Day 62 – A bizarre decision

Last night, the President announced that from June 1st, religious gatherings of up to 50 people would be permitted again.

I’m going to get straight in there and suggest that this is a stupid, populist decision which will mean more Covid-19 hotspots, more pressure on the health services and more deaths.

Throughout the lockdown, the SA government has made a number of decisions which appear to have absolutely no basis whatsoever in science or reason.

– You can buy closed-toed shoes, but not flip-flops. Why?
– You can’t buy cigarettes “because they are not healthy”, but alcohol can go on sale again on Monday. Silly.
– You can only exercise between 6 and 9am. Even though busy pavements make for greater risk of infection.

But this one is different.
This one has got scientific evidence all over it: it’s just that the evidence all points to not allowing religious gatherings of up to 50 people.

Churches and places of worship all over the world have been highlighted as epicentres of infection since the pandemic began:

In France: “‘Spreading at our church was so strong’, says French doctor infected with COVID-19”

In Germany: “More Than 100 in Germany Found to Be Infected With Coronavirus After Church’s Services”

Already infamously, in Korea: “Why a South Korean Church Was the Perfect Petri Dish for Coronavirus”

In the USA: “California megachurch linked to spread of more than 70 coronavirus cases”

And in… er… South Africa: “Entire church congregation being traced in response to coronavirus in Free State”

And they allow this, now? Really?

(We would have more cases if we had any test kits left to use to detect them.)

It might seem that I’m only singling out religious gatherings for criticism here, but it wasn’t me that chose that. Cyril did that when he told us that they’re the only gatherings which will be allowed.

I might rail against family braais, but I don’t have to, because I can’t have a family braai in my back garden with 2 visitors who I know have been observing all the rules and regulations for 9 weeks in case we spread the infection.
I can, however, spend 3 hours in an enclosed space with 49 strangers, singing and dancing.

I would have shouted about them re-opening restaurants, but that’s not necessary, because my friend can’t re-open his restaurant for even 10 people to have a burger at lunchtime in case anyone there has the virus.
Still, it’s fine for the post-service Sunday morning tea to go ahead.

[A no contact delivery service is available, though.]
(for the restaurant, not the Sunday morning tea)

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t fight about people sitting on a beach, on their own. Sadly though, I can’t sit on a beach on my own. But I can sit next to someone who didn’t wear a mask when they went to the supermarket yesterday. Or the day before.

I’ve got nothing against religious gatherings. But the dichotomy stinks.

However, it’s likely that when Cyril comes up for re-election, he will gently remind the pastors of yesterday evening, and they will nudge (what’s left of) their flock to vote for him. Some method in his madness, then.

But it still really is madness.

 

UPDATE: An interesting take here from UWC’s Andries du Toit.

That’s the thing about democracy…

…it’s all well and good until actually, not enough people agree with your point of view.

If you’d have looked at social media for the last few weeks, you’d have seen a near non-stop barrage of anti-Boris, anti-Conservative, Pro-Corbyn rhetoric. If social media was the way in which new governments were elected, there would surely be no doubt as to who the winner would have been.

But – shock, horror – that’s not the way things work. And suddenly, reality has hit home and Boris has been elected with a massive majority.

There are a few different ways that you can deal with this sort of disappointment. You can wail, gnash your teeth and stamp on a newspaper picture of a triumphant Mr Johnson, like a toddler who didn’t get its way:

Nah then, Mardy Bum!

But it really won’t make any difference. And then a cleaner will have to clean up after you. Well done, Uzair.

You could accept that maybe your party didn’t have a clear policy on Brexit, didn’t work hard enough get rid of its massive anti-semitism problem, didn’t approach the election and the electorate well.
Or maybe your party did have a clear Brexit policy, but not the one that people wanted. Maybe your party also had a clear leader until last night in Dunbartonshire East.

But no. Surely the best way is just to keep telling yourself – and everyone else – that those people who voted Conservative are just stupid. Maybe throw in a Turkish proverb (and I’ve seen this three times already, so it must be true):

‘The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the Axe, for the Axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood he was one of them.’

or just let people know that you know what’s going on, and the 14 million individuals who voted the other way, simply don’t:

Honestly, voters are just sleepwalking our country into a worsening services crisis.

or combine the Turkey thing and the festive season and tell those 14 million Conservative voters that they’re clearly idiots and you know better than them; you know better than all of them.

If the exit polls are correct, the turkeys haven’t just voted for Christmas, they’ve helped hang the decorations and buy the stuffing!!!

After all, choosing to belittle Leave voters after the Brexit referendum worked really well and got that one reversed, so why not?

And then, the final option: your plan to move abroad. Apparently, Ireland always looked great (although it rains a lot). Portugal: shit economy, difficult language, but an EU passport. Or now – suddenly – Scotland. You’ve always liked Scotland. Oh, The Drama of it all. I did lol.

#notmygoverrnment?

Mmm. Yeah. Actually, it is. That’s just how it works.

Look, I’m not saying that Boris Johnson is going to be the greatest leader that the UK has ever had. I’m not saying that Brexit is going to be easy – albeit that this is clearly a mandate for it to finally go ahead now.

But what I am saying that life really isn’t over just because “your guys” didn’t win. I’ve often been a bit sad when Sheffield United didn’t get the result I wanted, but hey, we’re all still here, aren’t we?

Hello?

UPDATE:

Oh right. That’ll be what it is then. [rolleyes emoji]

#TrollingTheGuardian

Not really moving on from my angry rant about political hysteria comes the wonderful twitter hashtag #TrollingTheGuardian. An open opportunity to take the piss out of their columnists who, by way of their wildly lefty thinkpieces, have been doing exactly the same to us for years and years now.

People have been busy, and the results are hilarious.

Some examples of the genre:

And now, as if to demonstrate just how utterly bonkers some of the Guardian’s headlines are, let me tell you that several of those examples above are actual genuine Guardian headlines. Yes, including the poo one.

If there’s one thing that can be said for The Guardian, it’s that at least it doesn’t hide its left-leaning. Rather it celebrates it, like a little hammer and sickle pin badge on its beret; like something to be proud of. Compare that with The Independent, which still claims to be… well… independent, but is actually chilling alongside the Big G on the red side of the bed.

Twitter hashtags come and go, but #TrollingTheGuardian is one that I will be revisiting regularly.