I’ve been smelling a familiar smell recently, a dangerous and unpleasant smell that I sort of recognised but couldn’t quite place. An email from from the organisation I work for has finally jogged my memory, and I recognise it.

The email contained polite, measured lines to the effect “Whatever the government may or may not be saying at the time you read this, please don’t come back to work this week, if for no other reason than the fact that a big change like that takes time to prepare for.” 

I think many employers have been sending similar missives. People who actually make stuff work, either by doing it or organising it, are once again scrabbling to respond to the vague pronouncements of powerful people who seem to have little or no idea how the society on which  they are squatting actually functions.

The idea that a major university (or factory, or office block) may not be ready right now to welcome back its employees in a safe, or even vaguely functional, manner is beyond the comprehension of the Bingo Littles and Roderick Spodes who are nominally in charge. After all, they spent a few days briefing their pals in the media last week, so surely everyone is ready to spring into action? If not, they are just deficient in vim, belief, and positivity. Hang the detail, why don’t they just play up! play up! and play the game!

I have smelled this smell before. We used to call it “Vote Leave”. It’s the same shit in a different box, and it still stinks.





About Jon Butterworth

UCL Physics prof, works on LHC, writes (books, Cosmic Shambles and elsewhere). Citizen of England, UK, Europe & Nowhere, apparently.
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