The images I saw of people crowding onto rush hour tube trains in response to the Prime Minister’s call for more to go to their places of work was enough to keep me at home most of the day. I only ventured out for a walk this evening. I went to the main road because I wanted to see how busy the buses were. Going north they were empty, coming south they were busier than I have seen in six weeks. On the pavement people were strolling, not moving away when they met other pedestrians. I moved into the side streets without further delay. It was a nice evening and I enjoyed a brisk walk throughout my neighbourhood, but my mood, usually lifted by these walks was somber.
I have kept well over these past weeks by observing the advice, and importantly, because most other people have also been observing the advice. I watched the news, half expecting reports of people breaking the socially distancing rules had led to a resumption of the stricter version. Nothing. Will the government act if the number of cases rises? Or is the economy more important than our lives?
When Johnson talks about Our Country, the our does not refer to the 68 million of us who live here. For the Prime Minister and others like him, the country belongs to a much smaller cohort. I realised this some years ago listening to a politician speak. I am expendable. If I die in a ditch, if I die of coronavirus, if I become homeless, destitute I will be just a figure if I’m lucky. Nothing more. I say if I’m lucky as the number of people dying on the streets has not been systematically recorded. They literally don’t count.
At the start of the pandemic it was obvious the government was prepared to see older people die. I strongly suspect that behind closed doors some were saying it would be a silver lining, that the longer we live the more care we require. A cull would be convenient. Now it’s people in mainly low paid jobs who have jobs that can’t be done from home, travelling on crowded buses and trains where the virus can spread uninhibited. Presumably there’s a similar logic that says the economy needs to get going again, there will however be job losses, so the deaths of some of those people will mean less of a strain on the public purse.
I listened to Webinar about claiming the grant I am entitled to as a self-employed worker whose work has been impossible since the start of the pandemic. It’s to cover three months. Employed people whose jobs have been temporarily suspended learned today that they will continue to receive financial help until October. I didn’t hear any reference to the self-employed, so I am hoping I missed it or it will be announced tomorrow or Thursday.
On one of our public buildings on the Walworth Road there’s a translation of Cicero’s words “Salus populi suprema lex esto” the health of the people is the highest law. This premise, that the public’s health supersedes the ordinary processes of law and politics, is never more true and important than in time of emergency. But millionaires are losing money. The current government has a number of members who fall into that category, as well as supporters, by whom I mean people who give substantial donations to Tory party funds, who do too, and who are doubtless leaning on the Prime Minister to do something to keep their wealth intact.
Cicero was not a one good speech wonder, he excelled. Some of what he says is as true today as it was when he was alive.
Does this remind you of anyone?
When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff.
Stay safe and well, and keep your distance.