But what are we surviving for?
With the daily death toll rising, and infections rising even faster, we should celebrate survival — even as we mourn the loss of others. But Covid survivors, especially the elderly, those more vulnerable, the unemployed and unemployable, or those retired, must ask this question.
What exactly are we surviving for?
The glib answer is that we are here to help our children help their children, but GFH (grand-parenting from home) is far from easy when the objects of our affection are on a distant planet.
Other answers are, of course, available. For many, avoidance of Covid is the very least of their survival worries. Food and fuel poverty, finding somewhere to live, or just finding a friendly face and warm winter clothing is a challenge. Those of us lucky enough to have savings or a pension should not be complaining that the gym is locked down or Sainsbury’s didn’t send the ciabatta — such modest inconveniences compared to the climate crisis.
Covid has, for sure, exposed the cruel realities that once remained hidden or unobserved — leastways until TV’s global traveller Simon Reeve visited Cornwall. This fresh awareness that we are not in this together — and never have been — should not be allowed to fade in any new post-Covid normality. The longed-for Covid relief will, inevitably, be offset by the loss of the comforts we are, apparently, now dumping after 40+years of systematic improvements — including, most grievously, the loss of our freedom of movement across other parts of Europe.
While we contemplate the purpose of our lives, others, most notably in Government, are in no doubt. Their top priority is having power and, if possible, having more of it. They might, of course, need to shift the goal posts or perhaps change the rules to favour friends but increasingly they’ll not even bother to justify their actions — for surely, what difference would that make when they can still rely on a compliant media and creative accountants to cook the climate books.
There is just a slight snag that might perhaps upset their populist applecart. On t’other side of the pond the emperor’s clothes seem magically to have vapourised. The collapse of a cult is usually a three-phase affair. First Outrage and Anger. Then a loss of Faith and, finally, Denials and Desertions.
In a surreal replay of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, exactly the same pattern is now injecting positivity into those seeking post-pandemic purpose.
Firstly, Outrage and Anger at incompetent self-serving leadership. Then a rapid loss of Faith in all governance. Then a flip from ardent Denials to rapid Desertions — ‘moving on’ from previous convictions and leaving our grandchildren with a shiny post-pandemic purpose: a mighty repair and survival project that will need decades for deliverance.