The Coronavirus diaries, 4th July 2020

A very grey day, but dry and with a brisk wind, so having changed the bed linen and washed it it all dried on the line, and I was able to iron it and leave it to air. Always feels good. The dusting and vacuuming got done too, a bit of shopping, newspaper reading, a crossword. All very Saturday. All very local. More shops reopened today. Some pubs are back in business. Boris Johnson is calling it Super Saturday. Super Saturday was the day back in 2012 when team GB and NI won a clutch of gold medals at the Olympics. The country was united, the sun shone, we waved a flag that belonged to all of us. One of our most loved athletes was mixed race, another was born in Somalia. Our country is now fractured, the union is brittle, the far right has hijacked the flag, and nationalism not patriotism is in the ascent. Some of the media crowing Super Saturday because we can go to the pub when there have been thousands of unnecessary deaths, government ineptitude on a mind boggling scale, a prime minister whose casual approach to truth and responsibility has been glaringly on show with prevarications and lies a regular occurrence, and now the revelation of a trail of contracts to pay millions of pounds to buy PPE from companies with no apparent connection to the products required, but plenty of connections to key government figures, strikes a very sour note.

When we had our Zoom dinner date we discussed who might be Prime Minister when the Tories ditch Johnson, as they surely will before long. Neither of the names we came up with, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, would make me sleep better at night. Like so many others here I wonder how we came from where we were in 2012 to where we are now so quickly. I can only hope that somehow we find our way back to a being a country I can be proud of again.

Tonight I had dinner with Octavia. when I arrived at her house (we ate in the garden) she was organising lights in her windows to remember all those who have died from this dreadful virus. She also told me that tomorrow there is to be a celebratory clap for the NHS to mark the anniversary of its inception. I hadn’t heard of either commemoration before I saw her. When I left I looked at the windows of the other houses in the street. No one else had a light. I cam home and lit a candle to please in the window. Tomorrow shall join Octavia outside her house to clap my thanks and appreciation for an institution I have known all my life; an institution that has improved the lives of countless people, and which is now strained to breaking point as a pawn in a political game played by cynics, cynics who are currently in government.

So please light your own candle tonight, and clap your hands for the NHS at 5pm BST tomorrow to show your admiration not only for this institution but also for the politicians who, at a time of great difficulty after the Second World War, were determined to ensure that every person in the country would be able to receive health care free at the point of delivery, paid for by all in a national insurance, and who carried out that plan.

Stay safe. Keep well.

8 thoughts on “The Coronavirus diaries, 4th July 2020

  1. I shall be clapping round the corner at five, and also watching on YouTube at seven when the actress Sharon D Clarke is performing a monologue in celebration of the NHS written by Bernadine Evaristo. It was commissioned by the Old Vic.

  2. Oh wow! Thanks for letting us know about that, Celia.

    Isobel, yes, I feel that it’s a shame the light in the window for remembrance wasn’t more widely communicated, because I’m sure people would have done it if they knew about it. Let’s hope more people know about the big Clap for Carers on th the NHS’s 72nd birthday – today, at 5 pm.

  3. All health workers deserve our gratitude. And we can help them, and ourselves, by acting safely to stay fit and sound!

  4. Good luck with the openings. Some state governors who were strong followers of Trump in opening up quickly have seen huge spikes because so many people don’t respect social distancing or wearing masks. They are now reversing course and doing some partial closing and urging mask wearing but medical experts say it is probably too little, too late. Michigan cases continue to drop but we and our friends are being very cautious and say we will be until we have a vaccine. That will probably be another year.

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