Remember Basil Fawlty? When dressed in civilian clothes he called himself John Cleese. In real life, he and his wife Sybil ran a rather pretty hotel, which carried the Fawlty name, in a seaside resort in southwest England.
Basil was something of a perpetual mishap-magnet. Sybil regularly drew attention to this feature of his daily existence. She also once, memorably described him as “an ageing, brilliantined stick insect.”
Advanced research, relying above all on abductive reasoning (consider the accumulated facts – also known as the Duck Test) indicates that a younger relative of Basil has now taken up residence at Number 10 Downing Street.
The Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Fawlty (who also uses an alternate name) enjoys a different, rather more roly-poly, build compared to Basil. But you can see that they each display distinctive mannerisms when presenting themselves. The actual body language differs but there is resonance with respect to the scale of unconventionality.
Consider some of the facts.
Boris himself contracted COVID in 2020. Some argued that the precautions he took at that time to avoid infection were less than gold standard. Never mind. Fortunately, he recovered from what turned out to be a notably serious infection.
Now his brand new Health Secretary (poor possum as Dame Edna might say) has tested positive for COVID. Boris and his Chancellor, having spent much quality discussion time with the infected Health Secretary, were set for days in isolation. Then they found an escape card called, Daily Testing in Pilot-Programme. However, Freda Public responded: My Giddy Aunt (or words to that effect) – what’s going on?? And the media went into frenzy mode. Boris and Chancellor had to say sorry-sorry and fetch themselves back into isolation.
Meanwhile, advanced thinking amongst some folk in Britain has it that COVID can be substantially lived-with now that UK vaccination rates have risen. To this end, Boris and his Cabinet announced an exceptional, overnight mass-relaxation of the bulk of COVID social-prevention measures in England. This happened on July 19, which was christened Freedom Day. By this stage, COVID infections were rising to extreme levels not seen since the frightening mid-winter peak in January 2021.
The current daily rate of new infections – averaged over a week – exceeds 40,000. COVID variants appear to be rampant. Boris et al are betting that the great bulk of these cases will be mild in their impact. Let’s hope they are right.
One way to get a grasp on these numbers is to consider China. China has not adopted anything remotely like this ‘Boris approach’ in dealing with COVID. But if it had opted for a Freedom Day whilst harbouring UK rates of COVID infection, it would be adding, based on its population, around 1 million new cases every day. Imagine what the global Anglo-media might have made of that!
Critics, many from within the medical professions (onshore and offshore) were unimpressed with the prospect of Freedom Day. They feared the return of serious hospital overload and worried that allowing so much growth in COVID infections enhanced the incubation scope for new tricky COVID variants. The Sunday Mirror dubbed July 19, ‘Freedumb Day.’
The Boris Fawlty attention-grabbing agenda is not confined to the Old Dart, we should note – there is a global element.
Mr Rowse recently wrote in the South China Morning Post, in some wonderment, about the visit of the new Royal Navy flagship to the South China Sea. HMS Queen Elizabeth is Britain’s only full aircraft carrier. Britannia once Rule the Waves, but after the Suez Crisis in 1956, the UK gave up maintaining any military presence East of Suez. Now, though, Britain is back it seems – with significant US assistance.
The flagship has a crew of 1200 but 200 of these are American military personnel. Moreover, 10 of the 18 world-class F35B fighters on board are American also. We are assured, nevertheless, that this is still a British ship. However, as the British Navy apparently lacks sufficient support vessels for a trip so far from home waters, the carrier group comprises American and Dutch destroyers (reliable reports confirm that HMS Pinafore remains in dry-dock).
As we know, in the Fawlty-zone, mishaps are not unheard of. On this maiden long-distance voyage, there has also been an outbreak of COVID infections onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.
To help round out this ring of NATO naval steel encircling China, Al Jazeera reports that Germany is set to send a frigate to the South China Sea in August 2021. Basil Fawlty will surely have a view on this which, without mentioning the war, we are confident he will convey to Boris.
Finally, there is so far no confirmation of the report that a junior member of the Boris Fawlty cabinet is keeping a pet Siberian hamster in the attic at Number 10. Nevertheless, it might be smart to keep an eye on the news.