Easter Monday – Christ’s resurrection
The most important, magical and promising event in the Christian calendar brought grey skies and showers that broke the most glorious sunny spell.
Not so up lifting, but lockdown Britain breathed easier with the opening of some London parks earlier this week, albeit to the tune of megaphone wielding cops. But I daresay we’ll stay in anyway if it’s raining.
I fear these restrictions give license to the ‘job’s worths’ who love wielding authority I fear fearfulness risks ushering in authoritarianism and undermining the freedoms and democracy so hard won by our ancestors (Magna Carta, Peasants’ Revolt, The Chartists and trade unionists). But I choose optimism nevertheless.
Tomorrow marks the end of the third week of the UK lockdown, and it feels as if we’re getting used to it. Social distancing is routine and commonplace, supermarket shelves though depleted are restocked, and people are out walking and running, at least in Brightlingsea they are. Every Thursday evening NHS staff and front line workers are clapped from open windows, ironically by people who’ve repeatedly voted in governments determined to dismantle their jobs. BoJo, recently discharged from hospital praises the health service and thanks it for saving his life. Dear God I can’t abide mawkish, populist cant.
I’m reminded of Thatcher’s famous observation:
“They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.” – in an interview in Women’s Own in 1987
That doesn’t seem to square with the social experiment we’re all currently engaged with, our society is effected and effects us. We are restricted by Government and made fearful. The legacy and consequences of living in close proximity, of lost employment, income, opportunity and the rise in domestic violence and mental ill health will impact upon society long after this pestilence fades from memory. Though I understand why the lockdown was necessary to limit contagion and prepare services, I doubt things will be the same afterwards.
So how about that optimism?
Well, change is usually both positive and negative. Personally, I find there’s so much more time for creativity: to plan, read, write and make videos. We are the fruit of evolution, the products of survival through adaptation, and Covid-19 is just another hurdle on the road to destiny.
Our routines have been disrupted, grief, fear, frustration and anxiety abound, yet we’ll all have a hand in defining what emerges. I hope we will better cherish the simple things: planet Earth, inactivity, occupation, exercise, breathing, the dedication and sacrifice of carers and random acts of kindness and selflessness which many of us now seem to have time for.
10,612 people have died in the UK of this plague, but that figure is likely under estimated. It is roughly the same as the average annual number of deaths in the UK from flu over the past 5 years. I guess another 20,000 will succumb before Covid-19 is consigned to history and Covid-20 emerges. (though sightly nerdy and macabre, this is an excellent explanation of fatality statistics)
I wonder what legacies Corona will leave, what adaptations will emerge, how society will be changed and how we will rise from the ashes.