Hindsight offers that wondrous capacity for reflection, does it not ? All the mistakes of bygone times, the misinterpretations, the lost and failed opportunities, the successes and milestones - all stand out in stark relief when viewed through a 50 year or so rear-view mirror.
Such things are not, of course, any great new wisdom, they are merely the mechanism through which we can see what we have become over passing time. And that applies not solely to individuals but to communities, governments and nation states - nothing can escape the scrutiny of time honoured reflection.
COVID-19 has delivered - and continues to deliver - some stress upon all the factions that make up Britain and our behaviours and responses to it to some extent tell a tale of 50 or so years back. What was created back then has come to fruition in the intervening period, some of it fantastic and wonderful, some of it much less so. Looking at social behaviour through a very wide angle lens, we might argue that our sense of wellbeing and affluence has increased many fold and that we enjoy the fruits of living in the best country in the world and gaze around at others with a sense of innate snobbery as to their ways of conducting the democratic process. A more careful look nevertheless reveals some fault lines in our social 'geology'. We still have significant social and wealth divides, we are vexed by a plethora of new issues relating to gender, faith, discrimination, countless equalities and so called rights and perhaps overarching above all these the constantly fluttering and uncertain moral compass of our society's values and core beliefs.
It is natural for a society to adapt to changing social and international forces if it is done in a way that is genuinely progressive and achieved in a way that factors in everyone's point of view. Now we all know that that is fanciful and that sometimes (or maybe most times) we cannot please everyone all of the time but we are not and have not yet learned how to appreciate that which we created way back and the impact that is now having on our social and national behaviours. COVID is partially responsible for the apparent increase in anti-social behaviours - but certainly not exclusively - but we might wish to look back and consider how the generation that is perpetrating this unpleasant presence was brought up and educated by previous generations who commonly took little time to consider their responsibilities and accountability in parenting the young of the future. No child rearing process is easy and it is always varied, but along with that tasking comes responsibility and accountability, for making decisions and choices that shape and prepare the next generation, to impart values, beliefs and boundaries to the meaning of right and wrong - not just in law, but also in society.
Now BB will be the first to say that there are many in our current younger generation who have been eminently well prepared but equally, there are many - and we feel the presence of this societal bloc disproportionately - who have either never been given that upbringing by virtue of circumstance or sheer bad parenting or have failed to appreciate the significance of behavioural norms. And we are plagued with a self-interested, inward looking and significant part of our society by the agenda's of government in their attempts at equalising and balancing many of the divides that afflict us - social engineering would not be an out of place term to use here. A worthy attempt, you might say, but the reality is the spread of a social contagion that we have yet to find a proper solution for. Thus far, history tells us none of our forebears found a solution either, so we remain transfixed by an almost fundamental 'Berlin Wall' built through the middle of our national psyche. Governments have limited capacity to 'engineer' solutions here - it is down to us, as individuals and families to accept the responsibility (and sometimes the pain) of creating a better and well seasoned future generation.