• Crude oil, crude oil everywhere…. Nor any drop being used!

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    Apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge epic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of the gems of English literature. Like other examples of the same, the text can transport one into the world the writer has created. In the aforementioned instance into the world of the crew of a sailing ship, them and it left to the capricious mercy of the elements being blown south and then north and suffering the torments of the frigid cruel tempestuous wastes being the Roaring 40s, Furious 50s, and Screaming 60s

    These nicknames, refer to the latitudes in the Southern Ocean. This ocean has a well earned reputation for being truly terrifying. There is an old saying, “Below 40 degrees south there is no law and below 50 degrees south there is no God”. When in the trough of a storm, the peak of the wave heading towards you can equal the height of a six-story building. This because the wind is from one direction only: the west and the fetch of the ocean being the unimpeded circumference of the Earth itself.

    The paraphrased title is of course taken from “Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink” where the ship’s crew have been spared a frozen death in Antarctic latitudes only to be threatened with a death from sunstroke and dehydration when they are becalmed in the heat of the tropical Pacific Ocean.

    The poem is a tale of nature’s seeming invincibility and cruelty and the weakness and helplessness of man at it’s mercy.

    As a literary man convalescing from his recent serious illness I can imagine that “The Dear Leader” reading this text whilst at Chequers and reflecting on the similarities with which he and his cabinet colleagues appear helpless against the rampaging COVID-19.

    You see, it happens to be a FACT that whoever had won the General Election of Thursday 12th December 2019 the country would be in much the same position. This because the country was living beyond it’s means in the sense it was spending more than it was receiving in income. Both major parties were equally guilty. The reason why the government cannot institute a comprehensive “track & trace” is simply this: it does NOT have the resources in terms of manpower and equipment.
    In his blog-post today (http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=87584), Doctor North puts forward ideas about how the UK can get out of this hole it has dug for itself.
    Developing a vaccine will take time. It is not a short term exit strategy. Furthermore, to be truly effective it will have to be carried out across the planet. There are many possessing cultures, faiths and nationalities who would reject the idea of being vaccinated by a vaccine developed by other human beings they consider “foreigners”, “unbelievers” and “godless wrongdoers”.

    Yesterday evening I watched an episode of the early 1970s “sci-fi” drama, “Doomwatch”. It was “The Web of Fear” – an episode I watched with wry amusement as it was a tale of a virus that had jumped species and was highly contagious. The transmission vector was spiders and their webs (hence the title) and the virus caused a serious infection that mimicked yellow fever. The outbreak occurred on a fictional island off the far west coast of Cornwall – much larger than St. Michael’s Mount but somewhat nearer than the 30 miles of the Isles of Scilly. The drama ended with the danger being contained. This however is a case of the fiction being less dreadful than the fact!

    The sheer scale of the problem and the threat of COVID-19 has been unwittingly and unwillingly demonstrated by the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).Some members of this carrier’s crew picked up the virus whilst on shore leave in Vietnam. Given the history of the two countries – a harsh irony.

    This enabled epidemiologists to draw certain very unsettling and worrying conclusions about the way this disease is transmitted. It is firstly an airborne (aerosol) virus as well as a virus spread by coughs and sneezes. Secondly – and most dangerously – testing the entire ship’s complement (ship’s company: 3,200 / air wing: 2,480) 5,680 showed that of those tested positive for the coronavirus, 60% showed no symptoms and developed no symptoms during the time they were infected. Now it MUST be understood that CVN-71’s crew are not typical of the average population. They are mostly young physically fit young men and women with no underlying health problems.

    The conclusions to be drawn are obvious and chilling: That three fifths of strong, healthy young people infected with coronavirus display no symptoms and therefore do not know they have it. These young people can and do pass the infection on to older frail persons who go on to develop serious symptoms requiring hospitalisation and many die.

    Now of course, medical professionals do and will continue to cite examples of where young physically fit young men and women with no underlying health problems do contract sever symptoms and die – but these are rare cases.

    Politicians across the world are faced with a two harsh choices:

    #1: Lockdown and crash the economy OR:
    #2: Let the virus rampage through the population doing it’s worst until herd immunity is developed whilst keeping the economy more or less intact.

    Most national leaders have chosen option #1.
    Of all world leaders, this mansuggested another option. This was to quarantine all those persons deemed to be susceptible to contract serious symptoms whilst allowing those deemed not to be susceptible to the same to go about their business and lives free of restrictions.

    Some think that this MIGHT be the only practical way forward! But there is a BIG problem – of which later.

    To enact such a state of affairs in the UK certain emergency actions would have to be instituted which would entail the governments (UK and devolved) and local authorities directing certain of the actions of businesses and individuals to a degree unprecedented in the UK since VE Day 1945.

    For a start, supermarkets would be required to co-ordinate and restrict their delivery services which would mean that competition rules would be suspended. It would also mean that those not deemed to be at high risk from the server form of coronavirus would no longer be able to use the home delivery service offered. This would be restricted to those deemed vulnerable. Furthermore, supermarkets would not be allowed to charge delivery fees.

    For the vulnerable, they would be required to stay in their homes – enforced lock-down.

    There could well be a series of carrots and sticks.

    Council tax and TV licences would be suspended for the period of the quarantine. Ditto electricity, gas and telecommunications services.

    The “sticks” might comprise the suspension of driving licences, contracts of car insurance and automatic SORNing of the vehicles of those deemed to be vulnerable and subject to the lockdown. Thus any affected person found to be driving their vehicle would have committed three driving offences:
    #1: Driving a SORNed vehicle (without tax).
    #2: Driving without insurance.
    #3: Driving whilst disqualified.

    The BIG PROBLEM with this draconian state of affairs is that the UK still needs to have open borders for it to function properly as an economy. A glaring example is the recruitment of thousands of east Europeans to pick and harvest the crops. Notwithstanding increased numbers of Britons volunteering for this arduous work, the growers still have nowhere near the numbers necessary to prevent much of the crop from rotting in the fields. In other words, it would NOT work! The FACT is that this is a global problem and we cannot isolate ourselves from the rest of the world.

    The worldwide effects of this disaster are seen in the collapse of the oil price.

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