If you don't yet view American branches of evangelical Christianity as an existential threat, perhaps the fact that it's becoming evidently clear that it's the religion of choice for white supremacists might help to clarify things. Some of the people interviewed are, frankly, woefully ill-informed about the modern world, insular in their beliefs, and evidently as dumb as a bag of spanners. When people like that gain positions of influence, bad things happen.
Meanwhile, the violent assault of an Australian TV news cameraman by a uniformed police officer outside the White House has sparked a major diplomatic incident after it was shown live, as it happened, during a news report on Australian television. Australians are, quite rightly, horrified—as is the rest of the world.
After the sunniest calendar month ever recorded, here in the UK the pollen count has shifted into high gear and I have really been suffering for the last week or so. My eyes have been puffy, swollen, and permanently irritated. I've been having regular sneezing fits. Last night things were so bad that I took an anti-histamine tablet. This was an act of desperation, because they do not combine well with the other meds that I take. But last night this worked to my advantage, as it completely knocked me out and I slept through until just after seven o'clock. I am paying the price this morning, though; I feel very groggy. I don't think today is going to be at all productive. I won't be taking another tablet any time soon.
I hope that I won't need to; last night the weather finally broke and we got some overnight rain. The temperature outside is about ten degrees cooler than it has been of late, the sky is overcast and dull and it's just started raining again. It feels odd to say so, but this comes as quite a relief, believe me.
Dominic Cummings's little jaunt to Durham Castle was against lockdown rules, but rather than sacking him, the prime minister decided instead to relax lockdown restrictions. He did this in direct contradiction of the government’s own guidelines, which state that the current alert level of 4 warrants "continuation of current social distancing measures and restrictions," an act of gross incompetence and craven weakness that will only worsen the UK's dismal record in dealing with Covid-19 (and as the government's self-congratulatory daily briefing sessions seem to have glossed over the fact, let me remind you that the UK was at the top of the daily death toll tables for the entire world for most of May, until it was overtaken by Sweden a few days ago.)
How prepared are we, really, to roll back lockdown restrictions? It turns out that Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government have just completed an analysis of which countries meet a sufficient number of the World Health Organisation's criteria for doing so. Understandably, New Zealand is at the top of the list. What about the UK, then?
We're not ready. We are so not ready. In fact, we're fifth from the bottom. The only countries less prepared than us are Syria, Algeria, Iran, and Nicaragua. Hooray for British exceptionalism, eh, Boris?
But even if the prime minister was suddenly struck by an unexpected attack of common sense and decided to maintain lockdown after all, thanks to Mr Cummings, the proportion of people who feel that they are justified in breaking lockdown in the same fashion as he did has nearly trebled, growing from 5% to 14%.
There's fat chance of sanity prevailing, I'm afraid. It's difficult not to be overwhelmed by a sense of impending doom, particularly if you make the mistake of catching up with the news. Yesterday's reports of appalling behaviour by the public from Bournemouth make it inevitable that the UK will lurch into a second, more serious second wave of infections, exactly as happened with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
I really, desperately hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I will be. I will continue to stay at home and I'll be leaving the house as infrequently as I can.