Covid stories 20 — too much to ask to wear a mask?
So as the second wave of Covid waves across Britain, the division across the country becomes starker. There is talk of Lockdown 2.0 but realistically that seems a big exaggeration. In reality all that has happened is that you need to wear a mask in hospitality settings till you sit down, and they shut at 10 (although 6 people from different households can carry on the drinking at home). Not enough to make a massive mistake the first time, it’s as though we want to go right ahead and repeat the very same mistakes again.
And whilst the privatised test and trace system is in tatters (and ultimately that is what will change things round), it is striking how the country has become divided over their so-called civil liberties. Political philosophy will never ever be short of material for its Uni courses …
Last night, extraordinarily loads of people piled out the pubs at 10pm and congregated on the streets of York singing ‘Mr Brightside’ until the police turned up. No irony then with it being The Killers and there being literally no bright side (thanks Liam for that).
So bizarrely as this country seems to move to an ever more authoritarian state with strands of democracy being eroded (Charles Moore and Paul Dacre being mooted as chair of BBC and OFCOM respectively, and no mention of capitalism in our education curriculum!), there is a significant proportion of the country that think that it is too much of an imposition to be asked to wear a mask. Ian Brown, Noel Gallagher, take a bow! So don’t get me wrong, there are some civil liberties that I think are sacrosanct but realistically, being asked to wear a mask isn’t one. Interestingly, the very same people don’t seem to be so enraged by the capture of our personal data through the back door. I definitely don’t subscribe to the ‘Don’t kill Granny’ messaging but being asked to wear a mask is surely a pretty small inconvenience if it helps to save lives. Everyone is still raving about Rishi (they are all doing that thing they do with Johnson by referring to him by his first name) but he says ‘we need to learn to live without fear’ when actually being vulnerable or elderly when there is a deadly pandemic on the loose is just proper fucking scary. But it feels part of that libertarian, eugenic strand of political thinking.
It’s difficult to predict the next six months beyond that it looks pretty bleak. Our incompetence as a nation, particularly regarding test, track and trace — together with the Dominic Cummings fuck-up — means we lag behind the rest of the world (apart from Brazil and USA). Will that change? I’d probably bet on it all getting a lot worse with Brexit.
I could talk about West Ham’s start to the season but I think I’d revert to even deeper melancholy …