It’s almost six months since the coronavirus bit us all on the bottom and few of us expected to be facing the winter with it still around, restricting our lives. I just got back from Newport. Christmas has arrived early; the shops have a good selection of Christmas stock. If you find that alarming, calm yourself, have a lie down and remember there’s still a quarter of the year to go yet.
Currently the prospect of celebrating without some of my nearest and dearest is distressing me. If I choose to spend Chrimbo with my kids, my poor old mother – who’s well into her 80s – will be home alone, although when angling for her seasonal invite to mine, she always wails ‘this could be my last.’
Covid is making us all downcast; it’s stressful and frustrating. Like most people, I’m a social person; I love to dine out, drink, meet with friends, go to parties, concerts, festivals and the theatre. I love travelling too; my life is richer for it, however upsetting and incomprehensible that may seem to Greta Thunberg. It’s deeply frustrating that life as we knew it is on indefinite hold. My British Airways air-miles go unused and they’ve retired my beloved 747 airplanes prematurely. Many of the crews who flew them have been cast aside, consigned to history.
At times of national crisis, we look to politicians for leadership and guidance. Regardless of party politics, once elected, we want the people who run our country to succeed, to handle whatever the world throws at us. As a minimum, we demand competence. My political instincts are fairly conservative but, when Tony Blair won a landslide, I sincerely wanted him to make our country a better and fairer place.
When the virus struck, I also wanted Boris to do well and protect us from the worst of it; I supported spending whatever was needed. They promised a ‘world beating’ track and trace system but after 6 months, what they delivered was an expensive dud. Unless you have the latest iPhone, the new one won’t work; it’s as flawed as the first App. Last week when it went live nationally, our local ‘risk’ jumped from low to medium – the apparent cause, our PO (Portsmouth) postcode!
Rightly, they pumped millions into research to find a vaccine. Apparently, this can’t be hurried; the side-effects need to be understood before mass production can be ramped-up. ‘The spring’ is when they claim we’ll start getting the actual jabs, but we won’t all be able to get it in March and April; some of us will have to wait far longer, possibly many months longer? Are we really going to be suffering from these wretched virus restrictions for most of 2021 too?
In early May, some of the Island’s most established event organisers had a Zoom meeting with Bob Seely. Although you’d never know from his faux house building objections, he is actually a Conservative Party MP. At that meeting, Bob made lots of sympathetic noises to those present before vanishing without trace. The Island depends on tourism, events and shows, yet the people working in the sector, our stage builders, sound engineers, lighting people, musicians, dancers and entertainers have received no help whatsoever. Bob’s government completely forgot the UK entertainment industry, huge numbers of people have already lost their jobs and the sector faces mass insolvency. In July, the Culture Minister promised a ‘clear roadway back’. We still await that map; these Tories talk the talk without walking the walk.