This has been a stunning birthday and I never thought I would be sitting here at this machine this morning saying such a thing.
In the weeks leading up to to the birthday, I got quite depressed if I thought about it because if we hadn’t been in the middle of a pandemic we would have had a family party and at that point I couldn’t see how we could get together at all. I was WRONG, thanks to my resourceful daughters. On the birthday itself they arrived with balloons and cake and presents which was lovely, and in the afternoon my first granddaughter arrived with her two sweeties and we talked and played with them in the garden and me and Mary at the door of the conservatory.
And now this morning the two girls came back with a very big present from the entire family and set up an I-pad to that we could all see one another as I opened it. Here we all are talking to one another via Zoom and how lovely is that. And here I am holding the present, which turned out to be an absolutely stunning photo-mosaic, which is new to me and fascinating because it’s a picture of me and the old darling composed of 455 family pictures of us from youth to old age and our children and grandchildren and great grand children. A real family photograph. I shall spend the rest of the year looking at it, picture by picture with my magnifying glass.
I just had to share it with you because it’s so delightful and t’s taken so much thought and planning to bring about and they kept it all a secret until this morning. Is that superb or is that superb? Best birthday ever.
On Thursday January 7th I had my first jab of the Covid vaccine, which was a) the Pfizer vaccine and b) rather a relief, because although I have faced the fact that at my age I’ve got to die and that it will be sooner rather than later, I would rather not choke to death. According to the reports from the manufacturers, which were explained very succinctly by a Twitter friend only yesterday ”If the vaccine given is the Oxford/Astra Zeneca, it has been tested and approved with a 12 week gap between doses 1 and 2. If, they give the Pfizer vaccine, the tests were only one with a gap of up to 21 days between doses.” So I should be receiving my second jab this Thursday, which is my ninetieth birthday. BUT if that were really going to be the case I should have been given the date of my appointment yesterday and the phone didn’t ring. Now I’m waiting to see whether or not it will ring today.
There was an interesting conversation on Twitter about it yesterday which I followed avidly. One man said:
”It does feel like they’re rolling the dice on people’s lives in the name of trying to ‘win’ the game of having the most vaccinations” and they’re certainly making a very well publicised fuss of the number of people they’ve ‘vaccinated’ without telling us that the job has only been half done
And another writer – a lovely sensible lady whom I much admire – wrote
”I do think they might try to stick to the manufacturers recommendations. Unless they want shot of us, of course, which wouldn’t surprise me.”
It wouldn’t surprise me either given Dominic Cummings infamous remarks on culling the elderly.
I found this telling pair of photographs on Twitter and retweeted them at once because I was so struck by the similarities between these two men. Now, thanks to the skill of my amanuensis, they are up here for you to see too, the POTUS and El Duce. Two self obsessed, power hungry Fascists, striking a pose which they think will show their followers how invincibly powerful and superior they are and which actually reveals them as petty, arrogant, narcissistic and cruel. Fascist leaders have a lot in common and none of it is admirable. And one of the worse things is that they all need and use a mob of angry, bellowing men – and women- who can be worked up by lies and propaganda until they will act in any way their dictator/leader wants them to. In Mussolini’s case it was dropping poison gas on totally unarmed Ethiopians, so that their beloved leader could start building an Empire, in Hitler’s it was hating Jews so much that they would beat them up on the streets and agree to sending them to concentration camps and gassing them, in Trump’s it was working his followers into such a lather that they would take to the streets with their flags and guns and trash the Capitol. As a result, five people died, many were injured and there were 60 arrests.
It will be interesting to see what steps Joe Biden and his newly elected Government will be able to take to control the uprising and punish Trump as he richly deserves. I hope they will be decisive and taken as soon as possible. Fascist dictators need to be dealt with as early on in their careers as possible. They are very dangerous men and if they’re not put under strict control they do a lot of damage.
We can’t help our allies across the Atlantic very much, except by cheering them on and sympathising. We have a Fascist government here, lead by the man Trump calls ‘the British Trump’ and that’s going to take all our energy in the next few years. It’s not called Fascist yet – except by those of us who have recognised it for what it is. There are still far too many people who swallow his lies and the media propaganda in his favour and say he’s doing his best, given what a terrible situation we’re in. But those of us who know what we’re up against also know that we’re going to have a Herculean job to cleanse his particular Augean stables and it won’t be done in a day.
George Orwell knew it was coming and gave us fair warning of it many years ago. Take a look at this
‘When I speak of Fascism in England,” he wrote, ”I am not necessarily thinking of Moseley and his pimpled followers. English Fascism, when it arrives, is likely to be of a sedate and subtle kind (presumably, at any rate at first it won’t be called Fascism.)”
I reckon he was spot on.
But it isn’t just Johnson we are up against. It’s an evil ideology and there are a whole pack of them all eager for power for themselves, and equally eager to keep us out of the EU otherwise they would be forced to pay their taxes (which is what Brexit was all about ) who will take over if and when their current leader is removed. To cut that cancer from our body politic could take years. God help us. But to cheer you up at least we’ve got one mouth out of the way – even though he had Trump’s blessing. And we do have a very different ideology to work towards. As this very different man explained.
”Patriotism,” he said, ”is about supporting each other, not attacking somebody else. It’s about loving your country enough to make it a place where nobody is homeless or hungry, held back or left behind.”