Unintended consequences by Jan Needle

ACCORDING to the Guardian, Donald, it's not the Mexicans, it's
red squirrels.

Those cuddly little critters who have been evilly decimated  by the nasty grey variety (which hail originally from America please note) are in fact the main carriers of leprosy.

It's only good luck, apparently, that they can run up trees faster than we can run to cuddle them. But scientists now warn that if you see one, dead or alive, don't touch it without a pair of gloves on. If you should find a pretty little russet corpse, stuff it in a plastic bag, then wash your hands.

No kissing and stroking, however sweet you think the little darlin’ is. Take photographs, but from a distance. In case your nose drops off.

True it is a good long time since there was a case contracted in Britain – 1798 in fact; is that long enough? – but recent research has just discovered that the squirrels on Brownsea Island in Dorset carry the strain responsible for leprosy in our fair islands in the Middle Ages.

Trump warning: the only other animal reservoir of the strain is in the nine-banded armadillo, which has caused some human cases in Florida.

Professor Anna Kennedy, of Edinburgh University, said: ‘it's widespread all over the UK and Ireland, but we don't want people to be alarmed.

‘Nevertheless – you need to be sensible!’

This is possibly because treating red squirrels for leprosy involves giving them antibiotics three times a day for six months. Yes, that’s what I said: twenty one times a week for half a year.
Off to study brains in Germany. And goodbye Mr Trump

And the little buggers, believe you me, are not at all cooperative.

Why am I telling you all this? It's something to do with the law of unintended consequences. Brexit, say, or that extraordinary orange-faced fascistic barmpot getting elected to the White House.

Even, for heaven's sake, the idea that trams are so much safer than cars and buses in inner cities. So much safer, clearly, that you don't need safety devices like those fitted to trains on the railway network – sensors that automatically put on the brakes if they approach a danger point too fast.

Obvious, innit? Trams are foolproof. Why waste the brass? Whatever can go wrong?

Maybe this is all just sour grapes, but I don't think so. It's true that one of my lads has just gone to study brain diseases in the elderly for three years in Germany (thank you the EU and Erasmus scholarships) and a recent trip by car to move him in suddenly cost another arm and leg because of the way the exchange rate went overnight, but so what? I'm a writer so I don't even have to work to make my money.

And I have just used the pound/dollar rate to cancel a trip to America next February when the real reason is that I suddenly don't really fancy the place much any more. I can't think why...

So that's three things. Brexit, Trump, and toxic Mrs Tiggywinkle. (Was she a squirrel? Must check.)

All this, and the Daily Mail insists that I'm in Paradise. The rule of law? Don't be silly. Judges are just enemies of the people.

Don't ask questions, as the lovely lady said – just rejoice.

Two of Britain's leading thinkers.  Is that a knife in Govey's hand?

Now watch the video and read the words. God bless America.



Dennis Hamley said…
Brilliantly put, Jan. Now read Geoe Monbiot's articjlw on neoliberalism in thhis mornings Guardian.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Loved this. A great start to a grey day
JO said…
"extraordinary orange-faced fascistic barmpot" - wonderful! I think I'll start collecting phrases to draw attention to that man without using his actual name.
Lee said…
Congratulations to your son! Where will he be studying? My younger daughter is also studying brains (ahem, psychology) and works part-time in the Foreign Students Office at the FU Berlin, so I must ask her whether the Erasmus Programme will continue to extend to UK students after Brexit.
Jan Needle said…
Bloody hope so, Lee! I asked him why he wanted to study the failing brain in ageing humans, and he just gave me a significant look, the swine. He's doing two years in Freiburg and one in Strasbourg. Could your Tochter get me freebie visits to see him on compassionate grounds, do you think? Nah, thought not! Ah well...
Bill Kirton said…
A beautifully restrained, coherent, objective analysis of the zeitgeist, with special reference to the species Sciurus vulgaris Professor Needle. Your oblique reference to that other dangerous species, barmpotus fascisticae (genus Aliquam faciem) is also unerringly timely. Thank you for bringing laughter back into life.
Lee said…
Freebie visits, Jan? Maybe as a test subject?

Jan Needle said…
Lee, das ist nicht hoeflich!
Susan Price said…
Hey Dennis - I read that article by Monbiot and, well, yeah. I sent a link to my partner who keeps telling me that I'm daft to think that our present troubles can be traced directly back to Thatcher, Reagan and Monetarism. If nothing else, it will demonstrate that this is not a private daftness of my own but shared by other thinking dafties.
Lee said…
Ein Witz...

(And I'd already be there ahead of you!)
Jan Needle said…
Naturlich, aber....
Dennis Hamley said…
Sue, thanks for clssing me witth you as a thinking daftie. I shall wear th,e epithet with pride. Greaat Jan. Ii pissed evryone off and you've cheered them all up agai
julia jones said…
what wonderful children you have
Jan Edwards said…
Nothing wrong with a good bit of daft.

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