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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2021 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds are to tie the knot. A marriage made in heaven? Well, time will tell and it would be churlish to wish them anything other than the best for the future, but I'm afraid you have to be somewhat............I don't know, bemused by the news if nothing else. I mean what's in it for either of them?

Johnson is a known serial adulterer with an almost legendary reputation for 'chasing skirt' and she is an ambitious and intelligent young woman twenty three years his junior who happens to have snagged the most powerful man in the UK on his way up and when he could hardly have not 'made an honest woman of her' (by leaving his wife and joining up with her when the story of his what would normally have been a mere dalliance if history is any guide, broke) and then secured him by falling pregnant.

This is all good for show at the time of Johnson's Prime Ministership, but what about after it ends? Johnson will, in the manner of all ex PMs go on to make a shit-load of cash by whatever means, reputable or otherwise, that fall open to him - and he will be in no way constrained in terms of his predatory sexual behaviour (of which his reputation is already secured - this is the man who bragged he hadn't had a wank in thirty years) by the responsibilities of his office. Has he suddenly discovered the true love of his life that will change him into a faithful husband to his wife and responsible parent to his child? Or will his former wayward ways kick back in the moment he can indulge himself in the copious quantity of one-night-standers that will be available to him on tap as a man of huge wealth, great fame and considerable power - and with no public kickback if he does so? What do you think?

And what of Carrie? She is not a fool; she must know exactly the kind of man she has hitched herself to, must be aware of his reputation - hell, she was party to one of his dalliances herself while Johnson was still married to his ex. One can only assume that she is hard headed enough to know that she has secured herself to her meal-ticket for the rest of her life whatever the longevity of their marriage, and be comfortable with it. And once Johnson is no longer PM, she has access to his money married to him or otherwise, and the world is her oyster even if she and him part and go their separate ways - to what extent will she be prepared to put up with his peccadilloes, or simply sit back and have a few of her own (I suspect Johnson would not care very much as long as he was given free reign to indulge himself)? Is this their future - an open marriage beyond the public eye which they are both happy with? I'm sure that the man would adapt but the woman? Still young and attractive, might she not actually want to be with someone who actually loves her, cares for her, want's to actually be with her and her alone?

But shame on me....... I'm too cynical by half.

I'm hoping that against my worst painting of the possibilities, that there is happiness together for them as a couple. I really hope that there is true belief in the Johnson/Symonds household that for both of them, this is it. Life is hard and I wouldn't deny either of these two the brief moment of joy and excitement that planning and executing a wedding brings, nor the belief that they both have found their soul-mates for life. I do hope that this is the case and (being as always, a sucker for a happy ending) that it is for keeps.
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2021 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jelerak wrote:
Well I did make the cut in the original Anthology under that name!


lol 😂 way to go you.
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2021 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jelerak wrote:
I think that it is time that I start regularly coming back to the Watch. I missed you guys (and gals).


Well, it's about time. Wink

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2021 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why the furore over Matt Hancock possibly being a liar (as he is accused of being by Dominic Cummings)? I'd have thought that in any cabinet led by Boris Johnson it would have been a de rigueur requirement.

-------------------------------0---------------------------

And so the steam builds up in the media for a curtailment on our reopening of more parts of the economy as per the roadmap to freedom (that isn't). The scientists are warning, the PM is wobbling and there is no way of telling how it is going to go.

Those whose lives have not been impacted much by the restrictions will (without saying so, or perhaps even realising that this is the background to their position) be in favour of slowing down our speed of reopening: those whose lives are being severely messed up (ditto the above) will be deeply unhappy with this, but meanwhile the evidence of a mounting bill of collateral damage will continue to unfold.

For my part I no longer much care. It is beyond the point now where opening up or not is going to have much effect on what I can and can't do. I cannot satisfy any of the requirements for quarantine or testing, haven't the tech necessary to hold a NHS Covid certification app, haven't the money to pay the inflated prices that the few holidays that are available are now trading for - and I don't go to disco's.

But like the guy in Primo Levi's astounding book Is This a Man, who in Auschwitz was asked why he is always smiling, I have to remember that no matter what happens, I'm ahead of the game. In the double entry accounting system of wins versus losses I'm so far ahead that there is nothing that the pandemic can do (including striking me dead on the floor tomorrow) that will allow it to take the lead. It has already lost in my case because I'd already done ninety nine percent of what I was ever going to do before it struck. I'm living proof that the policy of living life right up to the hilt every day, never trusting in a capricious future that does not belong to you, is the winning policy in the end. All of those people who 'saved for their retirement', who intended to do all of the stuff that I've been beavering away at over the last thirty years - well sorry guys, it ain't happening. But in my case it's already done. So open or shut, I've got very little skin in the game. There is little benefit in being old as opposed to being young in this world - but at this moment, seeing what I do in front of me, predicting what the world is likely to be like for the up and coming generations - I wouldn't swop my age and experiences for their youth for any amount.
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2021 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Boris Johnson married his sweetheart Carrie Symonds yesterday in a secret ceremony attended by thirty guests in Westminster Cathedral.

Fair play to him; he has the right to marry whomsoever will marry him when and where he chooses - but typically for the man, there was forced to be a bit of duplicity, a bit of slipperyness, about it.

Having informed people last week or so that the couple intended to tie the knot, he told those he contacted directly to "keep July 20 next year free". Having thus misdirected the press and other interested media parties, like any good practitioner of legerdemain, like any carnival mountebank, he then proceeds to execute his trick, not in this case with so much as a flourish, but rather in the spirit of "gotcha! - you didn't see that one coming did you!"

Well, no we didn't to be honest. But while I accept the couple's right to do the thing in any way they see fit, I observe that many in the country will be disappointed by this. A serving Prime Minister getting married has not occurred in this country for over two hundred years and mayhap in the position he holds he had an obligation of sorts to step up to the plate and deliver the theatre that a good wedding can provide.

But in fairness it is one of those situations where he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. The press would have had a field day ripping him to ribbons if he'd done the thing big (who paid for it, who was invited and who wasn't, look how tacky it was - that sort of thing) - and they will now do so because of the way he has duped them. But this aside, did he have a responsibility to the people on this - did his obligation to them, as a holder of high office in the country, run that far? I don't know, but anyways, all the best to them for the future. One can say no less.
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2021 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are pretty good reasons for swallowing any misgivings you might have about the rushed way that vaccines have been developed and licenced for mass usage in the face of the Covid threat and rolling up your sleeve to take your turn. It goes without saying that any longer term side effects of the vaccines cannot display themselves within the few months of testing that have been performed, no matter what level of 'side-by-side' running of the usual protocols has been possible. I've speculated above whether the common side-effect of headaches that many people seem to suffer could be caused by micro-haemorraging in the brain of insufficient severity to cause the kind of catastrophic events that are seen in the most severe (and thereby documented) cases. Again, such effects might not become understood until many years have passed and data pertaining to numbers of strokes and other catastrophic heamorrhaging events at a population level (in comparison to pre-vaccination years) can be studied.

But these concerns notwithstanding, it seems that for most of us - and the older you are, the more this is true - the balance of risk of side effects versus the virus itself is such that the clever money is to opt for vaccination.

But in the press we now read that the program is being considered for extension into the age groups of young adolescents and children, and the question becomes more knotty. In a nutshell, to what extent can you justify giving a vaccine of at least partially unknown side-effect (and this pertains to the age group of children more than any other) to youngsters that are at truly minimal risk of succumbing to any serious side effects of the disease itself? If you do so, you are essentially doing it for the purposes of protection of age groupings other than the children themselves - and placing the children at risk (however minimal) for purely selfish purposes (from their perspective). Can this be morally justified and more significantly perhaps, will parents wear it?

I have my doubts. Already there are signs that people's patience is beginning to wear thin with all of this and try as they might to maintain the levels of fear upon which public compliance has largely been achieved to date, indications are that people are beginning to tire of it all. The Government is right to be wary about pulling the plug on the roadmap plans, not because it might not be necessary but because the loss of credibility that it could suffer by so doing might be more damaging in the long run than sticking to it (in terms of loosing people's compliance altogether). At the moment they are proceeding very slowly, softening up the populace to the possibility that there may have to be a slowing down, and they seem to be getting away with it. But when it comes to their children, people can be pretty obdurate: things that they will tolerate if levied upon themselves, they will balk at much more quickly in respect of their offspring.

Tests in the US are trialing the use of vaccines in children as young as six (who would put their children forward for such trials?) and no doubt trials are also being carried out here - but I'm thinking all of the trials in the world will have a hard job overcoming the natural protection instinct that most people have for their children, and I'm guessing that only by spreading fear of the harm that the virus could do to children themselves, could they overcome this. The problem is that the risk to children simply isn't there and no amount of manipulative propoganda will convince people that it is. Chances are that if they try to instigate this policy on the youth of our country, the Government will come up against one of the oldest and most widespread of basis instincts in the animal kingdom - that of a parent protecting its offspring - and that's one battle it ain't likely to win.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Listening to the radio station Classic FM yesterday during lunch, I was only partially paying attention as the intermittent advert break was occurring and I have normally no interest in this. An advertisement for Tesco extolling a selection of this month's 'special offers' was in flow, and having finished this, the advert went into that bit where the speaker suddenly begins to talk at double speed - the radio advert equivalent of the 'small print' and an ability for which the advert presenter must be chosen as being able to do this clearly.

It was the usual blah-de-blah about terms and conditions applying, but then the final sentence caught my ear - words to the effect of "These offers are restricted to certain designated outlets and will not be found in non-participating stores and Northern Ireland"

Wait.....heard my ears aright! Even at three times the normal rate you aren't going to slip that one by me! "...... Not be found in non-participating stores and Northern Ireland."

That's a whole region of the UK - and the same one that happens to have been hired off by Boris Johnson in his recent Brexit deal. The one that puts a boarder down the Irish Sea but doesn't. If a more striking example could be found of the shafting that the PM has given to the people of the Province (and the rest of the UK) than that revealed in that hastily delivered bit of 'small talk', then I don't know of it. Nobody talks about it, it gets no air time in the face of the continuing barrage of Covid coverage, but quietly behind the scenes the damage wreaked upon our nation, our economy, our future by the liars and charlatans that sold us brexit continues apace. There used to be a pro-Brexit organisation called Brexit Watch that was set up by individuals who wanted to scrutinize the Government's performance in delivering the mandate as voted for by the people in the referendum: could I suggest that now we from the remain side co-opt that name and reapply it to new purpose. That of cataloguing the effects of this disastrous decision on our economy, our lives, our futures and exposing one by one as they occur, in cumulative from, the areas where we were lied to, deceived and hoodwinked by those individuals who continue to hold the reins of power to this very day.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, we're entering our 3rd wave of infections, and restrictions have been marginally increased, but so marginally as to make effectively no real difference in terms of risk of contagion.

Instead, all responsibility (as well as blame) has been handed to the public, who are expected to "do the right thing."

Also, the rise in infections is, of course, due to the public not doing the right thing.

why they think they will suddenly start doing so, I'm not sure. I am sure however that extending the curfew by an hour, and reducing the number of people allowed in indoor and outdoor gatherings by a paltry 50 people or so, is not going to make any meaningful difference.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just had an email from Waitrose saying that they realise that Father's Day can be a difficult time for some people and asking if I would prefer not to receive emails about ......errr ...... Father's Day!

Okaayyy.........

Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's excellent!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn - that's the holiday to Portugal out of the window! Guess I'll just have to go to the Falkland Islands instead!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There appears to be two opposing forces locked in contest in the UK at present. Those of the scientists and their followers who are determined that the easing of restrictions planned for the 21st June are put on hold, in the face of increasing infection numbers of a new Covid variant - and those to whom this is anathema, politicians of the right and the business community, who believe that the successful vaccination program has done its work, we are protected, and that continued or delayed lifting of the restrictions will be more damaging in the collateral damage it will result in, than continuing with the roadmap as planned.

It is a desperately difficult dilemma for the Government and this was displayed yesterday by Matt Hancock on the Andrew Marr show who, pressed on the issue, refused to rule out that a delay in reopening the economy might be necessary. The issue is one of balancing lives lost to Covid against those lost to the more nebulous effects of economic/social damage in the event of continuance of the restrictions. In the main I thought Hancock did pretty well: he seemed to be on top of his brief and was able to give pretty reasonable answers to most of the questions put to him by Marr (although I did miss the latter part of the interview where things such as the vaccination of children and his putatively having lied to the cabinet would have been discussed).

Do I think we should proceed with the roadmap and open up (as opposed to putting on the brakes for a few weeks as the scientific community seems to want)? Well, it seems that we have been following 'the science' to date, and so it would be difficult to cease to do so with justification at this late stage in the day. I'm not happy with the idea of vaccination of children; it seems to me that the risks to them from the viruses are so small that if the decision is made to vaccinate them it will be not for reasons of their protection, but for the protection of other groups (already protected by the vaccination), and this seems to me morally dubious at best. Also as I have stated above, I believe that the full longer term effects of the vaccination program will not become understood until large scale data (particularly in the region of large scale catastrophic heamorrhaging events) at the population level can be considered in a decade or so's time. Given our state of ignorance in this longer term understanding (an unavoidable consequence of getting the vaccinations licenced for use as quickly as possible) it seems to me that it would be good if possible to have an upcoming cohort that is unvaccinated, just in case such adverse effects were to appear. (Another area where effects might take much longer to show themselves is that of changes to the immune system of recipient individuals - an effect that was noted in animals upon which the SARS-CoV 1 vaccine was tested and the reason for which the trials were abandoned.)

But in respect of reopening, we are where we are. Whatever the Government do they are going to be slated for it. The rise in the level of transmission of the new delta variant does not at this time appear to be translating into much in the way of increased hospital admissions - but the worst scenario for the Government is that they fail to slow down on the roadmap and then later in the year see an exponential rise in serious illness and death that can be attributed to their failure to put on the brakes. There will undoubtedly be another wave of hospital admissions come winter anyways, and services will be stretched to capacity in dealing with it: how this will be prevented...or presented..... remains to be seen. Hopefully the success of the vaccine program will begin to show its true worth at this point.

All very difficult. All very difficult.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tough one. As I mentioned before, we've (slightly) increased restrictions again as a 3rd wave looms, but then, we have 0.96% of the population vaccinated, so nobody is feeling very protected yet.

If I was making the rules there, I would probably go for putting on the brakes a bit, but I can see how that would be undesirable, so might just be like "You want it opened up? Fine, don't come crying to me if it goes pear-shaped."

Today I think that everybody is a mad and selfish fool. Very Happy Thanks evolution. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking lately about the Spanish flu pandemic which killed something in the order of thirty million people in four successive waves between 1918 and 1920 (although some suggest that the toll may have been as high as 100 million). Point is however that without mass vaccination, without anything approaching the level of intervention by Governments and state health services that we have launched against the Covid virus, it disappeared or simply mutated into a less aggressive form of it's own volition. I don't know if anyone understands why this happened, but it has been the pattern with viruses and their relationship with their hosts in nature for ever and a day. Surely we have to hope that alongside our attempts to minimise the casualties that Covid is inflicting on us, these same mechanisms are quietly working behind the scenes to bring about the same diminution of virulence that we have seen before?

Or is there something different going on here? Has suddenly, a virus sprung from the bowels of nature that will not follow the hitherto game-plan of yesteryear, but will instead pursue us to our doom? Surely this is unlikely. Or is it yet, something different again; has some kind of human involvement, some kind of tinkering about with the basic code of a virus been going on in order to increase its virulence to the point where the usual rules no longer apply? Wouldn't there be a wonderful irony if it turned out that we in our hubris had created the monster of our own destruction; Mary Shelley, mayhap you wrote truer than you ever could have conceived!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt there's any reason to think this will be any different.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So either Boris Johnson did not understand what he was agreeing to in signing off on our exit from the EU last December (incompetent) - or he signed off on it in the belief that it would not be implemented (naive) - or he signed off on it never having the slightest intention of abiding by the terms that the agreement contained (duplicitous).

In truth any one of the three reasons is a possibility, and if forced to choose I'd probably go for the latter. He is certainly untrustworthy to the degree where very little he says can be taken at face value and it must be remembered that he had boxed himself into a corner in respect of his promise to "get brexit done" without having to resort to the much maligned 'backstop' of Theresa May's deal (that in retrospect looks like a golden fleece in the sunlight) - a seeming impossibility at the time. Of course everyone had forgotten that the EU had offered a previous option (that of the border down the Irish Sea) that had been roundly laughed out of parliament and decried by Johnson among others as "something no British Prime Minister could ever accept". They of course had not reckoned on Johnson being Prime Minister. Thus when it came time to make good on his promise he had little option but to return to the EU with the offer that they themselves had previously made (dressed up to the UK public as his own) and then return laughing all the way to the UK electoral bank when his trick went unnoticed. Now of course that action is coming home to roost in the form of the trouble we are currently in with the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

But back to our original three options, and thinking on it does occur to me that there might actually be a fourth. Almost unbelievable as it might seem, it is actually conceivable that Johnson simply did not give the matter any thought at all! I know it seems ridiculous that such an important thing as an international treaty could be signed off on without so much as a thought being given to it's consequences - but there is a pattern of similar activity stretching way back into Johnson's past if you look at his history. Johnson is a man who simply does whatever is necessary on the day in order to cross the current obstacle with little or no thought as to what the consequence of that particular action will be. It's as if the future does not exist for him. His personal life has always been a train wreck because of this tendancy in the man to do what seems apposite today without giving thought for the morrow and it is a real possibility that his political decision making will be/is no different.

But whatever the case, he has put his country into a disgraceful spot by virtue of his actions. The respect we have held as a country that can be trusted to uphold its end of any bargain lies in ruins. We are a breaker of international law, a country that cannot be trusted - the reputation hundreds of years in the making lies shattered on the ground as a result of one man's actions. The ramifications of this will ripple down through the years and have consequences on the lives of millions, lives which will be poorer and more impoverished as a result, as more and more countries decline to do business with us on an equal footing as we slip down the 'legue of respectability', the 'pecking order' if you like, that inevitably exists between nations.

This, whether we like it or not, whether he likes it or not, will be Johnson's legacy, and the history books will not forget it, even if our current excuse for a media chooses to pretend otherwise.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That all seems rather improbable to me though not entirely surprising.

International arrangements need to comply with certain standards and processes, political/economic/environmental impact assessments, cabinet approvals - and a raft of bureaucratic red tape stops n starts.

That such a significant - nay - world changing event like Brexit is to the UK as a whole - could be signed off at the singular whim of BoJo is not a little unusual.

Are you sure of your assessment of the situation?
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The improbability probably results from your never having encountered a politician the like of Johnson before Sky; the entire situation seems so fantastic as to be away with the fairies, but I assure you that a quick look at the latest UK front pages will corroborate what I have said. President Macron who is leading the charge against Johnson's behaviour has said virtually exactly the same himself and my account of the historical context of where we find ourselves is accurate in its entirety as a short period of research on the internet would confirm.

(Edit; I make no suggestion here as to which of the possible options I give is the correct one Sky - I'll leave that to the historians, but between them they cover all of the possible alternatives. In respect of Boris having the power to sign off the agreement on his own, of course he had his team around him at the time. But this team had been with him so long, worked according to his way and drew such power to make decisions effecting our collective futures so tightly around themselves, that they can essentially be seen as a single autonomous unit, impervious to outside influence. If you can think of any alternative interpretation of what is transpiring in the respect of the Northern Ireland Protocol at present I would be pleased to hear it.)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are now in the odd territory were those who threw their arms around each other and jeered at Jeremy Corbyn following his staggeringly bad defeat at the hands of Boris Johnson, now have to survey a scene where their man has inflicted infinitely greater damage to both the economy and our freedom in eighteen months than his erstwhile opponent could have achieved in ten years.

There will be those who will say that this was inevitable, that he had/has no choice - and that Corbyn in his position could only have done worse. Maybe so, maybe not - that is no more than speculation. Others might argue that he (Corbyn) might have locked down way earlier, not adopted Johnson's blase indifference, and got a handle on things much sooner as a result. Again, valueless speculation. But the truth, beginning to dawn now on even the most pro-interventionist people - and inferred by Chris Whittey himself in last night's national broadcast, in which the PM extended the restrictions which had prior to the emergence of the delta variant been pencilled in for easement - the truth is that, in continuance of the current policy of micro-management of the pandemic, of scrutinizing every shift in variance and spread, of reaction to every small rise in hospitalisation........in the face of such a policy (and a policy that could be adopted with any one of a hundred different viruses that regularly wash over our population), these restrictions will never truly end.

This, in other words, is it. If we are in this situation now, with all of the vulnerable double vaccinated, with hospitalisation levels still way below that which threatens to overwhelm the NHS, with only those at minimal risk left unvaccinated and no indication that the vaccines are not majorly efficacious in preventing serious illness and death, then at what point will it be considered that we can return to an unrestricted life? There is already the suggestion that lockdown will be necessary to deal with the coming winter's flu emergence - likely to be serious by virtue of there not having been hardly any flu recorded last year at all and the subsequent lowering of our immunity thereby - and throw in the seasonal increase we can expect from Corona and the inevitability of a return to the same would seem to be a no-brainer. Under these circumstances, and following the current policies, there can be no alternative but to resign ourselves to the understanding that this is it - this is how things are destined to be from this day forth.

In any battle, the cost of freedom is death. In life as a whole, the cost of freedom is death. Some can tolerate this, others can not. We, it seems as a society, cannot. That we are prepared to relinquish our freedom to do what we choose unless it is specifically proscribed against, to exchange it for the circumstance of only being able to do what we are told we can do in return for a small reduction in the risk attendant to our daily lives says much about us. It was worthy of note that at the G7 conference recently held in my county, where the attendees started with an ostentatious display of mask wearing an elbow touching, by the end they were down on the beach unmasked with arms around each other and no evidence of social distancing of any kind being practiced. They were exercising their judgement of the risks and in other words, making a personal choice - a privilege that has been taken away from the rest of us with,we are told, our willing consent.

Does it make me one of the selfish ones because I would by choice be prepared to shoulder the increased risk of a return to the old way - that I would put it back into the hands of the individual as to how they would conduct their own life, would balance the risks for themselves? How many people have I unwittingly killed in years to gone by as I have gone about, spreading my cold viruses - viruses that while they only make me minimally ill, result in other more vulnerable individuals dying? How many people have you? Why did this suddenly change? So much of what we are supposedly fighting to preserve is absolutely dependant upon a free and functional economy that I simply can't balance the books in terms of the wisdom of a continuation of our existing policy.

But it is what it is.........
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....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
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'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
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