Good morning from a cold and very dark Devon.
I'm here again, doing my early-morning thing and that's always, despite the ungodly hour, a blessing.
In England, we're now in our third lockdown. I'm don't want to blame Christmas on the numbers but...it can't of helped. I fear the next few months are going to be a long, slow, molar-grinding experience and much worse than lockdown #1.
As a family, we've been spared the worst of Covid19, although it's debatable that my father-in-law's death in July 2020 wasn't hastened by the disease, and my eldest daughter, who lives in London, is only now recovering from it having contracted it just before Christmas. (Given my wife's role as a specialist cardiac nurse, I hope she gets the vaccine very soon; she is seeing and dealing with some of the most vulnerable people and despite the best of precautions, it's not acceptable that she or they should potentially be put in harm's way.)
As for my work — the in-house lawyer gig — I doubt if I'll be furloughed and it will be, give or take the odd verbose contract, business as usual. And of course, despite my misgivings and prognostications about what I'm going to do in 2021, that has to be a good thing. It brings stability to me and the family.
So, you might think, not too bad.
But then again, as is my way, I can't help but wonder:
- Why aren't we taking the virus more seriously? Harsh? I don't think so. There are still too many examples where the rules, as muddled as they are, simply aren't followed. If the disease was likely, say, to kill 50% of its host cohort — no matter the age or underlying health conditions — I wonder if we'd see such flagrant breaches of the rules or even the befuddled hoaxer brigade?
- Why we can't see the portent of Covid19 apropos the climate emergency? If we think this is bad, imagine what it will be like when the food really does run out or large parts of the world are uninhabitable. I accept that we've got to deal with this issue first, but, truthfully, with everything we know, holding more conferences, talking about the huge green opportunities for jobs and growth (jeez) looks wide of the mark.
- Why aren't we talking about the world of work beyond keeping people in work which, assuming they can return, may not last very long? I'm no expert but there are too many Zombie businesses clinging on by their fingertips. My view is that post-Covid19 there won't be enough work or jobs to fulfil the demand, and we'll have to think about a Universal Basic Income or a much better welfare system (how we'll pay for this, I'm not entirely sure).
- Why aren't we looking urgently at the huge disparity between the wealthiest and the poorest people and applying a wealth tax? It's scandalous that the hegemony of the neoliberal project, so vaunted across the world, has been allowed to become so bloated to the point that the "26 richest billionaires own as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet’s population" (The Guardian 21 January 2019).
- And finally, (these are primers for now) why aren't we looking at a new form of education and examination system that doesn't try to shoehorn an old-world paradigm into a Zoom or Teams world it was never designed to accommodate? And then there's the issue of school meals — still, for some children, the only proper meal of the day — and teaching them skills needed in a world of less.
- Oops. One last thing: the 15-minute City. This seems to tick a number of my 'green' boxes and would do a lot (I hope) to build a more village-minded community.
I realise that all these subjects are currently being discussed and a heap more but at what level? Sitting here in the trenches, and I can only talk about my small circle of friends, family and work colleagues, the only conversation or the dominant one is how the faecal matter has hit the proverbial fan and how quickly we can get back to the good old days. And to be clear, I'm not decrying some of that — particularly or more especially the social connection (i.e. the hugs, kisses and affection) — but I do seriously wonder why international travel for non-essential purposes, mass gatherings and going back to the same old, same old routine apropos work really is seen as normal. Sorry, that makes me sound like Grinch or worse still. Of course, it's not my business to tell anyone how to live their life and all I'm really asking for, without getting involved in a bellicose exchange, is a wider and more open-minded discussion than business as usual.
Anyhow, I'd love to hear from you? What do you think are the cracks between the Covid19 payment that we're not or should be paying attention to?
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