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John in lockdown (inst. 19)

by John Burns BVMS MRCVS

Coronavirus Lockdown 24th June 2020

Here in Wales we are still basically in lockdown; well I am.  Despite what good news Charlie, (sorry Boris) says, the risks are still there.  All pretence to be “following the science” has been dropped in favour of getting back to normal, and we all want that.  The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland Governments are more cautious.  The UK Government’s handling of the entire coronavirus crisis has been shamefully abysmal and its easing of the lockdown promises to be a shambles too.

Further evidence of the link between gut health and the nervous system is reported in the press today. A team from California University has found that human sufferers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are more than twice as likely to develop dementia.  This potential link between gut and mental health is a favourite hobby horse of mine. Traditional Oriental Medicine, which has informed much of my thinking about pet health, makes no real distinction between physical and mental health; they are directly related. I think that many behaviour problems in pets are due to underlying problems of mental health and getting the diet right underpins the management of behaviour as well as most physical health problem. You can read all about it in my Veterinary Guide to Natural Healthcare.

Black Lives Matter has been a godsend to Boris Johnson as it has distracted media attention from the disaster that is his handling of coronavirus.  One of the big questions exercising minds worldwide is what to do about monuments to slavers and tyrants.  I remember being taught in school about the achievements of Sir Robert Clive, aka Clive of India. He was a tyrant, portrayed as a hero, even in the 1960s. Michael Gove, as Education Secretary, tried to bring all that back as recently as 2013.

Here’s one you may not know about. A statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky (taken down a few years ago) stood in Lubyanka Square in Moscow. On a trip to Moscow in 1984 the tour guide pointed it out, saying, “He was very good to orphans.”  I said to my brother, “He was very good at creating them (orphans) too.”  Dzerzhinsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary who created Stalin’s secret police, The Cheka, now known as the KGB and he was responsible for the “Red Terror” in which tens of thousands were summarily killed.

In a similar vein, I watched the film, “Mister Jones”, the other night, starring James Norton of Grantchester fame.  This is based on the true story of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who in 1933 visited The Ukraine and reported on the famine engineered by Stalin in which 5 – 10 million died.  The grain was shipped to Moscow to finance industrialisation and keep Party members fed.  It’s compulsive but harrowing viewing.

by John Burns BVMS MRCVS
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