As the UK rather reluctantly, but with a resigned sense of it being necessary, goes back into a slightly less severe COVID lock-down there is an expanding recognition that this pandemic may not actually go away or move on but remain as a constant backdrop to our ability to manage the presence of this virus and live alongside it. That may seem a rather well worn assessment - haven't we all along thought that COVID would be a long-term presence around our lives ? Seemingly not so, for it would appear that a significant number of our populace have expected it to somehow eventually evaporate and disperse and that everything would go back to 'normal'. At best we might see that as naivete amongst that segment of the population, at worst a signal of a poor level of government communication as to just how invasive and damaging this predator has become ? Much criticism is levelled at government as to how and when it communicates to the wider population - and a good measure of this criticism is valid - but notwithstanding that, isn't it remarkable that there are still significant numbers out there who haven't yet grasped the fundamental dynamics of how COVID-19 is behaving and the consequent behaviour of those folk in the way they ignore or generally flout the social boundaries we now have ? Is Bristling Brock really that surprised ? Regrettably not.
The approach to Remembrance Day has become a disputed bit of territory in the national psyche. With the new lock-down, public events are being kept minimal and as sparsely populated as possible. Few will physically attend any ceremony. Yet Remembrance Day has a presence in our national culture that defies the logic of this minimalism, especially when other aspects of lock-down are viewed as being contradictory and illogical. This is a special moment in the nations life, it is symbolic, it is an emotional few minutes that touches most and reminds us that whatever tragedies have befallen the nation the sacrifices of many to uphold the continuance of what we fundamentally believe in is a sacrosanct matter to be respected - in full. Let us hope the government will realise the need for an exceptional exemption - it would be a gesture that shows there is a compassionate element to even the most dire circumstances.
The US is taking political theatre to the extremes of our imagination. With claims, insinuations and outright allegations of wrong-doing we observe a real-time flow of bizarre and often unsavoury insights into American divisiveness and social discontent. With gun-toting 'bands of brothers' roaming around without any evidence of law and order being applied we allegedly see an election process that hardly marks their nation out as being a paragon of civility, freedom and tolerance. Admittedly, the media always favours the unsavoury, so we should not be totally swayed into imagining America is still the Wild West everywhere. Clearly it is not and millions of decent, proportionate and civil Americans must be seeing this circus of an electoral process as being the worst possible window to the world that they are being viewed through. It is not an edifying moment in the political arena but it will pass. But it'll no doubt make a few in high places wince with disapproval and wonder about the future.
Back in Britain we are exhorted to take some daily exercise during the lock-down restrictions. The streets are one thing, but the open countryside peppered with suspended plastic bags of dog mess and discarded face masks, plastic water bottles and other detritus doesn't reflect upon us well at all. It's hard to imagine quite what the perpetrators of this unpleasant and unnecessary discarding of mess and rubbish actually think about when they are doing it - but in truth, one doubts whether these folk think about anything other than themselves. What a sad society we have become.