For for those of us who like to patronize England, all this good news is hard to accept. The vaccination rates are staggering. Nearly 20 million first doses were given. Forward-thinking procurement plan. A great nation leading, far ahead of the US and, sadder for us, the foaming Remoaners, miles ahead of Europe. Nothing is sadder for an honest, self-hating liberal English. You know the type. Recycle diligently but fly off once in two weeks.
We can’t say we didn’t perform well. The last few years have been extraordinary. Any positive story can be considered a coincidence or statistical digression. There’s plenty of bad news to confirm what we already know: England is a sad little Plague Island in the gray Atlantic, unable to let go of its past glories and head full tilt toward the irrelevant. Brexi has become the Glastonbury Gloomster.
The early days of the pandemic are also promising. We have issues regarding locking, PPE failure and Barnard Castle drive. All reinforce our narrative of total incapacity. A simple eye-roll is usually sufficient to show your membership of the club you are describing. What do you expect from the 10 years of Tory rule? Turkey chooses Christmas. I worry about our children and grandchildren.
The self-loathers haven’t been that good since Suez. But this year life is getting more and more confusing. That test-and-trace failure entertaining. It proves that when the Tories combined public money with private business, the orgies of cronyism ensued. But the vaccine program turned out to be a neat collaboration between stubborn businessmen, big pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. It’s almost as confusing as Gillian Anderson plays Margaret Thatcher. Even Personal eye admitted they had been “hard on” on Tsar Kate Bingham’s vaccine.
It turns out that Britain is not only superior in vaccination. An article on Economist, which is not usually attributed to jingoism, demonstrates Britain’s success in reducing carbon emissions. For several months of last year Britain did not burn coal. Looks like it won’t burn at all soon. You might argue that we have shifted emissions to China, but so has everyone. The bitterest pill is we beat Germany. Germany, the self-hating British nation is more respected than any other. Germany, which welcomes every immigrant, has a prudent government and longs only for peaceful European integration.
Revealed that several of the dozen vaccines Germany is thinking of ordering has been entangled in bureaucracy. Surely a pandemic can’t reveal the flaws in having a pan-continental uber-bureaucracy?
Aren’t all those technics meant to produce a bit of vorsprung? Front page picture, one of Germany’s premier tabloids, was read last Wednesday “England, We Envy You”. While Eeyorish Mrs Merkel warns of another lockdown, with less than 10% of the population being vaccinated, our light yellow-haired prime minister is leading his nation into an exaggerated Weimar summer. Mutti, how can you leave your fans in Islington like this?
American economics professor Tyler Cowen, blogs about Economist a piece, the British word “severely underestimated”, also demonstrates our performance in AI and London’s enduring appeal as a global city. Our bond yields are substantially higher than Germany’s, suggesting that recovery hopes are ahead. At the time of this writing, it appears that the European Football Championship, which will initially be played across continents, will only be held in England, a fine metaphor for this confusing year.
There is a glimmer of light for gloomy people. Amsterdam has taken over as the trading capital of European stocks? Tell me more. Truck delays and export nightmares? Give it to me neatly. But everywhere we see questions without easy answers. Does Ed Davey deserve credit? Is Matt Hancock not a literal devil? Is England really … good?
We have to thank the cricket players. Presumably reading about the vaccination rates of their bubble in Gujarat, they go to great lengths to engineer one of their most coveted defeats in memory. When things look good, it’s nice to have a failure you can count on.
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