I’m starting to feel like a regular at our local drive-through Covid testing centre. I recognise people who work there. They might soon know my name without the presentation of the QR code on my phone, and set up a testing bay just for me and my family.
Yes, Plague Islanders, Covid has hit our house. We haven’t been immune to it over the last 19 months: friends and loved ones have been infected/affected. Most sadly, we also know people who have passed away because of it.
With three school-aged children who returned to their maskless, bubble-less and generally mitigation-less schools around four weeks ago, it was only a matter of time before one of us became infected. In fairness to the schools, they are trying their utmost to manage the situation, but without any real guidance or support from government, it’s all a bit futile. We’ve seen the wave move through the schools; friendship groups and classes becoming poorly together. Brazen negligence at government level; sending children into bricks and mortar petri dishes to see what happens.
They get infected Boris, that’s what fucking happens.
For clarity and measure, we know that healthy children are statistically at a much lower risk of severe illness from Covid. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to knowingly let it rip through their school communities just because you, as the feckless, work shy waste of space specimen that we have as a PM just can’t be arsed anymore to do anything about this still existent virus.
The most surreal thing about this whole sorry mess is that we have to pretend that things are normal because our government has become bored of pretending to care. They can’t be bothered to maintain the veneer.
Things are not normal. We are living through a masquerade of normal. Trying to live your life whilst at any moment, without warning, everything stops because you 1. have to get tested or 2. take your child to get tested and 3. isolate whilst you wait for the test results is not really normal. We are encouraged to take lateral flow tests with the knowledge that they’re not particularly dependable, but we do it anyway because we never know if we have Covid or a cold or something else. Daily invasive swabs in the nose and throat for everyone; daily wretching, eyes watering, and the perpetual uncertainty and anxiety. Constantly wondering how long our schools will keep going for before they have to switch back to remote learning again because of the volume of infections.
Our local drive-through test centre is at an airport. It’s very well-organised and relatively straightforward once you’ve got the hang of it. But it looks like some kind of military camp from a sci-fi film. It is eerie and unnatural. When this infrastructure needs to exist in every town, it serves to remind us that we are nowhere near normality.
Accepting this strange way of life allows the government to lower our expectations. We have suffered 11 consecutive years of brutal Tory rule so far, with systematic cuts to public services and our life support systems. Indeed, it is those very cuts which have contributed to this pandemic hitting us particularly hard.
The truth is that for the last 19 months, the situation has been made far more precarious and deadly because of ideological decisions made by this Tory government. There have been so many cuts to health services here, that the government decided to pass edicts to hospitals as to who should and should not have access to ventilators, based on age and underlying health conditions when the pandemic first struck. What this shows us is that it’s not just Covid that kills people, it’s Tory rule.
And this is something they’re desperate for us not to realise. They appear willing to do anything to hide this from us because, as soon as enough of us realise it, the game is over for them.
Boris Johnson is the most damaging manifestation of their brand of heartless hostility towards everyone who is not them. He’s in the political game for power, his own benefit and historical legacy. But even a narcissist like him must secretly know how badly history will judge him.
The conclusion to draw from this is that every day life should not be like this. We must never allow ourselves to get used to the lunacy, as it will allow the government to get away with with even more damage than they’ve already inflicted. One thing that is clear is that Team Johnson is running out of people to blame. There is no EU. We left with Johnson’s ‘oven ready’ deal. It’s hard to blame the public for the spread of Covid due to breaking the rules, because there are no longer any rules. He knows that when he runs out of diversionary tactics, the public will only have one place to look.
Things could and should be so much different, if only we had a government who cared.