Rob Causer's Web Place

2021 Retrospective

A look back at the year. So, for me, many changes, great to get back to Spain after the lockdown, leaving my job after 23 years being probably the main ones on 2020. Overall though, I see polarisation increasing. Two examples to call out; the mainstream media treatment of Biden versus Trump in their first year in office. Biden is obviously not up to the job (neither is Harris!) but where are the demands for competency assessments that Trump had? Biden, if he maintains this trajectory, will enable Trump’s re-election in 2024 and there doesn’t appear to be any viable alternatives, the Democrats are even talking about wheeling out Hillary Clinton, obviously they have learnt nothing. That’s without even mentioning Afghanistan.

For my second example let’s take Formula 1 and the recent World Championship. The narrative being assiduously peddled by the UK media is ‘Lewis wuz robbed’. This is bulked out by references to a series of ‘controversial’ decisions leading up to the finale. This view is obviously that propagated by Sir Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff. An alternative viewpoint would be that from Christian Horner and Helmut Marko who have both pointed out that Mercedes could have pitted Hamilton for fresh tyres (he had an unused set available). Let’s have a look at the race in a bit more detail; Hamilton was in the lead throughout therefore ‘deserved’ to win. Hamilton did indeed lead but that was due to, in my opinion, a very controversial decision to allow him to retain the place after leaving the track in the first lap. Safety cars do, however, act as something of a wild card, perhaps that’s why Toto Wolff was pleading for Masi not to deploy one. Think about that for a moment, not wanting a Safety Car because it might impact your driver’s race never mind the risks of death or serious injury to the Marshalls and other drivers…

My understanding is that, in the final Safety car period Red Bull had decided to do the opposite to Mercedes strategy so if Mercedes had pitted Hamilton Red Bull would have stayed out. Sure, Hamilton would have lost track position but, assuming the same calls were made by Masi both cars would have been proximate and, in a single lap drag race with both having fresh or nearly fresh tyres, my money would be on the Mercedes to win. So it then looks like more of a strategy call, which Hamilton even called out as risky. For me it would have been just as controversial to not allow some cars to unlap themselves, why not all of them? Because they would have no impact on the outcome of the race. Good to see that Hamilton isn’t still (as at the 20th January) sulking though…<Spoiler Alert – he is> But, rather than dispassionately consider the evidence with a mind open to the idea that there are at least two viewpoints on any issue far easier to just say ‘Lewis wuz robbed’ and then select and cite the collateral to support your view. And so it spreads like a cancer across society and kills rational debate and informed opinion.

And so to the not so Grand Old Duke of York. Although the good citizens of York are suggesting that they really don’t want him as their Duke so for how much longer he’s that… I can’t see an out for him now or, indeed, any route back. The only way, in my opinion, for him to carry on would have been to loudly and publicly proclaim his innocence, fully co-operate with the US legal process and mount a forthright defence in court, if it came to that and, of course, be found innocent. That ship sailed long ago however and, I’m afraid, trying to get the case quashed on technicalities and media musings about paying off Roberts/Guiffre all add to the public perception that he’s guilty. That verdict seems to be in and I don’t see anything changing it. Unless Ghislaine Maxwell releases her stock of kompromat and he’s definitively not in it or Roberts/Guiffre et al are provably found to have lied repeatedly he’s, rightly or wrongly, been adjudged guilty in the court of public opinion which isn’t going to stand for his return. The removal of all his military titles suggests that even his family and mother think he’s guilty. This at a time where it’s very clear that once the 94 year old Queen passes on the House of Windsor is in deep shit Monarchy wise with it’s relevance being questioned. He is now apparently pushing for a full trial by jury and is denying it all. Well, not exactly all, he’s only denying certain parts and the majority he can neither admit or deny although a particular gem has emerged in relation to the rape/sexual assault on Roberts where his rebuttal is that it didn’t happen but (without admitting that it did) if it did it was consensual… I mean, WTAF?

I turn now to the travails of Boris Johnson and ‘Partygate’. I for one am heartily sick of hearing about it. I really couldn’t care less if he/they did or didn’t or knew or didn’t know. Why? Well, the driving force behind the constant drip of ‘revelations’ is Dominic Cummings. While he was in power the very same people now hanging off his every word were excoriating him as a lying, cheating, rule breaking bastard. You can’t have it both ways and it does look rather like a personal vendetta on his part, aided and abetted by Labour and the media, which I’m not prepared to subscribe to. I think there are more important things to focus on right now , Ukraine for one. Another point is the question of whether you are happy for Cummings and the media to decide if the Prime Minister should remain in power – I’m certainly not as I believe that is for the electorate to decide. It’s also a bit rich for the SNP to be demanding his resignation in the light of ‘Wee Birnie Sturgeon’ being found to have mislead (lied to) the Scottish Assembly over the Salmond witch hunt but gaily saying ‘Oh, look here’s an election let’s leave it to the voters’ and basically ignoring it.

A lovely article in the Guardian: The NHS isn’t ‘coping’ with Omicron – just ask doctors and patients | Rachel Clarke | The Guardian The thrust of the article appears to be that because Boris declined to introduce further restrictions before Christmas it has put unnecessary and unusual pressure on the NHS. A few points spring to my mind: Firstly, Wales and Scotland which did institute further restrictions reportedly had no better (if not worse) outcomes than England. Secondly, between forty and seventy percent(I’ve seen both figures reported) of patients in hospital with Covid caught it in hospital where there are obviously stringent precautions taken. Thirdly, doesn’t the NHS have a crisis every winter? As a consequence of being designed to run at capacity under normal usage? Fourthly, I’m sorry, but two years into the pandemic what, exactly, has the NHS done to manage the situation? As far as I can see shout for more money, another little gem dropped into the Guardian article was the obligatory reference to years of NHS underfunding despite the recent eye watering amounts provided. Finally, again classic Guardian, no suggested action plan, no remedy just the shroud waving.

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