Shed

Sorry folks, another haircut blog. Well, we could be entering LD 2..
I pine for Glynis Barber again.


And she pines for me (yeah right, sub-editor comment)

Sheds are not for me. I’ll leave the carpentry and their abrasives to the Aussies. I’m a fringe guy born and bred; straight and to the front Trouble is Greta could be right. The crow’s feet, sorry, nest has sighted rising tides. By Gore, I’m going to have an island at the forefront of my bonce.

Don’t bother me none. It will rule the waves And it has a dashing, crashing coo’s lick promontory.

21 thoughts on “Shed”

  1. I just recently had a haircut. As I have to spend 21 euro for the blasted thing, I make sure that it will bloody well last for at least a few months. I take no issue with paying a fair amount for a good haircut, but I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to spend more on necessities than is absolutely, well, necessary. Since Bonkers and his Insane Clown Posse aren’t keen on avoiding yet another clown car crash, I’m offering — in good faith and at no threat of personal enrichment to myself — assistance in housing people desperate for short forays into sanity.

  2. I have given up on haircuts. My hairdresser, who was very good and very expensive , has gone on walkabout, got rid of his wife and salon and rents a chair here and there. The last place being a bit of a pig sty. Plus he seems to be doing a lot of other things and generally losing his touch. I hate going to Bellingham in the winter, too many people snotting and dripping etc. So haven’t had it cut since last October or so. Then the bloody Covid hit and that was the end of that. Drove me mad for a few months but now is long enough to put up in a ponytail. It stops the hair whipping the eyeballs whilst harvesting!

    One terrible result of this is that I look dreadfully like my mother. I had never realised how much I looked like her until we have ended up with the same hairstyle. Hideously disconcerting considering how much love was lost between us! Not each others favourite people!! But I really cannot go back to trying to find a competent hairdresser here. They are all rubbish, excellent colorists that I don’t do but shockingly bad cutters as so few people wear their hair short. Trimming split ends is all they are good for.

    It feels weird having long hair again after 57 years.
    How I got short hair back in the day was quite amusing. I had incredibly long thick plaits , could sit on them. I was traveling home on the bus from school (upstairs), reading as usual, it was a 40 minute journey out into the country. The bastard boys tied my plaits to the handrail on the seat back behind me. Being so long, I never felt a thing! I came to get up for my stop, and couldn’t, couldn’t even reach the bell to call the conductor. By the time I had disentangled my hair we had reached the bottom of Westerham Hill, the scarp slope of the North Downs. Nothing for it but to walk home across fields and woods for a good three miles, no tracks at all. Whilst getting dark and cold. Good thing I knew it well, dodging scarp springs and quarries as one went. One was seriously unamused as you can imagine, Got home ranting, seized the kitchen scissors and hacked off both plaits at ear level! Looked so ridiculous the old girl was forced to pony up sufficient funds to go to the hairdresser to sort it out! End of hair forever, until now!
    I never did find out which bloody boys did it, they probably thought I would beat them to a pulp, they were right, I would have done so. And they knew I could., one had form! Too much fighting off my brother.

  3. Christopher: You seem to have some real problems with Boris – and I suspect a few other people dealing with the virus! So I have to ask what you would have done differently?

    I quite willingly gave up certain freedoms to get the beastie under control here in Qld, but, apart from the inconvenience of having to sign into a restaurant and not being able to travel interstate or overseas life is pretty much back to normal. I have to own that I really love ‘Social Distancing’ – long, long may it last! I went to one of our bigger shopping malls today – which I rarely go to because it is always so crammed full of people determined to stand on my little piece of ground. It was absolutely wonderful – we all gave way to each other…

    True, Queensland only has a population of some 5m people and, as you know, we mostly don’t live stacked up one upon another – so, since most people here stuck to the rules – the rules were relaxed within a reasonable time. But remembering the days when I lived in Kennington that would be quite hard to do.

    Christina – I loved your story!

  4. Boadicea: I have a problem with the way that some governments have handled the situation, the British included. Had this blasted virus broken out in any other country — in India, in Mexico, in Uganda, etc. we would never have seen a reaction the way we did. The Chinese were not exactly forthcoming and they were most certainly not acting in good faith. Nor, for that matter, were their mouthpieces in the WHO. As such, a calibrated shutdown in Spring was only logical. Frankly, few knew what to expect or how to prepare. The situations in Spain and Italy certainly weren’t comforting, either. But we do know a lot more now. Two factors contributed to northern Italy’s malaise. The first was the very high average age of the population. The second was that northern Italy, at times referred to as the China of Europe, has a relatively high rate of health issues — especially related to long disease. The two don’t make for a good combination in this context. The Spanish situation is also rooted in local conditions. Spanish care homes are infamously overcrowded and understaffed. They are generally privately run, for profit and the Spanish government pays precious little to those in need of long-term care. As such, you can imagine how “difficult” conditions can be. It’s also telling that fatalities were concentrated largely in parts of Castilla-Leon, Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid. Those are areas with higher rates of air pollution and lung disease. Other parts of Spain such as Andalusia and Asturias were not hit hard. Even densely populated Catalonia, although harder hit than many parts of Spain, was not hit nearly as hard as central Spain.

    The UK had — and has — its own set of issues to deal with, issues that would have, inevitably, led the UK to have higher death rates. Part of it, of course, are the twin factors of the UK’s very high population density and the high rate of international traffic. Whatever disease it is, it will spread more quickly in those circumstances. As the horror story that was the 2016/2017 influenza season showed, the UK was simply not prepared for any sort of demic — epi or pan. This cannot be excused. There was a trial run, the government and the NHS failed to learn any lessons. The UK and Republic of Ireland have Europe’s unhealthiest populations. They have the highest rate of obesity. Obesity, along with age and lung-related health conditions, is a leading comorbidity. It should be pointed out that Japan, in spite of its population density and high average age (even higher than Italy’s) suffered only a fraction of the fatalities because of their generally healthy population. So… What would I have done differently? First of all, no excuses. The UK was not prepared. Its care homes were not prepared. If the death rolls in care homes are included in the totals, the UK fares far worse than it already does — and the UK, when adjusted per capita, already does worse than almost any other country. It seems as if the British government would rather do anything than admit that it has been grossly incompetent. (For their part, the Swedes fully admitted to having failed to protect their elderly. They acknowledged that they had overestimated the capacity of care homes to cope and that is why tolls were relatively high in that country. The BBC took it on themselves to write hit pieces about it whilst ignoring the UK’s similar failings)

    Had I been in charge, I would have put travel restrictions in place starting in late January, early February. When the government knew that a new virus with unknown lethality had broken out, it continued to allow flights to land from Wuhan even though China had restricted travel from the entirety of Hubei Province. These passengers were merely handed a leaflet. When central Spain and northern Italy were in the midst of a horrific plague, flights from Milan and Madrid continued to land without so much as a temperature check and very insufficient sanitising stations. This would have bought at least some time. Secondly, I would have made it easier for the vulnerable to shelter. Given them priority GP appointments in a secured setting (fewer people in at a time, increased sanitation, etc), worked with markets to either given vulnerable people priority in grocery deliveries or to allow them to put in orders to pick up in person in advance — and far earlier. I would have similarly worked with care homes to ensure that more resources were available to reduce crowding and increase staffing. Oh, and get people who were positive out of care homes ASAP — better special temporary hospital wards than care homes. That would have helped flatten the curve early on and would have allowed for a more calibrated response. Instead, everything was shut down for far longer than in most places even when it wasn’t really necessary. Instead of having calibrated travel restrictions early on, when it was still relatively unknown but growing quickly, the government instead waited until it had largely been brought under control to enforce arbitrary and senseless restrictions. With the elderly and vulnerable secured, a modified normality could have been allowed for the rest of the population.

  5. Being somewhat cynical, I always thought neglect of care homes was a studied deliberate neglect in an effort to kill off pension receivers!
    Think about it, how much money left to divert to either ‘building the wall’ or keeping illegal wogs (according to which country) rather than give it back to those undeserving souls that had contributed it in the first place!

  6. Toby Young of the Spectator runs this site. https://lockdownsceptics.org/

    I share his scepticism and I suspect Christopher does too. There are several pieces on the effects of False Positive Tests. People are inclined to think that an FP rate of 1% or less is pretty insignificant, but as the article says:
    “To return to Chivers’ case, he agrees that if the incidence of COVID-19 is 0.1%, then a false positive rate of 1% will mean that out of every 10,000 people tested, the test will correctly identify all 10 of those with COVID but will also wrongly positively identify 100 of those who don’t have it. “

  7. Sipu: I recently listened to a speech by Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist. He noted that over 5000 Covid-19 tests from a single company returned false positives. There have been labs in Florida which returned 100% positive results. My mother heard from a nurse in Germany who sent unused tests to a lab and all came back positive. That there is an occasional stuff up is to be expected, especially with new technology and unusually large volumes of tests being sent in at once — especially at the same time. But this is systematic. If this were a disease with a fatality rate akin to that of smallpox or even a haemorrhagic fever it would be excusable, but with bat ‘flu, not so much. We’re talking about 10-90% fatality to 0.2-0.3% fatality. That is within the range of an aggressive strain of influenza. There is also growing anecdotal evidence that having previously contracted other coronaviruses (there are thousands of them in circulation) gives at least partial immunity. The BCG immunisation also minimises the impact on many people.

  8. Christopher & Sipu:

    I suspect that many people (myself included) have problems now with the way various Western countries have dealt with this virus, but I tend to think that most of the criticism is being delivered with the wisdom of hind-sight.

    You are absolutely right – had this ‘blasted’ virus broken out in what the West considers third-world countries all Western governments would have simply wrung their hands, expressed ‘Great Sorrow’, slapped on border controls with those countries and continued merrily on their way…

    As you rightly point out China and their mouth-piece, WHO, were not only not forthcoming and not honest but were downright devious and deceptive.

    I truly believe that, because China gave the impression that they had ‘dealt’ with the problem by immediate and total lockdown, the West followed suit. We, actually, have no idea whether China has even yet eradicated the virus. What care they if a few million of their citizens die to protect China’s reputation?

    I dismiss Sweden whose death rate is high – because they seem to have abandoned their elderly, but that may just be the way I see it.

    You complain about Spanish care homes being run for profit – that is certainly the case in the UK (my mother was in one) and is certainly the case here. The West has abandoned its elderly – and turned them into yet another commodity for Big Business to exploit. So it does not surprise me one bit that the number of deaths among those in care homes has been disproportionately high everywhere.

    I am quite sure that anyone with even an ounce of common sense would have realised that those with ‘underlying medical problems’ would have been more susceptible to the virus… but, knowing that, what could be done? Should we just have shrugged our shoulders and let them die?

    I’m just as unhappy as anyone else about the toll on every aspect of life this virus has taken. And I hope, that with a far better knowledge of how it works, governments everywhere will find more specific ways of keeping it under control, but I really cannot condemn their earlier efforts.

    I may not like the results of the actions Western Governments have taken to control this virus, but I think it laudable that most have tried to do what they could to protect all their citizens – rather than their economies.

    Christopher: I did like your ‘What I would Have done’… because that is virtually what Australia did.

    We shut our borders – and got a lot of criticism from WHO and China… sure a few people got through. But we are an island far away from most of the world and are not the ‘hub’ for anywhere. Europe, especially the UK, doesn’t have that advantage.

    As a Senior Citizens, we were given ‘dedicated’ shopping hours (albeit 7.00 am – 8.00 am) and given priority home delivery services – our two supermarkets hired some additional 25,000 people to deal with home deliveries – but I could get a next-day delivery almost from Day 1. Clearly our super-markets understood the Ozzie market well – I’m still using the facility to get alcohol delivered within an hour of placing an order!

    I can make no comment abut the accuracy of ‘testing’ – I really don’t know.

    I understand that there is anecdotal evidence to show that contracting other coronaviruses may give partial immunity and that the BCG immunisation might also minimise the impact of Covid-19. But, there’s also increasing anecdotal evidence to show that this ‘bat-flu’ leaves people with long-term health issues.

    As for where we go from here:

    Who can say…

    All I want to do is get on a plane next year to go somewhere – anywhere!

  9. Boadicea: When a disease breaks out in, say, Congo or India the Congolese and Indian governments as a rule issue an alert and request that medical experts come in to assist in getting it under control. That allows for the global medical community to advise governments and, if necessary, societies what to prepare for. When Brazil and Mexico had outbreaks(Zika and swine ‘flu), they were transparent about it and that allowed the world to prepare. China did the exact opposite. That is the problem. We didn’t know what we were going to prepare for. As such, there was a not entirely unjustified over-reaction. Better a month-long shutdown than a great plague. It wouldn’t only be hand-wringing, it would have been clear that a more calibrated approach would have been more appropriate than a complete meltdown because there would have been far greater transparency. Obviously, there is no single response. That would not have been the proper course to take. In Germany, Rheinland-Pfalz which was not especially hard-hit had far looser regulations than hard-hit Bavaria. Likewise, Texas has allowed countries with low rates of transmission to carry on largely as per normal, but for hard-hit counties to impose more stringent regulations.

    My issue with how Bonkers the Clown has handled the situation is that it became patently obvious that the meltdown was, however justified at the time, an over-reaction. Even then, he insisted on it being kept for far longer than elsewhere. France and Germany had largely reopened. There was no real threat that the NHS would be overwhelmed. In fact, infinitely more harm was being caused, far more lives were being threatened by denied operations and delayed treatments. Yet Mad Limpcock, I mean, Matt Hancock, just brushed that off. He didn’t, doesn’t, care. I know people who’ve lost their jobs because of this, people who were barely holding their noses above water and, now, they’re seeing their lives utterly destroyed. I spoke with innkeepers. They’ve just about given up. They know that they can’t rely on traffic from Canada, the USA, etc. like they could in the past — but a stream of visitors from the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, etc. would have made a difference. The government has largely ensured that even this modest reprieve for many people in Britain will, in effect, be cut off.

    It wasn’t only Britain. In the USA, this, like virtually everything, has become utterly politicised. In states like Michigan, California and Nevada political considerations are outweighing real needs. The fact that Drongo Dan is trying to effectively suspend habeus corpus in Victoria is terrifying. There is no justification for how much control he has seized away from parliament and how many basic rights he’s stripped from the population. Gladys, with a larger population and a far larger number of returning Australians, has done far better. At the same time, one almost expects that the likes of a Drongo Dan or Andrew Cuomo would get drunk on power and, the fact that they did, wasn’t a shock. But that Bonkers, etc. were so happy to seize control over so much is as much disappointing as it is shocking.

    My life has been trashed by this pandemic. I’m screwed now. Completely screwed. Every single day I get reminded of how badly impacted my life has been by this. I struggle to find any sort of silver lining. I don’t even see much in the way of hope. I doubt there is any.

  10. Yes, Christopher – I have to concede that when a ‘new’ disease breaks out in places like the Congo their Governments immediately ask for help from the ‘Rest of the World’ – and that ‘the Rest of the World’ jumps in to help (while also shutting their doors, etc, etc!!)

    And you are also quite right China did not play by the accepted rules of the game… The Chinese Government may well have thought it ‘Saved Face’ by not disclosing details of its new Plague, but it has alerted the rest of the world as to the true nature of modern China – and China will suffer in consequence.

    No Government anywhere can allow themselves to be overly dependent on trade with a rogue country – especially one that uses trade to punish those countries that they see as questioning them.

    I have no doubt that you have seen what China has done to Australian exporters simply because we asked for an independent review into Covid-19. It may well be that I am now more aware of where my goods come from – but I have already detected a shift from fabrics imported from China to those imported from India in what is, virtually, the only fabric outlet here in Oz. I believe our Government is looking to open us to more trade from India to counteract Chinese influence. Good.

    China may well think that because it has the largest population of any other country it is an invincible Super-Power, but it really needs to understand that the ‘Rest of the World combined’ is far, far bigger than it is. And I suspect (or at least hope) that the Rest of the World has woken up to the aspirations of the New China.

    It’s not just in the UK that people have lost their jobs – or their livelihood. It’s a world-wide problem. Business people on the Gold Coast are screaming just as loudly as any British innkeeper. But, as a Queensland resident I’m well pleased (as I’m sure many UK residents are) that my Government has kept potential virus carriers away from where I live. A ‘stream of visitors’ from infected Europe would be no more welcome than a stream of visitors from ‘infected USA’ or elsewhere. So I don’t blame Boris for keeping them out of the UK.

    I cannot compare Desperate Dan of Victoria to Boris… there are many, many miles of difference between what DD of Vic is facing to the problems Boris is facing. But, I suspect I could talk forever and never convince you – so I’m not going to try.

    With all due respect Christopher, many, many millions all around the world have had their lives ‘screwed’ by this pandemic. Some have died so that they will never have the opportunity to fulfil any dream; others will have lost their present occupations and will have to work hard to achieve other dreams and others, like me, who have to accept that there may not be that much time left for me to do all the things I want to do. And I’m not good at accepting anything I don’t like! But there is a ‘silver lining’ in that this crisis will eventually end.

  11. Boadicea: China’s intentions should have been clear for some time now. China did well under Deng, Jiang and Hu. They were always assertive when it came to their national interest, but they approached economic and foreign affairs in a most even-keeled manner. In the 1990s, they were very amicable and largely inoffensive. There was the occasional moment of sabre-rattling, the Taiwan Straits Crisis, etc. but compared to Russia’s post-Soviet chaos or the US playing bombs away in Somalia, Yugoslavia, etc. it was nothing that really attracted much — if any — real attention. Through Hu Jintao’s terms as president, China was always trying to get the upper hand but it sold itself as a responsible partner. Xi Jinping changed that. Very early on, he kept up that facade. But then, perceiving first Obama’s weakness, cracks in the Western alliance and the deep unpopularity of Trump in much of the world, he arguably started to overplay his hand. It was helped by the fact that many people in power in the West have deep financial interests in China. Much like Germany’s much unmissed former chancellor, Schroeder, quickly buggered off to Russia once he left the Bundestag, many political figures such as Dianne Feinstein, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Keating, Gladys Liu, etc. have all been tied to Beijing directly or indirectly. (In Biden’s case, his son, Hunter, travelled with his father on Air Force 2 to China and conducted business. He also received millions of dollars from the wife of a former Moscow mayor, one of Russia’s few female oligarchs, but that’s beside the point)

    China is in a lot of pain at the moment. Trump’s trade war put them on the spot and his demands for China to very publicly bow to American pressure have given Chinese leaders very little room for manoeuvre. If they bow to even very reasonable Australian or European demands for an independent investigation, it will be seen as kowtowing to the West at a time when even the most basic concessions are politically sensitive in Beijing. I don’t have much sympathy for them. Xi overplayed his hand and acted recklessly. Trump is not to everyone’s taste and his mouth/Twitter account can but even his daughter in an awkward position defending him, but, in substance, he’s not been wrong about this. There has been a lot of noise about a new four-party alliance: Japan, the United States, Australia and India coalescing to check China’s ambitions. Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma and India are quickly setting up alternative economic hubs to make divesting from China easier. Even Taiwan has exploited China’s travails to its advantage. Whilst small, its transparent, world-class industries, economy and political system make a welcoming and refreshing change to China’s increasingly high demands.

    North Queensland is buggered. Much of Queensland was buggered before this. Anastasia Palachook, along with Jackie Trad, did much to disgrace Queensland’s political reputation — not that it ever fully recovered from Jo Bjelke. Youth crime is a major issue and the economy is underperforming even Victoria’s and Victoria is under the boot of restrictions deeper and longer-lasting than even Wuhan. Spending $500,000 of taxpayer funds for poll analysis was in poor taste. As much as I question internal border closers — as much as I like seeing Drongo Dan squirm — (Is Australia a country or not? Does the Commonwealth still exist, or has it, once again, devolved into six squabbling, rival colonies?) there comes a point when asking how far closures should go is necessary. I can understand being wary of aeroplanes full of holidaymakers arriving from Melbourne at the peak of their second wave. I fail to grasp what justification there can be for denying people from the ACT, which has not had a recorded case in over 60 days, the ability to visit a dying parent. I fail to see there being any justification for a nurse from the ACT being escorted to see her father’s remains by the Queensland police as if she were some dangerous felon being permitted one final small act of mercy prior to an appointment with the gallows. Likewise, I feel to see why people living in northern New South Wales should be denied medical treatment in southern Queensland if that is where the nearest hospital is. I was horrified when the parents of a dying baby were denied permission to see their child because they happened to be on the wrong side of the border. But hey, so long as athletes can relax in resorts and Danii Minogue isn’t inconvenienced who cares about a woman recovering from brain surgery being denied medical care or even adequate pain medication whilst imprisoned in conditions that make a California super-max look like Claridge’s… Deb Frecklington largely agrees with Anastasia Palachook on the border, anyway.

    Yes, well… The UK failed spectacularly. Even excluding deaths in care homes from the official statistics, as the UK government has done, the crisis hit the UK harder than the USA — far worse — when adjusted per capita. At this point I find it all terribly comical. The Home Office gets up on its hind legs and bellows about managing the flow of people to and from the UK, but the UK is doing perfectly well in increasing its infection totals domestically. I defer to Anders Tegnell when he argued that travel bans do not make much of a difference as they only buy a week or two, especially at a point in time when we know enough about the disease to at least be able to cope with it. I was sympathetic to a travel ban early in the year. Now, it’s just pointless. There is a bit of hilarity at the moment here. Luxembourg was taken off the government’s “high risk” list last month. Last week, they put it back on that list. However, it is up to state governments to draft laws to that effect. There is only one German state that actually has a border with Luxembourg — Rheinland-Pfalz. The RLP government in Mainz told Berlin to piss off and they’re not enforcing anything in respect to Luxembourg. Comically, Saarland decided to draft laws making life difficult for those few Luxembourgers who bother going there — via Rheinland-Pfalz. I know a Luxembourger who lives in Germany. We joked that a possible solution was to simply erect a wall around Saarland.

    Nota bene, I have precious little sympathy for people who act like morons. One of my mates and I came up with a way of dealing with them. Instead of, say, fining people who throw large, alcohol-fuelled parties a more fitting solution could be tried. As most are teenagers or university students… Require them to do an initial 50 hours of unpaid work. They would need to work only five hours a day, of course. Say, 8 AM-1 PM Saturday and Sunday morning. That way, they could spend their afternoons studying and getting caught up on assignments.

  12. I do enjoy your replies Christopher! You are so well informed that I have to ask if you ever sleep?

    Of course the change in China’s dealing with the rest of the world under Xi Jinping will have been noticed – and have, largely been ignored. But I’m sure that is not just because many ‘important’ people have had a financial stake in China, but that it’s also that, generally, the West does not rock boats.

    I know ‘everyone’ is supposed to hate Trump – but, as an outsider looking in, I am impressed with how he has handled some pretty thorny international problems. If nothing else, he has shown the rest of the world that one really must stand up to bullies… The sooner that countries realise that they must reduce their dependency on China the better.

    I look at the Chinese produced goods in our shops and wonder just what sort of slave-labour can produce them at such ridiculously low prices.

    So let’s come to Queensland…

    There certainly are problems with youth crime in North Queensland – and, having just a few minutes ago watched a program showing the response to vigilantes trying to deal with the problem, it will only get worse. The increase is, apparently, due to repeat offenders… I’m not at all sorry for what I’m going to say- because I truly believe that the ‘modern’ emphasis on finding reasons for bad behaviour and ‘sparing the rod’ does not teach offenders that there are consequences for bad behaviour.

    You quite clearly did not listen to Anastacia’s comments re Jackie Trad – nor see her face. She made it quite quite clear that even tho’ Jackie had escaped ‘legal’ condemnation, she, Anastacia, would be ensuring that Trad would never have any influence in government ever again.

    Indeed, many of us were absolutely appalled by the hotel quarantine of the woman returning after brain surgery,
    … were thoroughly disgusted that several hundreds of footie players (or whatever weird sport they play), their self-entitled spouses and over indulged children were allowed in.
    … p**d off that celebs like Tom Hanks were allowed to self-isolate
    … but not really bothered about the woman who chose to go to Sydney rather than ask for for permission (which would have been given instantly as so many requests are) to visit a Qld hospital to save one of her unborn twins.

    I’m not unhappy that our borders have been shut – and more than a little peeved that other States, such as SA and WA, which also have rigid border controls, have not received the criticism that Qld has.

    As far as banning people from the ACT – quite right. It was a mere 4 hours drive from Canberra to Sydney – Bearsy did it quite regularly rather than take a a plane – and I have no doubt that the road has been much improved since then. The minute it became clear that people from NSW and Victoria were entering Qld via Canberra the doors were shut to the ACT.

    From this side of the world, the whole of Europe seems a mess… I don’t have the patience to compare one country’s reactions to any other. They all look pretty disastrous! All I know is that the travel company, that is hanging on to my very large payment for a European trip earlier this year, will not entice me to visit Europe this year and, probably, not next year either.

    I never doubted that you would find moronic behaviour unacceptable. I like your solution – but, no doubt, there will be those screaming that it is against their ‘human rights’ to impose unpaid labour… another smiley!

  13. I always thought it a great mistake to remove punishment from the public theatre.
    Hanging, flogging, the stocks, drawing and quartering etc all had, no doubt, a salutary effect on the witnessing crowds.
    Should still do it ‘for the encouragement of the others!’

    Perhaps burning at the stake should be in abeyance as it would be terribly smelly and think of the smuts on the laundry. My personal favourite would be hanging politicians from lamposts and leaving them to be picked by the crows, old style. Splendid stuff.

    Surrendering corporal punishment was the biggest idiocy ever. One of the reasons I sent the boy to boarding school, they still beat the little bastards when the state schools had gone touchy feely snowflakery. Needless to say he grew up perfectly behaved.
    The human race is definitely on the downhill slope, no doubt the cockroaches will do a damn sight better in due course.

  14. Certainly something must be done about the two hundred odd students at the so-called university of Coventry who got together for a rave. They have demonstrated that they are not intellectually fit for higher education since they have no brain cells. So send them home, close the university and never let them apply again – not even for your favourite course, Christina – Bessarabian clog dancing. Road sweeping would be about their level.

  15. Boadicea: Fair enough, vis-a-vis Queensland. Steven Marshall, Mark McGowan, Peter Gutwein and, for that matter, Michael Gunner haven’t been any more flexible or less capricious than Anastasia Pala-what’s it. Gladys Berejiklian has been less so, but she’s had more than enough stuff-ups so she shouldn’t be given a free pass, either. The abortion debacle, Ruby Princess Fiasco and the battle of egos between John Barilaro and Matt Kean haven’t been exactly edifying, either. The less said about Drongo Dan the better. I do find it amusing that he might well be hoisted on his own petard. The collective amnesia of his ministry vis-a-vis the hotel prison fiasco is almost comical. After all, his union mates pressed him to create an industrial manslaughter law. His incompetence as well as the incompetence of Jenny Mikakos would, potentially, qualify as grounds to receive a prison sentence! As one of my mates who lives in Victoria has reminded anyone who will listen every day this week, more people in Victoria have died as a result of their arrogance and incompetence than Australians died in the Vietnam War.

    I also take your point about the ACT. Jeanette Young is not always the most eloquent of speakers. When pressed about the issue, as well as the double standards, she’s sometimes come off as dismissive and callous. Even if she might have had a point, that was sidelined. People living in the Victorian and NSW border regions have had their lives thrown into chaos just as much as those living on the NSW/QLD border.

    The situation in Europe isn’t actually that bad. Yes, cases have done up quite a bit in many countries but hospitalisations and deaths remain relatively low. Transmission has largely been among young, healthy people who have very, very low mortality rates and who rarely suffer long-term health problems as a result. Pollies play their games every now and again, but they’re not generally taken that seriously any more. Jens Spahn, the German health minister, is wagging his finger at people returning from holiday in Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Netherlands, etc. and making random threats of fines but people are increasingly wagging one of two fingers back — guess which ones I’m referring to. In reality, it’s almost impossible to enforce. For example, I’m planning on going with Viking-type chum to Andalusia in January/February. Living in a border region, I’ll fly from Luxembourg. Germany has squandered away every last ounce of goodwill that Luxembourg had for Germany. The grand ducal police aren’t going to do the German federal police any favours, not after how Germany treated Luxembourg and Luxembourgers this year. At least in Rheinland-Pfalz, there’s almost no enforcement of the barely-extant laws regulating cross-border travel. As for the regulations as to what I’m supposed to do, well, good luck to them. My German has decayed to the point that I’m barely able to hold a conversation about cheese and coffee, much less understand complicated legalistic German. Few people bother to check any more since the regulations are constantly changing, anyway.

  16. Sheona: Mindlessness is part of youth. Most of us have done all sorts of things that weren’t exactly brilliant in our youth and I see no reason to ruin lives because of youthful indiscretions. If there is one thing I’ve come to disdain about contemporary life it’s the culture of destruction. I do, however, believe that there must be consequences for mindless behaviour. Fees are greedy and they impact students from poor backgrounds far harder. What is a thousand quid to the Callum or Emma, the son/daughter of upper-middle class professionals? They probably spend that much monthly on bubble tea and manicures. No, make Callum and Emma pick up rubbish. The French letters they find behind a park bench where a rave was might be the only letters, French or otherwise, they are ever exposed to.

  17. Now 770 “mindless” students at Northumbria University have tested positive for Covid. Wonder how many of them are Emmas or Callums, who have every right to be just as stupid as students from poorer backgrounds. Not one of your better posts, Christopher, especially the bubble tea and manicures.

  18. Sheona: My point is not that stupidity should be better tolerated from poorer students. My point is that issuing fines hurts poorer students more than it hits upper-middle class students. The better-off can just pay a fine and those who grew up with a profound sense of entitlement won’t change much as a result. However, that same fine could be the difference between having to take leave for a term for those who struggle month to month. If they’re both given a non-monetary penalty that is unpleasant, but reasonable and makes the point, someone might learn something.

  19. I am with you on the matter of punishments, Christopher. Fines are simply not a just solution, unless the Finnish system is applied, where the fine is a proportion of wealth. But even that has its flaws. In this age of Social Media, I believe that the most effective deterrent is public humiliation. Have these people pick up litter and perform other civic tasks and have videos of their doing so posted on social media.
    I see two problems though. The first being that governments, whether national or regional, do not wish to forego the revenue streams that fines generate and the second being that misattributed sanctity of so called human dignity, a term that resides comfortably in my menagerie of pet hates.

    I have always felt that public opinion has always been a more effective deterrent than more conventional methods of punishment such as imprisonment or fines. I recall in the UK during the late seventies and early eighties when authorities were beginning to crack down on drink driving. It was not the threat of police action that stopped people from driving under the influence, it was the scorn of their community that prevented them from doing so.

  20. Sipu: I’m very cynical. In the past I would have been more sympathetic to a standard fine, but I have seen things over the past years that have changed my mind. I saw California’s most recent severe drought at the height of summer. I saw reservoirs so low that you could almost see the bottom. You could certainly see the remnants of trees, large boulders, etc. that had been underwater since before my parents were born. Normal people, people who couldn’t afford the fine, were diligent about cutting back use. Lawns went brown, water-consuming plants were ripped up and water was recycled. Bath water was used in gardens, people cut back showers to one per day and for no more than maybe 5-8 minutes. Then there were those living in tone parts of LA who routinely ignored restrictions. So what if they had to pay a few thousand dollars a month in fines? It meant nothing to them. At a time when society is stressed enough as it is, a system of penalties that allows people to buy their way out of responsible behaviour only spreads resentment.

    Even the Finnish system has its short-comings. As uni students, with few exceptions, have attained their majority their finances are considered separate from their parents and even though they are often subsidised by their parents, their notional income remains low. So what if they’re fined a few hundred quid? Mummy and daddy will pay it and the next party will carry on, laissez les bons temps rouler! Very good point about public scorn. As people no longer feared judgement, standards imploded.

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