CONSPIRACY theorists have pointed out that “Omicron” is an anagram of “moronic” and say it’s a sign we’re being taken for mugs by evil geniuses who want to control us.
Dig deeper in to Crazyland and you’ll find others screeching that it’s also an anagram of oncomir, a molecule that’s associated with cancer.
“Start doing your research!” implored one, with no irony whatsoever. “They are laughing themselves silly behind closed doors over the reality that the dumbed-down masses are set to believe wholeheartedly this new bogus variant really exists,” said another.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, we know that the latest variant of the Covid virus exists.
But what we should be questioning is why the gathering doomsayers are treating it like the plague when all the evidence suggests it’s far less worrying than the influenza that comes and goes each winter without fuss.
Watching the podium-clutchers ramping up the rhetoric and propelling us back into masks and travel restrictions felt like a parallel universe to everyday life which, for the most part, is creeping back towards normality.
Without those press conferences and rolling news channels slavishly reporting every cough and spit, we probably wouldn’t even know about Omicron. Yet here we are, staring in disbelief at our TV screens as those who claim to “lead” us behave like deranged lemmings falling off a cliff.
Dr Angelique Coetzee, the Pretoria-based clinician who first brought “mild” Omicron to global attention, says: “In South Africa, we’ve retained a sense of perspective. We’ve had no new regulations or talk of lockdowns because we’re waiting to see what the variant actually means.
“We’ve also become accustomed here to new Covid variants emerging. So when our scientists confirmed the discovery of yet another, nobody made a huge thing of it. Many people didn’t even notice. But after Britain heard about it, the global picture started to change.”
Indeed it did. The baton of hysteria was grasped by a motley crew of political opportunists, internet sites desperate to fill empty space and generate clickbait, over-cautious Whitehall mandarins scared of their own shadow and the wider “blob” of a civil service heavily populated by people who’d be happy if they never returned to work.
‘Torrent of disinformation’
Viruses mutate and produce variants. They always have and they always will. But what we can change is how we react to them.
Coronavirus in general remains a threat but data says 75 per cent of those currently in intensive care are unvaccinated. And that’s by choice.
Palliative-care doctor Rachel Clarke wrote at the weekend that her NHS trust is on “permanent black alert”, with every conceivable spare space converted into extra wards to deal with the “inevitable consequences” of vaccine refuseniks.
“How they beg, sometimes breaking all our hearts, to be vaccinated. How they plead for the protection they hope a jab might bring — when it is far too late,” she writes.
“I know they are here, in part, because a torrent of disinformation, spewed out on social media, has made them too scared to have the vaccine.”
Entrenched conspiracy theorists will never have the vaccine. But there are plenty more simply scared to have it and it’s the Government’s job to persuade them that, in the interests of themselves and society as a whole, they should.
And part of that persuasion is showing that the doubly vaccinated/boosted masses are returning to normal life, not being threatened with the prospect of yet another lockdown at the first sign of a mild variant.
House gives mums break from home
FOLLOWING Stella Creasy’s attempt to elevate debate in the House of Commons by taking her three-month-old baby along, the reaction was a mixed bag of sentiments that boiled down to either, “Good on you” or: “Yawn, get a childminder like everyone else.”
Either way, her attempt to remove the ban on babies in the chamber appears to have fallen flat.
Interestingly, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has since revealed he was “heavily lobbied” by other female MPs who didn’t want the rules to be relaxed and, by the law of averages, some of them must be parents themselves.
In other words, one mother’s preference can be another’s idea of hell.
For many, the prospect of returning to an adult-only workplace after months of dirty nappies, baby talk and CBeebies on a loop is heaven on Earth.
And they don’t want Stella destroying the copper-plated lament: “But darling, Mummy isn’t allowed to take you in to work.”
The right way to go
AMERICAN composer Stephen Sondheim enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner with friends in Connecticut.
“He was frail but his usual wonderfully witty self, full of anecdotes and very lively,” says one of his fellow diners.
The dinner ended at 9.30pm, 91-year-old Mr Sondheim went home and died in his sleep at 1am.
If there’s a way to go, that’s surely it.
SYSTEM HAS LET DOWN GARETH
MOMENTS after 23-year-old Saskia Jones was stabbed by Usman Khan in the 2019 London Bridge attack, she was cradled by Gareth Evans.
“I gently told her she was loved and was beautiful. I just hope she heard those words before she slipped away,” he says. Then, with no thought for his own safety, 34-year-old Gareth charged at Khan, who had two knives and what we now know was a fake suicide belt.
“My first thought was we had to stop him from getting up the stairs and hurting anyone else,” says Gareth who, along with Khan, was attending an event organised by the prisoner rehabilitation charity for which Saskia volunteered along with 25-year-old Jack Merritt, who was also killed.
Khan became involved with the charity after serving eight years for plotting a jihadi training camp in Pakistan, while Gareth was released from jail in 2017 after serving a six-year sentence for robbery.
Moving on from the past
He was slowly rebuilding his life but in the past two years work has dried up and he is now being forced to claim benefits. Gareth had been working for an agency making deliveries for John Lewis but lost his position when his past was disclosed in reports about the attack.
Seriously? Gareth is a reformed man with a first-class degree in criminology who ran towards danger for the benefit of others when most of us might have sprinted away from it.
How is “prisoner rehabilitation” ever going to work if even someone as courageous as him loses his job over a dubious past he is trying to move on from?
“I don’t want to live on handouts or benefits. I want to be paid to do things that need to be done and that my experiences and my studies have made me qualified to do,” he says.
I hope someone, somewhere reads this and decides to give him another chance.
A POLL says that a fifth of wine drinkers are “clueless” and pick it based on the label – especially if it’s a traditional design.
Guilty as charged, m’lud.
I’m a sucker for a label that shows a grand chateau, an ornate crest or a hoary old picker clutching a bunch of grapes. Those modern ones called something like The Cat’s Nipples may well be the dog’s doodahs but, quite frankly, look Chateauneuf-du-crap.
If that makes me a philistine, I’ll drink to that.
TALK’S NOT SO CHEAP
TAXPAYERS have shelled out more than £127,000 over the past five years for various MPs to learn a new language.
Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, has spent nearly £22k on learning Polish . . . and he was born there.
Meanwhile, Stuart Anderson, Tory MP for Wolverhampton South West, has spent just over £4k learning Punjabi.
Firstly, why can’t they just fork out for an online Rosetta Stone or Duolingo course like everyone else did in lockdown? (The Bloke “learned” Italian and now just puts an “o” on the end of every word.)
And secondly, I suppose it would be too much to ask that those they are wishing to converse with might learn the language of the country in which they live?
WE FED PIGGLY FRENZY
TOUTS are taking advantage of delivery issues and ramping up online prices for this year’s “must-have” toys.
Of course they are.
It’s called supply and demand and if we’re daft enough to help create a frisson around something like the, er, catchily titled Little Live Pets My Pet Pig Piggly, below, then we’re going to get clobbered for it financially.
Which is why, a squillion years ago, I found myself handing over cash in a brown envelope at London’s Victoria coach station for a Tamagotchi that had expired from lack of TLC by Boxing Day.
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