Posts Tagged ‘lockdown’

Remember: We don’t always know how it ends!

05/06/2020, 09:49:59 AM

by Tim Carter

Life is very different for everyone at the moment and it is easy to look back on the 2016 referendum or the 2019 UK general election and jump into tribalism or blame. Politics, wherever you looked seemed to be more about blame than anything else.

But then came 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, to lockdown or not to lockdown, and other decisions that no one was thinking about in December replaced the more mundane political decisions usually facing world leaders. A deadly virus sweeping the world, something more likely to be seen in a Hollywood blockbuster than in real life, demanded more from political leaders than the promises made in manifestos.

The public, looking for leadership and guidance, trusted and followed advice and the rules. Different countries unsurprisingly, took different approaches, some politicians broke away from tribal politics and for a moment we were “all in this together”

Heartbreak and tragedy played out daily on our TV screens, in our newspapers and online. In the UK on Thursday nights at 8pm we clapped, cheered and banged saucepans for those on the frontline caring for our loved ones, those not ‘shielding’ supported neighbours who were, by shopping and collection prescriptions, and talk was of how a post Covid-19 society would be better than what went before.

Cooperation and looking for solutions that worked were the political agenda, low skilled was rightly replaced by low paid and those who worked to keep us safe were now seen in a very different light by many. There was a very small crack where the light appeared to be shining through but the death toll kept rising and the very real suffering continued but we continued to obey and be guided by our leaders. At the heart of all of that was trust. Trust that the truth was being told. Trust that we really were all in this together. Trust that we were following the science.

And then.

(more…)

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Covid dispatch from Madrid

26/03/2020, 02:40:38 PM

by Malcolm Kennedy

Madrid, March 25, 2020

I gaze out of the window at a clear blue sky and feel cheered up.

Watching the TV brings me back down to earth as I receive the news that the total of deaths in Spain has reached 3,434. It has risen inexorably since I arrived on February 6th to spend some time with my Spanish wife and celebrate the birthdays of her son and our friend, Gertrud.

Little did we know that come Gertrud’s birthday we would be forbidden to travel and would largely be confined to our apartment.

For over a week, now, my only ventures out of the apartment have been to put out the rubbish and go to the local supermarkets and pharmacy. Every trip out feels extremely stressful in a bustling city which has now ground to a halt.

Normally Madrid is a vibrant place with bars full, people lunching on the many terraces and tourists visiting the many cultural attractions. Around the corner from us, the teeming transport interchange for buses, coaches and the Metro in Avenida de América has died. The line of taxis is stationary and unused.

Shocking news emerges of a major ice rink being commandeered as a temporary morgue while the major exhibition centre IFEMA is transformed into a hospital.

We are in the middle of a storm and the restrictions are wisely draconian.

From afar, the lockdown in the UK seems like a half-hearted response.

I have been very impressed by PSOE President Pedro Sanchez and his government. The communication of facts, how problems are being addressed and the use of experts appears on a different level to my experience in the UK.

Well, at least, in the past decade.

There was a time when I could be proud of our country’s leaders. Pedro Sanchez and his government are making me similarly proud.

Life has been put on hold. My flight to the UK on the 23rd was cancelled. My flight back to Spain on the 8th for Holy Week obviously is useless even if it became possible.

Anyway, Holy Week has been cancelled during this unholy crisis. In a Catholic country like Spain this is unprecedented. On top of all the religious processions being cancelled the annual exodus to the Costas has been put on hold. The damage to the hospitality industry of this and the other measures is simply incalculable.

What have I learned apart from a reinforcement of John Lennon’s dictum that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”?

Well, I hope we have all learned the importance of good political leadership and the importance of experts and science. Above all I hope we have learned the importance of health workers, shop workers, rubbish disposal workers and all those in the frontline who are helping us get through all this.

Hasta la vista.

Malcolm Kennedy is a member of Liverpool City Council. He tweets @CllrKennedy

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