Monday, 27 July 2020

BACK IN THE COVID - The Lockdown Diary, Conclusion

We had our first family dinner at home for 126 days last night. This is our son and his two beautiful youngsters, our littlest grandchildren, relaxing after dinner and planning to play ‘Happy Families’.

We are intending to stay safe, take precautions and live a little while we can before the second wave starts again.

This postscript was written on Day 46. I planned to either post it unchanged, or post it unchanged with a PPS to follow it if my thoughts later proved to have been wide of the mark. Unfortunately and as I concluded at the time our government has not lead us through this crisis well and have lied continuously to present a better picture of events than was the case. They have been charged with confusing messages, delays, no specific policy aim, lies, data misrepresentation, mismanagement and corruption. Even this old cynic could not have predicted the extent to which this conclusion would be proved right. 

I could see that the truth was being literally mangled to the point of irrelevance just as it was in the arguments that won the Brexit referendum and so The Covid may not turn out to be the only or even the most important generational event after all. The Covid is happening at a turning point in global politics in an existential battle between the forces of a neo-feudal, nationalistic and authoritarian class of the rich, powerful and dictatorial on one side and the forces of progressive values, human rights, international cooperation and social justice on the other. I have not found it necessary to alter my original postscript or add to it.


Today’s is the final entry and I am writing this in advance on day 46. There is more of The Covid to come but this diary must eventually finished and be allowed to lapse with the ending of lockdown. My record of these strange times, written in forced confinement, beset by uncontrolled change and experienced in the later stages of my life will have run its course as surely as I am running mine but at this stage, again like mine, I have as yet no real feeling for how long that will be. Yesterday was another day in history and tomorrow will be another and the day this diary ends will be of tiny import and significance in the great and mysterious overall  scheme of things. 

It seems to me that the biggest casualty of modern times, grossly and obscenely mangled by the Covid into a monstrous, injured, blotched and bloody corpse, is the truth. The way to wealth and power is now seen to be the denial of truth and rule through lies, disinformation and the avoidance of scrutiny. Not just to promote untruth but to disguise truth, enhance confusion, discredit expertise, engender distrust and to divide the peoples of our shared humanity from each other. Our privileged, feudal and religious classes have always sought to keep knowledge, communication, education and therefore truth as their own in order to contain the threat that truth presents to power. I believe we are witnessing an existential moment, the last stand of the remaining shreds of feudal power and the rise of a more civilised and progressive society. Optimism being the partisan of truth flourishes underground and in the minds and hearts of our young people. We live in an age of unprecedented and global communications freedom. The printing press, photography, radio, television and now the Internet and social media when freed from their bottles have caused revolutions in learning, knowledge and truth. In a time when an out of control executive is attacking the three other pillars of state the press has become largely the government’s microphone but Social media and the internet is becoming our new Fourth Estate. This is a genie that will not be re-corked. Our challenge for the next few decades at least is to ensure that it too is not corrupted or controlled.

Others will come after me. Their history too will be written or they might write it themselves. I encourage them to do so but their contribution to history will only be as rich and rewarding as their willingness to be sceptical and their reverence for the truth allows. I encourage people to be passionate about truth; evidence, science, data, fairness and analysis; truth in all its manifestations. Truth matters but there are too few truth tellers and too many lazy, superstitious sheep out there ready to be herded and farmed; there are too many bigots willing to believe whatever confirms their bias as long as they are not denied the basics of an existence and access to mindless pleasure and hedonistic pursuits; there are too many unscrupulous, power hungry rich elites who believe they were born to rule and are always ready to exploit them.

I encourage younger people to work for truth, seek the truth, worship the truth and speak the truth. I do so in the hope that a similar crisis is not allowed to happen to them or their children, sentiments that might have been expressed by our parents at the end of World War 2 and theirs after World War 1 fighting an enemy with frightening similarity to today’s. People my age went into the Covid with little time left. Many will not emerge at the end having died from the Covid unprotected by their own government and needless casualties of an amoral and disinterested ruling class who have pursued their personal ambitions, power and greed at the expense of the lives of our most loved and most precious grannies and granddads. 

As I write there have been, in excess of normal levels, 75000+ deaths in The Covid so far. I sincerely hope that at some future time and not too far away, the perpetrators of this monstrous and needless loss of life will be called to account for their actions.

I have taken the liberty to include as my final reflection on The Covid in lockdown, a quotation which I make on behalf of my children, their children and their children’s children. These words are spoken by Edgar, the son of the Duke of Gloucester at the conclusion of Shakespeare’s greatest work, King Lear.

“The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.”

You that are young should take this on board, some of us might not survive to advise you. You have lived to see so much, possibly lost so much and you have seen the truth under threat like never before. It is up to you to put that right before the defining event of your generation occurs or you will lose the fight. Teach them to trust science, revere the truth and to never, ever believe either priests or politicians.

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