Happy 2020

BY FRANK HAVILAND

Doomsday forecasters rarely back a winner, but 2020 might just be their year. Anyone with a tenner on the end of the world coming by Christmas will be experiencing a nervous frisson around now, as 2020 has really stepped up its game. Tensions are also mounting at the Annus Horribilis Club, where rumour has it notable members 1914, 1929 and 1939 are anxiously contemplating the loss of the best armchairs.

Even limiting matters to Britain, the world suddenly feels like a Carry On film without Sid James’ laugh; and laughs we could really use right now. Despite an 80-seat majority, the country is host to a Tory Party so bereft of conservatism, we might as well have gone the whole hog and elected Corbyn.

The government’s current focus appears to be profligacy even John McDonnell wouldn’t countenance, unconscious bullshit (sorry, bias) training for MPs, and a COVID Stasi for anything resembling the Von Trapp family.  

In a bid to look tough on immigration, Priti Patel was celebrating last week as 12 Albanian criminals were kicked out of the country – bravo Home Secretary! So that’s a whopping 0.00001% of the estimated 1.2 million illegals still here: 12 down, only 1,199,988 left to go!

Meanwhile, the Johnson administration continues to flounder at the Port of Dover. The number of illegals known to have successfully crossed the English Channel (escaping a harrowing diet of croissants and Chateau Lafite), has reached 6,000 – ironically, the same number of homeless veterans on our streets.

It doesn’t take a genius to see this won’t wash come election day; what puzzles me is why UK homeless charities aren’t investing in dinghies (6-seaters, obvs), and encouraging vets to sail 500M out and look helpless. Four-star accommodation awaits anyone smart enough to not show ID, even if the Wi-Fi is a bit dodgy.

And then there’s COVID, a virus so feeble other viruses laugh at it in the petri dish. Nevertheless, COVID has had a good week; registering 49 deaths (compared to the 10,000 deaths by other causes). And for this we have shut down not only the economy, but the NHS itself. Yes, that’s ‘our NHS’, ‘the envy of the world’ – where else can nurses and doctors get paid to make TikTok videos all day? Have no fear; we’re ‘protecting the NHS’ by closing it.

British public debt has hit £2Trillion for the first time. If you didn’t know better you’d swear Rishi Sunak was trying to bankrupt the nation, having us all sitting on our arse as the private sector picks up the tab. Except every time small businesses (the only people who actually want to work) try to get back to it, they’re hit with impossible regulations.

It’s dark days too for policing, what with the furore over Black Lives Matter, and the decision that ‘the smell of cannabis’ is no longer sufficient grounds for stop and search. Forces appear to have reached the conclusion that BLM, Antifa, and Extinction Rebellion are now exempt from police interference. Instead, officers are busting up children’s birthday parties; scouring the neighbourhood for evidence of jelly and ice cream, or anyone who smells a bit like granny’s scones.

Short of mask manufacturing, it’s hard to find an industry holding its head above water. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it’s not just the man in the street suffering. We’ve got multimillionaires bored enough to lecture us on privilege, universities telling students not to get drunk or have sex (what exactly is that £50k debt for then?), and feminists who have spent decades forbidding us to objectify women, getting their tits out willy-nilly,

Hollywood has also been hit below the belt. As of 2024, eligibility for the ‘Best Picture Oscar’ will no longer be based on merit, but rather the diversity of the cast and crew. Casting couch negotiations are going to be tricky from here on in: a bit less Brigitte Bardot, a bit more Linda Sarsour – Harvey Weinstein’s probably glad he quit while he was ahead.

Meanwhile London, once one of the world’s greatest cities, has become a war-zone under Mayor Sadiq Khan’s hapless tenure. With crime rising an astonishing five times faster than the rest of the country, Khan is left bleating ineffectually about the capital’s lack of diversity, despite simultaneously claiming London is the most diverse city in the world.

But the biscuit is well and truly taken by the government’s new ‘rule of six’ – urging us not to invite anything larger than the Liberal Democrats over for dinner. As if Christmas were not going to be bleak enough, Cabinet ministers are encouraging us to grass our neighbours up if they seem to be having too good a time.

What can you do about all this nonsense?

Play the game. Invite hundreds round for Christmas, and make it as raucous as you can. Make sure granny’s dressed in her Black Lives Matter T-shirt, and screams ‘Fuck the police!’ when they arrive. Have a shotgun handy (grouse shooting, naturally), and make sure your paintball licence is up-to-date. Not only will the Old Bill kneel for you, but the coronavirus will mysteriously be scared off too.