25 June 2020
Social Distancing in Cumbria
by Vic Leader
This has been quite a momentous week. Covid is losing its monopoly of the news as more mundane matters compete: people dying at raves; murder in a park, (terrorist or a mental flip?); countries opening up tourism; US Presidential rally with barely an audience; soccer matches without spectators.
But it’s still there: second waves in China, Germany, South Korea and elsewhere. The Americas still not reached peak infection. A cumulative half million deaths globally.
UK is gradually reopening for business. A new kind of socialising with distancing and personal protection is likely to feature for some time. I’m seeing a select few friends and family, local shopping. Shaking off my self-imposed ‘hibernation’ feels strange. I’m treading gently and carefully but many are already jumping in with both feet and some, I discover, never actually withdrew!
Truth is I feel less comfortable coming out from, than when I went in to, Lockdown. Maybe it’s just that there are more options now. I was once happy to have so much choice, an accepted part of my life, then came a simple imperative, almost a quasi-hibernation, now I have to shake that off and start making decisions again. And that after just 3 months.
The virus is carried by humans and the chance of meeting the virus is about 1700-1, according to the daily government briefing. The consequences of contracting it are unchanged but the likelihood is diminishing. But it’s invisible so you don’t know until it’s too late. In other words, welcome back to the real (i.e. risky) world. I feel better for just rationalising that for myself.
So what did I learn? I missed being with, the people I care about much more than the travelling to see them, which I have always enjoyed. We humans are amazingly adaptable. Yet for all our individual and collective intelligence we don’t know as much as we think we do.
What are the big changes I would to see? The work to clean up the atmosphere really needs to be accelerated. The importance of community is paramount, it should be encouraged. Governments stop imposing unnecessary regulation and get decision making down to local levels. A much greater attention to the voice of the majority and less jerk reaction to minority shouting. Some long term thinking about the values of ordinary folk, fairness, tolerance, compromise, a decent income, good work/life balance, dialogue, decent housing. But this means no rights without responsibilities.
From politicians I’d like to see an end to promising the earth. There are no guarantees in this life and false promises that cannot be kept destroy trust. A complete rethink on party politics. No party has all the answers, reaching practical solutions to complex issues (i.e. compromise) is not a weakness, it’s a sign of maturity. I’ll come back to this thread another time.
For now, my friends, tread confidently but cautiously into whatever new world awaits.