As the stain of compulsory vaccination and its dystopian paperwork paraphernalia spreads across many European states, extinguishing the lights of individual freedom, and paving a way for a return to the dark days of totalitarianism, we in Britain, and particularly England, find ourselves standing alone in resisting the clamour for ever tighter controls. At his press conference earlier this week, Mr Johnson, the prime minister, may have had the appearance of new character in one of Mr Corbett’s glove puppets shows, but the content — no further restrictions — was pure gold. Had Johnson dipped into his Pocketbook of Memorable Churchillian Phrases, then he would not have gone far wrong with this from We Shall Fight on the Beaches: ‘I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone’. All it needs is but a single word substitution, covid in place of war.
Those familiar with the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will know that the number 42 is the ‘Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything’; it necessarily follows that it must also be the answer to today’s ultimate question, how to end the covid pandemic. Dr No has spent the New Year break trying to get to the bottom of this cryptic answer. Perhaps it means the pandemic will end once BoJo has done his 42nd presser? Or the Milk Curdler posts a twitter thread that is exactly 42 tweets long? The problem is that no one knows what question Deep Thought, the supercomputer in the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide, was programmed to answer, and without knowing the question, how can one hope to make sense of the answer? Let’s see what we can come up with.