Locking down is quicker than unlocking
Re-Starting anything takes time
I am unsure what it is like in many other western countries right now. Still, I expect there are many similarities to here in the UK, where we have an understandable reluctance to dive back into life as it was before the pandemic-lockdown. Think of walking across a field, only to be told it is a mine-field. How quickly would you walk back across? There is danger out there, and no one is sure exactly where - so for all intense and purposes - it's like a mine-field.
Like a mine-field - it needs to be cleared first - so you need to detect the mines or in this case - the danger which is the COVID 19 virus. Until that starts happening in a serious way, the fear and reluctance in much of the population will persist.
Unlike the reckless "back-to-normal" - "bury-your-head-in-the-sand" approach of Trump and Bolsonaro of Brazil, we are, I hope, going to put human-life above economics. We will, I hope, be smart and measured and use all our resources to locate the virus by extensive testing, tracking and tracing.
These measures will instil confidence in the population at large. While it may take a little longer to get back into the "new normal" - I will wager in the long run it will be more beneficial by allaying peoples fear, thus building confidence in the populous at large and consequently, economically as well.
The Blame Game
It is bound to happen, and there will be a price to pay. The price will be reflected in the declined performance of our economy, which we all should understand. Everyone will be affected by this. But there will also be a political price to pay - A "reckoning" - where politicians will be held to account. It is going to happen - and whilst people, on the whole, have short memories - if people detect negligence and the consequence was loved ones have died - the political price will increase.
I watched a video, which I am sure many people have seen, of George W Bush, I think it was in 2005, warning of a pandemic which would surely come, and advising everyone to prepare. I believe this was inspired by Bill Gates and many scientists who were in the know.
I am unsure of who took any notice - but no one can say we weren't warned. The argument might be we were concentrating on Brexit or Isis or Terrorism - whatever. But that is no excuse. The weight of leadership certainly demands the ability to focus on current affairs, but it also requires the ability to keep a periphery eye on the unexpected. This is not about hind-sight - this is about a general lack of preparedness. And if you accept the reins of power - you have to accept the responsibility that goes with it.
It is a very lame argument to try and pass the buck. The Conservatives here in the UK have been in power for several years, and Trump for three and a half years. Plenty of time to prepare. There are no excuses.
We should have the strength of character to do what is right.
There is, with the delayed full-on education of our young, an opportunity. We are going to have a lot of unemployed and many will be our young who are our future. This is surely not an acceptable situation. We are the guardians, and we have an obligation to do what is right; to leave both our planet and our people in the best possible place that we can.
Let's re-introduce a form of national service. I have argued this for the last decade, but now, seems to be a great opportunity that we should not miss.
I have met only one or two people who grumbled about doing national service, but I have never met anyone who regretted doing it. There are two distinct benefits to National Service, one is the service you do for your country and your country benefits from your service, but perhaps the more significant advantage is the service to oneself.
It changes a person's perspective and builds respect for others and oneself. National Service does not have to be, and probably shouldn't be military. However, I would suggest the first twelve weeks of square-bashing, vigorous exercise and building mental toughness would be hugely beneficial to all individuals and in the long term, our country also.
National Service is a great leveller, like a high tide that floats all boats it equalises all and introduces everyone to different backgrounds and views. I will expand on this concept in a separate essay - but suffice to say, there are a whole load of positive and beneficial reasons to adopt a form of National Service and no down-sides that I can see.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 21st May - 2020