Issue 240: 2020 07 02: Social Distancing

02 July 2020

Social Distancing in Cumbria

Week 15

by Vic Leader

Lockdown is well and truly over.  I am out and about, seeing people.  Haven’t Zoomed all week.  By next week most things will be open.  But, for the foreseeable future, only subject to social distancing.

My hair is longer than for many a year but, excitingly, I have booked an appointment with my barber for a week’s time.  I have a provisional booking for a week’s holiday; a ‘staycation’.  Got to play my part in rebooting the economy.  It’s a substitute for a long-ago booked trip to Italy’s Lake Como.  Just hoping the weather will be a great improvement on the winds and rain that have lashed us here in the English Lakes.

The PM has ended the daily TV briefing to the nation.  I am glad about that as they were becoming too predictable, too frequent.  But less so that, instead of changing to say just a weekly update, they will only be made in the event of a major development.  I have been a critic of the critics who are saying we are easing lockdown too soon, although I still think we need to be proceeding with great caution.  As I said last week, the virus has not gone away.  So maybe just stopping a regular briefing is going to give the wrong impression: it’s all over and sorted.  It isn’t.

A small but significant section of society is taking extraordinary steps to deny any danger exists by holding street parties.  One such involves Liverpool FC supporters, celebrating their first Premiership Champions crown in 30 years that could be marred if that City finds itself newly locked down because of a secondary spike in infections. Talking of spikes Leicester looks about to be so locked down.  And still, globally, the pandemic has yet to peak.  A time for extreme caution, I think.

But the PM is turning some attention to the ‘rebuilding’ programme.  Not just how to rebuild the economy broken by the Lockdown, but also the last election manifesto ‘promise’ to create a more balanced nation.  So now is the time to lobby MPs with the changes you want to see.

I want the views of local people to be heard, but they have to raise their voice also.  I want some real attention to the small entrepreneurs who, we are frequently told, are the real driving force of change and growth.  I want them listened to at the expense of, or at least in a more balanced way to, the giant corporations.

Corporations do not build communities, they, rightly, work to create value for their shareholders.  I and most of us are indirect ‘shareholders’ through our pension schemes, insurance policies, savings plans and more, so profit is not dirty.  But profit at the expense of people is not acceptable in 21st century developed nations, nor should it be elsewhere, so there has to be a balance.  A start might be made by curtailing the ‘big lobby’ industry’s access to government.

That’s enough for this week but stay strong, alert, and healthy my friends.  Keep thinking.

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