Lockdown Lite

It cannot have escaped your attention, if you’ve even so much as poked your nose out of doors, that this lockdown is much busier than the last. In March you could walk down the middle of main roads; no-one was about, nearly all shops were shut and the schools were eerily silent. This time there’s a lot more traffic on the roads, more shops are open and we know that many more children are in schools because the government have said it’s OK to send them if you need to. Nurseries are still open and don’t even get me started on football: why is that still happening?

As Jon so astutely pointed out (see comment on previous post) money is at the bottom of it. I sympathise with a great many people over this; it’s one thing to suspend your livelihood for three months but quite another to build it up over the summer only to have to shut down again over the winter. And we’ve still no idea when the end will come; this thing could go on for eighteen months or longer. It could be years before it’s gone – if it ever does go.

I don’t mean to be gloomy. But if we learn one thing from the pandemic surely it has to be that money is not the most important thing in life.

These are strange times; we’re all getting used to a new normal but surely by now the risks are clear, so the idea that wearing a mask or social distancing is an infringement on individual liberty ought not to be given credence. Wearing a seat belt in a car or a helmet on a motorbike is also an infringement on our liberties: I don’t like doing either of these things but I do them, not only because it’s the law but because I see that it’s necessary: if I come off my bike without a helmet or crash the car with no seatbelt on, chances are I’ll die. But Covid isn’t just about me, it’s about all those with whom I come into contact. You might argue that you can put yourself in danger, but putting others in danger is not your decision to make. Not to mention that you’ll be putting the NHS under an even greater strain.

The trouble with where we are now is that we have a government that is not trusted by the majority of the people and which doesn’t lead by example. Dominic Cummings did huge damage to public compliance and Johnson’s refusal to sack him compounded that damage. And now, as millions stay in lockdown, there’s a question over whether he should have been cycling seven miles from home. OK he could have been on a long bike ride but the thing about being a leader who sets the rules is that you not only have to do the right thing but also to be seen to do the right thing – and this is something Johnson utterly fails to grasp. It’s a bit late to start invoking public spiritedness when you’re in a government which espouses libertarian values and awards massive public contracts to its cronies just because it can, not to mention a government which has dithered and delayed to such an extent that people no longer know what the rules actually are.

There will be a reckoning for this government but in the meantime stay safe out there and if you need someone to talk to be aware that I always respond to comments. Failing that, chat to someone on Facebook, phone a friend or call the Samaritans. Don’t suffer in silence.

Kirk out

8 thoughts on “Lockdown Lite

  1. I was thinking that very thing when I was out for my afternoon walk earlier, how busy the roads are, when there is supposed to be a lockdown. Thank you for the name-check! x Cheers, Jon.

  2. The government is not trusted because the don’t treat the population like adults. Take the vaccination programme. The manufacturers trials have only validated its effectiveness if two doses are given 3 weeks apart, but the government have now decided to do them 12 weeks apart in order to give limited immunity to more people more quickly. It’s a gamble. It might not work as effectively. No one knows. The trials ghave not been carried out. But it occurred to me today there might be another reason which they are not telling us. If they went ahead and gave people the jab with a 3 week gap, there would quickly be quite a lot of people with high immunity who would start flouting the rules much more openly, which would create ill-feeling and be bad for compliance in the not yet vaccinated. So give people just one jab, they’ll still be worried they might catch it, and everyone will then still behave. I might be over-suspicious and imagining all that but if true they should be open about it.

  3. The seat belt comparison is one I have used freqently in argument. I have hated wearing a seatbelt ever since the law came in. But back then it was consistently policed, (I was stopped and warned twice) until everyone just did it out of habit.
    This area is rural, with only the small town of Dereham nearby. People do not seem to be abusing the lockdown at all. In fact the local Tesco hypermarket was almost empty of shoppers when I went there on Monday. But I did encounter a dog-walker yesterday who had driven almost 17 miles from Holt, to walk her dog on Hoe Rough. I mentioned the fact that she was breaking the rules and could be fined, and she replied “But this is such a good place to walk my dog”.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. Seat belt is a good comparison I think. I didn’t realise you were only 17 miles from Holt – in happier times we’ve been to Sheringham on holiday and taken the kids on the railway at Holt. But ‘a good place to walk my dog’ – hardly an excuse

  5. Regarding the wearing of masks, and your statement “the idea that wearing a mask or social distancing is an infringement on individual liberty ought not to be given credence”, my simplified reply is that I object. I’m all for giving people space, but I don’t agree with the act of wearing a mask (out of principal and for health reasons) – I think it boils down to a belief system, with mask-wearing be a part of that, and therefore should not be enforced. Of course there is stupidity on all sides, and morons too, which is a shame, but I like to think I have well-thought out and logical reasons which are backed by science.

    I’m happy to wear a seatbelt/helmet though!

  6. Well I’d have to disagree Brian. I think there’s plenty of evidence that wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of infection and whilst everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, everyone is not entitled to their own facts.

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