergency powers until 2022? Well she’s beginning to show signs of power crazed Psychopathy!

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          Yes, there are considerably fewer people being treated in hospital today than there were earlier in the year, and it would be good to keep it that way.

          Are you sure it would be ‘perfectly safe’, as you claim, to remove all restrictions on the spread of the infection today? Wouldn’t it be safer to keep some restrictions in place until herd immunity has been achieved through vaccination and the risk of the viruses spreading unrestrictedly again has been thereby mitigated? After all, we temporarily relaxed the restrictions on the spread of the infection at Christmas, and see what happened then.

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