There seems to be a general consensus that life after COVID will be different, that the experience - albeit an ongoing one - will re-focus our values, beliefs and ways, and will in some mysterious way make us all into better people, more understanding, community spirited and, on an international scale, more aware of the geo-political seismic shifts that are occurring. Bristling Brock could say something salty about this but will settle for a gentler expression, 'What a load of tosh !'
At a local level, the visual reaction to eased social restrictions is one of 'Whoopee, I can do what I want from now on...' (though we might excuse an initial burst of euphoria) and this is evidenced by hordes of folk on beaches, in parks and other gathering places, by hugely increased traffic volumes alarmingly racing along just about every road, fly tipping on a disturbing scale and a general acknowledgement by police authorities that save for any mass gathering incidents that threaten public order, they are powerless and potentially indifferent to policing. What an extraordinary state. The police blithley telling us that the constitutional role of the elected authorities and their delegated agents - in this case the police - cannot uphold the laws of the land. Having already withdrawn from any attempt at tackling many other crimes is this going to be the beginning of some dystopian new world we might wonder ? If so, we'd better hope for the old one to make a comeback. Yet the police are just one facet of this social upheaval caused by COVID and BB is using them just as an illustration of the chipping away of our social institutions where scenarios akin to this are taking place - from Church to Defence - and collectively reducing the effectiveness and meaningfulness of infrastructures around which many of us have lived with for lifetimes. Change is endemic and we should all welcome well thought through shifts in style, emphasis and purpose in all manner of ways, but there is something different happening here, almost a national complicity in the dilution and disbandment of a regulatory strata in the national order of things (and whether we like it or not, we all need some level of regulation). The really worrying part is that this could well be acceptable if new stratagems were in place to take over, but there is little evidence that these alternatives actually exist. Let us hope Dystopia is not around the corner.
Internationally, we have also seen the police becoming further reviled in the US, the Brazilian government in a state of absurd denial over COVID, the increasing fragility of the EU's economic gameplan and, above all, the eventual realisation in Britain (and hopefully elsewhere) that China isn't going to be the friendly world neighbour we'd like to imagine. There's quite a lot going on in the stew-pot around the globe. One thing that tickled BB in the recent global outlook was the arrival of SpaceX at the ISS and the new astronauts giving an interview extolling the comeback of American space-travel. The faces of the two Russian crew-members was classic - arms folded, grim expressions and an air of indifference to what was being either deliberately or unintentionally beamed around the world.
The experts tell us that the world is becoming more polarised, with national interests making more of a play than collaborative alliances. Perhaps COVID has had something to do with that or maybe it's a shift in political thinking about priorities and roles as the 21st century unfolds. The West harbours views of those that are aligned with its views and those that aren't. The rest of the world is no doubt thinking the same about which geo-political camp it either wishes to be or be included in, but the net result is an increase in tensions, suspicions, and global uncertainty. The 2020's has all the ingredients building up to become an explosive decade....'Tin hats on, everybody !'