17.55. Had an early tea (dinner for those in the south) and I’m back at my desk with the window open, a slight breeze blowing, the birds singing. It would be so very calming except for the sound of the neighbour’s grandkids splashing and screaming in their paddling pool…

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. My last two pieces have had almost no traffic and I don’t see this doing any better. Have I mentioned before how I’m not sure why I’d writing this blog? However, here goes… My wisdom for what it’s worth (which is precisely nothing)…

From where I sit, the pressure from the right-wing appears to be pushing the Prime Minister towards relaxing the lockdown. I understand their reasoning. I especially understand it if the people pushing this counter-narrative own businesses that are being harmed by the prolonged lockdown. Except for worry, everything everywhere is less than optimal. Yet you only need to see the triumphalism in the red tops this morning to realise how foolish it is to talk of getting back to normal. Robert Peston tonight reveals that we’ll be allowed out more in the coming weeks if people can stick to the rules of social distancing. Relying on people? Well, you can see the flaw in that plan…

People like my neighbours, with grandkids around, because they’ve done bugger all social distancing, will take it as the green light to return to normal and I simply don’t see how a government engineers a safe return to work when the virus is still abroad. We need proper testing, not testing where the government are still being tricky about the numbers. We need a way to trace people that doesn’t rely on a totally impractical technology that is more suited to a reboot of Batman. “See, Robin, I’ve installed a high-frequency tracing device in every phone in the country. This way… yada yada ya…”

We must be able to respond to this virus spreading silently through the community and until we have measures in place, another wave of infections is certain.

It’s certain because of a word you hear increasingly less these days but one that remains crucial to understanding COVID-19. That word is “asymptomatic”. Sometimes one wonders if people were paying attention over the past six weeks. This is still spread by people who don’t even know they’ve got it. A study out yesterday, I believe, from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US, reports that scientists have identified a mutation that means the strain that has decimated Europe and the US was more contagious than that originating in China. It’s chilling. Let people walk around for eleven days and you probably won’t notice a thing. But in that time, people will be shedding the virus and then we’ll be back at square one, trying to play catch up…

I accept that, from the start, I’ve been on the cautious side of the problem and I realise the economic damage that the lockdown is causing. But in that grand mathematic where lives are balanced against profit sheets, I’m unashamedly in the favour of people not dying.

Last thought: I do wonder about Johnson. Is the government aware of all this? Hard to believe they’re not. How much is the government gesturing towards easing the lockdown rather than them intending to do so? It reminds me of when I was a kid and I had to get up for school. My mother would shout me or hammer on the ceiling with a brush and I’d shout “yes, yes, I’m getting dressed” or I’d throw my leg out of bed to make noises as if I was moving around. It was an utter lie and I’d always be late for school, but it bought me a little time.

Well, perhaps Johnson is buying time: making the right sounds but not planning to make the big changes demanded by the right-wing of his party and the country. In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is perhaps being more honest, but she also doesn’t have a right-wing press to pacify. Schools there will be shut until September and the lockdown is continuing. Only sensible move, as far as I can see.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts About Ending the Lockdown…”

  1. Agreed. The thing that I just cant u understand is why they’ve allowed such a circus to build up around this for an announcement that will almost certainly be a nothing Burger? Why not just get it out of the way in the briefing yesterday? Zooming out for a moment how is it that a team that involves Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are so crap at communication.?They’ve got if wrong at every step!

  2. Yep. I think it’s a problem of the right-wing pressurising Johnson. Must be so difficult to remain strong when almost the entire cabinet is against you. In a way, it’s to his credit that he hasn’t broken more than he has. Perhaps his illness has give him some conviction. The message was bad though but only once it was amplified my the media, who seemed like they wanted to write reality. If they say “lockdown has ended”, it becomes a fait accompli. I blame Hitchens, Young and all the rest. That’s where the toxicity is terminating, imho.

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