Australian beaches packed with sunbathers, English parks crowded with walkers taking in the fine March weather, packed tube trains and Sunday markets brimming with bargain seekers, supermarket shelves stripped of merchandise…

On the face of it, the populace seem intent upon ignoring the dire warnings of government:  the virus is dangerous;   we must self-isolate, we must protect ourselves – so why?

Essential mistakes have been made:

The health gurus suggest that only older people or those with underlying health problems are in mortal danger, so the young and fit, if the odds are no higher than the chance of getting a rather severe dose of flu will be tempted to gamble.   The possibility of passing on infection matters relatively little to those who, for the most part, live at a distance, physically and emotionally, from their elders.  Besides, we are being advised to exercise, aren’t we?  In a city, the streets aren’t safe, so where else can that happen but in the parks?

In UK anyway, the National Health Service is continually crying wolf.  Every winter the population is treated to threats of inadequate staffing, long waiting times and tragic outcomes, that somehow omit to mention the prevalence of expensive agency staffing and the manner in which specialists apportion their time between NHS and private practice.  Are most of us unaware of these inconvenient truths? And then, of course, there is personal experience, which largely runs counter to the media blast.

UK consumer credit is at an all-time high, so I can only imagine the pressures upon those who are nominally ‘self-employed’ or who work in the ‘gig economy’.  Living costs in big cities are phenomenally high and millions live at the absolute limit of their means, or beyond.  A government loan is no answer for them – it is simply additional debt.  They need to work or face homelessness.

Finally, there is an issue of trust.  It is no surprise that Australia, whose Prime |Ministers’ chances of dying in bed equate to those of medieval British Kings, should regard sententious warnings from politicians with cynicism.  Nor is it likely, so hot on the heels of the Brexit debacle, that the British should be easily persuaded of sincerity in a politician.  Throughout most of the First-World, the press is the willing bedfellow of those with the most power to deflect it, propaganda is rife and there are no steadying voices.  All journalism is sensationalist, all journalists will sacrifice truth for a story.

Few aboard the rusting hulk of ‘democracy’ feel in a position to trust the rudder.  The idealistic young, aboard the fleet yacht of simple solutions have delivered their verdict, and unless the statistics hit blitzkrieg proportions, as they have in Italy, who’s to say that they are wrong?

Personally I am in favour of quarantine (I will not use that rabble-rousing and etymologically incorrect term ‘lock-down’);  but then, I am over 70 with underlying health issues, so I would be, wouldn’t I?   Even so, threatening me with fines or arrest if I raise my head above the parapet is hardly likely to win my heart.

15 Comments

  1. Bravo. Quarantine is the first step in the solution. And for the young to be uncaring and risk keeping this virus alive and well is thoughtless. It is very dangerous, especially to the elderly, weak, and ill.

    Be safe my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Paddy, though I do see how those with families who can no longer send their children to school and have lived for a long time with no steady source of remuneration must be caught between a couple of granity outcrops right now. Rare indeed is the politician or the medical expert capable of understanding so simple a proposition as poverty.

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  2. I am with you. Watching college-age students carousing at bars while the rest of us sit at home is just maddening. My contacts in England seem as frustrated with your government as I am with ours. Fortunately our state governors have been much wiser and taken more action than the president.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well written article. The ‘hulk of Democracy’–the one Churchill said “…democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms”. What a mess life is at times. Now, good ol’ California is threatening to put drones in the sky to yell at people who are congregating in groups of 2 or more.
    I need to move but where.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well expressed, Frederick. I am one who still must “brave” the verities of the atmospheric soup mix and go to work every day. At 64 and diabetic, supposedly that is extra risky, but one must carry on, after all. Taking precautions, though. Stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The argument has moved on, hasn’t it? In the UK cabin fever has also to be taken into consideration, the product of national policy dictated by property companies who seem determined to contain us in smaller and smaller boxes. When I see the size of some new development houses I wonder at the tolerance of the typical two-parent, two-child family that is being asked to confine itself within. It’s a miracle they don’t explode! I’m guessing one major outcome of this will be an escalating divorce rate.

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