Plenty of things the jab won’t inoculate me against…

The Queen last night, encouraging people to have the jab

THE jab is booked for Monday, but I’m feeling worried. Not about anything going wrong, though.

No, I’m worried about the things I’ll never be inoculated against, such as hating Boris Johnson. Or the nasty suspicion that Matt Hancock will escape having been censured by a High Court judge for breaching the law by failing to publish the details of those hastily arranged Covid-19 PPE contracts.

Or a lingering doubt that Sir Keir Starmer will never hold Johnson properly to account, what with not criticising the government over the pandemic, and shoving Brexit under the carpet instead of pointing to the awful mess on the floor.

And, oh, I’m worried that it won’t inoculate me against feeling cross about things over which I have no control, or guard against becoming over-heated when thinking about politics.

So perhaps I should just enjoy the jab. Good for me and, as the Queen said last night in a Zoom meeting, good for society.

It’s certainly the talk of our WhatsApp group. Stories swapped about who’s had it and who hasn’t. In life’s long arc, teenage worries about who’s had it and who hasn’t are replaced by excited chatter about who’s had the jab.

As I’ve not yet been inoculated against worrying about the news, here is the not-news. That story about Matt Hancock disappeared under a dreary deluge of coverage devoted to a year-old story about Prince Harry not being allowed back in the Royal Family. He was in Windsor quarantine for a year, now he’s off (which he was already).

Down the noisy corridor in Twitter-land, people were ranting about how a non-story had hidden a real story. The BBC didn’t report the story at all, they grumbled – not quite true, but its coverage was subdued, and it seemed to slip off the main TV news altogether.

This government has nearly all the newspapers on side, and if the BBC doesn’t report stories embarrassing to the party in power, who will? Words can have two meanings, and this story was covered in the sense of having something put on top of it.

There followed a spot of Twitter ping-pong with a fellow journalist (if that’s what I still am).

That story’s been muted.

No it hasn’t because muted means an absence of sound, and the story was reported.

Having not yet been inoculated against looking up the meaning of words, I muttered to myself that muted means muffled in musical terms, or not expressed strongly or openly in general terms.

Perhaps after Monday’s encounter with the needle, I’ll be free of such concerns.

My parents, long since separated but united in peering over the fence at 90, were inoculated a while back, and now the jabs are being lined up for youngsters of 64.

Some are suspicious, but we have to put faith in inoculation, as it looks like the best way back to some sort of a life. And the best way back to a much-delayed pint in a pub, seeing live music again, watching a film in a cinema, and a walk with inoculated friends.

They’ll be plenty to talk about.


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