Monday 30 November 2020

All Change!

Nobody knows the best way to run a country and, if we are honest, even governing a small town is beyond the competence of most of us. For the developed world, a form of representative, liberal democracy has long been accepted as the least-worst system. But maybe the Covid crisis has now demonstrated the hideous flaws in allowing the hoi polloi to decide who gets a hand on the tiller of the tramp steamer of state. This last year has also shone a sickly light on free-market capitalism, given that the far too biddable decisions of millions of morons can often influence policy.

It has glibly been assumed, without much question, by advocates of Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’, (which heretofore included me) that the free decisions, in their own self-interest, of the individuals of a population will ultimately regulate supply and demand far better than a centrally planned economy. And that even though inequalities arise, all boats are lifted by the rising tide of national wealth.

But it’s not fucking true, is it? Some boats, particularly the boats laden with the human detritus of our shipwrecked society, are pre-holed below the waterline, as if they have been supplied by people traffickers trying to squeeze one last trip out of a worm-ridden hulk. Popular democracy might sound like a great idea but sometimes the electorate actually does need saving from itself. There, I said it; some people’s instincts should be disregarded; some people should never be allowed to vote; and perhaps some people should never even have come into being.

But we are where we are, by whatever route we travelled and ‘here’ is a place that nobody voted for. Were the pandemic waved away tomorrow we would still be screwed. Those who have lost their livelihoods will need help and many who have retained theirs were already in too precarious a financial situation to be able to help. The wealthy, as ever, will probably suffer the least, but there will also be casualties among formerly higher rate taxpayers.

The eternal puzzle of how much should I be forced to pay from my surplus to meet your shortfall will exist regardless of whether the left or the right are in control. And in the UK it is often difficult to tell which is which, given that both sides continue to vie for popularity, rather than authority, governing not by conviction, but by opinion poll. (I wonder if an Opinion Poll Tax would help out?)

Admittedly a supposedly representative democracy is probably better than direct democracy, but only so far as the elected actually do represent the best interests of their constituents. But they don’t. People in Britain don’t really vote for representatives, they vote for a political government as a whole… and then watch, dismayed, as election promises are abandoned at what often seems like a capricious whim and the policies of the other side are adopted.

But it shouldn’t be about Labour or Conservative, left or right, it should be about right and wrong, and bringing about a world where, as far as is feasible, everybody takes part. Isn’t it time we actually had the long overdue conversation about how we tackle the real issues, the ones that actually damage people; how we let people realise their ambitions but not at the expense of others; about how we drag the underclasses kicking and screaming into society?

I don’t usually link blogs – if I’m honest it is the same three or four subjects re-hashed ad infinitum – but over the week I’m going to try and suggest a few changes we might want to consider, in order to bring about a better world, at least here, in the crucible of modern civilisation. I shall call my new system ‘socialism’ in the certain knowledge that it has never been tried, anywhere in the world. Not properly. More tomorrow… if I have the stomach for it.

Part Two...

Thursday 26 November 2020

Be Better

Baroness Sugg has quit her role at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office over the reduction in Britain’s foreign aid budget. So what? Nobody knew who she was or what she did (after Madness, obviously) but surely this petulant stomping off because the gravy tap is being backed off a tad is more an indication of a lack of moral fibre than of any true devotion to a cause. When the going gets tough…

But isn’t this posturing, public resignation business so typical of the current crop of politicos? All for it when the going gets tough; happy to lunch and dine and gladhand grateful dusky despots for the cameras; no problem at all in accepting the plaudits for ‘a job well done’, but running away from trouble at the first sign of difficulty.

If the worst that can happen is you get to spend more time in the garden on full salary, or you get a more favourable post in an easier department, where is the incentive to do better? Maybe trophy resignations should be banned, or denied publicity, so that – god forbid – you are put under pressure to come up with the goods. And I wonder if she is aware how few of her countrymen care one jot about foreign aid, especially when it goes to countries easily rich enough to solve their own problems?

But wait, aren’t WE ‘easily rich enough’ to solve OUR problems? If we are, why are we not doing it and if we aren’t why do we think that throwing cash at countries exclusively populated by brown-skinned people will somehow make anything better? Is it a white saviour complex, or a second reparation for slavery on top of the ruinously costly reparations we only recently finished paying? Is it really just white guilt that makes us fund despots who treat their people even worse than we do?

But we don’t treat OUR people badly, do we? Seriously, I think we do. They always used to say charity begins at home and right now I can think of no more worthy recipients of generous philanthropy than several million of our own citizens who desperately need help of some kind. Right now the Chancellor is busily cash-spreading; indiscriminately fertilising the field in the hope that some of it goes towards growth, but we need something more and, wait for it...

I think we need a return to a bit more socialism. No, don’t click away, hear me out. We used to have world class public transport, housing, education, policing and access to justice. Our politicians used to be public servants, not celebrities and we had free libraries, museums, art galleries, sports facilities and so on. Admittedly we still have healthcare ‘free at the point of use’, but it is hideously and expensively encoiled by the serpents of equality and diversity and other woke superficialities, and where has everything else gone?

It simply isn’t true that the private sector does everything more efficiently; it may do things more profitably, but where does that profit go? In publicly funded private enterprises surely the purpose is to utilise the ruthless efficiency of the private sector in pursuit of the public good; where is the evidence that this has worked well in the last 30 years? When we need junior footballers to shame governments into doing the right thing, what the hell has happened to our collective sense of responsibility?

To use Boris’s (and many others’) favourite form of three-word government, when we ‘build back better’ we have to demand the principle is also applied to everybody in a position of influence. The great industries must create wealth; the great Parliament must regulate how it deals with the share of that wealth it collects in taxes. But it’s not just about money; it is primarily how we deal with each other. I have a modification to make to that slogan; when we regroup and start over, can’t we all just try to ‘Be Better’?

Monday 23 November 2020

Jab Away!

I have to say it has been quite an education this past year, peeking into the mindset of Joe Average and realising that what lies between those average ears is malleable to an extraordinary degree. Beliefs that can flip on the toss of a coin are clearly not deeply held convictions, but the new vision of the converted is a force of nature to behold. People who were once healthy sceptics are now worshippers at the altar of one unifying dogma or another.

The anti-vaxxers have their religion but why should they impose it on others? This is especially invidious when you factor in that the anti-vax, anti-lockdown converts have a large Venn intersection with the free speech crowd. So what is it, freedom of speech but not if you say you are happy to comply with the government's attempts to save lives? Surely the right to disagree is embedded in the very core of freedom of speech. (If you don’t like that opinion, I have others.)

This duality pervades every debate; of course you have the right to disagree but you are wrong. Most debates are not simple dichotomies, though; people who believe the virus is a hoax have a different anti-vax stance from those who believe the virus is not only real but planned, developed and deliberately released. Those who object because they fear testing has or will not be comprehensive enough have a different view from those who have fallen down the 5G conspiracy rabbit hole.

And it’s not just Covid because, alongside all the conventional battle lines of disagreement have been added a whole regiment of new or revived challenges. Climate change, the plight of the third world, society as a whole and for some, the very future of humankind. But none of these topics stands alone and among your own ranks, fifth columnists muddy the waters and spread uncertainty and disinformation.

Trying to assess just one of the subjects of disagreement, the whole 'let's change our entire energy paradigm' conundrum is far too big, far too complex and far too interrelated to possibly solve without casualties. And as ever, the first casualty has been truth, leaving a gaping vacuum into which pours pure madness! The discussion on green transport rapidly descends into an argument about ending personal freedoms. Attempts to ensure energy security erupt into shouting matches about independent nation states… which inevitably tends towards ‘Hitler’.

As genuine experts and deep thinkers soberly ponder the options, Joe Average wades straight into the muddy puddle with some rant about exploding batteries putting lives at risk, or the fascinating conflation of Saharan dust with potato harvests in Chile. Every line of dissent seems to spiral down into hysteria about the freedom of the individual. This really is the end point; at the bottom of every movement, every cult, every new-age madness the freedom of the individual appears to be paramount.

It's just a little prick...

Yes, indeed. This necessarily includes the freedom to starve, to die of cold to be eaten by wolves to succumb to every invisible microbial, bacterial or viral agent out there. The freedom to go it alone against the might of the universe and damn the consequences. Because that is what ultimate freedom brings. The human race is a cooperative species and that is the secret to our success. Thus I have concluded that the freedom of the individual does not trump the needs of the herd and if my herd needs help to fend off disease I will willingly sacrifice any fancy lone hero nonsense and have the fucking jab, okay?  

Thursday 19 November 2020

Don't Panic - there's a Plan!

I was never a fan of Project Johnson, but the bungling, wild-haired buffoon appears now to have set out a ten-point plan to bring down his own government. Ed Miliband signed us up to some sort of nonsense years ago when he was something or other (who remembers?) in Brown’s cabinet but, not to be outdone, Boris has abandoned an already perfectly unachievable environmental target for one so ludicrous, that maybe the Lizard Overlord theories aren’t entirely unfounded. This is a plan of which Baldrick himself would be proud.

The last Labour government signed us up to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. The Cameroons then arbitrarily rolled up their sleeves and said, right, we’ll do 100% by 2040 and now Johnson’s girlfriend has thought, fuck it, if we’re promising the impossible then why not go all in? If Michael Foot’s 1983 manifesto was the longest suicide note in history perhaps the current Tory aims comprise one of the shortest? A shame they couldn’t have got it down to three words; then it would be like all their other policies.

Yesterday the PM’s comedy machine put out the ten-point plan summarised below.

 Let’s look at them, briefly, in turn:

·       Offshore wind to be the only source of electricity for every home, thus ensuring for many homes that no electricity is provided at all. But the good news is that 60,000 consultancy jobs will be created… in London. Green Job is, of course, shorthand for “overpaid unaccountable ‘expert’ with zero credentials, sucking on the public teat.”

·       Develop the first town to go up in a fireball by 2030. Hydrogen I the answer, they all clamour, give us hydrogen! Tell that to the passengers of the Hindenberg.

·       Keep pretending to advance nuclear energy, but also keep on delaying funding, thus ensuring that we end up with too little, too late, too costly, and to the disapproval and existential alarm of many citizens.

·       Doing his level best to wreck the personal transport dream which lifted millions out poverty and gave opportunities to the masses, the unseemly dash for all-electric will land many in debt and net negative incomes.

·       But it’s okay because they can always walk or cycle to the wind-turbine blade factory on the edge of their sink estates. Has nobody noticed the weather for much of the year? Or that despite half a century of complaining about it, public transport has become more unreliable and less and less safe? No matter, get on those cattle trucks, plebs.

·       Supporting greener industries is just a soundbite – the government wouldn’t recognise a green initiative if it smashed them in the face and once again, why will nobody admit that there is no such thing as ‘zero emissions’, unless you simply ignore all the emissions? (In some areas, electricity production is already more polluting than modern diesel engines, mile for mile, so electric actually has higher emissions than your small runaround.)

·       Carbon capture is, of course, another one of those ways of brushing reality under the carpet and as for planting all those trees, has anybody noticed how the nation serially fails to meet ANY of its tree planting targets by a country mile? Of course, here we have learned well from the EU and the solution to a failed target is to declare another, more ambitious target, you know, just like a straw-clutching candidate on The Apprentice presenting a bunch of vague wishes as a supposed business plan.

·       And as for the Green Finance ambition, at least here we finally an achievable aim. If you want money laundered, because this is what this ultimately means, what better place than the home of corruption and government itself? You don't believe me? Ask the Russians.

Sunday 15 November 2020

Boris and Woko

Well, it’s school tomorrow for me – I’ve had a couple of very soggy weeks of annual leave – so I’m sharpening up my pencils and ironing my uniform, etc. Oh and, you know, filling out that risk assessment, as you do. Or, actually, as you don’t, unless you are in one of the few industries that have a genuine need for it, or your industry is actually creating the mountains of documentation that nobody ever reads.

Being in the Health and Safety Bureaucratic Complex must be a lot like being a supporter of Richard Burgon; nobody knows what your purpose is and fewer even care. The company I work for has done what so many small-to-medium firms do, they have outsourced H&S. This means we have all signed to say that we have received and read the official company Health and Safety Policy booklet, but of course, only one part of that affirmation is actually true.

I am reminded of all this because in my email inbox sits a week-old injunction to complete my annual online Fire Marshall training. Last year I clicked on the link, found a button on the page which said ‘completed’, clicked on that and watched my status change from pending to sorted… which was nice. Naturally, I passed on this software glitch to others and now we are officially competent Fire Marshalls. I wonder how much the company pays to have this useless procedural box ticked? I’m guessing it’s not pennies.

Up and down the land, hundreds, thousands, of other companies must do the same. When you add in the pointless social engineering of HR, the Equality & Diversity practitioners, along with Human Rights Lawyers and Environmental Impact Assessors (guessers), there are possibly millions of people involved in these bogus trades, sucking the productivity out of the land. Not to mention the partisan think tanks and polling companies and the commentariat.

All of which is why I have little faith that the Green funding announcement from Boris and Yoko will amount to anything of any use to anybody, let alone assist in ‘saving the planet’. All of it will be hoovered up by the vultures in the Climate Change business, much of it by serial polluters who pretend to have environmentally friendly credentials. Meetings will be had and debates conducted and the conclusion will be that they need yet more funding for more such fruitless time-wasting. I don’t expect to see a penny spent on doing any good.

Just as the cure for the ills of the EU is always more EU, the panacea for a welfare crisis is to throw yet more taxpayers' cash at idlers and cheats, the challenge to the rise of racism is to create yet more ways in which white people are racist and the solution to the immigration invasion is to declare open borders and de-criminalise illegal immigration, the way to tackle climate change is always to spend a fortune studying climate change.

Sod the leaves - fill me with money!

And you know how it always ends up? Ordinary working people who wish no harm to anybody and dutifully pay their taxes, budget for their needs and generally keep their heads below the parapet are berated for their ignorance and their bigotry, and are told what they must not do, or say, or even think. I expect Boris Johnson is experiencing a little of what that feels like right now.

Saturday 14 November 2020

Who Cares?

Dominic Cummings has gone, get over it. We have, and by ‘we’ I mean natural Conservatives, both big and small ‘c’ who care far more for the country and its wellbeing than by whom it is governed. Many lent their votes to Tony Blair when it looked like New Labour might be the fresh new politics. And many lent their vote to Boris when it looked like he might deliver what a majority of forgotten voters had asked for. All have been disappointed.

Now, of course, speculation has exploded. The media has been utterly obsessed with Dominic Cummings as a Svengali figure on whom they can blame all their failings. Their failure to accurately predict election and referendum outcomes. Their failure to accurately portray ordinary working people as thinking beings. Their to-a-man adherence to the dopey and ill-considered social justice doctrines of the last few years. So now they have to carry on being led, not by objective reporting, but by the bias they cannot shake off.

But I don’t think it is all the press’s fault, rather it is the lack of leadership shown by most modern governments. Desperate to be liked and desperate to garner the votes of people who wouldn’t pledge for them if their very lives depended on it, successive party heads have bent like straws in the wind and lapped up every last faddish theory as if it were fact. Appease the Greens, appease the gender-fluid, appease whatever is that ‘the woke’ think they have awoken to.

There isn’t a leader in the civilised world that isn’t prey to dither and in thrall to the polls, when it is the proles they should be looking to, because the silent majority will always be there, no matter how their grandchildren seek to ‘educate’ them. And what the majority want is law and order, a manageable welfare system for those who need it, not those who demand it. They want border controls and they want to believe the government actually has the means – legal, financial and if necessary military – to deal with it decisively.

They want all of this at a price – taxes – that will not break the bank, nor the backs of those who labour to pay it. But governments, instead of reading the runes, are moving further to the clamorous and increasingly splintered left and ignoring the less-oft expressed but far more homogenous and reasonable views of ‘the man on the Clapham omnibus’.

The government should be doing what the majority want, balanced with what is reasonable; they shouldn’t be trying to stomp on the little sparks that are the ultra-minority demands. Those sparks, as bright as they might briefly flare, as loudly as they might crackle, have limited fuel and will die out on their own. They are ideas, not the real needs of the majority; that is the smouldering hot heap of unspent ash at the heart of the fire. Throw fuel on that and watch it blaze. This is the fire that needs tending.

We may have got the wrong dictator

Ultimately it comes down to the fact that the governed are content enough as long as their bellies are full, and they are clothed and housed and kept busy. All the fripperies of progressive idealism will only enrich the juvenile and simplistic theorists who egg on the agitators while doing nothing to meet the basic needs. We must have governance that both recognises this and isn’t afraid to challenge the noisy minority. It is time to bloody some noses. If that sounds like a dictatorship, who cares? Despots can be toppled, unsound ideology not so much.

Friday 13 November 2020

The Politics of Despair

David Lammy tweeted out in glee about Dominic Cummings’s plan to leave Downing Street by Christmas. He referred to him as a rat, which is par for the course for the party which thinks ‘scum’ is a suitable tag to refer to all who disagree with them. Never was this Thomas Sowell quote so apposite: “It is amazing how many people think that they can answer an argument by attributing bad motives to those who disagree with them. Using this kind of reasoning, you can believe or not believe anything about anything, without having to bother to deal with facts or logic.

If it were only Lammy it would be bad enough but listen to the language from those who imagine they occupy loftier moral heights. While Conservatives often go painfully out of their way to use the right words, to sound reasonable, logical and sound, the left seem to think they have grounds for more embittered attacks. In the USA the ‘Democrats’ (who, ironically, actually have the word rat in their name) regularly invoke the Devil himself when referring to Republicans (who pleasingly have the word pub in theirs).

In the name of saviouristic socialism, people like Dawn Butler liberally sow racist division and enlists the likes of Lenny Henry – a man we want to like, but who makes it so difficult at times – to the cause. Their loathing for white people even extends to calling non-white Conservatives, ordinary working people at that, coconuts, or Bounties. Had a white commentator used an equivalent phrase to describe white people who act black the clamour would not cease until that person had been ‘cancelled’.

But the rub is this; in all the years of social programmes, welfare initiatives, the drive for diversity before excellence and the refusal to accept the necessary duality of success and failure in endeavour, the supposed problems have only got worse. Give people a handout and all you get in return is more hands out. Once they may have said ‘please, sir’, but now it is a demand, often with menaces.

Rather than accept this simple observed truth, that the politics of envy simply creates more envy, they double down and tell the less well-off that the rich are only rich because of greed, connections and some bizarre desire to keep the poor, poor. And like religious acolytes they follow the script at all times until the liturgy becomes embedded. Confronting the clear truth that what makes rich people richer is the masses being able to spend, and spend willingly, would be like effecting an exorcism to cast out what has possessed them

Irony is never far away when doctrinal politics (or religion, for that matter) abounds and the great irony is that once people gain a little wealth they no longer want socialism so it is  a self-defeating dogma, unless… Unless it fails, in which case you blame the failure on the great Satan of capitalism, indeed you make a name for yourself by doing exactly that and then you call yourself Owen Jones, set up a Patreon account and attempt to enrich yourself by banging the drum of despair.

Thus the primary tool of socialism is failure, repeated failure. And what better way to span the generations than to have entire sectors of society who serially fail to improve their lot and pass their misery down to their offspring, then blame it on those who actually pay for their subsistence? It is of little surprise that some of the fiercest advocates of capitalism are former socialists who have made something of their lives. Or as most of us know them, adults.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Partly Political

I would have a lot more time for socialism if those making a living from peddling it were instead actually practising what they preach and doing something about the lives of those they claim need to be rescued by it. As far as I can see, socialism for all of its 170-year history has signally failed to improve the lives of those who vote for it. Meantime capitalism, the system by which pretty much all trade exists, has increased material wealth for all, but generated some, on-the-face-of-it grotesque, imbalances.

Maybe it is a simple fact that humans are not very good at making impartial decisions and equitably sharing out what we have amassed. In true ‘more equal than others’ fashion, socialist politicos are notorious for jumping housing queues, getting planning permission for favoured religious buildings and creating nepotistic dynasties throughout the public sector. Meantime, more than a few Tory MPs have been mired in scandals involving huge financial privileges granted to friends, family and powerful benefactors.

Politicians of all stripes are less trusted now than they have been for many years and yet all of this still carries on. MPs who have been imprisoned for fraud, perjury and the like should not even dare to show up again in public, yet they retake their seats on release from jail as if butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. They are caught out in newspaper stings in such embarrassing circumstances that most of us would change our names and flee the country, yet continue chairing select committees on Standards in Public Life. Or they appear in their underpants cruising for gay sex, but then imagine they can adopt moral stances without criticism.

Whatever you think of the Orange Man he was dead right on one thing; the swamp needs draining; as true an ambition over here as it ever was in the US of A. Forget your big global conspiracies, your New World Orders, the Great Reset and all of that guff. Change at that level is nigh-on impossible for we mere mortals. Much as I hate the term, co-opted as it has been by the Labour Party, change needs to happen at grass roots level.

Every person in public office, from the school board up to the House of Lords, should come under close and highly intrusive scrutiny. It should not be possible to award a contract to anybody with whom you have any connection, or by which somebody you are connected to may profit, without full disclosure, and pending approval from people outside your closed circle of colleagues and friends. And if it is unavoidable that a policy you have championed enriches your nearest and dearest the very least you should do it to retire from public office.

As a start to this swamp-draining, anybody seeking office should be assumed to have nefarious reason and be under such detailed scrutiny that only the whitest of white (and I make no apology for the use of that phrase, you all know what it means an if you are offended then you are also unfit for office) could ever make it through to nomination. And all voting for MPs should be via personal attendance, identity proven, apart for those in exceptional circumstances, for whom ballots should be collected directly by at least two, sworn-in officials of at least two different political allegiances.

Two cheeks of the same political arse

The shenanigans over the pond over the last week should leave us in no doubt that western politics is broken. And the insertion of predominantly Pakistani muslims into so many political seats from which they seem unassailably capable of practising politics in a less than, shall we say, a western democratic manner, should be cause for concern for all. Politicians like to talk about fighting for things; isn’t it time we fought back?

Sunday 8 November 2020

Sincerely yours?

Can there be anything more sick-making, for level-headed, stiff upper-lipped Brits, than the sight of emotionally insecure people spontaneously breaking into tears as they sob their soundbites into recorded history. Wall to wall wailing has been breaking out across the formerly civilised world in response to a charisma-free septuagenarian being declared the 46th President of the United States.

There is something embarrassing about mass outpourings of emotion. Those huge funereal crowds, rending their garments and gurning for the cameras. We used to be amused by the ululating natives, the quaint piccaninnies with their emotive ways, but now the piccaninnies are us; at least, they are some of you. And while those of us who eschew such public frailty still look on bemused, we fear we are a dying breed.

Politics and power used to be the preserve of sober men and women. Pragmatism used to be the guiding principle of governance, with the rousing of passions reserved for tub-thumping occasions. A speech in the house, a hustings, a public debate, a call to arms and so forth, these were the rare times the lip might tremble and character be revealed.

We need character – and characters – in public life, but we need consistency more. We also need backbone and tenacity and leaders who are unafraid to be unpopular when they need to be. In this respect Boris Johnson is no Donald Trump, being master of the emotive u-turn. And although Trump inspired some dangerous passions, in people you wouldn’t necessarily want to be neighbours, I don’t recall a flag parade of sopping wet handkerchiefs on his 2016 victory.

Trump’s message, for all his faults, was America for Americans. Biden’s appears to be America for whoever wants it. And people are weeping for this? As Biden himself might say. “come on, man!” Yet even here, where a Biden victory may spell some difficulty for us as a country, people on the left are blubbing on air like they just received an all-clear from a cancer scare.

But sober and pragmatic and realistic and reasonable are boring, while joy and anger and fear bring a rush of blood to the brain. Reason rarely wins over emotion and this is the power of the left. Forget trying to explain – everything is far too complicated – instead, seize on a single smouldering nugget of fury and apply the bellows. Fan that flame until the anger it engenders is impossible to resist, then set the mob alight.

Maybe I am being unfair, but it does seem to me that leftist politics is emotionally driven and appeals to people who are dreamers, rather than doers. This is possibly why we don’t see very much of notionally right-wing mobs. The right wing, such as it is, is busy running things, putting food on the table and actually paying for all the things the leftists demand but can never provide for themselves.

They won - why cry over it?

If immature passion was what drove the world, what made it function, then the left, having once been elected, would never be out of office. But they always run out of steam. People realise they can’t eat emotion; they can’t keep warm by really wishing to be warm and they can’t build structures with sentiment. These are campaign tools which attract a certain sort; the sort who often lack the ability to realise their dreams. I have no doubt that leftists are sincere, but like leftism itself, sincerity never built anything.

Saturday 7 November 2020

Don't Get Too Excited

It’s been a while since I published a blog. It’s not that I have been out of ideas, rather that by the time I get the draft in my head, circumstances have changed, the public mood has shifted and others have already blasted their thoughts into the blogosphere. But I sense a brief lull as the world holds its breath and gazes at the USA, and here in the UK people enter a Covid stupor, unsure what to believe.

Well that’s not something I’m going to help you with; you make up you own minds. But here’s the crux of the matter – how? The government tells you one thing, your mate tells you another. Extensively researched papers are published and reach a reasoned conclusion, but then some reality television ‘star’ begs to differ. And just when you think you have a handle on an issue a cleverly argued debate spins you 180 degrees.

With statistically very few exceptions, none of us are experts, so we rely on experts – or rather the people who interpret the experts – to inform us. But when the experts – or those who interpret them - disagree we fall back on preferences. Once, we relied on the impeccably neutral ethos of the news media, on meticulously impartial documentary makers. But who now believes that any reporting comes without bias?

You don’t know the reality around either the pandemic or the US election. Neither do I. Nobody does and nobody ever will because, even with the benefit of hindsight, much will remain unclear or deliberately obscured. Historians will be overwhelmed by data and will find it impossible to discern fact from fiction, truth from lie. The outcome of their endeavours will be as much determined by what they want to see as what is actually in front of them. Will history in the future consist of multiple competing accounts from which to choose? What will be taught in school?

The focus is further blurred by credible bloggers, people with their own devoted following, who pursue particular threads: climate change, green technologies, politics, conspiracies, medicine, economics, etc, etc, etc. The world is awash with opinion peddled as indisputable fact, with conjecture posing as informed conclusion. The partially sighted leading the blind.

What of ‘Citizen Journalists’, you ask? Those on-the-spotters who film events in real time and thus generate accurate records of indisputable reality? I often watch such clips and fail to agree with the version of events which the publisher claims is being revealed. And then I have to ask how it was that they were right there, phone at the ready, to film just that segment. Not the minute before, not the resolution after, but just that bit which they believe supports their case.

Who knows what to believe any more? There are some who say that there is the proof, that the presentation of many facets of every story is a deliberate, deep state tactic to prevent us from knowing the truth. I think you know my views on that; isn’t a much more rational explanation that it is what it is, a multiplicity of different viewpoints randomly informed by experience and only occasionally having the appearance of collusion?

Relatively speaking, he knows no more than you...

How do we navigate through all this fog? Well, mostly, I try not to get too excited, try not to invest too much time worrying about things that don’t really affect me and concentrate instead on what I can do to further my personal aims. I’m more parochial than global in outlook and I still have faith in the silent majority… which is perhaps why I haven’t blogged for a while.