• Montezuma’s Revenge?

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    Above, the image at the start of the 1980s computer game, Montezuma’s Revenge.

    The above image brings back memories. Not of playing this particular computer game but of an Indian takeaway that is long gone, the site now redeveloped and now is the location of the Reginald Centre Community Hub & Library, 263 Chapeltown Road, Leeds LS7 3EX.

    In the mid 80s, I was helping out an old school pal and his wife who were renovating their house on Stainbeck Lane. We’d go to that particular takeaway for although it looked very “down at heel” and was in a “poor area” the food they served was very good in terms of quality and value. “Indian” takeaways have of course developed a reputation for bringing about “Montezuma’s Revenge” – originally, a euphemism for the diarrhoea occasionally experienced by tourists after drinking water or eating food in Mexico as a result of a bacteria strain to which native Mexicans were immune and subsequently applied generally to the condition. Neither I nor my two friends ever suffered from Montezuma’s Revenge after eating the takeaways from that retailer.

    The relevance of the computer game was because there was an electronic gaming machine in which customers could insert coins and play the game whilst waiting for their order. Although we never did [play the game] we could appreciate why some would as the food took some time to cook and unless one was a regular customer they would not accept telephone orders.

    The three of us have known each other for a long time now. As so often, we knew each other at school – being all in the same year – but lost contact after we left secondary school and went our separate ways to meet up quite accidentally years later.

    Since those days, we’ve lost contact and today wherever we are, we will all be in the same situation as regards our state pension and COVID-19.

    This because we were all born after October 1954 and therefore we will not be receiving our state pensions this year but will have to wait past our respective birthdays next year.

    With all of us being 65 this year, it appears that we come into that particular demographic where the risks of being seriously ill were any of us to contract COVID-19 increase.

    The risks associated with COVID-19 increase with age.

    It also appears to be the case that this correlation (seriousness v age) extends in the other direction with reports that the younger a person is the less serious the condition to the extent that some children with the condition might be relatively symptomless.

    An immediate consequence of COVID-19 has been shortages in the shops of items such as anti bacterial hand wash. This has – for me – had the effect of causing me to purchase two 5 litre refill containers of the aforesaid fluid from the office supplier Viking Direct – resulting in me having to pay more – although not anything near the extortionate levels being charged by the unscrupulous profiteers on Ebay!

    This situation for me brings back memories of my late parents in the sense that World War Two was an event that seriously affected there lives during and ever after those events.

    World War Two lasted 2,194 days (6 years and 2 days) from Friday 1st September 1939 when German troops crossed the Polish frontier until Sunday 2nd September 1945 when General Douglas MacArthur formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese Empire on the quarterdeck of the battleship USS Missouri (BB.63) in Tokyo Bay.

    One wonders what the 2,194 days between the dates Thursday 28th May 2015 and Sunday 30th May 2021 will bring.
    This because the first date was the day when Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary introduced the bill that became The European Union Referendum Act 2015 (c. 36) that set in train the events now known as “Brexit”.

    There are some interesting parallels and links between COVID-19 and “Brexit”:

    The epidemiologists know within a set of parameters how COVID-19 will progress and spread.

    The political campaigners and pundits alike (on both sides) knew beforehand that the referendum would be won and lost on the demographic differential relating to voter turnout: they knew that older persons tended to support “Leave” and younger persons tended to support “Remain”. They also knew that that older persons were likely to vote and younger persons were less likely to vote.

    The political campaigners and pundits (on both sides) were proved correct.

    Since that time we have been treated to the occasional outburst by one of those younger voters suggesting that old people have robbed them of their future as citizens of the European Union which is something on Saturday 1st February 2020 they ceased to be!

    One wonders if the Prime Manny (a male nanny), Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, is now of the opinion that he has “bitten off more than he can chew” for not only has he to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal with the EU by the end of the year; he also has to deal with the COVID-19 emergency! Not to mention dealing with the negotiations for a “tremendous, absolutely magnificently beautiful gorgeous” trade deal with “the Donald”!

    Well, Prime Ministerial challenges it seems are like buses: You end up waiting a long long time and then three come all at once!

    The really worrying prospect however is a dreadful confluence of these challenges.

    You see, IF we end up with a “No Deal Brexit” AND a COVID-19 slump we could be looking at demands in 2021 for another referendum. This on the question of whether to rejoin the EU! Of course, that will mean rejoining the ERM prior to joining the Eurozone!

    Why will many young Rejoiners be confident?

    Because COVID-19 might have killed thousands of those elderly voters who voted for Brexit back in 2016!

    Furthermore, those who were 13 in June 2016 will be able to vote in June 2021.