| 18.7°C Belfast


Lindy McDowell

It’s hard enough for scientists having to play God, without a politician like John Carson trying to read His mind

Lindy McDowell



Close

A Covid-19 sign on the entrance gates of Belmont cemetery in Antrim

A Covid-19 sign on the entrance gates of Belmont cemetery in Antrim

PA

John Carson

John Carson

A Covid-19 sign on the entrance gates of Belmont cemetery in Antrim

At this time of great uncertainty when life as we know it has been turned upside down and the entire world has been plunged into unprecedented crisis, news this week that in one small respect anyway, nothing changes.

In times of terrible tragedy there's always a self-appointed preacher to tell us that this is God at his work.

John Carson, a DUP councillor from Ballymena, this week informed us that the awful pandemic currently sweeping across the globe killing tens of thousands, destroying countless lives and causing anguish and pain unimaginable in its scale was down to God throwing a tantrum over same sex marriage and abortion legislation in Northern Ireland.

John Carson

According to Mr Carson: "You reap what you sow and our nation is now reaping the judgement of GOD because of an immoral and corrupt government."

Which slightly misses the point that it is not just "our nation" which is being ravaged by Covid-19 but the entire world.

If God is indeed so full of wrath at our recently introduced legislation, how come He has overlooked similar laws which have been in place in other much, much larger nations for many, many, many years? And how come if God wanted to smite them in Westminster he started in Wuhan?

John Carson's comments have the potential to wound and offend many people - including those who turn to their God for comfort at a time like this

Mr Carson made the comments on his Facebook page (he is perfectly entitled to his views; I believe in free speech), but what I really found a bit baffling was that in other posts he backs the Government's Stay Home message.

If the pandemic is, as he maintains, an expression of his God's will, isn't it a bit odd for Mr Carson to be trying to curtail it?

John Carson's comments have the potential to wound and offend many people - including those who turn to their God for comfort at a time like this.

I doubt if they feel Mr Carson speaks for them - much less that he speaks for God.

In fairness to the man he has now apologised for the posts (indeed "humbly" apologised.) He says his comments were misinterpreted. It's hard to see how. Will the DUP put him out on his ear? Going on past experience, unlikely.

Anyway, Arlene Foster has bigger things on her mind right now trying to deal with the wrath of Covid-19.

In the same way that Brexit created a nation of armchair economists we've now got a nation (or many nations) of self-isolating epidemiologists

And as we hurtle towards what we are warned will be the grim peak of this cataclysm, there are plenty of others like John Carson imbued with their own sense of certainty and self-importance.

Suddenly everybody is an expert.

In the same way that Brexit created a nation of armchair economists we've now got a nation (or many nations) of self-isolating epidemiologists.

We should be doing this. We should be doing that. Everybody should be doing everything differently.

What sort of overall advice is the Government getting behind the scenes? We don't know. But we have to assume that government ministers (non-experts in virology) have to take heed of it.

Different countries have tackled the emergency in different ways - presumably on account of advice from their own scientific experts.

In the UK we've swerved from "herd immunity" to lockdown. Spain is facing catastrophe. Germany seems to have a handle on it. In Sweden you can still socialise. In America, Trump changes his tune daily.

Who is right? Who knows?

Governments too work in mysterious ways.

Scientists are only human but they're being depended upon to guide decisions that could cost tens of thousands of lives

But the scientists behind the scenes are the ones having to come up with the answers, the strategy, when there is no obvious scientific consensus. That's the worrying bit.

Every time you turn on the TV there are at least three "experts" joining us on-screen from their echoey front rooms to argue with one other.

Scientists are only human but they're being depended upon to guide decisions that could cost tens of thousands of lives.

You just know that, when we finally come through this calamity, there'll be no end of analysis and blame as to who made the right call and who didn't.

By then we will have some degree of clarity and certainty. But for now it seems even the scientists can't agree.

And the scary thing is they're having to play God.

Don’t forget workers cleaning up after us

Among the quiet heroes and heroines on the current emergency are the refuse workers - or bin men and women - still cleaning up after the rest of us. Lockdown means, I'm assuming, that we're churning out even more waste than usual. It can't be an easy job at the best of times. Right now it's obvious that the job will be even more demanding than usual. We rightly recognise the role of other frontline workers play. The binmen deserve our respect and thanks too.

Sun makes it testing time to be stuck inside

I'm writing this looking out on a world dappled with the loveliest of spring sunshine. If it wasn't for coronavirus the weather would be the major talking point of the day.

Unusually for this time of year it's not only been lovely but it's lasted. And we can't really get out in it. We laugh about how the weather only picks up when teenagers are taking exams in May or June and they're stuck indoors.

Now we know how it feels.

Use your loaf and avoid all those online recipes

Lockdown is bad enough. It's the recipes I can't take. Social media sites are swamped in these difficult times with endless posts about how some clever foodie somewhere (usually Australia for some reason) has discovered how to make a simple nutritious meal for the family using only three store cupboard ingredients.

The internet is going wild for it, they say.

Close

Yeast rises: Paul Hollywood has inspired thousands of home-bakers

Yeast rises: Paul Hollywood has inspired thousands of home-bakers

Yeast rises: Paul Hollywood has inspired thousands of home-bakers

So like a fool you click on to find out what people are going wild for and discover it's a mix of yak's milk, chestnut flour and tinned tuna.

Only one of which you have right now in your store cupboard. The yak's milk obviously.

Apparently supplies of yeast are running out because there are now so many home-bakers doing a Paul Hollywood at home.

Never mind. A genius has been in the news this week explaining how you can make your own yeast using dried apricots. Quick, get the dried apricots out of the cupboard!

But, of course, you don't have any.

So down to the shop where you pass shelves packed with sliced pan aplenty to source your apricots. And then back home to read the rest of the recipe.

Turns out it'll take about a week to manufacture enough yeast for a loaf. By which time you may have spotted one of those many soda bread recipes now doing the rounds.

All you need is bicarbonate of soda. But, of course, you've no bicarbonate of soda in your store cupboard...

Use your loaf. Baking is not going to save you from lockdown boredom. However cleaning your store cupboard...

Belfast Telegraph