We’ve finally got clarification on the British Government’s advice to the public. We’re all to use good old fashioned British common sense. Well that’s a relief. Only it opens up even more questions. Questions which you can be certain that Boris Johnson doesn’t have any answers for. After all, he doesn’t have any answers to anything much else, not even the question “So how many kids do you have?”
Sadly for all of us, common sense is very much like deodorant. Those who are most in need of it never think to use it. The great American thinker and political theorist Benjamin Franklin once said that common sense is something that everyone needs, that few possess, and none think they lack. He was clearly having a premonition about Boris Johnson and the Conservative party. Albert Einstein said that common sense is the collection of prejudices that we have acquired upon reaching adulthood. He was obviously thinking about the Conservative party too.
There is the most obvious question, which is does British common sense even exist? Because you’d imagine that if it did then Boris Johnson would never have become Prime Minister in the first place. British political common sense would appear to have led the UK to making the very worst decisions since WW2, so if we are to rely upon British common sense, we’re all screwed, so very very screwed. Sadly British common sense does little to protect us all from Boris Johnson’s lack thereof.
British common sense is indeed a deeply peculiar creature, one which people from other places scarcely recognise as common sense at all. As anyone who isn’t British would point out, British common sense is having a peculiar aversion to mixer taps in your bathroom sink. However like any old Etonian, or indeed anyone brought up with the English class system ingrained into them, understands deep down in their heart, British common sense is the belief that any moronic inanity magically becomes intelligent if it’s delivered in a posh accent. Fnaugh fnaugh.
Is British common sense different from any other kind of common sense? Because a specifically British form of common sense sounds like a bit of a worry. British common sense as practised by the British tabloid media is the kind of common sense that tells the world “we won the war you know” and so is founded in the unshakeable belief that the normal rules don’t apply because we’re British. British common sense is the common sense that tells a British nationalist that they’re not a nationalist as they wave their union flag and sing God Save the Queen while looking down on lesser nations. It’s the British common sense that says the the UK will flourish outside the EU because everyone and their granny will be rushing toward the UK with offers of lucrative trade deals, what with British common sense telling the UK that it’s exceptional. May all the gods save us from British common sense.
British common sense would appear to be the form of common sense that was applied by all those people who were having VE Day street parties last week. British common sense was being practised by all those police and members of the public who crowded onto Westminster Bridge to clap for the NHS workers who’d be caring for them after they’d broken lockdown rules, crowded together, and got themselves infected with the virus. British common sense was being applied by all those people who were fighting in the aisles of supermarkets over toilet paper a few weeks back. It was only a short while ago that this very same British Government which is now enjoining us all to practise British common sense couldn’t trust the British public with knowing even the most basic information about the scientific advice that it claims to be following.
It’s wrong for a government to tell the public to use their common sense because what it really means is you’ll have to work it out for yourselves, plebs, because the government hasn’t got a clue and can’t give you sensible advice that’s easy to understand and to follow. This is, remember, the very same government which contains Jacob Rees Mogg, who told us that the people who so tragically and terribly died in the Grenfell Tower fire after following official advice to stay put were not using their common sense. Jacob has been very quiet of late. You’ll not have seen him presenting any government advice or information, and this is a government which is quite happy to stick Priti Patel, Michael Gove, and Dominic Raab in front of a TV camera. That’s how low their bar is, and Jacob still can’t clear it. Does good old fashioned British common sense mean that we should act like an Etonian and march over to a hospital for a photo opportunity and insist on shaking hands with everyone? This government isn’t going to tell you.
It’s wrong to ask people to use their common sense when you’re dealing with people who voted for Boris Johnson in the first place. It was never common sense to believe in the lies of a habitual liar. But most of all, this is wrong because telling the public to employ British common sense is an abnegation of government responsibility. It’s up to you to intervene with your employer to ensure that it’s safe for you to return to work. It’s up to you to ask your employer to be reasonable if you can’t organise child care. It’s up to you to stay alert and avoid the virus. Not the government. You’re on your own with your British common sense. The government won’t take responsibility.
Common sense dictates that in an emergency it is incumbent upon the powers that be to issue simple and clear guidelines which are easy to understand and easy to follow. That’s how we as a society get out of the emergency. The British Government is asking members of the public to use their common sense because it has no common sense of its own. Scottish common sense tells us that we’d be far better off without this bunch of self-serving idiots endangering our lives.
And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…
You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at email@example.com and I will send the necessary information.
Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.
Gaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.
My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.
You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email email@example.com