I assume that these travellers are people who need to go to work. People without whom the place would grind to a halt.

So why has Transport for London shut tube stations and reduced the number of trains?

What it means, of course, is that fewer drivers/guards are required, which saves them risking their health and I can appreciate and salute that.

But it also means that people (essential workers remember, many of them medical staff) are packed in like sardines into the small carriages and on the platforms, and any chance of 2 metres between people is laughable.


  1. And why aren’t the level of precautions around the country scaled in proportion to the actual local incidence level? What is perfectly justified for high incidence dense urban areas, London in particular, may be ridiculous overkill over large areas of the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is not nearly enough testing being done, there’s a time lag between becoming infected and becoming ill, and maybe half of all people who become infected will be asymptomatic but still shedding large quantities of virus – and it’s extremely contagious. So we don’t know at this point how many people are infected, or who, and we cannot say how many people are going to become ill just because no one seems to be ill right now.

      So we all need to behave as if we have the disease and don’t want to give it to anyone else.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I just heard from one of my two foster-sons – the musician – that because of the coronavirus Kenya is under curfew from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Kenyan police being who they are, if you break curfew you are likely to be (a) beaten up; (b) extorted for any money you have on you; or (c) both.

    The death rate in Kenya and other poor countries is likely to be far higher than in economically advanced countries – Germany, for example, is much better supplied with ICU beds / ventilators than even the UK is generally; I suspect / expect Scotland is better equipped than the rUK in those, but I lack solid data. I don’t know how many ICU beds and ventilators they have in Kenya’s public hospitals, but I do know that there will be very few indeed – if any.

    It occurs to me too that even if people in our less accessible places in Scotland, in the Highlands and on the islands, say, are less likely to get the disease, the consequences of getting it are likely to be worse as health care resources are thinner on the ground too, more easily overwhelmed, and may well take longer to get to as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The concentration of people in a Capital where all the administration is concentrated is a sitting duck to such infections.

      If these viral pandemics are to become the norm a complete rethink of our defence is needed.

      Trident is pretty efficient at killing viruses but the collateral damage is the problem.

      So, all the wasted money on big bombs needs to be spent on pandemic defences and resilience.

      Somewhere here is a film script based on a World degraded by viral pandemics where some nutter like Trump decides to take out a Wuhan type breeding ground with the last functioning nuclear weapons available.

      We are furked

      Rubbish start to the day, eh.
      B Le P

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah… one of the many disturbing features of the authoritarian mindset is to perceive threats everywhere, in a kind of institutionalised paranoia. Thus a world wasting unimaginable amounts of its efforts and resources on projecting military force and aggression. Whether it’s sabre-rattling or willy-waving, or gunboat diplomacy and peace at the end of a gun, it’s an instance of / response to some sort of psychopathology in a State’s leadership, with the constant risk of an escalating cycle of violence.

        When kids show aggressive, violent tendencies we try to do something about it. When crazy,power-mad, blood-and-soil nationalistic, fu*cked-up politicians f*uck up, we train up teenage / young adult men (usually men) to more effectively deal out death and suffering to other people.

        As so many have said for so long, wars will end when men refuse to fight.

        Liked by 6 people

          1. Eggzsackly! Trump is a prime example. From Mohamed Suharto to Mobuto Sese Seko, from Ferdinand Marcos to Slobodan Milošević, the story’s always the same.

            I have never understood why, when people who fill their homes with junk and old newspapers, or have 55 cats and catshit all over their floors and furniture are considered at least a bit peculiar, people who acquire vast sums of money, more than any mortal can spend in a lifetime, are widely regarded as role models to be looked up to.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Ah yes. The seven cardinal sins.

              Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.

              Odd, isn’t it, how so many to those who proclaim themselves Christian, seem to practise so many of these deadly sins.

              No, of course, the ones you mention, Ed.

              But many others.

              Trump is a good start, and then of course, Rees Mogg comes to mind…certainly with the greed!

              Liked by 1 person

        1. I think that the “white feather”, “coward”, “traitor” labels over the centuries have forced mainly men, as you say, into a situation where they HAVE to fight “for King and country”

          I wonder if the more modern attitudes will change that.

          I can’t imagine a country where, men and now women, would be conscripted to serve in the military.

          But I’m hearing this morning that virtually everything that has been planted will not be picked because imported labour will not be available.

          I’m wondering if they will conscript people to harvest fruit and vegetables. At least, hopefully, they won’t be killing anyone.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Tris: “I can’t imagine a country where, men and now women, would be conscripted to serve in the military.”

            AHA!!!…..a golden on-topic opportunity to talk about conscription. 😉

            Conscription is a pet peeve (one of many.) The first peacetime draft in American history was initiated by FDR in 1940. It was part of the preparations for war which FDR promised Americans that they would never be drawn into. This was a shamefully self-serving bald faced lie that he told isolationist America in order to win reelection in 1940. (Not his finest hour.) Then after WWII, the American military behemoth maintained itself on the involuntary servitude (AKA “slavery”) of countless young men compelled by the continuing peacetime draft to serve the American military at below market labor rates.

            To their eternal shame, for more than 25 years, post-WWII American parents gave up their sons to peacetime conscription, apparently out of some hideously misguided sense of patriotism, and the bizarre notion of fathers who had been drafted into wartime service that military life would be “good for them.” That sort of madness evaporated with the lives of more than 50,000 young American dead in the meat grinder of Vietnam, and the lies of Lyndon Johnson, Bob McNamara, and evil incompetent Pentagon generals. Richard Nixon abolished the draft and finally required that a voluntary American military machine maintain itself by paying free market labor rates and competitive employment benefits for its manpower needs.

            We still hear the occasional pontificating gasbag politician spouting gibberish about how some form of mandatory national service should be established to instill an (involuntary) sense of national pride and patriotism in the young. In America, people who spout such rubbish are generally considered to be part of the lunatic fringe.

            Europe seems to be another matter. In Europe (from a disapproving American perspective,) there is the spirit of democratic socialism which involuntarily compels by force of law various forms of individual human behavior in service of the government’s view of the greater public good. Democratic socialism is fertile ground for conscription of the young into various programs of national service and/or military conscription. The article below, from a couple of years ago, describes a French program as follows:

            “The draft is slowly coming back in vogue in Europe.
            Last week, France joined the growing number of European countries reintroducing mandatory national service.
            By bringing back national service, the French government hopes to promote social cohesion and foster and sustain a more active sense of citizenship.
            There are good reasons to start a national service: France has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Europe, with a quarter of French young people unemployed. And growing discontent may be driving those young people to support populism and the far right.”

            So there we have it. A French government program to involuntarily promote “social cohesion” and a “sense of citizenship.” Plus a youth employment program, along with a touch of government sponsored political engineering to boot. Democratic socialism run amok! The sort of thing that in the States would only be encountered among the far left nutters of what may be called the Democratic Republic of California. 😉


            Liked by 1 person

            1. I am very much against it, Danny.

              It went on here until the early 60s.

              And of course there are people here who think that it would be good for discipline if people were made to do National Service.

              In some European countries young people do some sor to f National Service, but that may mean working with old people or youth or some other service to the country.

              I’m against both. To be honest, if you want someone to “love” their contry, then make it a decent place to live, and pay people the going rate to work with youth and old people and whatever.

              To force people into the military is just incredible to me.

              To be made to stand to attention and sing god save the queen? I think not. But to be made to train to kill people seems like all the wrong kinds of madness to me.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Tris……I agree! I’m in favor of national service programs for people who wish to voluntarily participate in such programs. But government-mandated national service programs? Never!

                Switzerland of all places has a military draft. It was supported by 73% of the electorate in a 2013 referendum. The MILITARY needs of SWITZERLAND couldn’t be financed at free market labor rates? Makes me think that the Swiss have some “strange” that they haven’t even used yet. 😉


                Liked by 2 people

                1. Ah well, Switzerland is perhaps a little weird to some of us, but, in the end, Danny, it’s almost always what the bulk of the Swiss population wants, and that I am all for.

                  Referenda are held Nationally, Cantonally and my uncle who lived and worked there for many years said that they even have town and village referenda.

                  That way what ever isdecided usually has a large measure of success.

                  It wouldn’t suit me. But in many other ways I’d love to live in Switzerland.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Tris…..I agree! By all accounts the Swiss have gotten it right when it comes to government. Unlike so many European nations, they do not maintain an ancient monarchy, which (except for the English) try to appear relevant in the modern world by eschewing the medieval trappings of royalty. Wiki describes Switzerland as a “federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party parliamentary directorial republic.” This gives rise to the use of referenda from the federal level on down.

                    That seems to check most of the right boxes. The MOST important requirement that a modern nation state should have is IMHO a written constitution containing a bill of rights which guarantees minority individual human rights against the will of a democratic majority. Switzerland seems to meet that requirement too. It has a federal constitution with human rights guarantees, and the Cantons have sovereignty within the federal system with their own constitutions. Or so Wikipedia tells me. 😉

                    On the matter of conscription however, there is an Article in the Swiss constitution that specifies: “Every Swiss is under the obligation to perform military service.” I suppose the Swiss can be forgiven the mistake of enshrining involuntary military servitude in constitutional law, since at least they didn’t join the other European powers which gave us World Wars I and II within a span 25 years of the twentieth century.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I thought you might be interested in this link, Danny.


                      It’s not something I would care to have to do, but I can understand why it is there.

                      Doing military training isn’t, of course, initially, to prepare for war as the Swiss don’t get involved in wars that have nothing to do with them, for example to protect their oil interests.

                      These may also be of interest.



                      Liked by 1 person

              1. Ed……That’s an interesting viewpoint, and you certainly know more about the the politics of the European governments than I do.
                While governments of all stripes have always been willing to draft young men into military service to go die for their country, I would have thought that the socialist instinct to use the force of law to subvert individual human freedom to what is perceived as the greater public good would be the driving philosophical force behind the modern, politically correct, form of conscription, all dressed up in “national service” clothing. The French example I quoted seems to have been a Macron campaign promise.

                The older generation and the governments they elect always want to force feed their young a good dose of “patriotic” propaganda and whip them into a shape that conforms to the national orthodoxy. This was easier in the old days when the government always had a new war to fight, and a conscription system could be justified as a matter of overwhelming national military necessity. Today, world wars are far less fashionable and national survival is seldom at stake. So governments have to promote “national service” as the justification du jour for compulsorily remaking the young in the national mold.

                In the USA, the military slavery system worked for a long time after WWII, as the politicians and generals whipped up “patriotic” fear and loathing among the American people for Joe Stalin and the Cold War Soviet empire. It took tens of thousands of deaths of young conscripted soldiers in a war in Vietnam without the slightest existential threat to the United States to finally put an end to the military draft. With any luck, the gibberish about compulsory national service for the young will never gain traction in the USA. The picture painted by the advocates of national civilian service is always of young people helping the poor and the sick in hospitals and nursing homes. Working in distressed urban areas and libraries are also popular images that are evoked. That’s a fine thing to do, but it doesn’t justify involuntary servitude. Volunteer for such work if that appeals to you, but otherwise suggest to hospitals and nursing homes and cities and libraries that they pay free market salaries to the people who work for them. That was finally what the American military was forced to do.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Allow me a bit of devil’s advocacy here, Danny.

                  Let me elaborate on what I said just now about right-wing governments and national service: the kind of national service which I had in mind is the militaristic kind. However, the kind of national service practised in modern Europe is not just / not only / not even that; even on the military side, the emphasis is more on peacekeeping than waging war. There have been no wars between EU States since WWII, the longest period of peace this part of the globe has known, and military power in EU States is not something most of us want or need to see being used against each other. For most of us, it is pretty much unthinkable, if not unimaginable.

                  The significant difference between the draft in the US during the Vietnam war and compulsory national service in Latvia now is that whereas America’s vital interests were (as you said) not directly threatened, Putin’s Russia is notoriously aggressive, at war against Ukraine, and has annexed Crimea in a flagrant breach of international law. The Latvians – indeed, the Lithuanians and the Estonians as well – are right to feel that they are faced with an existential question: Russia keeps trying to occupy them and take them over! Also, with the Mango Mussolini in charge in the US, no European State / NATO member can rely on America to come to its aid if it is attacked. None of America’s vital interests were at stake in the Vietnam war; the same can be said of the US / UK adventures in the Near East, into which other EU States / NATO member States were drawn more and less reluctantly – or refused point blank. So, when it comes to militarism, the worst offenders in our two corners of the globe are the US and the UK – and of course Putin’s Russia.

                  “Democratic socialism” is not a phrase which strikes terror into the heart of most (EU) Europeans (I believe) because we see it as the antithesis of and a bulwark against authoritarianism of both left and right – against the cults of Mammon and Marx, to be flip about it. The “socialism” part of it is not confiscatory State capitalism as practised in the old USSR, which was so easily replaced by the gangster capitalism of Putin’s Russia and its robber-baron oligarchs. Rather, it is an expression of social solidarity and an antidote to social Darwinism in that it gives people positive rights and freedoms: freedom from the fear of bankruptcy if you need treatment for cancer, freedom from fear of destitution in old age, freedom to pursue your own life goals plus the wherewithal to do it… and like all things human, really, it’s a work in progress.

                  We could make the unpaid conscript argument against compulsory education, I suppose: nobody pays kids to go to school… Nowadays, national service in the EU States is often – even generally – a form of continuing education, with military service being only one of many options. Also, the people doing it are in fact paid, not just fed, housed and clothed. It is not modern slavery. Incidentally, military and national service is often absurdly easy to get out of, which makes it next best thing to voluntary anyway – I rely here on anecdotal evidence from a Dutch friend of mine: you don’t even have to get a doctor’s note saying you have bone spurs.

                  The “social cohesion” aspect of it which you mentioned is a bit high-falutin’, really, which is kinda typical of the French way of putting things … when you have high youth unemployment, getting late teenagers and young adults out of the house (particularly if they are in abusive homes), active in the community, learning as they go, socialising them – in the sense of enabling them to live in the wider society – and keeping them warm, fed, clothed and paid while they do it – is far preferable to letting them sink into the anomie, addiction and despair of blighted lives on the dole, stuck at home in sometimes intolerable circumstances, or thrown out to live on the streets.

                  One of the Russian words for despair is безысходность – beziskhodnost’, whose roots break down into without-exit-ness. No way out… i.e., despair, frustration, the sense that one’s situation is inescapable. We have rather a lot of that in Scotland; the national powerlessness and self-esteem-sapping Cringe feed down to too many of our young people. The kind of national service practised in the modern European democracies is not so much a way of training up young people to more effectively kill other young people who have been trained up to more effectively kill other young people who have been… as a way out enforced idleness, to give them the sense of engagement which is necessary to their psychological wellbeing, and to train them up to do things which they may find useful later in their economic and social lives as well. Nowadays, “national service” – as practised in Europe – has more to do with service to others rather than to the State, a way for people to actualise themselves, to give them an opportunity to explore their potential rather than turning them into cannon-fodder.

                  “Democratic socialism” is in opposition to the atheism and nihilism of free-market capitalism – think “Freedom Caucus” – and the nihilism and atheism of Marxist “Iron Fist” socialism, both of which are dismally economic at root. There is a lot more to life than the acquisition of economic wealth. People’s net worth rather to often has less than nothing to do with the scale of their value to their societies. And even though the ideas of liberal democracy and democratic socialism are humanist rather than religious in inspiration, as are the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, isn’t service to others a fundamental tenet of Christianity (and other religions)? What is faith without works…

                  National service of the non-militaristic kind is as like to national service of the cannon-fodder kind as Scottish civic nationalism is to British / English exceptionalist, blood-and-soil nationalism: they are pretty much diametrically opposed. In the UK, we have a volunteer army, but one that is controlled by an aggressive, militaristic regime – and for many young people there is no alternative if they want a job that comes with training.

                  I’m sure I could have argued that better, but I’m a touch weak and feeble today. I shall shut up now.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. Thanks Ed! A masterful discussion of the issue as usual!

                    I don’t really disagree with any particular point you made, but neither am I wildly enthusiastic about your conclusions. It may just be an American thing. I have a libertarian perspective which views the socialistic impulse of sacrificing a certain amount of individual human freedom in service of the greater public good to be right up there with a broken leg. In particular, I KNOW that the individual has a MUCH better idea about how to live his life than do the bureaucrats of a welfare state…..however SURE those governments are that they know a better way, and however sure they are that they can provide resources that will facilitate individual welfare. The devil’s bargain of course is that the individual surrenders some of his personal freedom to the state. I’ll freely admit that the French gibberish about promoting “social cohesion” and a “sense of citizenship” (if that’s what Macron or some French politician actually said or thought) makes me want to puke.

                    For me, the conscription matter is black and white and has no shades of gray. As I’ve said so many times, compulsory service to the state in ANY capacity, however well-intentioned are the goals of the state, is by definition involuntary servitude and therefore LITERAL slavery. It is evil to the core and cannot be justified for ANY reason, whether in terms of military service, or in order to take advantage of employment training programs (for example.) If the state wants to offer opportunities to its citizens that they cannot obtain by individual effort, then let the state offer it to them on a voluntary basis. But welfare states don’t work that way. Their default position is that the state knows better than their own citizens how they should live their lives. They COULD offer employment training (for example) for young people on a voluntary basis, but the welfare state bureaucrat just KNOWS that individuals will not do the RIGHT thing and accept it. So it will be forced on him……GOOD AND HARD! Welfare state socialists are social planners to the core, and heaven help any citizen of the state who gets in their way.

                    OK, maybe I’m coming down just a bit too hard on European governments which (maybe) really do have good intentions. I could probably live with a bit of well-intentioned social planning welfare statism, as long as it doesn’t involve the slavery of compulsory national service as a core component. But I’m yet to be convinced that the Europeans have actually become the peace loving humanitarians that the EU advertises. I tend to doubt that they’ve actually changed very much from the old days, when rivers of blood flowed across Europe in more than a thousand years of unending nationalistic warfare.

                    BUT it’s been 75 years since the end of WWII. Surely we can be confident that THAT was the end of it? Well NO! It’s in fact only been about 20 years since the Yugoslav Wars……old fashioned European warfare which began right where WWI began, and came complete with genocide and crimes against humanity. And now I see stories about the political resurgence of right wing European nationalism. So I figure it’s at best a 50-50 thing, and don’t yet trust Europe’s much ballyhooed humanitarian intentions. As for the reverse viewpoint, Europe’s famously superior attitude toward the violent uncultured “warlike” Americans, I’ll let the laughter from the galleries take care of the kettles calling the pot black. 😉 )

                    BTW, you might be interested in the story of “Project 100,000” (AKA McNamara’s Folly, McNamara’s Morons, or McNamara’s Misfits.) (Robert McNamara ran the Vietnam War as Secretary of Defense and should have been hanged…..along with Lyndon Johnson.) While this story from the Vietnam draft days did not involve the purest of governmental intentions, it does show what can happen when governments decide to use conscription as a social welfare program.


                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. PS: A small correction…….

                      On a practical level, I probably can’t defend my statement about conscription being unacceptable on ANY level. When the very life of the state is at risk, as was the case in WWII, very few people would question the necessity of military conscription. In America, while the peacetime draft of 1940 was controversial, (as it should have been at the time when taken in historical context,) an argument can be made that it was a necessary response to a future existential threat that emerged at the end of 1941. The remaining problem of how one balances the right to life of individual human beings against the life of the state remains an issue for world class philosophers to debate.

                      An existential threat to the state seems to be the defining issue. In the States, in 1973, when conscription had become a source of cannon fodder for the Vietnam war that was no conceivable existential threat to the USA, public support for the military draft that had been in place for 33 years evaporated.

                      As for conscription for involuntary civilian service to the state which is (for example) defended as a social program that will “HELP” the youth in some way……this is the stuff of social planning touchy feely leftist politicians that would cause most Americans (like myself) to roll their eyes. It will however surely find fertile ground among welfare state Europeans.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Thanks, Danny; interesting as usual! I’m not at my best right now, so I’ll restrict myself to agreeing that European human nature has not changed since WWII, but that’s because human nature hasn’t changed anywhere. What we do have here in Europe is institutions which we didn’t have before: there has been no war within the EU since its inception. The genocidal war in the former Yugoslavia was appalling, and the result of the kind of right-wing populism and authoritarianism of criminal bastards like Slobodan Milošević coupled with ethnonationalistic war criminals like Ratko Mladić, and all the others who were tried in The Hague. Vile people. But Yugoslavia wasn’t in the EU.

                      Currently, the countries which are worrying me most within the EU are Poland and Hungary. In Hungary in particular, the coronavirus pandemic is being used as an excuse to curtail civil liberties. It should be noted that the right-wing, fascistic governments in charge in those two countries are the beneficiaries of the same sort of electoral interference as Putin inflicted (and continues to inflict) on the US, with continuing support also in the form of dark money to extreme right-wing groups. Putin sees it as being in his interests (not Russia’s or Russians’ interests, oh no) to foment hatred and division in the EU and America, and the rise of the authoritarian right. Fertile ground for the kind of gangster capitalism of oligarchs such as Putin, Deripaska, Trump…

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. Ed…..Thanks much for the feedback. Interesting and informative as usual! Your comments about Poland and Hungary made me think that the old Soviet block states have not done very well with the opportunity they had to form respectable democratic governments. Strong man regimes are an unfortunate result. Putin is doing his mischief as you say.

                      My peevishness about Europe and Europeans probably has something to do with far left wing European politics I’ve seen which identifies Putin as a patriotic Russian, doing what he can do to protect Mother Russia from domination by the USA through its preeminence in NATO. And then there were left wing groups (some years back) who received presumably serious attention from European media as they held press conferences demanding that the President of the United States immediately surrender himself at the Hague to be tried as a war criminal. This is laughable nonsense of course, but more seriously, my feeling then and now is that “war criminal” is a term that, whatever its technical definition, has been forever co-opted by the likes of Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot and Milosevic. I’m not pleased to see the term thrown around as a political tactic directed against British Prime Ministers and American Presidents. Whatever they are, they are not Hitler, etc, and one can pursue an anti-war political agenda without invoking the emotional, over-the-top war crime label to the people currently in charge of legal governmental policy in democratic countries.

                      As for Trump, although the upcoming presidential election has been more or less forgotten in the media’s pandemic reporting, it would take an act of Congress, with both the Democratic House and the Republican Senate agreeing, to postpone its date in November. That won’t happen. So the election will go on, probably with many states adopting postal voting. The totally botched federal response to the pandemic crisis has almost surely weakened Trump politically…….his cult-like status among right wing Republican crazy people notwithstanding. So maybe we stand a chance of soon being rid of him.

                      Sorry to hear that you are feeling so poorly. As for the coronavirus, the best protection is simply social isolation it seems. That’s what we are doing. So take care! All my best!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Thanks, Danny! Same to you… stay safe, stay away from all those putrid sinks of infection formerly known as other human beings…

                      I’m not up to bending anyone’s ear further right now, so I shall go back to looking for a 2m bargepole to fend off any other putrid sink of infection who attempts to come in my door.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    5. LOL Ed……You have the right idea as regards visitors at your door. All the restaurant dining rooms are closed here, but many are offering take-out. Presumably the disease is not known to be carried by food, or even packaging if you take reasonable handling precautions and wash your hands. But that leaves the face to face contact to get the food. So the places that do delivery……especially the pizza joints…….are offering no-contact delivery. Assuming you’ve given them a credit card number and no cash transfer is required, they just leave the package at your door. Then you can get it after they have left. 🙂

                      Thanks for the good wishes. Take care!

                      Liked by 2 people

              2. I would have said that, Ed, but Finland and Sweden both appear to have it, and France has reintroduced it.

                OK France maybe sort of rightish, but certainly by UK standards, Finland and Sweden are to the left.

                Liked by 1 person

                    1. I forgot to mention – having a bit of a military is also a useful sop for the usual swivel-eyed, paranoiac, authoritarian right-wing types with control issues whose brain wiring sees threats everywhere. The presence of people in (the right sort of) uniforms soothes and appeases them, like giving a baby its bottle.

                      Liked by 1 person

                1. It occurred to me later that your “by UK standards” puts just about every other government in Europe to its left – we’re so frog-boiled in our view of the Westminster regime / English Government that we sometimes forget just how far-right they are. Left of Poland and Hungary, though. I haven’t looked at all the other EU States recently, but I do know that the current Slovak Government is kinda rightish, but nothing like England’s. Slovakia is Hungary’s neighbour, of course, as is Austria, so your useless fact of the day is that the Slovak capital, Bratislava, is called Pressburg in German and Pozsony in Hungarian. Oh yes – it was actually the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary at one point too.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Another useless fact is that I’ve always wanted to go to Bratislava, but somehow I’ve never made it there.

                    As a kid I used to watch Cold War movies, and it’s surprising how often Bratislava figured.


                    1. I worked in Vienna for a couple of years, and of course Bratislava is just down the Danube. When a couple of friends of mine came over from Scotland to visit and have a holiday, we took a day trip down the river by hydrofoil… very fine, we had a very smart and interesting guide – we had a beer with her and her husband after the official tour was done – and then we went to I can’t remember where, exactly, but they had the most amazing Gobelin tapestries: quite wonderful.

                      My memory is a bit vague on this, but we also hooked up with a Slovak lass who showed us round some of the Local Colour – and very fine it was too. I’d have liked to reciprocate by taking her up to Vienna – this was on the Saturday – but of course, that was impossible. She looked so sad when we left her at the quayside. That’s when it struck me that when you don’t let people leave, they can never know the joy of coming home.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Oh, that is sad.

                      Hydrofoils are fun. I went from Umaga in Croatia to Venice on one. What a trip.

                      I was in Budapest a few years ago and of course, its a relatively short train ride away, but there was so much to do in Hungary that there just wasn’t time.

                      Vienna is a magical place.


      2. Nearly three times the population of Scotland living in close proximity is certainly an open door to anything infectious.

        I know from friends who live there, that unless you are very very very rich the chances are that you are unlikely to live alone, even if you would have been doing that elsewhere.

        5,6,7 people sharing accommodation meant for 2, and you are asking for it to spread rapidly.

        We certainly need to spend a lot building up our health services after this.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Richer countries can do much better than poor ones because of the equipment and number of hospitals and staff they have. I’m inclined to think that before the “austerity” programme instituted by Cameron, the countries of the UK would have been better prepared for this and better equipped to cope with it.

      As you say the more remote areas of any country will be safer as far as catching the virus are, but less able to cope with the consequences.

      It only takes one idiot to bring the disease in…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, but you don’t have to be an idiot: when there are no tests and so many people are asymptomatic, it’s quite likely that you are never going to know whether they have or had the virus unless the direct and antigen / antibody tests are available. Also, where there is community spread, contact tracing would be difficult – even if any attempts were being made to actually do it, which does not seem to be the case, unless, of course, you’re a member of the Westminster regime.

        One of the things I picked up on from my assiduous consumption of non-BritNat meeja was advice that if you are in an area where the virus has been detected, don’t leave. I picked up on it because in Islamic medicine, since the early Middle Ages at least, the principle was that if there is plague in a city, don’t go there, and if you are in a city where there is plague, don’t leave.

        Incidentally, for those Munguinites wot don’t know already, the old Muslim doctors developed a form of smallpox vaccination: they used old scabs from a smallpox sufferer to “infect” people with degraded virus particles to provoke the immune reaction that would enable them to fight off infection with the real thing.

        If there are any Munguinites out there with more or better information about that, I’d love to hear it!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The purpose of Trident is to allow England’s governments the ability to strut the world stage and continue to pretend they are important.
    Porton Down,however,is another matter altogether.
    I see your deadly virus and raise you my pandemic one.
    Not suggesting that the current virus is man made,just wondering what the point is of this establishment.
    The old cover story of deterrence,aka Mutually Assured Destruction,just doesn’t stand up in our overcowded wee planet.
    Time to get real.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There are, of course, rumours (not in any way established) that this Covid 19 virus was something cooked up in a laboratory.

      Both Blair and Portillo (when he was defence secretary) admitted that Trident was, indeed, a status symbol which kept the Uk in the permanent membership of the Security Council.

      As it was dependent upon the USA for firing codes, it wasn’t in the least “independent”. Indeed, I recall that at one time a USA general when talking about how many missiles the USA had, actually counted the British ones as theirs. Which in most senses they were… all except we paid for them.


      1. Tris, they are owned by the USA.
        We only LEASE the Trident Missile from the USA, the warheads are ours.
        We only have to pay for a missile when it’s fired, there have been very few actual firings to test the system as it would be too expensive.
        So straight out of the Monty Python book of accounting, these missiles are paid for out of the monthly commercial budget and not the Capital budget.
        All things purchased on the PCP deal just like PFI, you never own it just a simple hiring arrangement.

        Liked by 3 people

            1. Oh yes. I remember that.

              If we ever actually have to use one of them, I warn the people of Iceland to be ready to take to the shelters.

              Maybe they should keep in touch with the Russians. They probably know more about it than we do.


  4. Last week the EBC reported that Birmingham had the highest incidence of people with the virus, all 427 of them.
    Strange that because the total for the greater London area was over 4700.
    Ah you see London reports by the borough and not the total for the capital.
    The city of London is a small place, the capital is really a collection of villages that have grown together such that you can’t tell where one starts or finishes.
    As for our American friends, I had a look at the mapping, certainly New York has a very large incidence.
    All that will happen is people will move out to the Mid West where there is presently low incidence, covered wagons and motor homes will move West.
    The Governor of New York’s statement, the cost of ventilators last month was £20k, this month for the same product, £50k. We need to share resources and have a stockpile to cover for the increase in infection.
    An aviation expert says that IF the government subsidy to the Airlines is not universal that will be unfair competition.
    Our man raab says he’s going to get easyjet to pickup uk people stranded, then easyjet say their aircraft are grounded, to protect the staff.
    They’re still to catch up with the problem, they will want to go back to the old idea of an economy driven by greed.
    Perhaps that’s what will happen BUTT maybe it’s time for a rethink on why a human from an underdeveloped country is asked to live on a DOLLAR a day when we give a banker a bonus of millions of dollars for playing the casino of derivatives and futures.
    So where are we going?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That example with Raab is only one of a number of examples of incompetence.

      This carry on over the ventilators and the EU is quite incredible. Everyone is saying something different.

      They didn’t get an offer; they did get an offer by email but it got lost in the spam box; they did get an offer but turned it down becasue Britain is an independent country and doesn’t want any of these nasty foreign ventilators; they cancelled orders with some British firms to give the orders and the money to friends of the Tory party.

      I realise that things are difficult and unprecedented, but for heaven’s sake…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The bottom line is that in numerous countries throughout the world we have incompetent numpties in charge, and unfortunately a lot of people are going to die because of their mishandling of the pandemic. At Westminster, the present tory Government must rate as near the top of that list, not merely because of their present, almost criminal behaviour in not following W.H.O advice, but their destruction of the welfare state and part-privatisation of the E.N.H.S over the last ten years. Aided of course by their cohorts in the Labour and LibDem parties.
    The hypocrisy of these same people, applauding and praising the N.H.S, is to me vomit inducing, and their bare-faced cheek in asking retired medical staff to return to work during the present crisis is insulting, since in a lot of cases they, the tories, were responsible for these same people retiring, or being forced to quit.
    Well done to all those who have responded to the belated call, and I hope all concerned have enough P.P.E, and stay safe during the present emergency.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more.

      And a better example you could not ask for, than Germany.

      I agree too about the damned cheek of them asking retired doctors to go back to work when many of them retired because of the punitive tax arrangements on their pensions.

      It was scary thinking of the Johnson team being in charge of Brexit, but heavens, a pandemic!!! Raab, Johnson, Hancock, Patel.



  6. From Yes Minister
    Episode Two: The Official Visit

    [There are two official replies to the Minister’s correspondence.]
    Jim Hacker: What’s the difference?
    Bernard: Well, “under consideration” means “we’ve lost the file”; “under active consideration” means “we’re trying to find it”.

    [The President of Buranda plans a speech urging the Scots and Irish to fight against “British colonialism”.]
    Jim Hacker: Humphrey, do you think it is a good idea to issue a statement?
    Sir Humphrey: Well, Minister, in practical terms we have the usual six options.
    One: do nothing.
    Two: issue a statement deploring the speech.
    Three: lodge an official protest.
    Four: cut off aid.
    Five: break off diplomatic relations. And
    six: declare war.
    Hacker: Which should be it?
    Sir Humphrey: Well, if we do nothing, that means we implicitly agree with the speech. If we issue a statement, we’ll just look foolish. If we lodge a protest, it’ll be ignored. We can’t cut off aid, because we don’t give them any. If we break off diplomatic relations, then we can’t negotiate the oil rig contracts. And if we declare war, it might just look as though we were over-reacting.

    Carefully edited down from the video from the truth to make it believable.
    The mp for moray says we should let the construction industry go back to work, no reason given.
    Could it be that persimmon etc give funds to a certain political party.?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Is this too much daily exercise?

    “Just bagged 5 Munroes in yin day fucking knackered done Ben Thelobby, Ben Thekitchen, Ben Thefrontroom, Ben Thelavy and finished with Benmakip”

    Here are some “kids” breaking lockdown in Manchester.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jeeez, that’s a lot of exercise. No wonder s/he arrived at the last one…

      I suppose that is a logical step with the goats. Empty towns mean that animals see no reason to be scared of entering and … there’s some tasty vegetation planted by the local parks department to be enjoyed!


      1. I’ve inadvertently misled MNR. The guy posting the goats had Manchester in his bio but the goats themselves are apparently in Llandudno. I was based there for a two week holiday many years ago, but I didn’t recognise the place…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Tris
    I suppose there are no easy options in London at all but I am surprised that so many people are willing to put their lives at risk. Even yesterday driving to work, yeah I have been called in this week at least, I was surprised to see so many out and about in Dundee. I was disappointed to be honest. This thing is real, what don’t people get or understand, if you get this and you are say male and over 50 there is a good chance you getting this at the higher end of the scale. I am not risking it and I am staying in other than shopping or work, not an over reaction in any way. The simple fact is I am a 51 years old male, former smoker with hypertension (not lifestyle caused) so I am not taking a chance in any shape or form. I just wish more people would take this seriously before it’s too late and they catch it and infect family and friends.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The thing is, Bruce, that it’s not just over-50s that are at risk. Of course the older (or less fit) people are, the more likely the thing is to be serious, but if you are 17 and fit as a fiddle, you can still catch it, come home and give it to your mum and dad and maybe even your granny.

      I was out the other day for my daily exercise in the park, and I saw a few girls all crowded around a phone watching something and giggling. They were probably in their mid teens. For them it will will probably be like a bad cold. Less so for their parents.

      Keep safe, Bruce.

      Liked by 1 person

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