According to Boris Johnson, “our great national hibernation is coming to an end”. Well, it all depends.
It all depends on how confident you are in the convenient assumption that the worst of Covid-19 is over.
It all depends how much you trust a loosening of lockdown that comes crusted with caveats. The two metre rule is gone and will be replaced – hurrah! – by “one metre plus”. Pardon, you what? You’ll have to step closer as I didn’t quite catch that. One metre plus another equals two, one plus something equals one metre plus. Does that subtract from sense?
It all depends on how much you trust Mr Johnson; none of that Boris this and Boris that bollocks around here, thank you very much. Mr Johnson is known to tell lies. I know, you could have knocked me down with a copy of the Daily Mail when I learned that. Actually, make that the Daily Express (aka the Boris Bugle) as at least the Mail does criticise Johnson occasionally. Here is today’s Express proclamation in Johnson servitude – “Cheers Boris! Here’s to a brighter Britain”. That’s not a newspaper, it’s a town crier made hoarse by shouting propaganda.
It all depends how much you want to believe the words of an unreliable man heading a chaotic, U-turning government comprised of Brexit-blinkered spin merchants. Not forgetting that being urged to come out of hibernation by a prime minister who very much favours hibernating away from the public eye himself is a bit rich; as is he.
It all depends how much you believe health secretary Matt Hancock saying: “Our plan is working.” If 43,000 deaths and counting (some estimates reach as high as 66,000) is a workable plan, just imagine if we were living through a gigantic cock-up.
And in the end it all depends on how you are feeling. Do you feel confident enough to skip out of hibernation and spend money to revive the economy; or have you stuck your nose out of the door, taken a sniff and concluded that it is better to withdraw?
It’s easy to be happy about certain aspects of the relaxation, especially being able to see family and friends again. It’ll be great to enter a bar again, too, but those early visits will be trepidatious: is this really safe? Cinemas can open under new rules but not yet theatres; music venues can open – a chorus of a hallelujahs – but they can’t stage live music. Pardon, you what? You’ll have to step closer as I didn’t quite catch that either. If that makes sense, I’ll eat a copy of the Daily Express for breakfast.
It all depends on confidence; it all depends on how much you believe Boris Johnson; it all depends on whether you think opening pubs before opening schools is right; and it all depends on whether you wish to heed all those scientists urging caution about too many changes being introduced at once.
Do you remember the dim and distant past of a few weeks ago when the government was following the science? Well one theory for the canning of the daily press briefings after yesterday’s farewell tour is that the scientists were less and less willing to stand there and spout the government line. Ending the briefings was a way of putting them back in their labs. Incidentally, the chief nursing officer, Ruth May, suddenly disappeared from those briefings, reportedly after declining to back Dominic Cummings when he broke the social distancing rules.
Was her disappearance suspicious? It all depends. Is the world back to normal; are we all feeling confident?
It all depends.