Time-traveller Matt Hancock visits past to build hospital that already exists

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock gives an update on the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic during

Health secretary Matt Hancock gives a Covid-19 pandemic press conference - Credit: Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth/ Pool/ AFP via Getty Images

Health secretary Matt Hancock has released a video in which he is standing in front of an existing hospital and calls it "one of 40 new hospitals we're going to build"


A few days ago, health secretary Matt Hancock released a video in which he is standing in front of a hospital building and says, “This is West Suffolk Hospital, one of the 40 new hospitals we’re going to build”... Hang on, what?

He’s standing in front of the hospital he is now GOING to build?

Folks, I’ve written science fiction novels about time travel, seen every surviving episode of Doctor Who and more or less memorised the Back to the Future trilogy and even I can’t follow the logic of this sentence.

What does he mean, he’s standing in front of it AND he’s going to build it? Is Matt Hancock trapped in some kind of recursive time loop wherein he is doomed to repeat his mistakes over and over again? Or does it just feel that way to him (and, indeed, everybody)?

And if the Conservative party ever did get their hands on a time machine, what would they do with it? Probably something fairly innocuous, like, I don’t know, going back six years or so and persuading two MPs to defect to UKIP, thus panicking the then Tory leadership into reflexively calling an in/out European referendum, which they would then half-arse and lose, clearing the way for hard right English ethnonationalists to take over the party?

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Hey, while they were at it, they could persuade the opposition to appoint a grumpy old Marxist as leader, thus ensuring a perpetual Conservative dominance of... OH MY GOD!!


There was very little in the Queen’s Speech that could be regarded as in any way progressive; let’s face it, there was almost nothing in there that didn’t directly concern itself with the protection and preservation of the Conservative government. But one minuscule fragment of bone was thrown in the direction of liberal bedwetters with the promise to ban so-called “conversion therapy“ being deployed in an attempt to “cure“ gay people of their gayness.

The fact that it was the Queen herself who was seen to make this announcement led to the news being reported on some American websites as “Queen of England pledges to ban conversion therapy”. This in turn lead to smirking British commentators explaining to their American counterparts that not only does the Queen not write the speech, she isn’t even consulted about its contents beforehand.

I suppose the idea of a nominal head of state who acts purely as a figurehead, has no real executive power, and merely serves as an occasional mouthpiece to those who are really in charge might seem a bit of an odd concept to citizens of other countries in this day and age. But you’d think it would be a simple enough idea to grasp for any Americans old enough to remember George W. Bush.


Republicans in Congress have voted to remove Liz (daughter of Dick) Cheney from her position as GOP conference chairperson in punishment for her continued vocal support for the theory that there was in fact no widespread electoral fraud in last year’s presidential election, that Donald Trump was defeated fair and square and that Joe Biden is indeed currently serving as the duly and legitimately elected president of the United States.

This theory, known outwith Republican circles as “reality”, has been declared anathema by a GOP which is evidently desperate to cling on to the support base and electoral “magic touch” of Donald Trump.

And why not indeed; this is the man who, after all, lost the popular vote twice, never once broke 50% job approval in any poll conducted during his entire term in office and ended his tenure having lost the House, Senate and White House to the Democrats. If holding on to that “magic touch” isn’t worth turning your party into a paranoid doomsday cult, I don’t know what is.


So they tell me I can leave

But do I have to?

I can travel, I believe

But do I have to?

A new era has begun

I can go outside and run

I can frolic in the sun

But do I have to?

I can go and visit friends

But do I have to?

Go away on long weekends

But do I have to?

Now we’ve finally been set free

Everyone’s exhorting me

To embrace my liberty

But do I have to?

After 14 months of lockdown

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised

That now restrictions have been lifted

I feel institutionalised.

I can go and sit in pubs

But do I have to?

With strangers’ shoulders I can rub

But do I have to?

It’s not laziness or fear

I just like it best in here

I can go, the coast is clear

But do I have to?

What do you think? Have your say on this and more by emailing letters@theneweuropean.co.uk

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