HEAR HEAR

As happens from time to time, I’m even more deaf than usual at the moment. A combination of a build up of ear wax and my entirely unscientific efforts to remove it seem to have made matters even worse. Even watching television currently requires Motorhead levels of amplification. In the old days, you could simply book an appointment at the local health centre where you could have your ears ‘syringed’, probably one of the great experiences in life, going into the building virtually deaf and leaving it merely half deaf. They don’t do it anymore. Given my increasing deafness and tinnitus, I don’t suppose it would make much difference these days.

STREETS OF LONDON

Over the weekend, there were numerous anti-Israel demonstrations around the country. The usual suspects were in evidence, including Stop The West (it’s Stop the War, really, but we all know what they’re really about), the Socialist Worker Party and the independent MP Jeremy Corbyn. Indeed, Corbyn was introduced at a rally by the alleged comedian Alexei Sayle as “the real leader of the opposition” rather than Keir Starmer, who he described rather lovingly as a “shitbag”. More disturbingly, a small convoy of vehicles drove passed a Jewish Community Centre in St Johns Wood, with Palestinian flags being waved from windows of cars, with chants over the loudspeaker including “Fuck the Jews, rape their daughters”, the speaker adding “We have to send a message.” Well, yes: I think we all get the message. A significant chunk of the hard left in Britain hates Jews, a disturbing development which got worse on Corbyn’s watch. You can have reservations about the extent of Israel’s level of retaliation to attacks from Hamas terrorists and indeed condemn Benjamin Netanyahu for his overreaction (and so much more) without being very concerned about the rise of antisemitism at home and abroad. “Fuck the Jews, rape their daughters” doesn’t strike me as a catchphrase to gain wider support for their cause.

THE LOCKDOWN EASES

Although it made little difference to a hundred or so cranks and fruitcakes who decided to march around Bristol on Saturday, declaring they represented “the 99%” who were against lockdown and “poison vaccines”. I am no mathematician, but given the high levels of vaccine take-up and opinion polls which have long suggested most people favoured harder lockdowns than those imposed by the government, 99% may just be a slight exaggeration. Today, Good Morning Britain, a TV station I have never watched, featured a guest called Ingrid Tarrant, who it turns out happens to be an ex wife of the TV presenter Chris. She was desperate to hug people again now that restrictions have been lifted, but not so desperate to protect those she wanted to hug because, she suggested, vaccines which have been scientifically proven to be safe are apparently not safe and she had refused hers. Regardless of her weapons grade stupid views, which she is perfectly entitled to have, I am not quite sure how being married to the legendary host of TISWAS qualifies her to be an expert on anything. It’s not what you know, it seems.

ALISSON WONDERLAND

As Liverpool’s season fizzled out in what was clearly heading for a 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion, I remarked to my partner that Liverpool’s brilliant goalkeeper Alisson Becker would probably come up for the final corner and score a dramatic winner. Imagine my surprise when he did just that. Alisson had tragically lost his father some months ago and due to COVID restrictions was unable to return to Brazil for the funeral. Bravely, he carried on playing and then that happened 95 minutes into the game. Liverpool’s brilliant netminder attributed his success to God and while I have major doubts about the existence of a supernatural creator, I can understand how he gains comfort from his faith even if faith is belief without evidence. Fair play that man.

THE GREEN LIGHT FOR TRAVEL

If you are looking forward to a holiday this year, then today’s easing of travel restrictions will be very encouraging. Britain’s airports are full to capacity – well, a couple of check-in desks are open – with sun-seeking Brits heading off to green light countries Portugal, Gibraltar and the Falklands Islands. Sadly, just about everywhere else is on the amber or red list so you will have to wait a bit longer – say 2022 – before heading off to Spain, Greece and Italy. I’ve got stuff booked for June and September and certainly the June one will be a last minute decision if Spain turns green by then. If it doesn’t, I won’t be travelling without insurance and being forced to quarantine when I get back. I’ll bet the house that many will travel without insurance and that will literally be betting the house.