One of the things the UK should be very grateful for is that whilst we are in the midst of a world pandemic and a country whose own record of dealing with said pandemic is, to say the least, mixed, we are fortunate to have surfeit of celebrity epidemiologists, people who have somehow managed to combine careers in soap operas, as TV personalities and as the frontmen of rock 'n' roll bands (and doesn't that sound like a very 20th century occupation) with becoming experts in the transmission of disease and the social policies that should accompany infectious disease. How they've managed to find the time to gain their degrees and PhDs, not to say the hours of laboratory work involved, with the endless touring and rehearsing is a mystery.
Many of them also seem to be under the impression that their edgy and free thinking views are hardly reported anywhere in the 'mainstream media' (or to quote Ian Brown the 'lamestream media'- nice one Ian). I think we've reached a point where anyone who uses the letters MSM or 'lamestream media' in a debate should be automatically disqualified from taking part in it. One thing the UK does not seem to be short of is libertarian right wing voices presenting their views in the mainstream- during the years of the Brexit debacle the BBC gave the right wing a voice every single day, time after time, on the news. It gave Farage a voice on Question Time on over thirty occasions. That's all quite mainstream isn't it? The newspapers may be suffering from falling physical sales but their online presence is huge and they still play a key role in setting daily political agendas. At last reckoning the voices of the libertarian right can be found in The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, the Telegraph, The Times, The Sun and The Star not to mention magazines such as The Spectator where the views of maskless warriors like Toby Young are printed weekly. ITV and Sky News are available to fill in any gaps that these may have left. I think the mainstream media have this area fairly well covered. On the internet places such as Twitter, which has forty eight million daily users, are forums where 'non- MSM' voices are widely heard and amplified. If you're are a celebrity epidemiologist and you decide it's high time your important voice was heard on subjects such as wearing a small piece of cloth over the lower part of your face when in Sainsburys for fifteen minutes to prevent other people potentially catching your germs, there aren't exactly a shortage of places ready to report your wisdom.
The same celebrity epidemiologists should also possibly take a look at their views and then enter a period of self- reflection, examining other well known figures who share them. If you find yourself on the same side of the fence re: mask wearing, as say Donald Trump (worst Covid 19 death rate in the world), David Icke (believes the world is ruled by a shadowy cabal of lizards) and Nick Griffin (disgraced racist and former leader of the fascist British National Party), maybe you need to think again.
Ian Brown, former frontman of The Stone Roses, recently Tweeted about masks being muzzles and the removal of freedoms. If anyone was going to be susceptible to Youtube conspiracy theories it was going to be Ian but his increasingly demented defence of his opinions was sad to say the least (and in no way related to the release of a particularly poor single). Screaming into the internet with caps lock on, suggesting that Dave Haslam had no right to counter Ian's views because his Dad was a vicar from Birmingham, using the hashtag #researchanddestroy when it seemed his own research was a ten minute Youtube video, Ian looked less like the loose limbed, sugar spun hero from 1989 and more like an advert for the view that long term marijuana use really does damage cognitive function. In 1990 Ian famously said 'it's not where you're from, it's where you're at'. Ian is not at anywhere we would want to be. The frightening thing is the number of his followers who reply praising him for 'dropping truth bombs' and 'telling it how it is'. Funny how many of the free thinkers have to follow a leader and tow the line.
I have no real love of Oasis so Noel Gallagher's continuing spiral into becoming the Rt. Hn. Member for Burnage (Con) doesn't dismay me that much but his small minded, infantile comments about masks recently were a new low. Noel doesn't want to wear a mask because 'there's too many fucking liberties being taken away from us now'. He was challenged for refusing to wear one on a train and said 'I choose not to wear one and if I get the virus it's on me and not on everyone else. If every other cunt is wearing a mask I'm not going to catch it off them and if I've got it then they're not going to catch it off me'. An overindulged rock star who went straight from living with his Mum to living in a mansion in Primrose Hill thinks everyone else should wear one but him. There's this thing called society Noel, it's a community where we all to some extent do things that are for the good of everyone else. I wear a mask in the shops to protect you and you wear one to protect us. We all help each other by doing things which may be inconvenient but which are for the common good. However Noel thinks he is above this. His backbench Tory MP views would have found great favour with another heritage act, the 1980s Conservative Party, and its frontwoman's views that 'there is no such thing as society, only individual men and women'.
Van Morrison, another over indulged rock 'n' roll 'maverick', has been throwing his views about lockdown into the ring. But, y'know, it's Van Morrison, who gives a fuck? There can't be many people who have paid much attention to what Van Morrison has said or done since Astral Weeks came out (1968 for the record), apart from being forced to endure Brown Eyed Girl at wedding receptions.
Wearing a mask seems a bizarre hill to make your stand on. The view that you have suffered some essential loss of a fundamental freedom by wearing a face mask for ten minutes while in a shop is bewildering. There is also a view gathering pace that some shadowy, deep state overlords have invented the virus and are using it to remove all our freedoms, that the government wants to lock us all down and control us. The people sharing this view, like Ian, say that the Covid 19 app is being introduced to track your movements so 'they' know where you are. They always share these views on their mobile phones (which already have their data and can track their every movement and message) and on social media platforms (which, ditto). If the shadowy overlords really do want to control us all and this is the start of it, they couldn't have picked a worse government to do the job. I don't know if Ian et al have been so busy studying for their epidemiology degrees that they haven't seen any TV news but this government is wilfully incompetent, they can't control their advisors never mind the whole country. Their senior advisor can't cope with having to do a couple of days of primary childcare on his own without driving two hundred miles despite laws to the contrary. Look at them. Look at Matt Hancock and Dominic Raab, two men who seem to have gone directly from being deputy head boy at a minor private school to secretary of state. These overpromoted imposters are the men selected to shut us down and remove our freedoms forever? Really?
Here is some music from Chocolate Hills.