Opinion: The Rhythm of Incompetence

The past few weeks have been a scary time to be a member of the human race. This is certainly not the Rhythm of the Night, as the band of the same name as a viral pandemic sweeping the nation may suggest. This is in fact the rhythm of global political incompetence. A time when the leaders we put our undeserved trust in should come together and crack on with a plan that protects the vulnerable and in-need, we have instead received a bobble head, stuffed puppet of a man telling us that we shouldn’t worry and also telling us that our family members would die, somehow in the same sentence. 

Yes, after much pressure from the press and public, Prime Minister Pfeffel Johnson and his groupies are going to be giving us daily updates on just how screwed we are. Back in the election of last year (which looks like a dream come true given the stern realisation that the man from the GoCompare adverts is ineffectively leading the country) it had seemed less than likely that a global pandemic would sweep across the nation. Maybe if we’d had the hindsight, we wouldn’t have voted for the pantomime dame. Because when you vote for the silly man with the funny hair and the off-colour racist comments, that is exactly what you receive. A man unfit to lead the country at the best of times is now leading the country through its greatest crisis.  

Can I just ask you all a question? Why toilet paper? I mean, I understand you’ll need a few bog rolls for when you march into that bunker of yours and close the door for good, but aren’t there other things you’ll also need? If I weren’t so scared of leaving the house, I’d start panic buying jam or copies of Private Eye just to see the effect it would have on the supply and demand of such items. Would they sky rocket in price? Would everyone be fighting each other tooth and nail to grab the last copy of Ian Hislop’s political peddling mag? I doubt it, but the jam is certainly worth a try. If you find yourself in the shops over the next few days, go to the jam aisle (I don’t know if that’s what they call it), shout “Oh thank God there’s still some there!” and then proceed to buy about seven or eight jars of the stuff. 

Panic buying in of itself is ridiculous, a trend that has gone viral because idiots can’t wait for the government to sort everything out. Panic is perhaps more dangerous than the illness itself at this stage, and with that in mind it’s key to point out that if you are panic buying toilet paper and plain pasta, then you’re a moron. Now, if anything, is the time for us all to come together as one and work on a plan that would care for as many people as possible. The same people that say they’re patriotic and are red, white and blue through and through are the same people elbowing your grandparents out of the way so they can nab the last bag of Frazzles. 

But I do see the appeal. The feverish realisation that we are now closer than ever to living in Mel Gibson’s Mad Max. I hate to point it out though, but we’re veering toward Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome rather than Mad Max 2, and for anyone that has seen Beyond Thunderdome, they’ll know that’s not inherently a good thing. 

I’ve been quite worried over the past few days and find myself in a bubble of yelling “I told you so” at friends and family when, a few days after I say something is going to happen, it happens. It’s made me feel like a cross between Jake Gyllenhaal in Bubble Boy and an elite hacker who has somehow cracked into The Matrix and the fabric of the universe. In actual fact I’ve just been watching the news, eating cereal, and making assumptions, because that’s all anyone can do at this stage. I’m just one of the lucky few that has gone a little insane with preparing for this and just so happens to be predicting what’s going to happen further down the line.  

Are we doing enough to prevent the inevitable? (Credit: PA Images)

When Donald Trump of all people is the man that seems to be the closest we have connected to what we should be doing, you should start to get a bit worried. He’s nowhere close to handling this competently though, don’t think for a second that I’m giving him any credit. The President of the United States has regarded the success rate of his response to the pandemic with the same smugness and self-assuredness as you’d find in only the emptiest of brains. Asked to rate his government’s response to the outbreak, he gave himself a ten. I assume that scale was out of 100, but you can never be sure with that sad orange sack, so it’s best to leave him on whatever plain of reality he’s crafted for himself up in that brain of his and just get on with whatever preventive measures we can take. 

I don’t mean to sound like one of those crazy blokes that sits in alleyways with a tinfoil hat on because they’re scared the government will steal their most valuable and beloved memories, but I’m going to have to say it. At a time when government incompetence is rife, take some matters into your own hands. Johnson and his government have been slow to react to the inevitable, and the evidence is in every country in Europe. The sanctions and measures Italy, Germany, France and Spain have put into place will make their way over to the U.K. in a matter of weeks. Don’t delay, act now. Pull your kids out of school, bunk off of work and crack out the Monopoly board. A few games of that and you’ll be hoping you catch the virus. 

I wrote this article as a bit of fun, but I just want to be genuinely serious for a moment. If you’re still not worried about this, if you’re still thinking it’s funny to put on your snapchat story that “the government can do one, they can’t stop the sesh”, then stop. Get your head out of the sand, stop lying to yourself about the climate we find ourselves in. This is such a massive paradigm shift of the way we live and operate as a culture, yet in that traditional British fashion we’re all attempting to grin and bear it. The impact will not be temporary. Now is not the time for belligerent, arrogant bravery in the face of an unknown pandemic. The few thick-headed will create danger for the many that look to act in an orderly fashion. Your disruptive idiocy is causing more harm than anything the virus could ever aim to achieve.  

This isn’t something that will go away in a few weeks’ time. We’ll be dealing with this for the rest of our putrid lives, always tackling and being on the lookout for new viruses. This is a pandemic that will last for months, if not years. The preventive measures, isolation, quarantining and everything else governments are doing are going to last for a lot longer than anyone out of the loop would expect. This isn’t just a flu, and I don’t mean to induce panic, but it’s sometimes the only way people will listen. Remain indoors. Your plans to go out drinking or a meet up with friends do not take importance over a global pandemic. You’d have to be an arrogant, big-headed scumbag to think that, I say, as I write this piece from Café Nero.  

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