Definition: a strip of cleared land designed to check the spread of a prairie or forest fire.
Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, has ordered Wales into a ‘firebreak’ lockdown to “slow down the virus and buy us more time”. It is anticipated that the First Minister will use all 17 days of the lockdown to think carefully about what to do when it ends, and the virus is still with us. It is widely feared that Mr. Drakeford will simply impose another lockdown. He may use an entirely new word to describe it, or develop his original concept into a franchise. We can look forward to
Firebreak 2: The Blaze Returns
Firebreak 3: The Groan of The Valleys
Firebreak 4: Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau pam nad oes swyddi (Oh Land of My Fathers, Why Are There No Jobs)
Firebreak 5: Nadolig heb y teulu (Christmas Without The Family).
The Welsh government doesn’t like to promote their scientific advisors at press conferences and many people have become sceptical of the ‘case’ numbers and predictive graphs used to justify further restrictions. The First minister seriously considered bringing in the Gavin and Stacey character, Nessa, to make a direct appeal. This may have been more effective.
“Not gonna lie to you, it’s only two weeks, like”
“Not being funny right, but no more going out and none o’ that “I got absolutely hanging last night”
“Lechyd da! .. well not so much of that now y’know”
“What it is is, we don’t know what we’re doing, like, but we’re going to do it together”
“I’m only sayin’, the Welsh health service is the best health service in the whole of Wales.”
Unfortunately Nessa was unavailable due to a previous commitment involving a litre bottle of vodka, a dash of blackcurrant and a nasty rash.
In the meantime, the Welsh national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau has been hastily re-written to be sung by lonely individuals to help foster distant memories of rugby triumphs and travelling down the M4 to Twickenham :
O Land of my fathers, O land of my love,
Protect us from Scousers and Mancs from above,
Keep our hills and valleys free from virus infection,
Erect a great border, for our protection.
Country! COUNTRY! O but my heart is with you!
Remember our Methodist past, and make it anew,
Empty the pubs, make our country dry and seek absolution,
Staying locked in our home is only solution.
To Cymru my heart shall be true (if a little broken)
It is rumoured that Mr. Drakeford has been struggling for weeks to find a word that could differentiate him from Nicola Sturgeon, Boris Johnson, Andy Burnham and the other leaders, vying to impose different varieties of lockdown. Unlike Burnham, he already has the money, so all he needed was a new word. The great Welsh literary and poetry canon provided no inspiration. Finally, it was a mixture of Welsh mythology and a word association game, that he enjoyed as a child, that provided the answer: Fear .. big red dragon .. fire-breathing .. burning .. prairie .. fire break! Although Wales is not famous, either for its bush fires or its prairies, it is well known for its dragon and the name stuck.
A firebreak is designed to clear a strip of land to prevent the spread of fire, let’s home that the cleared strip does not cover the whole of Wales.