Staying alert? Good. You can help Boris spot the bits he missed!
PUBLISHED: 19:12 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:20 12 May 2020
The PM’s speech on Sunday night left everyone a bit befuddled. Luckily we all stayed alert and pointed out the bits he and his Government didn’t appear to have considered...
Well, I hope you’re all staying alert!
I think everybody was on Sunday night, which wasn’t so good for the Prime Minister, because we all started to spot quite a few holes in his plan for Lexit (lockdown exit, see what I did there) quite quickly.
I could see what he was trying to get at.
He wants us all to take responsibility for ourselves, now, rather than relying on the Government to tell us what to do.
Despite Dominic Raab saying that it is now OK to see our parents, I certainly won’t be seeing mine. I did a drive-by drop-off at the weekend and hung about in their garden waving for a bit, but I won’t get close to them. It’s just not worth the risk. I’d rather they lived, as it happens. I’m quite fond of them.
But aside from some moments of good cheer – garden centres are reopening, hurray! – the Prime Minister’s speech was troublesome.
First, the table banging which he can’t seem to help but which so often seems incongruous with what he is actually saying. I might try his approach at home with the children. ‘Mum loves you!’ Table bang. ‘What a lovely morning for home study!’ Closed fist.
I then wondered about the timing of the ‘go back to work’ element. It was Sunday night! ‘What, tomorrow?’ I imagined people shouting at their televisions. It didn’t allow businesses time to adopt the promised new guidelines, being as they didn’t yet know what they were, or for anyone to arrange childcare at the last minute, bearing in mind they have no grandparents to ask and nurseries and schools remain closed.
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Panic over though. It now appears he meant Wednesday, giving us two full days to get our act together.
But, ideally, if he meant Wednesday, he should’ve said.
Friends who are self-isolating alone were particularly troubled. Not being able to see a single soul in eight weeks has its own horrors for some and the PM’s lack of clarity on this gave at least one of my friends a sleepless night. She is now relieved to learn that from tomorrow she can go to the park and sit two metres away from one friend.
It’s also great news that we can all now do unlimited exercise – the Government’s not entirely subtle way of letting us know that we’re getting a bit fat.
Clearly, this Lexit plan is all about money. We need it. The country needs it. It doesn’t particularly help being glib.
But everyone, including the Prime Minister, and certainly Nicola Sturgeon, knows that we are not ready to go back to work in the normal way from a health point of view.
It reminds me of Christmas every year when we used to beg our parents to give us some of our presents early. Whenever they succumbed, due to our relentless whining, there was always a bit of a hollow feeling afterwards, like you hadn’t really earned the present because you couldn’t bring yourself to wait as long as you should.
Next time the Government makes an announcement, I wonder if it might be an idea to have the guidelines published in advance or at least at the same time to avoid the impression that this is all being done on the hoof. Best too to consult people who have mundane worries such as childcare and loneliness and how to get about without the use of a ministerial car.
I also suggest reference to a favourite book of mine, Christopher Booker’s Seven Basic Plots, which I have mentioned before, and which argues that all stories follow one of seven patterns.
We are currently following the ‘Overcoming the Monster’ plot to the letter and are evidently at the point in Jaws when the mayor declares that it is safe to go back into the water because he is worried about tourism in Amity.
I think we all know how that went.
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