Right Said Fred at RPR1 90er Festival

We need to talk about Right Said Fred

Or #Wearamask

You know you’ve got issues when you are being mocked by Jedward.

Yes, the Irish singers who gained a bit of fame from Louis “You were born to be popstars” Walsh on X-Factor got themselves involved in the biggest (by biggest I mean not very big at all compared to everything else that’s going on – but big enough to be the focus of this week’s Fiskal Policy) issue of the week: The anti-mask protest at Trafalgar Square.

Or, more specifically, the presence of Right Said Fred at the anti-mask protest at Trafalgar Square.

The protest turned ugly as police started to try and disperse the crowds
This was undoubtedly Right Said Fred’s biggest hit – but they weren’t one hit wonders

In a bit of a Fiskal Policy tradition, I’m slightly late with the news because the protest happened on September 26 – but I first noticed Right Said Fred was trending on Twitter late on Monday afternoon so hopefully it’s allowed to be this week’s episode.

(For those of you who are completely unaware of Right Said Fred – they were big in the UK in the early ’90s with a song called I’m Too Sexy and had some others called Deeply Dippy and so on and so on. They also had some success in the States and everywhere else with an appetite for their brand of British pop.)

But, until Monday, I didn’t realise they were still going. I thought they’d been consigned to the vaults of musical history to only resurface occasionally through people singing their song at a karaoke night.

I’m still not entirely sure if they are still going to be honest. I’d trust their webpage but it says “the boys performed with David Bowie” when the closest I can find to this happening is one of them playing bass on a track way before Right Said Fred existed – hardly the support slot for the band the website seems to be suggesting it was.

I’m also not entirely sure if they actually went to the anti-mask protest because although I can find a lot of tweets they have posted about it, I cannot find any pictures (and, y’know, picture or it didn’t happen) of them in Trafalgar Square (but I haven’t looked super hard).

Their tweets about the protest were mocked by many who weren’t deeply dippy about their political views – and the mockers were then blocked by the band. And, just for a short while, being blocked by Right Said Fred was a badge of honour on Twitter – similarly to the pride felt by people who have been blocked by Donald Trump. Sadly I’ve yet to be blocked by The Freds, but I’m hopeful if they see this Fiskal Policy.

I’m also not entirely sure if I’d call the gathering at Trafalgar Square a protest as such.

If the best speakers they had were conspiracy theorist David Icke and Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers then it’s not exactly going to stir up the crowd and expose injustice like the words of Martin Luther King Jnr did with his Bounced Check speech in Washington DC in 1963 (is this the first time David Icke and Martin Luther King Jnr have been mentioned in the same sentence?).

David Icke isn’t exactly as powerful a speaker as Martin Luther King Jnr
Here’s the bounced check speech (now more commonly known as the I Have a Dream speech), just in case you haven’t seen it before

It seemed to be more of a gathering of people who were upset about the way the Government has handled the coronavirus crisis.

This is worth watchin

And I can understand why they are upset – the Government has hardly showered itself in glory.

If our lockdown had been more like the one in New Zealand (where it seemed it was more of an “all in this together” attitude rather than an “us vs them” Government making up the rules as it went along) then perhaps we would have got coronavirus under control much more quickly, meaning the lockdown restrictions could have been eased sooner so they did not have such a devastating effect on the country – in terms of the mental health of everyone, of missed hospital appointments, delayed operations, job losses, and financial ruin for lots of companies.

The rule of six does seem like it was just made up on the back of a cigarette packet, they made it cheaper for everyone to eat out in August and then seemed confused about why the number of coronavirus cases has increased. They criticised people who had been working from home for months by saying they needed to go back to the office to work harder and to save Pret a Manger. They said large events were still cancelled but showed they were truly a party of the people by saying it is fine to go hunting for grouse.

And let’s not forget they spent days at the start of the pandemic telling people to not go to the pub, but didn’t close the pubs.

Oh yes, and the issue seemingly most in contention for the people at the Trafalgar Square protest, the Government (and the World Health Organisation) started off by saying people didn’t have to wear a mask because, they said, there was no evidence they were of any benefit.

Tweets from the Right Said Fred Twitter account showed some of the highlights from the protest in Trafalgar Square
Right Said Fred at RPR1 90er Festival
This week I learned Right Said Fred are still gigging, hence this picture taken at a festival in Germany in 2015 (“File:2015073224944 2015-03-14 RPR1 90er Festival – Sven – 1D MK III – 0139 – 1D3 0714 mod.jpg” by Sven Mandel is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)

They then changed the rules to say you have to wear one in shops, and mostly all indoor public spaces. So, I can understand why people would be reluctant to wear one.

I can also understand why protesters including Right Said Fred (skilfully bringing it back on topic) are very concerned about the amount of control the Government is exerting on people’s lives. But I don’t understand why protesters see masks as a symbol of oppression and keep saying ‘the science’ doesn’t prove they work.

I think everyone is agreed they are not the cure for coronavirus and they will not 100% protect you from getting ill. But even in this ‘me, me, me’ society it’s not solely about protecting yourself, it’s about the fact you can be infectious before showing signs of symptoms so they are to protect other people.

Way back when it was Rowan Pelling in the Daily Telegraph who questioned why they needed to shut down the pubs to protect people from coronavirus, when they didn’t close during the Blitz. I’d remind her that the danger during the Blitz was bombs falling from the sky, not a virus which is transmitted between people.

But, to think about her analogy for a moment, during the Blitz people turned their house lights off during air raids so enemy planes were not alerted to where there was a potential target. This was an instruction by the Government and was done so to save lives.

Wearing a mask is the 21st century version of this – it’s not guaranteed but it might help save lives so hopefully Right Said Fred will give it a go.

Stay safe for another week!