Due to coronavirus.

Surely the three most redundant words on the planet right now. Used to cap off every headline and every shock statistic and every grim revelation with every sincere face every second of every minute of every hour of every day. The crap out there is just running on a loop and at some point something will have to snap. There is virtually nothing on the news that isn’t related to coronavirus and anything that is somehow gets linked to it anyway or just squashed into submission and brushed into the bin of memories that holds all the things we used to do before we ended up doing nothing.


Such is the magnitude of our current misfortune it is understandable that many of us will want updates, but that doesn’t mean they should be constant and therefore grindingly repetitive. In our house we now tend to watch half an hour of updates at six in the evening and then we turn over to something more cheerful – a drama about elephant poaching perhaps, or a documentary about Fred and Rose West – anything really to take our minds off the torture of the unknown in a world where we’re supposed to know everything.


In the absence of a fully functioning Boris we have been left with a remarkably well recovered Matt Hancock, a man whose early promise as health secretary is rapidly being replaced by what we are more used to from our politicians; bullshit. He says he’s answered the questions but he hasn’t. He says he’s got solutions but he hasn’t. He says we’re coping but clearly we’re not. He says he has ambitious goals but it sounds like he’s made them up on the back of a fag packet, and a few weeks too late, and if he reaches any of them then I’ll be surprised. Pleased for him and the country, and very surprised.


Watching Hancock v God v The NHS on Question Time the other night was deflating at best. Hancock was visibly out of his depth and just got weaker by the moment. The head of nursing was matter-of-fact and very polite given the circumstances, and the Archbishop of York kept on referring to God; oblivious to the reality that if ever there was a moment for God to turn up then this was it. And He hasn’t. Perhaps He’s angry because we’ve closed all the churches. Perhaps He’s disappointed that so many have put so much faith in a figment of their imaginations. I also noted yesterday that Hancock has started to use increasingly exaggerated hand gestures to emphasise his key points, in the way all the biggest bullshitters do. Really Matt, was the fish you caught really that big? Honestly Matt, is that really what three and a half inches looks like?


And then back to those three redundant words. We know it’s due to coronavirus. What else is responsible? Broccoli? We could cut the news in half if they just stopped using those words. We sat around for twelve years listening to the word ‘unprecedented’ get stuffed into every sentence where it didn’t belong and now that something has arrived that actually is unprecedented we’ve come up with an even more annoying tic. Whatever awful things happen on a day to day basis now are all due to coronavirus. It’s not due to weather patterns, or dry roasted peanuts or air fresheners or Joe Wicks’ glutes. It’s due to bloody, fucking, sodding coronavirus. We don’t know much right now be we definitely know that. So could everyone please stop saying it?


G B Hewitt. 04.04.2020

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