Masks, Medmenham and morality

I’ve officially got Covid, whether or not my partner’s test result was mixed up with mine, as we both believe is what happened. Whichever of us got it, there is no doubt whatsoever that it was contracted by inhaling Covid virus from another person. There is only the tiniest shadow of doubt that that person was not wearing a mask.

In most places you don’t have to. Notwithstanding that it’s the best way of reducing the spread of a potentially fatal disease, you don’t have to wear a mask in a pub or a restaurant, in a school classroom full of 30 happy little disease vectors, or really, anywhere you don’t feel like it. You ‘have to’ in shops, but I’ve certainly never, ever heard of anyone being prosecuted for not wearing one. Your mileage may vary, but I doubt it.

Medmenham was and is a place which in the 1700s there was a famous meeting place for politicians and sex parties, as well as, allegedly as Devil-worshippers. Above the gate these words were carved:

Fay ce que vouldras

It means do what you will. It seems to be the motto of this government’s approach to Covid control, for all the cant about “following the science.” No scientist in the UK is currently saying do whatever you like at Christmas, but that’s exactly what the Prime Minister is categorically saying WITH his usual random EMPHASIS.

This strategy has been called libertarian, hence the reference to Dashwood and Medmenham. And it’s total and utter anti-science populist bollocks which inevitably is going to get people killed. The consequence to the Prime Minister is going to be absolutely nothing at all, because so long as the cult of appeasing the most selfish anti-science and/or ignorant people in the community continues then the majority of the UK press will stay onside. It doesn’t matter that newspaper sales are in free-fall; all of the red-top press have very active, very popular websites.

Do What Thou Wilt; because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unto virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour.


These words could have come straight from the Prime Minister, or his best mate William Rees-Mogg, a massive fan of anything ancient which you can only guess he imagines makes people assume he’s part of some noble and ancient aristocratic lineage. Notwithstanding that the family made its money in newspapers and my dear, that’s simply Trade, whichever way you choose to dress it up.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary, notwithstanding that it’s American (don’t get me started on momentarily as in ‘the aircraft will be leaving momentarily’ – What would be the point of that? ), cites the adjective Rabelasian as meaning someone or something that is “marked by gross robust humor, extravagance of caricature, or bold naturalism”.

Gross humour probably covers calling black people picanninies with watermelon smiles, the way The Right Honourable Alexander Johnson did, although personally I’d simply call it open racism. Similarly, it would be hard to be more extravagant caricaturing a Prime Minister who chooses to present himself like a fatter, more decrepit Benny Hill, albeit a Benny Hill who’d soiled his nappy.

The one in the middle, in case you can’t beleive that’s anybody’s Prime Minister.

Opinion is not fact

Unfortunately, as 150,000 people dead of SARS-Covid 19 can attest, opinion has been elevated to the exact equivalent of fact, at least in the UK. If your opinion is that masks don’t make any difference to the spread of infection then the fact that they do and have been proven to is irrelevant; you can do as you please.

If you don’t want to self-isolate, you can do as you please. If you want to stand within six inches of total strangers, kiss them with their consent or do anything else with them with their consent, then in the UK right now, with 150,000 people dead of Covid, you can do exactly as you please. Unless you’re in a shop or on public transport, obviously, because this virus is so selective that it can’t infect anyone in say, a restaurant, at a football match, in a nightclub or a concert. You have to wear a mask in a school corridor, but you don’t have to wear a mask in a class of thrity children. All of which is obviously nonsense, but it’s the nonsense put out by the Prime Minister, who now feels it’s time to stop the “we’re following the science” schtick his Ministers used to parrot, and go straight to flatly contradicting them in public.

It’s popular, but then, so was the old Marie Lloyd song which seems to sum-up government science-following. They should listen to it still. We’re not all Falklanders now, as The Times going full jingo put it in 1982. But we can all recognise a leading public figure in the singer. It’s getting dark, they’re a bit pissed, they don’t know where they can find any shelter from what’s about to come, they don’t know where their friends are and above all, they haven’t a clue where they’re going.

Still, so long as that 80-seat majority holds up, who cares?

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