To my mind, the state of this country – that’s the United Kingdom, for fear of confusion – is embodied in the horrendous site of Geronimo, the alpaca feared to carry bovine tuberculosis, being dragged, terrified, to his death, on Tuesday, by Defra officials dressed for an invasion of the body snatchers!  A story which has been in the news for some time – surprisingly, not COVID-related – the alpaca, brought over from New Zealand four years ago, tested positive for TB on his arrival and has been kept in isolation ever since.  It should be noted that never has there been any question regarding his health during this time; however, government policy demands that any animal testing positive must be culled, believed to be a threat to the agricultural industry.  Geronimo’s owner, Helen Macdonald, has been engaged in a long-standing legal battle, desperately trying to save his life and always in the belief that the two tests had returned false positives.  Her only plea was that a third, different test, be taken in order to verify or disprove her claims.  The Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) refused, her request falling on deaf ears.

There had been a huge outpouring of public support in the quest to save Geronimo’s life with a petition of more than 100,000 signatures being delivered to Downing Street.  Only on Monday afternoon, protestors gathered outside Defra’s headquarters in Westminster before marching to Downing Street in a last bid attempt to be heard.  Once more, deaf ears.  Many had been camping out on the South Gloucestershire farm for weeks – alongside the media cameras – hoping to prevent Geronimo from being taken but, sadly, on Tuesday, they proved powerless in the face of the ridiculously disproportionate number of Defra officials accompanied by an equally ridiculous number of police officers.  As for the outfits?  Top to toe overalls, goggles and masks, they were dressed for germ warfare or as extras in a horror movie!  Whichever, their intention was always to intimidate.

Anyway, I digress.  In short, the footage shown on the news of Geronimo being chased by an inordinate number of beings and cameras – to screams of protest – only to be caught and cruelly dragged, terrified, to a waiting horse box in which he was tied up prior to the journey to his death, was both inhumane and unpalatable.  Is this what we have become?  The gentle alpaca was visibly and laudably distressed, his repeated shrieks resounding above the melée, but the officers charged with enforcing the law were robotic in their quest; devoid of emotion, incapable of empathy, they could see only black and white in a world of colour.

Law enforcement.  Power.  Intimidation.  Bullying.  These words are commonplace today, their execution implemented in a bid to control; for control, it would seem, is paramount.  Like a drug, once tasted, it begets an insatiable thirst regardless of cost – monetary or living – the cruelty inflicted on Geronimo, I believe, mere testament to that of which egocentric human beings are capable.  Foreboding?  Without question.

Every day is another window into the future; a digital future demanding the phasing out of human contact.  Ironically, eighteen months into a global pandemic, one of the most pronounced changes can be found in relation to the GP appointment; or, more accurately, the lack of!  Fed, daily, the latest – manipulated – COVID statistics still, there is little or no mention of the backlog of patients ignored: those with cancer, many now living with a death sentence at the hands of a disease which, if diagnosed early, could have been cured; those with heart disease, unable to see a doctor; those with mental health issues, magnified by enforced isolation and the lack of a sympathetic ear; those for whom suicide seems the only way out …  Of course, one is told that A&E departments cannot cope with the increasing number of patients but where else can one go, now, for medical advice or treatment?  In a quest to be seen by one’s GP, one is, first, interrogated – over the phone – by the harpies with no medical training but a penchant for power.  If successful – doubtful – one may be given a telephone appointment in three weeks’ time but, more likely, is the advice – from the harpies with no medical training – to go online and type in NHS 111.  Perfect.  No matter that I may have high blood pressure or any number of red flag symptoms which can neither be seen nor diagnosed over the phone or by video call.  Self-diagnosis, that’s what it has come down to.  Forget the years of paying National Insurance.  Forget the substantial salaries, rising to £100K, payable to GPs.  They want a better work/life balance, preferring the comfort of their own homes – or the golf course – to the vocation they, once, chose and for which they spent years of training.  A people job just, preferably, without the people!

The very topic of GP appointments – and the demise of face-to-face consultations – was raised on This Morning inciting a barrage of feedback, not only completely negative but downright scary.  One person told of his/her GP practice where a registered patient is prohibited from seeing a doctor unless he/she has been double vaccinated, produces a negative lateral flow test and wears a mask!  Well, that should do it.  God forbid that someone was sick …

Then there is the story of the teacher – local – who spent part of the summer in England with her family, during which time, she had her first vaccination.  Now, back home in St Andrews, she visited the local health centre for the purpose of having her second experimental jab …  She was denied her wish.  Apparently, as she had her first injection in England, she cannot have her second in Scotland and was advised she would have to drive south to procure the dose.  I mean, one cannot help but laugh at the absurdity of that reality!  Did I miss the White Stiletto – having duped the Greens into allegiance – securing independence under the counter while we were all sleeping or has she, finally, dropped over the edge?  Did she learn nothing from Macbeth?  Egomania, ultimately, has its cost – well, for those who have a conscience, admittedly.

Control by fear is effective.  Control, uncurtailed, is frightening.  COVID passports, enforced vaccinations, impingement of civil liberty and, for the individuals who choose not to comply, marginalisation and loss of freedom.  No wonder that the disturbing footage of Geronimo’s suffering at the hands of power-driven, brainwashed humans struck such a nerve …

I have been to the darkest corners of government, and what they fear is light.’

Glenn Greenwald

This is Trish, signing off, grateful, only, for the return of Abba!