Here we go again! It’s Meerkat Muse time!
Of course, do we have anything to celebrate at this time?
On a personal note, there was the pleasure(!) of going back to work following covid. I consider myself lucky, for my experience of the virus was mild, and doesn’t appear to have landed me with any long-term effects. There remain so many people denying covid exists, or playing down its effects, but reality tells a different story. At a time when cases are surging, the Tory government believes relaxing the rules is a good move (it’s a move that makes them look good, during a time of self-inflicted crisis), but sensible, prudent people know the virus won’t go away by easing the pandemic measures.
The Shadow of War
I started this Muse on the 27th of January, and as much as I would love the power of foresight, I can’t say what’s been happening ahead of time, but the very real prospect of Russia invading Ukraine has been a news story for a few weeks, and if/when such an invasion takes place, there’s no telling what will happen. There is talk of sanctions, and even of supplying weapons to Ukraine, something that carries all kinds of uncertainty.
To listen to Russian media, this is about Russia resisting the encroachment of NATO and protecting the Russians and Russian allies within Ukraine. From the perspective of Ukraine, this is about Russia illegally annexing territory under false pretenses. The US and Europe have made it clear that Ukraine is free to join NATO should it wish to, and should that happen, official NATO policy would be to treat an attack on Ukraine as an attack on the entire alliance.
I’ve seen people argue that the possibility of war means we should forget the party scandals that are rocking the government and Boris Johnson. Well, firstly, war is not a certainty, and we should behave as though the world will carry on. Secondly, the last person we want in charge of a UK war effort is Boris Johnson. His shambolic record fills me with precisely zero confidence that he could conduct a war. Can you imagine this blustering idiot leading us? The country would be utterly doomed.
My wife and I recently returned to a show we both absolutely love, though it makes me drool. Masterchef Australia is easily the most entertaining edition of the show, and we’re working our way through Season 11, which I am given to believe is the last time Gary, George and Matt are the judges, and it originally aired in 2019. The skill of these amateur cooks is incredible, and the skill of the professionals they get in to teach and motivate is astonishing. I often get delusions of grandeur with cooking whilst watching this show, so you never know, I might throw down some attempts at… stuff.
My cooking skills aren’t exactly amazing, though in truth I’ve never really pushed myself in that arena. Who is to say I can’t cook a really juicy steak, or bake a great apple pie?
Getting back into the groove has taken a few days, and we’ve been quite busy, with a lot of footfall, which is great in many ways, but when you’re feeling tired and still a little grotty, you’re not really in the mood for people. Especially people who more or less follow you into the store, just after an 8am start… I mean, there’s early, then there’s early.
I’ve also made a rod for my own back, in the form of agreeing to exchange some very heavy tiles in-store rather than being assertive and having the customer accept collection/delivery charges. Ah well, we live and learn.
When Lying isn’t as bad as calling out Lying
The Houses of Parliament have some strange and anachronistic rules. For example, Ian Blackford, the leader of the SNP, called Boris Johnson a liar over the ‘partygate’ business and Sue Gray’s report into the scandal. I’d argue that Mr Blackford called a spade a spade, but in the Commons calling someone a liar is deemed more offensive than repeatedly deceiving the House, the Queen, and the general public. It’s an absurd situation and Mr Blackford was ejected from the House of Commons for refusing to amend his statement (to the ridiculous ‘inadvertently misled the House’). There’s nothing ‘inadvertent’ about it. Johnson has a history of dishonesty. He has a history of failure. He cannot accept that the laws of society apply to him, for he genuinely believes he has a birthright and that he is better than us commoners.
What makes this even worse is that many Tory MPs have either refused to criticise Johnson’s behaviour and actions, or they’ve supported him. As far as I’m concerned, that makes them complicit in his actions.
Black History Month
February is Black History Month in the USA. This makes some people uncomfortable. Confronting the realities of racial tension and conflict (both historical and current) is something a lot of people do not want to do.
We should be uncomfortable in the UK too. Whilst it would be very easy to fall into the trap that race relations are better here, the reality is British racism is subtle and sinister. The Windrush scandal is proof enough of this, and it’s not the only example. Look at football, and what happened to several young black English players after Euro 2021. Black history is US history, as Bropheus said. It’s also world history.
It seems with each passing week the Tories take decisions designed to hurt people. In the midst of a time when we are already facing an increase in National Insurance, energy prices are set to rise as well. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a ‘rebate’ to cover part of the cost of this, but here’s the thing – this ‘rebate’ is actually a loan, that later on down the line will see taxes get hiked yet again. I’ll let Labour MP Chris Bryant explain:
The average UK household is looking at an increase of £693 per year on their energy bills, whilst (as Jon Trickett points out)…
I wish this was some form of twisted satire, but it’s not. Oh yeah, this happened too, as pointed out by Zarah Sultana:
I recently wrote that the Tories hate the poor. This is further evidence of this. Alongside their contempt for law and rules (hence their illegal parties whilst people died during lockdowns), they wish to rob us blind.
I wish more people were angry about this. We need to be writing to our MPs, especially Tory MPs, to force them to at least try to understand what life is like for ordinary people, away from the pomp and pageantry of many a detached MP. There are resources out there. There are other means to raise money that would not stop the wealthy being wealthy, but would take a lot of pressure off the poor and raise significantly more money for the NHS, education, police etc.
Finally, let’s end this particular portion of the Muse with this, from Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP:
She is absolutely right. When times are good, the people at the top benefit. When times are bad, the poor are expected to absorb the shortfall. That needs to change.
With that out of my system, I wanted to show you a rather spectacular and beautiful sunset, glimpsed from the back of the store the other evening:
It’s not often such sights present themselves. It almost looks like a sweeping, epic painting. Speaking of art…
I dare say she’s a more talented artist than me!
Every now and then I think I should draw more. Virtually everyone I know seems to react with horror at this idea. This only makes me more inclined to do it.
Let’s end this Muse on a faintly terrifying note. We’ve all had ‘the dream’. You know the one. No, not that one. I’m talking about the ‘really need to pee’ dream. I had such a dream the other night. What’s worse is, in the dream I actually went to the loo and did my business, and then felt the strong urge to pee again, because, as I discovered when I woke up, I really needed to go! Thankfully no accidents occurred, which is always the worry when having the ‘nee to pee’ dream. I could really do without a repeat!
Overall, this has been a quiet Muse period. Who can say what comes next? I guess we’ll find out! Take everyone – stay tuned for the next Muse!