Corona Lockdown Diary – Week 3

Sunday March 29th

I’m pleased to report that my wife’s ‘fear of running out of bread’ phobia has now been replaced with ‘fear of missing Tipping Point’

‘What time is Tipping Point on?’

‘The usual time’

‘Have you recorded Tipping Point?’

‘Yes’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes’

In less pressing news the police, so far, have been very tolerant of those failing to social distance. The official Coronavirus policing policy defined by the ‘Four E’s’:

  • Engage
  • Explain
  • Encourage
  • Enforce

Personally I think that it’s gone on long enough and if I stopped a driver who said: ‘I’m absolutely fine to travel 50 miles for a daily seaside walk because I’m not showing any symptoms.’ I’d be tempted to give them a three second blast of pepper spray and enquire: ‘What about now?’

I mean it must be annoying for the thin blue line when people are jamming their phone lines with sensible questions like: ‘Can I go out for a second walk if I’m dressed as a dog?’

I tuned in to the daily Coronavirus briefing to see that they’d wheeled out the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick. As usual, salivating number-hunting journos kept repeatedly asking: ‘how long will the lockdown last?’ His co-host Dr Jenny Harris momentarily let her guard slip and actually answered!

‘It might be 3 to 6 months’.…The journalists all responded with frenzied scribbling and you could see in her eyes the dawning realisation that she’d walked into the trap, especially as Jenrick could be seen in the background palm-slapping his own forehead!

Sure enough the very next day….

Monday March 30th

‘6 MONTHS OF LOCKDOWN!’ is the headline news. When did journalists decide their job was to ‘create the news’ rather than report the news?

And it was also time for the mainstream media to stick the boot into the police. It’s really not been too difficult to predict the news cycle:

  • Week 1: Print news about ‘idiots’ breaching social distancing rules
  • Week 2: Demand that the police take positive action
  • Week 3: Print stories about ‘draconian policing’ and/or ‘bungling cops’ (rinse and repeat)

The papers were full of stories of police drones pestering dog walkers and police searching people’s shopping bags for Easter Eggs. You should not be going out for Easter eggs as they are non-essential items.

Should you choose to defy these instructions can you pick me up one of those Cadbury Twirl ones?

Now I’m sure some of this stuff is fake news – although let me tell you that there are a sprinkling of ‘no common sense’ cops out there. Not so much on the streets, to be fair, because the really stupid ones tend to get promoted to senior management and put in offices with their name on the door.

Here’s the thing – coppers don’t want to be the shop police. They’re policing robustly because that’s the order from the Home Office. Instead of hanging our police out to dry let’s have the Home Secretary do today’s Corona briefing to give clarity to public and police. Not wishy washy terminology but clear instruction…

I switched on the Coronavirus briefing in eager anticipation but no Priti Patel, instead Dominic Raab. The most interesting thing was the sudden very abrupt end – he didn’t so much wrap it up seamlessly as suddenly swivel around on the spot and walk away…”hello, hello… Dominic… Dominic…where’s Dominic gone?”

How bizarre!

Tuesday March 31st

Had a nice early walk and returned to find the press still plod bashing for policing social distancing robustly. It seems the UK boys and girls in blue can’t win and they’ll be criticised either way, whilst in contrast social media is full of clips of Italian police singing merrily in the street.

I think that ‘Policing Coronavirus’ would make a great ‘It’s A Fair Cop’ show. It’s got all the required ingredients – everyone’s got a view, there are consequences for every decision and there’s no right answer!

The phone rang and it was the Home Secretary Priti Patel. She’d been made aware of my tweets challenging her to take some responsibility and ordered me to come and see her directly for a bollocking. Fortunately I’ve already had my daily walk and that would not be considered essential travel.

Time for the tea-time Coronavirus briefing and it’s okay – everyone can relax Michael Gove is back! And at this point can I say well done to Robert Peston for the longest question asked in the history of television broadcasts? I’ve had full tour shows that were shorter!

Tonight’s journos were interested in testing or rather lack of and the response was Gove using the term ‘ramping up’ like the needle was stuck.

I’d never heard the term ‘ramping up’ a fortnight ago. I’ve ‘stepped up’, ‘damped down’ and ‘rolled out’ before but I’ve never ‘ramped up’! But all of a sudden everybody seems to be ramping up all day every day!

It seems to be that if you’ve promised to deliver but you’re woefully short of where you need to be and the media are attacking you then you can just hide under the term ‘ramping up’ like it’s a Klingon cloaking shield.

The good news is that today’s Tipping Point was very exciting and a lady won the £10,000 jackpot on the very last counter.

Wednesday April 1st

An email lands from Scotland informing that the iconic Edinburgh Fringe Festival will not be going ahead this year. Great shame, including for me as I was booked to go up this year, but very sensible. Many comedians have been unexpectedly thrown into financial hardship recently and well done to the Fringe for refunding their application fees.

My income comes from tour shows and corporate work all of which has been postponed for the foreseeable future. Thank heavens that I kept my old police badge so I’ve been able to dish out on-the-spot social distancing fines. And for those of you worrying that I’ll be breaching any rules – it’s OK I’m using one of these to collect the cash.

The Coronavirus briefing was a bit of a damp squib with Alok Sharma unashamedly batting most of the questions off to Dr Yvonne Doyle and more of the same wishy washy waffle.

Conversely President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines was much more direct with his ‘ramping up’ policy – anyone in the Philippines that ignores social distancing rules will be shot dead in the street! Don’t panic though, the Philippines are a week ahead of us with the virus – rest assured this tactic will not be rolled-out in the UK for the next 7 days. I suppose we could tag that on as the fifth ‘E’?   

Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce … Execute.

Thursday April 2nd

I realise that it’s wrong for me to dish out unofficial on-the-spot social distancing fines to subsidise my income and so instead today I managed to find my old police jacket and decide to seize Easter eggs from anyone that looks a bit dodgy. (The uniform still just about fits but probably won’t do by the end of the day..)

The first grab went okay – once I’d explained the importance of ‘essential shopping only’ the 9-yr-old handed over his Smarties Egg – although his younger sister but up a bit of a fight…

Friday April 3rd 

Episode 2 of my BBC Radio 4 show, about privacy, aired. I can’t help but listen with a critical ear but I was pleased with it.

On television every man and his dog seem to be doing their own presenting from home. Although I’m tempted to start my own home online broadcast I can’t because I don’t have a bookcase to sit in front of…

In the interests of balance – given that I’ve been critical of some of the waffly rambling bollocks at UK Daily Coronavirus briefings, credit where it’s due, I thought Professor Jonathan Van Tam was superb tonight. Just tells it like it is. More of this please

Saturday March 4th

Today’s news theme is ‘face masks’. Should we? Shouldn’t we? I get the reluctance around advising people to wear them. You know what some folk are like – the sun will come out this weekend, they’ll grab a face-mask, head for the seaside and forget social distancing.

Donald Trump has said that he will not be following US medical advice to wear a face-mask as he thinks the tan lines would look ridiculous.

 

Congratulations to the new Labour Party leader. If the name Keir Starmer sounds familiar to you it’s because he was Luke Skywalker’s uncle in Star Wars.

 

One of the Coronavirus conspiracy theories is that 5G radio signals are spreading COVID-19 and consequently news breaks that 5G masks have been torched in Birmingham and Liverpool.

Can I ask for anyone who believes that 5G spreads Coronavirus to help social distancing measures by wearing this official believer ‘T-shirt’..

 

I switch on the daily briefing but just switched it off again – life’s too short for Michael Gove twice in one week.

And while we’re talking about dafties I think I’ve found someone dafter than Trump: The Belarusian football league has kicked off with more than 3,000 spectators. President Alexander Lukashenko labelled coronavirus ‘a psychosis that can be fought with vodka, saunas and driving tractors’.

Ridiculous! Everyone knows it’s vodka, saunas and Tipping Point!

Until next time… stay safe out there.

Alfie x

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