Corona confusion still seems to be endemic throughout the governmental establishment with no clear strategy other than a 'wait and see' position which seems to rely upon how the public are reacting themselves..."Look chaps, they're all throwing their masks away now - let's make that our policy ! Genius, eh ? A sure vote winner...'
Yet down on the earthy streets where the populace live there is still a mixed bag of behaviours with many shops, pubs and restaurants still 'recommending' the wearing of face masks and many still wearing them as they wander the streets. Those that aren't are looking decidedly smug, almost arrogant in their swaggering displays of bare faces ! What is the world coming to ? There's no simple answer, is there ? We are gradually coming to terms with the notion of Corona being a perpetual, albeit background presence in our lives - it's there, it's not going away - but we've come to a position of accommodation with it - a little like a slightly nagging twinge as we age somewhat, there but liveable with. So why are we hanging onto masks and sanitisers as if they have some talismanic property that will wrap an invisible, protective bubble around us ? The scientific evidence tells us that neither really give us any real and meaningful protection.
It may well be that we have become comfortable with restriction, with a new cultural shift that attributes some sort of virtue to wearing a mask and wringing hands in repeated glutinous substances - yet at the same time we are prepared to jostle shoulder to shoulder with countless other folk in stadiums, arenas, shopping streets and even in popular country spots, many of whom aren't subscribing to that imaginary comfort zone. It isn't logical. It isn't remotely emboldened by evidence or scientific recommendation, it isn't a declared government policy and perhaps most significantly, it doesn't stop you picking up the virus. So why do many of us - BB included - continue to weave our way erratically about the streets dodging bare faces in the ludicrous hope that we are better protected than they are ? It's time to live with Corona is it not and challenge the 'thing' squarely in the face ? Be sensible, yes, but both socially and economically we cannot continue to live with the idea that our every move exposes us to this 'thing'. Humanity has to be bigger than this - it's the only way.
There's much comment by all the usual pundits about the Afghan troop withdrawal and the end of American world leadership, the crisis it has provoked in Afghanistan and the advance of an unpredictable Islamic state. All have some relevance and the actions usher in new and heightened fears over terrorist activity around the Western world. Supposedly, we might need to eventually admit that the Western way really only suits those countries that are in the west where culture, tradition and history have a thread of commonality between them, and trying to impose its values upon country's elsewhere has manifestly never worked successfully (most thinking pundits worked this out long ago but governmental ego's and misguided self interest have prevented the recognition in policy matters).
What the UK now needs to consider is its position in the world, how to achieve it peaceably and with friendship and mutual interest. BB has never seen much value to the UK in the so called 'special relationship' with the US - they are takers and very reluctant and selective givers - and with a presidency that exhibits all the hallmarks of a leftward drift and with a president who embodies the spirit of weakness in spades we need to rethink where our focus of interest needs to be. That's not to say that the UK should sever its friendship with the US, but we should certainly and purposefully move away from being the lap-dog in the relationship. We are a small country by many world standards but we have a pedigree of standing tall and creating a world influence far greater than our physical size - and we should no longer blithely do what the US bid us to do without very careful pre-examination of the circumstances and on our own terms. At the same time we see a Europe corrupted by its institutional inefficiencies, its inability to speak with one voice and a blindness to reform and modernisation. So, we find ourselves in the middle between two leviathans that are both exhibiting the characteristics of flailing states or bloc's. We must not be drawn into that malaise - we must create an outlook that is positive and progressive, one that encourages self sufficiency as a nation and one that upholds the values, fairness and hospitality that are still the envy of many elsewhere. This is the time for the UK to stand tall again, to get off our knees and start believing in what we can do as a nation once more. The stage is ours !