The Corona Diaries – Day 186

Looks like another fine mess you’ve got us into Johnson. Our new cases have shot up to 6874 with another 34 deaths. Hospital cases are rising and SAGE are predicting a big increase in deaths – past a hundred a day in four weeks.

Talk about complacency and missed opportunities. This summer was the time to really get on top of it, to get the track and trace working and beat it down. It didn’t happen. We languished.

Our lamentable performance has put us worst in the world! Why?? Why is it that the UK, the USA and Italy are doing so badly while countries like Vietnam and Korea are doing so well? We have great healthcare systems and yet we are totally outperformed.

The USA – 208,483

The UK – 41,936

Italy – 35,801

Vietnam – 35

Korea – 399

We visited Vietnam a year ago. It was teeming with people, hygiene was not brilliant. It was a no-brainer. As soon as coroner virus hit they would be swamped with deaths – yet just 35.

So what are the USA and the UK doing wrong?

Vietnam – population 97,338,579 people – 35 deaths

USA – population 331,000,000 – 208,483 deaths  (on the same ratio that should be about a 110 deaths shouldn’t it?)

Here’s what Vietnam did and the USA and the UK failed to do:

The country very quickly enacted measures such as travel restrictions, monitoring and eventually closing the border with China, closing schools and increasing health checks at borders and other vulnerable places. A vast and labour intensive contact tracing operation got underway. Quarantine on such a vast scale is key as evidence mounts that as many as half of all infected people are asymptomatic.

What did we (USA and UK) do?

We kept border open with no health checks

We allowed unrestricted travel

We were complacent and took too long to act.

We are not doing health checks.

Our track and trace system is pathetic

We are not testing enough

We sent out the wrong messages – cheerleading that it was a hoax, that it would be over soon, that it was safe to go back to school and uni, that it isn’t too bad.

We’re still doing it!!

We reopened schools without a good system in place and a track and trace that doesn’t work. Now kids are being sent home right, left and centre.

We sent unis back and now we find students locked down in halls of residence and being told they cannot go home for Christmas.

We opened up offices and public transport, and eating and drinking inside restaurants and pubs.

Is it any wonder that cases are soaring in the UK?

Is it any wonder that they are going up in the States with another 48,567 new cases and 864 deaths?

Is it any wonder that Brazil has 31,911 new cases and another 729 deaths?

No, of course it isn’t! We are looking at a bunch of populist leaders who only care about the economy, are absolutely useless and incompetent and have been sending out the wrong messages and doing the wrong things!

What a pathetic bunch who have ended up killing tens, no hundreds of thousands of people!!

Today it rained. I’ve stayed in to work on my Harper book and play my Billie Holiday, watched an amazing game of football and now, the weather has improved, I’m off for my walk.

Maybe by the time I get back people might have booted Johnson, Bolsonaro and Trump out of office and the world would be a better place.

Stupidity in these times.

It seems to me that the world was going along sweetly – the same old problems, the same aggravations, some war, destruction of nature and general malaise – then we had 9/11 and Muslim extremism and everything went apeshit.

Wars in the Middle East, refugees, terrorism and the fear and hate kicked in.

It lumbered us with Brexit, Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson as the world knee-jerked to the right.

The populists, riding the wave of fear and hate stoked it up – promising walls, an end to immigration, to stamp out terrorism and easy violent solutions.

Isn’t it obvious – these snake-oil salesmen don’t have the answers. They want power and wealth at any costs. They have been actively stoking up hatred and division for their own ends. The more the better. The sad thing is that stupid people are falling for it.

Sri Lanka – The park and trees

We asked our driver to drop us off in the park miles away from the centre and told him we’d make our own way back. After walking around for hours we set about finding a local bus to take us back. The busses were so full people were hanging off them. They didn’t stop, they just slowed down. You grabbed hold and jumped on. I found myself hanging on, out over the road on the outside as the bus careered through the streets. It was quite a hairy ride.

Fabulous trees.


Poetry – Going to War – by John Phillips

I do like John’s poems (have a look at his book ‘Shorts and Shots’.

Going to war


We’re going to war, we’re going to war,

We’re going to war again.

Parliament has been recalled

And Cameron will explain.

We’re going to war, we’re going to war,

We’re going to fight the foe.

America’s President says we must,

So it’s off to war we go.


We’re going to war, we’re going to war,

We see the enemy’s game.

But nobody says who armed him,

Or even from where he came.

We’re going to war, were going to war,

The enemy’s plans to foil.

We’ll degrade his capabilities

And inflate the price of oil.


We’re going to war, we’re going to war,

Isil will be destroyed

If it takes too long we’ll change the law

And conscript the unemployed.

If it’s All in the National interest,

Will somebody please explain;

Why we knock them down just to build them up

And do it all again?



Sri Lanka – Colombo – Inside the Buddhist Sambodhi Chaithya Temple

We went up the windy staircase, across the walkway and into the temple. I’m not sure what we were expecting. It was different. Inside the stupa, there were many paintings of the Buddha, temples and scenes. It was massive.

The Corona Diaries – Day 185

‘ Right, arf arf, jolly good. Yuk. Yes, yes well I’ve bloody well managed to sneak away and grab a – a – a few minutes without that er er godawful teleprompter. Righto!’

‘Good old Dom tells me that, er er, yaaah, some of you blighters don’t, er er understand what you’re jolly well meant to be doing, by Jove.’

‘Don’t you worry, I’m here arf arf. Can’t bally trust that bloody Raab to yuk yuk explain things.’

‘Who needs a bally teleprompter anyway??’

‘So, er er, I’m going to aaah, have to be quick, before Dom tracks me down.’

‘Firstly, we are in great er er peril. We have been, ya, forced to temporarilly take some er er drastic arf arf action. It’s um um not what I want. But we do, absolutely, need to shut pubs by ten o clock. Absolutely – no bones about it. Terra firma. So, by ten o clock, the country needs you home and errrrr safe. Desperatum.’

‘Just you bally-well remember, yuk arf, the rule of um um aah yes – six. That should bally do it. you can meet up with, with, err, your chums in the pub. You er should have time to get six pints down you by then, what! But er er only meet in groups of six per table. Right! But hundreds of you can er arf meet up at the pub – if it’s jolly well big enough and has lots of tables.’

‘Now, weddingsand funerals. Arf arf, splutter, well no more than six. Unless you want to hold errrrrr them in pubs. Then you er er can have as many as you like!’

‘So back to work. Gosh and golly, it’s safe. They’ve put lots of those hand jobbies in – er  you know, save you having to er wash. And eat for Britain but starve for Covid! Work at home and, er awww use the busses and trains. Don’t bust the um ummmm NHS and all those, what, starving nurses.’

‘Now, umm, masks. Bally things. Dooh must be worn in emmm shops, unless you’re uhh eating. Splutter. So I suggest that err you arf arf do like me and aaah eat a jolly good British err sausage roll, delicious, bally cornish pasty or aaah something, every time you go in a shop. That wards off the jolly virus.’

‘Social distance. I bloody am. Not even my own blinking cabinet will er er come near me!’

‘Ooooh, aaah, while I remember! We’ve got a world-beating App out today! It turns red or er er something, when there’s a a um virus around! Something um like that.’

‘Oh, and er while I’m aaah at it, don’t believe all those bally rumours about Brexit. You’re not, chuckle, all going to um lose your jobs. They’ll still, er be some jobs left. And the M whatever it is, er um, is not going to be a bloody twenty er five mile carpark. We’re building a huge, massive new carpark for all those lorries. It’ll have um facilities for the drivers so um they er can can live there er er quite happily.’

‘Look, I know, erm erm that in many er places, like Germany and er Australia, you can erm errr just nip round the corner for a test, and errrrmmm get the bally results ten er minutes later. But, who errr want to live in Germany or Australia! I tell you, errr my butler certainly doesn’t!’

‘Oh gazooks, there’s bloody Dom looking for me. Got to be off!’

It must be tough at the top! Making all those decisions that stop us having the worst death rate in the world. What? We have got the worst death rate! Well, at least the economy isn’t too bad. What?? We’re the worst at that too!

World beating and invisible!

Today it was cold and it rained all morning so I played my Fela Kuti and wrote my Harper book. It’s slow progress. I waited in for my BT engineer who never showed up. Now I’m waiting for a BT phone call from the BT manager – which also seems not to be happening. I’m beginning to think that BT is an arm of the Tory party.

Here in the UK it looks dire. New cases up zooming – up to 6,634 yesterday. The deaths, which lag behind are up to 40 and hospital cases are rising fast! What’s the betting on a circuit breaking lockdown??? I’ll put a thousand or two on it!

So great to have a government that knows what it’s doing – roll on winter!

In the States it’s another 42,917 new cases and 885 deaths – but it’s still a democratic hoax! Keep taking the bleach!

In Brazil, try as he may, Bolsonaro can’t quite catch up – another 32,817 new cases with 831 deaths – not too far behind.

Perhaps Johnson should ask Vietnam how it’s done??? They had no new cases yesterday and have only had a total of 1069 cases and 35 deaths since all this began. The USA exceeds that every 40 minutes!

Anyway – stay safe! Isolate, wash and stay out of pubs!!