Which fairytale will you choose to believe?

Why are we all so guilelessly following Boris’s trail of stale breadcrumbs when deep in our hearts we know it leads straight into the witch’s oven, says Jo Knowsley.

It’s Christmas, a time when the young and innocent still believe in Santa. We shouldn’t tease. Never have so many ‘grown-ups’ wanted to clutch on to any belief that makes them feel better, regardless of whether it’s true…

This year, as we in Britain, face yet a third round of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions (the three tiers of Christmas, perhaps?) maybe each of us should ask ourselves which Fairytale we will choose to believe, in this decidedly un-festive season.

If you’re in certain parts of America it might be Trumpella – a saga of pantomime proportions where the ‘ugly’ president has virtually chopped off his toes in an attempt to fit Prince Charming’s glass slipper and cling on to power. ‘He wuz robbed,’ his supporters cry. (‘Oh no he wasn’t’, scream the opposition.)

During the much-debated American elections a young electrician visiting my house told me: ‘I saw on Facebook that the Democrats are cheating in the elections. It’s disgusting.’ He’d already chosen his fairy tale. Why not, he’d read it on social media.

Here in Britain we are now overwhelmed by our own catalogue of disasters – the double whammy of the last limping days of Brexit negotiations and the deadly cycle of Covid-19.

A recent survey, reported in the Sunday Times, showed that in the four and a half years since the Brexit vote, hardly anyone, of either persuasion, had changed their minds about their decision. If anything, their views had become more entrenched. Each side clings to their own fairy tale, often flouting the evidence – though in fairness only time will provide the answers to some of the issues in this virulent debate. The only thing on which each side has been united is the belief that Boris has done a terrible job as he clambered down the EU Bean Stalk.

Poor old Boris. First, he’s clobbered by Covid-19 and now he’s under attack from both sides for his clumsy negotiations with the EU. And when it comes to Covid, he’s been harpooned over his decision to ignore scientists – twice if not thrice – as they beat at his door, and their chests, in a desperate attempt to persuade him to impose an immediate lockdown for the health of the nation.

In many ways he’s the ultimate Pantomime Dame: a big bundle of dishevelled, ‘cuddly’ confusion with bad hair who blusters about the stage wooing public sympathy. Unlike the villains the Dame is never a baddie; just inept and somewhat ridiculous. Only in real life could such a character be branded dangerous. Woe is me, indeed.

Me? I’d like to believe that we haven’t actually slaughtered the Golden Goose to prop up our festive period. Perhaps those who catch Covid during Boris’s ill-thought-out, five-day respite from lockdown over Christmas, will simply fall into a faint, like the Sleeping Beauty, and be resuscitated by a longed-for kiss from a visiting relative.

I just hope amongst the mince pies, mulled wine, and turkey, there’s not a strategically placed poisoned apple on the table of each and every party-goer. It might take more than the Heimlich maneuver to resuscitate the participants, let alone the health of the country.

Why are we all so guilelessly following Boris’s trail of stale breadcrumbs when deep in our hearts we know it leads straight into the witch’s oven.

Too many of us clearly believed Boris’s own fairy tale model of  himself as Dick Whittington, who travels to London, where he believes the streets are paved with gold, becomes mayor and lives happily ever after. Even he can surely no longer believe that. He doesn’t even have a cat.

Despite his cuddly Pantomime Dame exterior, he’s rather more like the greedy wolf in Little Red Riding Hood – less clever than he thinks he is and prone to making deadly mistakes. We all know what happens to wolfy. And that’s not a happy ending.

But perhaps for the New Year we could all make a new resolution: forget the diet, the ‘dry’ January and the promises to be kinder to our neighbours. How about accepting responsibility for our lives and starting to think for ourselves. Then our decisions wouldn’t be based on prejudice, politics or even fairy tales. They might even be linked to actual evidence.

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

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Jo Knowsley

Jo has held senior staff writing roles on some of Britain’s leading newspapers including the Sunday Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday, and is now a freelance writer. She has reported on major breaking stories around the world and has written for magazines and newspapers in Britain, Australia and New Zealand in publications as diverse as Marie Claire, the Daily Mail, Metro, Saga and Grazia. In the past she focused primarily on news-lead reports and interviews. Today she writes across a number of platforms on subjects ranging from property and travel to theatre and features. She grew up in New Zealand and has made her home and career in London since 1990.

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