Here I am self isolating in London the epicentre of covid 19 in the UK. I haven't been posting here for some time and to be honest I have enjoyed the break. I have been writing and recording my new opus and it creeps ever nearer towards completion.
Like most of us I have lots to say about this strange time we are living in. This lack lustre leadership has shown their contempt for us through the whole of their enforced austerity. If a small percentage of the money being spent now had been allocated to the welfare system and the NHS, we would be infinitely better off than we are today. We were told there was no money tree by Cameron and May so where are the billions needed now coming from? People might be forgiven for thinking that as soon as it was clear that the pandemic could and would infect the rich then billions could be found to fight it. Remember how Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto was reviled by the Tories as ridiculously expensive. If it had been actualised ten or more years ago we would not be in this mess of low capacity. Corbyn's manifesto was a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of fighting covid 19.
Some time ago the government was subjected to a test to see how a pandemic would be dealt with. It failed miserably and according to an ex Tory MP no steps were taken to address the issues high lighted by the test. Of course the most damning indicator is the lack of protection for NHS staff. A week ago the govt promised a heightened level of tests for NHS staff. The test kits are still unavailable. Yesterday the govt spokes person declared that testing kits were dependent on chemicals in scare supply. Today several companies have said that they have plenty of the chemicals required.
The UK Department of health wanted the UK to stay in The EU Early Warning and Response System to combat pandemics. No 10 has refused to stay signed up because they don't want this to impact on a clean break from the European Union.
There is the possibility that farm produce will be difficult to buy if crops of vegetables and fruit cannot be harvested. Most of the Europeans that picked our food for us have gone home and most will not return. Many will not be allowed to return. So are all the Brexiteers who "wanted their country back" and the cessation of free movement of people, willing to get stuck in on the farm?
Visas of foreign NHS staff, that are about to expire, will be automatically renewed. I guess even the Brexiteers don't want to die through lack of NHS staff so principals can be suspended, due to self interest, when it suits. Of course such consideration did not apply to the Wind rush victims of the government’s so called Hostile Environment policy.
So we can all see the lack of transparency from our English government. The Scots seem to have a much clearer, honest way of communicating with out much back tracking. A more European attitude perhaps. I believe we should all be wary of the new powers that govt have afforded themselves. I fear that increased authoritarianism might undermine our basic rights still further. The Tories have stealthily whittled away many employment and civic rights long before this emergency.
So what is good today? Still we are here. We love and breathe.
My local shop keeper has offered to deliver food for no extra charge. He even offered to keep a tab until I had cash. I’m not keen to visit an ATM yet. There is plenty of this unsolicited good will pouring out of people but there will always be a percentage of folk who are destructive and dangerous. They are ignorant and damaged and life has made them selfish and greedy or needy depending on how charitable you feel towards them. No amount of pleas to get in line, to save lives, will register with them enough for them to change course. At the same time the best of folk are working day and night to save our lives at great risk to them selves.
I hope there will be a great deal of new thinking after this. Some of us will be reluctant to spend money with the countless profiteers who see this as a commercial opportunity. I hope it is the end for companies such as Sports Direct, JD Sports and Witherspoons who only changed step when they were embarrassed into it. We don't really need what they sell.
Actually this applies to much of the stuff in High St Stores. It isn't just the online competition hitting sales but I think it is also an underlying but growing lack of desire for what is on offer. In the same chain of shops in any town you can buy exactly the same offerings. A great deal of the crap on sale is extremely detrimental to the health of the planet. Most of the shops will soon be flogging 5G phones. 5G technology and High definition streaming is adding to the carbon foot print of the world in a massive way. Apparently streaming produces the same carbon foot print as all air travel. So we have to make choices and this crisis across the world might focus all of us to choose more carefully and more safely in the future.
NASA have announced that their satellites can film the earth more clearly than for thirty years. Can we halve air travel at a stroke when things return to a new normal born of a new reality? Do we need to drive a car so far, so often and with no passengers? Can we better care for our poorest and most vulnerable? We stand together now so can we stand together for a more meaningful and worth while existence for every one? We need to restore public services to a workable level and re evaluate who are the most important members in society. If we are to pay the top money to the best of us then who should get it? After this is all over I think many of us will have new ideas about that and the way this free market world has let us all down.
With time to think I hope we might all challenge our own ideas about what is our status quo. I hope we can find new ways to be more effective with out doing so much damage to the possibility of a future for the youngest of us. I hope we can find some new happiness in the new reality forced upon us by the silent enemy and that our personal victories will encourage and sustain us towards a better place for every one.