Ed Lines – February 14, 2020

Ed Lines – February 14, 2020

YOU know what I blame the raging epidemic of Coronavirus hysteria on? Brexit. Really.

Since it become irrevocably certain that we were exiting the EU a fortnight ago, there’s been hardly anything for the BBC-led MSM (mainstream media) to try getting the nation’s knickers in a twist over.

Conveniently for the doom-mongers, along came  good old – sorry, new – Coronavirus to scare the general population sh…., sorry, scare the general population ‘witless’ with screaming headlines on the hour, every hour. The BBC lead the way here, but the largely mediocre, sheep-like masses of other media seem to simply follow on obediently.

“The first two UK cases of Coronavirus have been discovered in York…” intones the BBC.

Cue febrile reports of Chinese tourists and students being subject to apparent persecution. You’d think we were in Nazi Germany, circa 1936, to listen to some folk.

“I don’t feel safe,” one attention-seeking ‘Chinese’ resident with a broad Yorkshire accent told a quiveringly excited local BBC radio reporter. “People look at me funny and put their hands over their mouths.” 

I’m not having that. York, like Leeds, has a very sizeable Chinese student population thanks to its universities and has a vibrant Chinese tourist trade – among the many thousands of others who trek there day in, day out. 

I must have passed a hundred Chinese/Asian people in York today … everyone’s just busy getting on with their lives. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a scaremongering headline.

Anyway, two people are diagnosed with Coronavirus – or as I prefer to call it, ‘flu’ – and the city goes into meltdown? No, actually. That’s just what the BBC and other over-excited ‘journalists’ wish to convey.

Flash forward a few days…

“The number of people diagnosed with Coronavirus in the UK has doubled overnight … from four to eight!” 

Hold the front page, issue a nationwide health warning, call a meeting of COBRA in No.10 and, tell you what, why don’t we get Huw Edwards to broadcast the six o’clock news while wearing one of those paper mask thingies? That should put the wind up the remaining few lobotomised people who still take any notice of the hysterical BBC.

AT THIS point, it’s confession time – I’m as big a Jessie as any other bloke when confined to bed and feeling sorry for myself. However I don’t think I have ever actually had the flu. Not ‘proper’ flu.

Received wisdom is that if you see a £10 note a couple of yards away and can’t physically pick it up, then you have flu, and anything short of that is a bad cold. Speaking as a ‘thrifty’ Yorkshireman, I reckon I could defy pneumonia, two amputated arms and still manage to retrieve that tenner with my toes or teeth, but I get the point.

And as a brief aside, and with due respect to flu jabs which, as a lifelong asthmatic I’m supposed to have but only occasionally do, can I recommend the best preventative measure to combat all illness and not just colds/flu? 

Work for yourself. Be self-employed or run a small business. It’s amazing how healthy you remain, even if much of your life is spent on the edge of a nervous breakdown. But at least that isn’t infectious (and I’m now running round touching every piece of wood I can find... aaaaa-chooo!)

But to put things into some kind of perspective,  do you know how many ‘excess deaths’ (as the Office for National Statistics puts it) there were in the winter of 2017/18? In England and Wales alone, 50,100 people died from flu and cold weather-related illnesses, above what the NHS would normally expect.

The blame that year was put on a flu vaccine that didn’t match the strain of flu doing the rounds, yet I don’t recall a media meltdown. 

That 50,100 was the worst winter death rate in 40 years, although in 2014/15 it was nearly 44,000. Average flu deaths vary from 600 to 10,000.

Yet here we are, with a handful of people in the UK a bit poorly and we’re all being told to wash our hands before we wash our hands … then wash our hands again.

If there’s no-one left to read this in a month because Coronavirus has hit the levels of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918/19 – between 50-100 million dead – then I’ll eat my words. 

Heck, if I’m one of the rare survivors I might even take a cheeky day off work. Maybe go for a flu jab.

READERS may note that one or two regular features in their copy of The Press appear to have shifted to different pages or parts of the paper this week.

No, it’s not the editor coming down with dyslexia, or even my idea of playing silly so-and-so’s with you. It’s a case of needs must.

We launched our Morley & District edition at the end of October, which was published every Wednesday until this week, when it switches to Friday, the same as our North Kirklees edition.

Why? Well, the sight of the staff crawling into work on their hands and knees after hitting two demanding deadlines in three days was a clue. I mean, a boss can only kick them up the backside and shout “get a move on” so many times before the motivational value wears thin.

It wasn’t as though we suddenly had double the staff to do double the work. But also, by printing as a change-edition of the core product (I’ll spare you the technicalities) it saves us more than a few bob.

The downside is that only specific pages can be changed and some have to run common in both – for instance our Classified advertising and some other adverts.

The bottom line is that we’re still battling to bring our readers relevant, informed, local news, unlike other weekly newspapers that stuff their pages with generic, region-wide content, dressing it up as local news. And what local news they have, is usually culled from the previous week’s Press!

So stick with us folks, we’re doing our very best!

HERE’S a little bet I’ll have with anyone who doesn’t mind waiting 15 years or so for the money to change hands: I’ll risk a crisp new £10 note that diesel and/or petrol cars are not banned from Britain’s roads by 2035.

You may or may not have been encouraged by the government’s ‘radical’ pledge to rid the nation of its 32.5 million motors – which included wiping the smug smiles off eco-fluffy hybrid car owners. They’re for the bin too.

We’re destined for 35 million electric cars, sitting silently but greenly on the still backed-up M1, but also entirely pointlessly in climate-emergency terms. Emerging African, South American and Asian industrial nations will still be burning coal and oil at increasing rates that make the UK’s virtue-signalling commitment completely futile.

So we shouldn’t do it? I’m not saying we shouldn’t. I’m saying we couldn’t if we wanted to – not unless someone invents a miraculous new way of making batteries.

To achieve all-electric – in just the UK mind – we’d need almost twice the world’s annual output of cobalt, three-quarters of its lithium and half its copper. No one will mind us having all that, will they? And what’s everyone else going to drive? At least we’ll be able to sell all our diesel/petrol motors…

But cop this – the shiny new all-electric VW Golf has to do 75,000 miles before it ‘breaks even’ on the CO2 emissions generated in making it. A bit pointless, no?

Still, by 2035 it won’t be Boris’s problem. That’ll belong to whichever PM is still agonising over whether or not to go ahead with HS2 and a third runway at Heathrow.

Share this post