Welcome one, welcome all. I am watching a lot of football at the moment and, in the interests of total transparency, I am watching a match now. I apologise.
I hope your week/weekend went well. We had a lovely day yesterday, taking the ferry over to Mount Edgecumbe. We live a five minute walk away from the ferry and it is literally a five minute trip (sail?) to Cornwall where we walked round a very lovely area basking in the sun and a Caramel Magnum. (I wouldn’t have one again – a bit rich for me. Felt a bit sick on the ferry on the way back. I’m so old). By the way, don’t let this tranquil scene fool you. Once the ferry has gone out into unsheltered waters, it is like a five minute clip from”Sink The Bismarck”. I spend a lot of time watching the ferry driver (Captain? Admiral?) to pick up any signs of panic in his face.
I have come here tonight though to tell you how I feel about the Matt Hancock shenanigans. You are free to agree or disagree but you seem like a pretty decent bunch and think I can tell which way your mops are going to flop.
So, this week photos appeared on the front page of a British Tabloid showing the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock in what can regrettably only be described as a clinch with someone who works with him. Most of the reaction I have heard seems to fall into the “Ugh, do I have to look at that?”category. For those who are not British – Monsieur Luva-Luva Hancock isn’t going to give Harrison Ford a run for his money anytime soon.
Hancock resigned (eventually), mainly, it seems because he is the man in charge of England’s response to the Pandemic – including Social Distancing. It doesn’t take a complete genius to work out that dipping a non-member of your bubble over the photocopier is problematic for the man who has been insisting that we should all be distancing from friends, families, babies our wives have just given birth to, wives who are on their knees grieving for lost loved ones, members of church congregations who want to support the lost and the lonely. etc etc. And the vast majority of us, although not happy with it, have done it because we knew it was necessary. People are very upset then, that while most of us were doing our best, the Health Secretary, while encouraging other rule breakers to fall on their swords, was having what can really only be described as a half hearted stab at keeping his own rules.
Yet, am I the only one who has been unhappy with the Government’s response? When the news first broke, the Transport Secretary informed us all that “of course what people do in their private lives is their business.” Er… Then, our Dear Prime Minister, on receiving Matt Hancock’s apology, accepted it and let us all know that as far as he was concerned, the matter was closed. Well he would say that wouldn’t he? A man who has Standing Orders all over the world. (That was banking slang for lots of unacknowledged progeny, because a Bank Clerk I once worked with spent a lot of time managing child support payments for a sixties pop singer and they went all over the world).
The thing is, I am bothered. I’m really bothered. Whatever happened to decency? Or standards in Public Life? You are supposed to be better than us. It matters to me – the things that have been done to a wife, a husband and children. I know that, as a child who has been affected by adultery in my family, it is not just a case of – well it’s private.
For one thing adultery makes you a liar. It has to, To spend time with someone outside your marriage – you have to lie. “I’m sorry I was a week late home from the office darling. I have been busy managing a feeble response to the pandemic.”
It also makes you Machiavellian. You manoeuvre and plot to get situations working to your advantage. So Mr Hancock’s inamorata is given a job as his advisor – to be around whenever…well, you work it out for yourselves.
Rules and standards are bent and broken. An “advisor” gets a job without interview and any discernible qualifications and is paid public money as part of an allowance. I’ll be honest, I am still bothered.
There is a tendency in Christian circles to be a bit careful about casting the first stone. You can read this story here. A few thoughts though about Jesus pushing back those who wanted to stone the woman found in adultery. Firstly – where was the man? Was there no judgement for him? Also – does his wife know what he was doing? “I’m sorry I’m late darling but a funny thing happened on the way to the Sanhedrin.”
But, most importantly, when Jesus shows mercy, in the midst of a misogynistic and hypocritical hierarchy, he is at pains to tell the woman and those watching – to not do this again. He never tells anyone that what happened in your private life is your business – because it isn’t.
I also think that sometimes, in our hurry to be seen as cool and groovy and not like Mary Whitehouse and also hoping to be seen as trying to make up for church mistakes made in the past, that we don’t say when something is wrong and horrible. And watching Mrs Hancock dodging paparazzi and hearing that all members of both families are completely blindsided by all this. my sympathies are with them and all they will need to cope with. For them, this matter is not nearly closed. Not at all.