The lockdown is ending, willy-nilly, planned or unplanned. The nation is beginning to come to life in places. The roads are becoming busy in the towns. More shops which had no need to close are opening. Others wait, ready. Some pubs and chipshops cannot let customers in, but have found e-businesses eager to take a share, with deliveries.
Here, the parish council found it did not need the army of volunteers it recruited – I was never called on once. They might soon take down the odd annoyingly unscientific rainbow poster. Their poster rainbow has three stripes, of yellow, blue and red: that is not a rainbow , it is the Miranda flag as used by Venezuela, a country of endless bread queues, shortages, empty shops, crushing unemployment, where the police harass innocent people on the street. Actually they may have a point.
Shops are now reopening locally, not all, but enough, and DIY shops and gardening centres.
Still, London is a ghost-town, which shows how artificial it was in the first place. Oxford Street, once packed shoulder-to-shoulder with shoppers and gawpers is like an abandoned town of the Old West. The life has gone out of it because all these businesses are interrelated: the shops are mainly deemed non-essential (and non-affordable to be honest). In normal days, customers come to the shops and dip into the cafés and pubs. The food shops are permitted to open but their customers, the office workers and shop workers, are forbidden from coming to them. A little beyond, the theatres are standing empty, and even if cafés and restaurants are opened, they are fed by the theatre crowds and so until the theatres reopen, they are going bankrupt.
A little loosening will bring the beginnings of life, the glimmerings of dawn, but until the roar of commerce begins in its full vigour, all will suffer, even those businesses nominally permitted to open.
All for one disease that is passing, and causing harm to families most affected, while the lockdown is harming every family.
There is though some hope that the powers that be are relenting. House arrest has ended. The sombrero has been squashed and we are running down the other side. Dr Lockdown has been forced to resign – but how his XR-supporting mistress must have glowed when he closed the economy, but now his power is gone and we have just timid politicians in charge, with more normal scientists. We are now told the alert is now down from ‘4’ to ‘3’ and await hearing what that actually means.
Outside London the streets are filling again and people are no longer avoiding each other as they did. Masks are no longer the fashion accessory du jour. It is ending whether the Government is ready or not. It will be over when the village pub reopens and the street cafés buzz again as crowds spill from the dizzying theatres, when office workers from Dover to Dundee go out in herds every lunchtime for sandwiches and presents for their wives and husbands, when tourist cramp shoulder-to-shoulder along the Royal Mile pouring down from the castle and the shopkeepers reap a prosperous harvest from their pockets.
I hear the gathering roar in the distance as the crowd presses against the door, creaking and ready to buckle. Give my liberty and we have prosperity.
- Don’t make us resent this
- I have measured out my life with coffee spoons
- Waking as from sleep
- Liberate the DIY stores
- You’ll never take me a-skive, copper
- Waiting for the storm
- Does anyone understand the rules?
- The Borisaurus: The Dictionary of Boris Johnson by Simon Walters
- A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe
- Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney
- The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay (1841)
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan B Peterson
- Woke: A Guide to Social Justice by Titania McGrath