Leave the door to reason open and in come the clowns.
Posted on September 22, 2020
As far as I can tell and see, most people are thoughtful and considerate. They wear masks in shops and try to maintain some physical distance. Children are a bit lax about it all and young adults are getting fed up with not being able to go about doing the stuff they’re supposed to do. It’s a rotten, miserable time for millions of people, but most of us are trying to do our best. Apart, that is, from some complete numbskulls. I have no idea whether that’s now a cancelled, non-acceptable term, but it’s the one I’m sticking with.
Last Saturday, a few of them had an outing. They went to Trafalgar Square, linked arms, made a nuisance of themselves with exasperated coppers and proclaimed their independence of spirit. They refused to be afraid and, at the same time, reminded the rest of us that we have been duped, sheep-like, into accepting the hoaxes and lies foisted on us by the political elite. They were almost all male and white, with footage suggesting that a good number of them were fuelled by significant quantities of fizzy lager. At least this time no one decided it would further their cause by spraying the residue from this over a monument to a dead policeman.
One of things making them cross was the possibility of vaccination becoming mandatory. Let’s leave aside the minor inconvenience of there being no vaccine. Whatever happens, if it comes, these guys ain’t having it. In this they have a sturdy heroine and champion – Professor Dolores Cahill from University College, Dublin. Dolores was on the case with Covid back in May. The pandemic was being used by politicians and the media, she announced, ‘as a fearmongering propaganda tool to try and take away rights from people and to make them more sick and to force vaccinations on us.’ Dolores didn’t try to explain just why this unholy alliance of MPs and journo hacks wanted to make us all poorly, but her sun-blistered apostles lapped it all up.
What makes Dolores’ ramblings even more disturbing is that she’s not even up there with barmiest of the numbskulls. Look closely at the cardboard placards and you’ll see a smattering simply adorned with a large Q. No? Sit back, take a deep breath and, if possible, pour yourself something sustaining.
The Q represents QAnon which, you’ll be astonished to know, is a collection of ideas promulgated on the internet. This is what its followers believe – and I promise you I’m not making it up. A cabal of Satan-worshipping Democrat politicians, some Hollywood celebrities and a handful of billionaires (including Bill Gates, of course) run the world in a way which conceals their paedophilia, human-trafficking and the harvesting of life-extending chemicals from the blood of abused children. The champion who can prevent all of this from continuing – and I suspect you’ll be ahead of me here – is Donald Trump. He says of QAnon that they like him very much which, he says, he appreciates. If necessary, he explains, he’d be more than happy to help them ‘save the world’ from these cannibalistic paedophiles.
So here is where we find ourselves at the start of the third decade of the 21st century. Numbskulls on the street, ready to believe the oldest conspiracy theory of them all – the Jews steal the blood of children. And the leader of the free world thinks they’re a bunch of fine fellows indeed. There is a very good chance that this person will be re-elected – it’s difficult to imagine how Joe Biden will inspire the voter registration needed to prevent it – and that UK politicians will soon be sitting with him, trying to knit together the deals to sustain us in a post-Brexit world.
Even allowing for the fact that, thank goodness, the anti-vaxxers remain on the edge of the fringes and that we don’t yet have our own QAnon (down, Nigel, down) these are alarming things for people to believe. But how surprising can it be when the mainstream politics they so despise has been so inadequate? Even as I’m writing, the rules about our social conduct – not yet, incidentally, deemed worth of parliamentary debate and scrutiny – are about to be changed. I consider myself well-informed and greatly engaged in public affairs, so I take no pride in admitting that if pressed on what the current restrictions are, I’m not sure I’d be 100% accurate. Like most people I know, I’m a touch baffled. And like everyone I know, I’m certain that I’ve been subject to too many promises and too few positive outcomes. World class test-and-trace, anybody? Moonshot? And now that I’ve eaten out to help out, is it me to blame because I stayed out later than 10 o’clock?
Nature abhors a vacuum. Into the space created by inefficiency, misplaced, bumptious optimism and bare-faced cronyism step the snake-oil salesmen. Who doesn’t want to hear that it’s a load of old nonsense? Who finds it hard to mistrust authority so clumsily wielded? In the dark, who doesn’t want to listen to comforting tales of lost worlds? Keep an eye on the clowns in Trafalgar Square, but a closer one still on the reason they’re there – the other collection of numbskulls just up the road, sitting on their hands round Johnson’s cabinet table.
Sorry that it’s proving so difficult to find something light-hearted to poke fun at. If you’re a football fan, you may find my latest book diverting. There’s a taster here.