Good news for a change

But there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.

Almost the first lesson you learn on Day One of a job as an editorial commentator is that if you slag off the government there will always be some of your readers who agree with you. When in doubt, find something that the government has done wrong and someone out there will say you’ve written a marvellous thing.
That’s something I’ve been doing with alarming regularity over the past few years. Even more so this year when it seemed as though Boris Johnson’s government was lurching from one mess-up to the next.

Sometimes though, it’s nice to stop and look at something that is going right. Exactly 12 months to the day since a passenger from Hong Kong boarded the cruise ship Diamond Princess and fell ill with Covid-19, we are at the stage where the United Kingdom is vaccinating its citizens faster than any other country.

Covid rates
My mother and my mother-in-law, both in their eighties, have received their first jabs and it is working its way through the communities. Oh, sure there will be people who complain that it’s not enough or it’s not quick enough or that it is targeting the wrong members of the community (teachers and schoolchildren should be higher up on the list, if you ask me). And of course, there are the covid-deniers and the anti-vaxers and those who will claim that it’s all about injecting a tracking device so Bill Gates can tell where we are at any point in the day (hello: what do you think your smart-phone does?) but I have no room in my brain to deal with such people.

The vaccine is out there, it is getting to more and more people and this is something we should be very pleased about and grateful for. And I am. I miss my friends, I mis hugging my extended family, my children are missing their friends and the structure of their school-days and I really would like to go to the pub. The vaccine isn’t going to mean that all those restrictions suddenly come to an end of course. But it is a pathway out of the forest. Let’s all take it as soon as we can and then move on.

Talking of moving on, of course, today also marks something pretty momentous. For the first time, the most powerful nation on the planet will inaugurate a woman to the second highest office in the land.
It seems strange that the States are doing this in 2021, 60 years after Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected leader in Sri Lanka and in a world that has also seen Benazir Bhutto, Golda Meir, Angela Merkel, Margaret Thatcher, Teresa May, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Mette Frederiksen leading their respective countries, but there you go. It’s the same country that elected Trump.

Regular readers will know I am partial to a good video clip, so, to mark the day the big orange baby finally leaves the White House, may I humbly offer you James Corden’s goodbye to Donald. It may not be sensible to bait the 73m American people who did vote Republican in November, but my goodness, this is magnificent. I defy you to watch it and not still be singing it hours later.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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