Since Bristling Brock’s last missive, there has been a noticeable gearing up for coronavirus. Every country is doing it slightly differently with different timelines and emphases but Australia has joined the global campaign with a more hands-on approach to public awareness.
BB read with interest the report from a learned professor that in the UK it may be desirable for as much as 60% corona contamination throughout the population to effectively provide ‘herd immunity’ against future outbreaks. Now that last bit is the interesting bit - the scientific perception that this virus could well be an annual event and that without mass immunity (created by first infecting people) we’ll suffer this attack year on year. It’s not clear whether that initial contamination should be ‘natural’ - picked up through social contact, or whether there would be some concept of voluntary or even compulsory self contamination. I suspect the latter might have some social kick-back factor - folk generally don’t like the idea of wilfully submitting to a virus for which there’s no current antidote. That said, it may well become necessary.
This eastern seaboard of Australia - where the majority of the nations population live - is a geographically fascinating place. In some parts you could half imagine James Cook’s ‘Endeavour’ gliding past, diligently mapping the endless inlets and creeks that have existed for millennia, untouched and wild. The bush encroaches everywhere to the very edges of the ocean. Towns have had space carved out of this green carpet - but there’s no escaping it, it’s everywhere. The recent fires didn’t get that close to where BB writes from on the Central Coast, but you can easily imagine how they could have but for a whimsical shift in the wind. There is bush everywhere you look - it is the very stuff from which Australia has carved itself.
BB has lost a bit of touch with what’s happening, politically, back in the UK - most news seems to be entirely focussed on virus preparations - yet this does not seem to diminish the hunger of those that look for chinks in the armour of the government. It’s a curious time, politically, with a pandemic that, whether we like it or not, has health, social, economic and political considerations in its handling. The government needs the nations support, even if many are fundamentally against the government, for to create division and schisms purely for political point scoring is not an acceptable practise at this time (BB would argue it’s not an acceptable practise at any time, but that’s perhaps too much of an ask). The Labour Party needs to sort itself out, elect a leader and engage in constructive and collaborative work with the government. It very much needs to distance itself from the ideological purities of Corbynism and move forward. The very essence of our parliamentary system of governance is that there is an effective Opposition to challenge, debate and assist the government to bring about legislation that is as broadly acceptable as possible. The playtimes of political parties in the past, sparring, needling and juvenile should be recognised as no longer fit for the chamber. Perhaps, if nothing else, we might imagine coronavirus as being the ‘smack on the back of the head’ that our politicians have been long overdue in getting. Or am I pipedreaming ?