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  • Lawrence Bailey

Sometimes you just couldn’t make it up

There are times when I sit down at the desk, thinking to myself, “OK, this column isn’t going to write itself”, only to find that’s pretty much what happens.

More accurately, I start with a specific topic in mind but somehow get distracted down a different route.

On this occasion I'd decided to sound off about how often this country gets divided over so many issues.

I was listing how first we fell out over Brexit, then over what kind of Brexit was best, then whether sovereignty is important or whether citizens can decide which law to obey and which to ignore and, more lately, if it’s acceptable for governments to do the same.

Having just gotten into my stride, my eye was unintentionally caught by a comment from one of those conspiracy nutjobs on social media.

Although these individuals rant with seemingly scientific authority, you'll find that science is seldom their strong suit.

Some doubter, who evidently harbours a notion that the Apollo moon-landings never actually happened, was questioning how president Richard Nixon could have spoken to the astronauts on Tranquillity Base when you still can’t get a decent phone signal in some places today.

I only paused long enough to suggest that he look up “satellite” on Google but by then I was already spinning off-track myself.

Truth be told, few things irritate me more than the bozos who describe themselves as “brutally honest” about such stuff when all that means is that they’re happy to subscribe to any old baloney that fits their prejudices.

The trending fallacy at present is how the Coronavirus pandemic is a hoax engineered by unscrupulous governments as a means of suppressing democracy and freedom.

Such stupidity makes me want to shout something at the screen along the lines of “COVID-19 isn't a referendum, you dipsticks. It's not going to go away if enough people agree with you. The only thing that is likely to get suppressed is your ability to breath without a ventilator”.

Another conspiracy theory that seems to be gaining ground for whatever reason is that disaffected allies could put be about to put Boris Johnson on permanent furlough.

It’s apparent that Boris can no longer garner the respect of a partisan press. Headlines lamenting his clumsiness over coronavirus, despair over successive u-turns and speculation of how Brexit will end in an sticky mess are all regular fare.

Some have even deployed the time-honoured tradition of mentioning how the PM is “looking tired”; a usually reliable sign that the knives are out. But who knows, eh?

All I can say as regards his Tuesday night address to the nation, I share the prevailing view that Johnson lost the moral high ground – along with any ability to appeal for “national discipline” - the moment he failed to censure his aide Dominic Cummings for going walkabout.

That not only smacked of seriously bad judgement but helped stoke another on-going conspiracy theory about how an unelected bureaucrat is really running things in Downing Street.

Except, you’d struggle to make that one up. Well, wouldn’t you?

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