May 24: never mind people, isn’t boris Johnson rubbish!

There are a range of techniques involved in avoiding questions in the five o’clock session where ministers do their level best to boast and say nothing to the public. Here’s one. When the journalist asks you a specific question starting, say, can you say when Dominic Cummings was in Durham in lockdown with his wife and child?, you say: What I can say is…and say something irrelevant. This is the What I can say response. The What I can say response proves you can say things, even though they may not be apposite. This is communications technique number one, right out of the Dominic Cummings manual. No wonder he is so indispensible. Technique number two is when you repeat the question in more detail and with greater rhetoric.This is called Just repeat the question, also from the communications manual. Question: Is it one law for the politicians and one law for the rest of us? Answer: Very good question. Is it one requirement for the members of the political elite who, even though they make up the rules (double Boris fist clench) don’t seem to feel that the rules apply to them, whereas the ordinary people of this country who have done a sterling job self-isolating to keep the R rate beloe one, which is what we all have to do, and this is the most important thing and something which will dictate how quickly we can get back to normal and drive to places like Durham. Very good question. The next question is from the Bradford Times. The quality of response from the politicians, including Lizard in a Suit (Dominic Raab) and the Whey-faced Loon (Hancock) and Boris himself do not even deserve to be called casuistic, as that would imply a certain complex skill. In what the French call Le five o’clock the UK cabinet is rubbish.

May 20: lumberjacks all

Do you, like so many others, spend your working life logging? I recently made a complaint to my local council about the noise emmanating from a substation close to my flat. They eventually sent me a reponse and triumphantly announced that my complaint had been logged. My question as to whether they were going to do anything about it was greeted with disbelief. Was it not enough that it was logged in that great log-book in the virtual heavens? The power company have also logged my complaint. We have a record of your earlier complaint, they told me, it has been logged. Would you like to make another complaint? I considered for a moment. What would that mean? I asked, a mere innocent in all matters of logging. They are the experts after all; it was right I ask their advice on the matter. It would mean we log it again. Yippee! Double logging. Let’s go for it. Do you log? I am often asked to log at work for an imaginary day of reckoning. You know, I could always log something I haven’t done. Has that occurred to anyone? Does lgging get anything done? Probably not. Does it do any harm? Possibly. It stands in for doing something but protects you against legal action maybe. We are all lumberjacks these days.

May 3: the evolution of the queue

The great British queue is evolving. They have always prided themselves on queueing, the British. It has been part of their self-identifying story, like the stiff upper lip and keeping calm and pulling together in difficult times, all stuff that feels increasingly like nonsense and no more than a dossier of propaganda  pulled out of the hat for political purposes every so often. And so it is with queues. But the coronavirus queue reveals new  baroque strands. Outside the supermarket you have the two metre distance queue and the man who lets the gap grow. So that you are standing two metres behind a man watching a TV show on his phone who lets his gap grow to eight metres. This gives rise to anxiety in queue-ers like yoursef. When you turn a corner the strand of the queue could be lost. New people could slip in. You could be lost, become a mere pedestrian and not a queue-er, all that queue-time effaced, eradicated. And, in any case, you look forward to moving up in the queue. The moment you all shuffle forward. It’s one of the highlights of your day. What is this man’s motivation  for letting the gap grow in front of him? Is he oblivious? Is he a queue snob, refusing to recognize the strict regulations of queue culture, a queue libertarian? Is queueing beneath him? Does he see himself above the queue? He is like a car in a traffic jam that refuses to push along when the traffic creeps forward. What’s the rush? you might say. The traffic jam isn’t going anywhere. But no, there are streets that feed into the traffic jam and cars that insinuate themselves into the line and so take your place. Leaving a gap in a queue is never a harmess venture. When you vaunt your relaxation and casualness, your anti-queuenesss, what happens is that others pay.