Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite (Joseph de Maistre)

Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre (1 April 1753 – 26 February 1821)

Do we get the government we deserve? Or even the politicians? What do we deserve?

Surely not the dangerous, incompetent, and frankly moronic governments that are in charge in both the United Kingdom and the United States. However, the UK does have one thing in its favor. It doesn’t have Donald J Trump, thank goodness. But that’s not saying much.

We have Boris Johnson—BoJo the Clown—along with a gamut of lacklustre Cabinet ministers who don’t seem to know their backsides from their elbows. It’s almost stretching credulity that in these difficult Covid-19 days there is a dearth of able leadership in both countries.

To give BoJo his due, he has been off work for a few weeks recovering from the virus. But from many accounts that have been making the rounds in the media, he wasn’t exactly on top of things before the pandemic took hold. Successive governments took their eye off the ball, even when advised that a pandemic was long overdue.

I blame David Cameron in the first instance. Coming to power after the May 2010 General Election, he (with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne) embraced economic austerity with enthusiasm. Years of Brexit dysfunction followed. Now, all of a sudden, when faced with an unprecedented economic fallout from the pandemic, the Johnson government has found eye-watering amounts of financial support to keep the economy afloat, sums that the Conservatives consistently said the country never had nor could afford. Not that I’m knocking the economic measures that have been taken. Far from it. People have to live. Have to survive.

But in that decade of austerity, what suffered? The National Health Service (NHS) suffered, starved of funds, starved of staff. The very NHS that government ministers are now queueing up (hypocritically) to praise and support. Ah, words are so easy to come by.

I know it’s important to have clear, concise messages to guide the behavior of the public at large. So, the government’s slogan (at right) achieves that goal. But, in some respects, hollow words. Trotted out, almost by rote, during every daily ministerial briefing. Protect the NHS? Something that these past Tory governments have not done.

Utter dysfunctionality is how I would describe the situation in the USA. With a narcissistic, egotistical moron at the head of government, who does not have the great (bigly even) intellect he professes to have, frankly it’s no wonder that the economically most powerful country on the planet is suffering from the virus like no other. Trump’s leadership is inept, dangerous even. His press conferences have become re-election campaign events. And I heard on the news just this morning that he’d cancelled the daily press briefing yesterday as no longer worthwhile because he was getting only ‘hostile questions’. That says a lot about the man.

Having promoted hydroxychloroquine as a remedy for the virus, he then turned to disinfectants and light as possible cures.  How stupid (and dangerous) can the man get?

He’s mostly incoherent, unable even to read a prepared text without stumbling over the words. This is how he speaks all the time, comments on the virus situation. Just listen to his actual words (not an impression) mimed by this girl pretending to have had one too many. He really is losing his marbles.

So what’s the solution? Well, I think these folks have it down pat (with an interesting take on Dave Newman’s 1972 hit The Lion Sleeps Tonight, reprised by Tight Fit in 1982). This video has gone viral (sorry about the pun) in the USA among Democrats, who can only hope—and campaign to ensure—that Trump is not re-elected come November.

But what an indictment of a serving POTUS. It beggars belief.

I put these words in print, so to speak, as an indication of what I’ve been thinking about over these past few days as the competency of governments to handle the Covid-19 crisis is increasingly called into question. And to look back on once we come out the other side.

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