As the Corona virus era continues, as everyone is now beginning to notice, the volume of folk around the country prepared to ‘break’ the recommended lockdown guidelines is growing at a rate. We see it in traffic flow and in the numbers of people seemingly oblivious to the guidelines who just suit themselves. What does this tell us ? On the one hand it indicates a measure of rebelliousness in a growing segment of the population over lockdown, frustration amongst those who are suffering income or revenue loss and, perhaps the least surprising of all, it shows how government authority is being openly flouted. So much for ‘we’re all in this together’. As ever, there are always those who will jump on the bandwagon of those who have a legitimate basis for easing off on the guidelines and use that legitimacy in others to justify their own behaviour. It says much about the discipline (or lack of) of the population when, after a mere five weeks of restriction there is a panicky explosion of ‘let me out of here’ syndrome.
Whatever we think of lockdown and all it’s changes to the normal way of life, there was a strategy in place to control the viral spread. That there is some evidence now of a levelling off is something to be temporarily grateful for, but we should be wary of imagining this is the end of it. The virus hasn’t been eradicated and our future lives are likely to now include this threat as something to live with rather than dispose of and carry on as before. Rather like the plagues of medieval times, it is something that will periodically make a comeback to give us all a fresh scare. If a vaccine can be developed, so much the better, but the ‘thing’ will still be out there in its ever changing structure and form.
Let’s turn to something more light-hearted - Trumpy ! The good old President seems to be having a particular resurgence of blurting the absurd, the dangerous and the downright incoherent on the public stage. Bristling Brock can’t remember a time when he has so repeatedly stood up at his lectern and, with that seriously innocent expression he has mastered, utter the most bizarre, ill thought out and misguided proclamations about things he has absolutely no knowledge of and then claim - predictably - how great he is at working big problems out. Remarkably, BB still finds him to be an enigma, arrogantly stupid with an underlying smartness or nothing more than an abrasive but appealing charlatan (remember there are 200 million Americans who were promised the dream but have failed to find it - that’s Trumpy’s electoral base, and a powerful one). Our biggest worry is that Britain is still closely aligned to what happens in the US - indeed, most of the world is in a not dissimilar position - and the unpredictability of the presidential reign makes strategising elsewhere all the more volatile. We may all smile and chuckle when President Trump says almost anything, but we might ponder on the outcome of November’s elections when the 200 million strong, right-wing Republican train is likely to trounce the almost non-existent presence of a meaningful Democrat challenger in Joe Biden. BB suspects the world will have four more years of this entertaining but somewhat dangerous administration.
The EU is in serious economic and political trouble. Whilst that might make us Brits exhale with relief that we’re no longer a member, we should not rejoice too soon. Whatever we think of the EU, it is a significant trading bloc and a source of much research, and cultural interdependence. If it were to collapse - predominantly as a result of corona virus and immigration challenges - then that would be to nobody’s advantage economically, politically or socially. We chose to be out of the political bloc but the erosion of the EU from within its own boundaries would represent a loss of resource and opportunity for many British businesses and create a European set of separate social structures reminiscent of the post WW1 Europe that eventually tore itself to shreds. Britain was right to leave the EU, but we should be careful in how we view it’s current Eurozone and social problems - for they, like Corona, could infect us as well.