Interviewer: So you’ve been a bit quiet on the old bloggy front recently, Liz?
Liz: (Sighs) Yes, I am finding it a bit hard to put pen to paper.
Interviewer: Why is that then? You are not normally backward in coming forward.
Liz: (Sighs) Yeah I know. It is just all so terrible. I feel paralysed by the awfulness of it all.
Interviewer: (Coaxingly) What is terrible?
Liz: (Sighs) Well, you know. The Trumpy, Bolsonaro, Boris show over the Covid, the killing of George Floyd by a racist police force and protests with no end, millions losing their jobs worldwide, the absence of good planning for the future (except here). Dominic Cummings and breaking the lockdown.
Interviewer: I can see that might be depressing. But isn’t this all grist to your mill, as it were?
Liz: But that’s just it, don’t you think? Over the past week or so I have read some amazing analysis online. People are writing all the right things. Others are out there protesting. But what’s changing?
Interviewer: What do you mean?
Liz: (climbs onto soapbox): Well, for example, I could write a learned article on the ‘natural experiment’ being presided over by that pig Bolsonaro in Brazil. Yesterday, that country had 33,000 new cases of coronavirus and the numbers are ramping up week by week. By declaring that it is just ‘a little flu’, and showing no interest in it, he is allowing the Covid to spread unchecked, even though so much could be done to mitigate the effects. More than that, the politics. Pro and anti forces are on the streets (which doesn’t help the Covid):
But Bolsonaro met a tightly packed throng of supporters outside the government palace in the capital Brasilia. The crowd chanted, “Myth! myth! myth!” – echoing the president’s dismissal of the virus pandemic.
Interviewer: Well, that’s pretty shocking stuff. Why don’t you write more about it?
Liz: Because, I think, there is no light at the end of the tunnel for that country. You know I like a joke, a laugh, a little bit of humour. But I find no fun in fascist revolutions, in ignoring the deaths of thousands of people, in refusing to take leadership at a time of crisis. There is nothing bloody funny about it at all!
Interviewer: At least you have stopped those mournful sighs now.
Liz: And then there is the tragedy of George Floyd, and the whole history of racism and police brutality in the USA coming to a head, merging the Trump crisis with the Covid crisis and the race crisis. And there is no leadership there either. To all intents they do not have a President. Batman is not in charge, the Joker is. Trump wants to open up the country no matter what the effect. And all of this frustration has sort of erupted onto the streets.
Interviewer: Yes, well, I can see you are getting back into the swing of things. As you say, though, no jokes.
Liz: Jokes? You want a joke? Dominic – bloody – Cummings. This man, who dresses, talks and acts like a barrow boy from the East End of London, although he went to Eton. At the first sign that he and his wife had Coronavirus, he ran around infecting people in London like mad, then packed up his car and family and went running to his parents’ place in Durham to get childcare, even though they are both in their 70s. No thought for anyone except himself. A total disregard… yeah, but you know all this. An entitled little git who, once caught, refused to resign. And there he is. Oh, yes and of course he was the architect of the failed strategy that has seen so many British people die needlessly, because it took them two months to act.
Interviewer: And you have said several times that there might be hope for Boris now, having come through the virus and out the other end. A sort of redemption?
Liz: (quite fired up now really) Yes. It is a dreadful disease that literally takes away your breath. I thought anyone who lived through that might come out with a bit of empathy. Because he always had this view of himself as sort of above disease. I thought a touch of the virus might give him a new perspective. Obviously my redemption theory was entirely wrong, and I apologise to both my avid readers for propounding such a ridiculous notion.
Interviewer: I wouldn’t know. I don’t really read your stuff.
Liz: I want to thank you, though. I feel much more cheerful now. I might write a blog.
Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society. She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.