It’s a beautiful morning here in lockdown city – and, having pulled an all-nighter, here’s the Doctor waiting patiently for the Epic Games store to refresh so he can download GTA 5.
You will have watched the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday with…well, I don’t know. There was a lot of conflicting information and I was thoroughly incensed by it. Not so much the confusion over whether or not you’re supposed to go to work – it’s a moot point in our house – but the denial of culpability, a broadcast that was intentionally vague not because we have an idiot in Downing Street but because we have someone who is in fact very clever, and who knows that if he words things correctly he’s off the hook.
Let me (or, rather, let someone else) put it this way:
Sir Humphrey: We’ve issued a clarification of the slogan, Prime Minister.
Jim Hacker: Good. Will we be withdrawing the campaign?
Sir Humphrey: No, Prime Minister, it’s important that the message gets out.
Jim Hacker: What, even if people don’t understand it?
Sir Humphrey: Especially if they don’t understand it. That way, if the restrictions are too stringent and cause economic problems then we can say our message supported relaxing them, and if they’re too lax, and cause a second wave, then we can say our clarification clearly said the rules weren’t being relaxed.
Jim Hacker: So the purpose of the clarification is to put us in the clear?
Sir Humphrey: Yes, Prime Minister.
“Yes,” I can hear the Tory supporters chanting, “but the British public need to be free to make up their own minds! They don’t deserve to be treated like children!”. To which I will respond with “Boaty McBoat Face”, and drop the mic.
Anyway, the only real response from lunacy like this is to mock it, so here’s a deleted still from ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’.
The slogan itself was memed to death, mostly with pop lyrics (most of which were very funny, although I do wish I’d got to ‘Hot Dog / Jumping Frog / Alberquerque’ before someone else). There were also nods to Father Ted (‘Down with this sort of thing!’ / ‘Careful now’ / ‘Will you have a cup of tea?’). Me, I spent ages thinking about how you could spin it into a Doctor Who reference before coming up with this one:
Then there are the alert slogans, which had no sense of scale or timing but which were nonetheless self-explanatory. At least they are now I’ve put Daleks in them.
Oh, and there’s the alert scale; we’re currently at amber, and I do wonder if when we go up to red someone’s going to say “Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.”
“What about radiation?” someone asked on Twitter. “Or plague?” I told them I’d run out of numbers.
There has been some actual Doctor Who news this week, as Moffat admits in an interview that he’s always thought of Colin Salmon’s antivirus character from series 4 as a future Doctor, living in the library computer to keep River Song company; it’s utter bollocks of course, particularly as it’s only come to light now, but I suppose after series 12 anything’s possible.
The warm weather last weekend brought out the crowds, of course, with beaches flooded with tourists, although some people were at least willing to enforce social distancing.
Elsewhere the nation was out in force to celebrate V.E. Day, as thousands of households marked the defeat of the Axis with street parties and mass singalongs, of a kind not seen since the last spate of street parties to celebrate the Queen having some sort of birthday or something. I’m not one to kill the mood but there was something almost jingoistic about the furore of national pride, given that it was marked in the Daily Mail as ‘A Victory over Europe’ (possibly a typo, but almost certainly a Freudian Slip) and that in the midst of waving union flags and shouting about taking our country back people seem to have forgotten that it wasn’t a British victory, it was an Allied victory, and that we wouldn’t have won it without the Russians and the Yanks. And I’m really not sure how I feel about marking every sodding anniversary with another blowout, even if this one had to be observed from behind closed doors. I do Remembrance Sunday, because it’s important we mark it somehow, but…well, let’s just say that this wasn’t really about the Second World War, was it? Nonetheless, I accept I am a minority view, and I share my views with people who will understand them, as well as occasionally dumping them on a blog no one reads.
Of course, not all of it went smoothly, as evidenced by this screen grab from Katharine Jenkins’ performance outside Buckingham Palace.
You do wonder what on Earth Churchill would have made of it all, although even if he were around to ask, I can’t help thinking our questions might have taken a different tack.
“Come on, be reasonable. It’s a bank holiday and I’ve not been outside in weeks.”