Crikey, I bet you’re glad you don’t live in France. They’ve really cocked it up over there with their sceptical opinion of the AstraZeneca vaccine and their reluctance to give up their much treasured liberty – a liberty that they somewhat pompously (it is noted that just writing the words ’somewhat pompously’ automatically sounds somewhat pompous) consider slightly more special than the liberty in any other rich, democratic country of the world (it isn’t), not to mention their oh so special blend of equality and fraternity, which no one had ever thought of before. Anyway, things look a bit bleak over in France, what with their slow roll out, regional lockdowns and school closures. I bet they wish they’d been as clever as clever old us. I bet they’d trade their pinched Macron in for a haggard Johnson.
I also bet it’s not much fun in Germany either. You would have thought the Germans could have done a bit better for themselves with their historical regret and their industrial efficiency, but instead they’re all over the place, like a drunk getting off a bus. They should have put their order of vaccines in much earlier, as you would for a goose at Christmas or an outdoor table at a Wetherspoons next month. And what was Angela thinking: taking away Easter one minute and giving it back the next; I would have been gutted if that had happened over here (the giving back, that is). I bet they’d trade their haggard Merkel for a battered Boris.
The Poles are really struggling too. I wake up every morning at the moment and thank my lucky stars I don’t live in Poland, where I hear most of the population have been bending the rules all winter. Silly old Poles with their rapidly diminishing number of empty hospital beds and their superstitious vaccine deniers – surely they must realise that if they’d just behaved themselves decently in the first place they wouldn’t be in such a pickle. And such a shame because everyone loves the Poles. I bet they’d trade in their Duda for our dud.
And the same goes for Covid disaster zones all around the world – poor Brazil with their virus friendly climate, cramped favelas and piss poor governance. The situation in Brazil is so bad that one expert fears it is “becoming a threat to global public health”, not the Brazilians who are responsible, just Brazil, all of it. And what about the USA, they still seem to be struggling to work out the difference between their arse and a hole in the ground – to think they chucked out Trump just when he was really getting a grip of the situation. I bet the Americans are kicking themselves right now. The blacks too, and the Chinese; I bet they’re kicking them too, because they have to blame someone that’s not a God guzzling supremacist hard on.
Some places have got it right though. Like Britain. I’d love to live in Britain at the moment, and not just because I already do and I can’t go anywhere else. This is much more than just a matter of convenience. What a great job the British have done. For a start they’ve been rolling out that vaccine like the Israelis, only slightly less fast or effectively. Britain’s NHS has been skipping about like a gender neutral reborn, sticking needles in anything with a pulse (and often anything with barely a pulse left). They’ve gone for the Three I’s approach – Inject, Inject, Inject – take one of these for the team and have a sticker while you’re at it. Britain: almost convincingly pretending to lead the fight against Covid.
And another thing about Britain, a real positive, is that they’re not going to ruin it all now. Not at this stage. They can’t, because Matt Hancock says they shouldn’t. Also a plus is that you should never underestimate the ingrained layers of common sense with which the British public are blessed. There’s no way whatsoever that the British public is going to take the one win that they have managed in the last year and turn it round into another abject failure. No way at all that they’ll turn themselves around into a regurgitated disaster zone like France or Poland. No way. Because they pride themselves on learning from their mistakes every time, instead of leaning back on somewhat pomposity. Yep, I reckon everyone is going to want to live in Britain soon, because they really know how to deal with Covid, and there’s no way they’re going to fuck it all up now that restrictions are starting to ease. I mean, could there be anything more stupid than that?
G B Hewitt 02.04.2021