Getting to grips with Covid confusion.
Just suppose Covid-19 hadn’t happened.
Just imagine if the old normality prevailed and ‘Working From Home’ was still a minority sport.
Spanner throwing on this scale normally happens at a slower pace with more time to adapt or repair. We rarely get the full melt-down. Normally stuff happens so slowly that we barely notice — leastways ’til we miss what is gone.
We’ve been chucking stuff overboard for ever. Strangely, marine life hasn’t taken well to eating plastic. Our lungs seem mildly offended by the dirty air we breathe. Our feet have not yet evolved to paddle. Discarded relationships are not adding to the sum of planetary progress.
But this Covid spanner is a far mightier wrench — well able to undo the bolts we imagined held things together. This weighty wrench asks questions we never seriously asked.
How do we value our NHS? What is expected of leadership? How much do we care for others? How well are we governed? How well do know our communities? Do we trust experts? How much do we invest in our relationships? Where do we see our futures? Why did/didn’t they do, whatever? Why does my brain hurt?
Umpteen questions have surfaced and are, now, no longer hidden. They can no longer be ignored but cannot all be answered in a flash. What/who do we prioritise? Where can we seek help?
After nine months of floundering around in Covid confusion, some ideas are, very gradually, beginning to stick together. In the early lockdown Springtime, a host of old causes blossomed, and now a few remain. But still it is not easy — the ways forward are different to the past, and some folks will hold out against perceived criticisms, truths and reconciliations. We must track, trace and treat those troubled souls with care — and not condemn their caution or conceits, for we have surely learned the value of stronger community cohesion.
Another great insight gleaned in this troubled time is the need for (and value of) competent governance — steady hands on the tiller and proven navigational skills. No one country has all the answers and far too many agendas compete for headlines. We could at least have the modest good sense to admit that we might have managed better.
Is it any wonder that Whitehall’s performance has bolstered calls to decentralise and devolve? We are, as yet, a mighty long way from fully understanding the potential for Municipal Autonomy or a more federalist union of states, but at least those ideas are now being exercised every day as city leaders and devolved parliaments demand greater respect for local wellbeing, local expertise and local aspirations. The pandemic has done more than thrown a spanner in the over-centralised works. It has revealed the extent of pre-existing conditions — over-lying more than underlying, methinks. Will the old centre hold or must they now let go of things they’ve not fully grasped?
Will Covid’s weighty wrench tighten or loosen the bolts that bind Britain? Discuss.