A news story today shows just how arbitrary much of history is. At the height of the Covid pandemic the UK government, suffering the worst death rate in Europe, gambled big on developing a vaccine quickly. This was very much something that suited the personality of the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson is notorious for a lack of attention to detail and for wanting to have his cake and eat it. A vaccine must have appeared to him to be a magic cure for his Covid problem.
Gambles sometimes pay off, and this one has given him some unexpected benefits. Not only did an effective vaccine get delivered in a very short time, the roll out also got off to a good start. In the meantime, the European Union’s similar programme didn’t come in so quickly. This meant that it was a double payout. It both countered the internal bungling of the day to day handling of the virus and allowed some points to be scored at the expense of the EU.
It’s easy to see the faults in other people’s political ideas. There has been a big uptick in simplistic philosophies lately. Trumpers believe in putting their state first, regardless of the international implications. Libertarians discount the benefits of the state’s activities. Brexiters think that getting rid of the influence of Brussels will make us freer. It isn’t hard to see the shortcomings of these viewpoints. They can be summed up in a few sentences and obviously are nowhere near adequate to the complexities, trade offs and downright cussedness of the real world.
You wait ages for an event of historic significance then you get two come along at once. The attempted coup in the Capitol last week will no doubt be discussed for years to come. At the moment we don’t have all the accounts we’d like to have, and no doubt more will be coming out for years to come. But there will be a lot of historical information available. While the actions and motivations of the key players, particularly Mr Trump himself, are the big part of the story we have a lot more to go on with this.
You don’t get historic events along very often, and even more rarely do you get to watch them roll out in realtime on the television while being able to discuss them with just about anyone else on the planet.
I woke up to the news the South Korea’s population has fallen for the first time in its history. Wars and famines have been just as prevalent in the country’s history as anywhere else, but it turns out that demographics is the thing that really counts. An ageing population who choose to avoid having too many children is enough to bring down the population in a way that disease, starvation and conflict rarely succeed in doing.
If a recent report is to be believed, it turns out a lot of people in their fifties and sixties are turning up in accident and emergency wards after getting drunk. The BBC headline is a bit misleading while being literally true. It is worded to imply these oldies but boldies are the victims of assault and that alcohol is the cause. This is belied by the actual text. “[Researchers] suggested some older binge drinkers were still behaving as they did when younger, in the 1980s and 1990s.”
I wouldn’t be without conservatives. They are on the whole decent people, or at least they are as decent as non-conservatives. I have never noticed the slightest difference between conservatives and liberals when it comes to honesty, intelligence or general likability. You certainly can’t tell whether somebody is a conservative or not just by what they say or do at any rate.
Since the Brexit referendum I have become obsessed with UK political current affairs. This isn’t all bad. It has been a fascinating and very educational experience. It has been full of drama and I now know way more about the details of the British constitution than I ever thought I would.
Dan Carlin’s podcasts are not to everyone’s taste. He has a very particular way of presenting and you may or may not like it. It is very much history from his personal perspective and if you don’t share it you might not feel comfortable with it. He also has a rather dramatic speaking style which is not always what you might choose to listen to.
Well it is that time of year when you have a little time to reflect. And I have decided that I am no longer happy using Facebook. I hate the experience and they are undermining democracy. And I waste too much time on Twitter. I love the experience but I can’t seem to take it in moderation.