I’ve spent since last September waiting for summer. Now I can’t wait for September. I was looking forward to the sunnier and warmer days, the foreign holidays, the BBQs, the pub crawls around Bristol’s wonderful harbourside. Now, I’m just hoping that we all get through the summer in one piece.
I’m in the high risk category, courtesy of my chronic (which just means long term) asthma, and I’m now self-isolating for 12 weeks. I will go out when I can, avoiding people like, well, the plague, I suppose. But when I emerge from from my spring and possibly summer hibernation, what will the world look like?
All the no fear macho talk of yesterday is slowly slipping away as the grim reality dawns. We should all be frightened now and anyone who is not frightened has not been paying attention. We should be afraid, above all, of what Covid-19 could do to our families and our friends. Then, we should be afraid of a grim financial collapse that could make the 2008 crash appear little worse than a bad afternoon at the bookies.
People talk about celebrating when the epidemic is over. But what will there be to celebrate? The deaths of loved ones, plus the deaths of people we don’t know? Those who lose their jobs and worry their dreams may turn to dust? The young who fear their future has already passed? There will be nothing to celebrate but the slowing of deaths, the deaths of those who would not have otherwise died but for Covid-19.
Already, I hear about the possible collapse of whole industries, from the automotive sector to the entire construction industry. Given that so many of ‘our’ great companies aren’t actually British, how do you ‘save’ Toyota or Hitachi or Nissan when they decide to pack up and go home? When those jobs are gone, they’re gone.
I rarely look on the bright side of life. The school of life combined with clinical depression has given me a certain outlook on life. Instead of a brighter day for everyone when the virus has dissipated, I see desperate people looking for answers, looking for hope, looking for someone to blame.
Luckily for me, no one reads this humble blog, so I can safely suggest, without being accused of stirring it, that civil unrest, riots and burning and looting are a real possibility when there are no answers, but plenty of people to blame. For people who have nothing, what’s left?
It’s that serious. Our country has cut the safety net for working people to the bone. We have slashed the number of police officers and repeatedly re-elected the political party that slashed them. We have happily stood by whilst millions have fallen into poverty and food banks have thrived. We have voted for a philosophy that says ‘Greed is good’. But greed has a price and we are about to pay that price.
The rich got richer and we were told it would make us all better off. It was all a big lie. The promised land we were promised never existed and now a cold wind is blowing in. The rich and powerful retire to their private islands and stately homes and the rest of us can go to hell. Well, the weak and forgotten could be coming for them soon and all of those who look and sound like them.
I have been waiting for the summer since last summer. Now I look forward to autumn, always assuming I make it. I was afraid before, I’m very afraid now.