No flight, no industry, no travel across borders – no globalisation. And instead of us sitting side by side staring at the cinema screen, or facing forward in a crowded stadium – or marooned at our tables for two, with or without candles and a single red rose – we’re offering each other support.
Sit-down restaurants are offering take-aways and local social networks are offering help with shopping. The Panic-Buying Phase of the emergency felt a bit like the week before Christmas, but with loo rolls instead of tinsel, and just about the only thing that hasn’t stopped – quite the opposite – is a sense of community.
We talk about empty supermarket shelves in the way that we talk about the weather. Ooh, you should have seen Asda. I was in Sainsbury’s and…
The government’s gone mad, but in a final-scenes-of-A-Christmas-Carol kind of way, and everybody’s praising the NHS for fear of something worse. Normal politics hasn’t exactly been suspended, but normal commentary hasn’t quite caught up – the government seems to keep doing today what yesterday’s commentators complained that it hadn’t done…
…almost like normal politics.
I hope the world changes. I hope we don’t go back to the status quo ante. My phone told me earlier on that the canals of Venice are now running clear. A moment ago, a voice on the radio said, “For the first time in a generation, birdsong is audible in Wuhan.”
And yes, the same voice did suggest that the time had come for a Universal Basic Income. Can’t immediately remember how that’s supposed to work, but if the government does succeed in alleviating the impact of Covid-19 for everybody, we’ll be closer to that than to the old wage-slavery.
Maybe we could start to think about building a new world, rather than making good the damage to the old one.
Long queues of people of all ages queuing outside in all weathers, to pick up their prescriptions. You have to wait to be let out.
No comment. But there are other dispensaries.
Across town there are shops and cafes that have closed and there are shops and cafes that are carrying on as normal. There are also cafes that are inventing home-delivery services, and some stores are using Facebook to send out messages of support to staff and customers.
"It takes all sorts" is an expression I haven't heard for a while, but it's true.