“I can’t wait for 2021,” we all said. “It can’t be any worse than 2020. At least things will be back to normal and we can finally take that holiday abroad.” Last summer, we had hope and because we had hope we had expectation that COVID-19 would be long gone. Then, in early 2021, came the miracle of vaccines. Get ready to live again. But now, in early June 2021, hope is disappearing and the expectation is that the only holidays will be those taken by people who can afford domestic breaks in Rip Off Britain.
Our rearranged June visit to Spain was cancelled by easyJet in late May and there are many thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of people just like us who are now seeing their holidays cancelled. And those of us who have stuff booked in the rest of 2021 are beginning to fear the worst, that 2021 could easily be worse than 2020.
In the next week or so, Boris Johnson will doubtless delegate the announcement that summer is being cancelled to one of this underlings, probably slippery ‘Door Matt’ Hancock because Johnson himself only does good news and that’s one reason people seem to love him. Tens of thousands of needless deaths? Jobs lost through COVID? A stupid traffic light system for holidays? Yes, but we love Boris. He’s different, isn’t he? Because of his modest background he understands you and me. And he makes me laugh. I’m not sure how.
Rightly, people are asking a simple question: if vaccines are going to set us free, then how come with so many vulnerable people already vaccinated we cannot be more free? We know that the virus will be with us in some form forever, just like seasonal flu is with us forever. At what point does government say: “If we will have to live with the virus, what are we waiting for?”
As things stand, I’m not far off that point of view myself. I am not really interested in what Johnson and his clown car government have to say because, as I have already touched on, in England their handling of the pandemic has been catastrophic. I want the likes of Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance to explain, in simple straightforward language, which to be fair they usually do, and tell it like it is. What are the implications of opening up? Give me facts and figures and if you disagree with Johnson, as I’m sure you must, then say so. We know Johnson is a liar and a charlatan. Don’t be like him. Be the smartest men in the room.
If we can’t go on holiday in June, what is likely to change between now and July, August and September? Just be honest: if there is bad news, then let us have it and tell us, again in one words of one syllable wherever possible, what it is.
I can only speak for me but after something like 16 months of this COVID shit show, I’m worn out. One day you think normality is but in the blink of an eyelid the next normality disappears over the horizon marked ‘next year, if you are lucky, don’t bank on it.’
A friend points out to me that something doesn’t feel right about the COVID situation right now and, without engaging in ludicrous conspiracy theory, so do I. It could be that the current mess will be explained by better communications from government and scientists – well, the latter, anyway – and it could be as simple as ‘we don’t know what the hell is going on so we will keep these restrictions until we have worked out what to do.’
I do understand that in the grand scheme of things, foreign holidays shouldn’t assume a priority when people are still getting infected in large numbers and dying in smaller numbers, so far. But, and this is what I hear more and more, we don’t stop people driving because 150,000 get injured or even die in road crashes every year and we don’t shut the country down in the flu season. I know it’s more complicated than that but unless our leaders get a grip on the current situation, people aren’t going to buy in to future restrictions. And anyway, do the powers that be really think that the majority of folk are now complying with the restrictions that remain? The only restrictions many are complying with include foreign travel and that’s because there’s barely any of it.
In. 2020, in my usual glass half empty world, I was not seeing 2021 as the end of COVID and the restrictions that went with it. And in 2021, it feels my pessimism was justified. I’m certainly not going down the road of saying that 2022 can’t be any worse than 2021 because look where that kind of optimism takes us.
Johnson said the end of lockdown was irreversible but now maybe not. Wouldn’t it be great to have a prime minister who was honest and told the truth because this one is neither. Britain, or rather England, doesn’t deserve better than the current mess because it voted for him in large numbers. Sooner or later, people are going to ask another question: Johnson isn’t up to job and could we please have the opportunity to vote for someone who is?