The Only Truth

I long ago lost my Christian faith – though it was more of a conscious uncoupling than carelessness. It simply didn’t make sense any more; it wasn’t the Truth it claimed to be. It wasn’t even a truth.

The legacy of Covid-19 for me has been more loss of faith: in science and scientists, as suggested in the previous post, in the media (as I discussed here) and also in politicians and the police. My faith in politicians was, admittedly, never all that great, but the pandemic delivered the death blow. It’s not that I found the numerous parties at 10 Downing Street and in Whitehall a betrayal of the British people, who were under strict lockdown (though they were); it wasn’t the revelation that those who control our lives do so only with a steady supply of alcohol (though that is also true). It was because they were and are so utterly incompetent. None of the measures taken by the British government, nor the Scottish and Welsh assemblies, halted the spread of Covid. Yet like a dog returning to its vomit (Proverbs 26.11) they returned to the same old measures as if they worked. They imposed universal lockdowns and restrictions, making normal social behaviour a crime, when they should have been protecting the elderly and vulnerable, who then died in their thousands in care-homes and hospitals where many of them picked up the virus in the first place. Meanwhile, over-zealous, heavy-handed police officers fined people for sitting on park benches, threatened to arrest people for not wearing face-masks, stopped and questioned drivers they suspected might be breaking Covid rules and broke up ‘illegal’ gatherings while Downing Street partied on.

What a travesty of a democratically free society the last two years have turned out to be. I doubt I will ever vote again, after a lifetime of doing so. The opposition in the UK, the Labour party, exposed themselves to be as spineless and as cravenly zealous in oppressing people as the Conservative government. They opposed none of its draconian, futile measures. They wanted, in fact, for them to be more extreme. Will we ever return to those freedoms we enjoyed and which were our entitlement before the pandemic struck? Or will politicians cling onto the powers they granted themselves and the police to control the largely compliant hoi polloi? Knowing politicians, I think I know the answer. It’s a spoilt ballot paper for me next time and from now on.

All we have, we ordinary folk, is ourselves. The only ones we can possibly have faith in are our loved ones; partners, family and friends. See yourself through life. Take care of these others. Call upon anyone outside of this circle only when necessity dictates. Never believe that government, religion, science, the media or police are on your side and are going to do anything for you.

As Paul Simon wrote many years ago:

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true.
I stand alone without beliefs;
The only truth I know is you.

He was talking about his then girl-friend, Kathy but the sentiment is applicable to you and your loved ones. If you’re doing anything but relying on and looking after these people, you are pursuing an illusion.

Very Naughty Children

Remember when you were a child in primary school and the whole class was kept in at playtime because one or two individuals couldn’t behave themselves? Remember how unjust that felt? You’d done as you were told, as had most of your classmates, and yet there you were, stuck inside while other groups played out. All because of the actions of a few. When I became a teacher myself I vowed I would never do this to whole classes of children. Those who couldn’t behave would be the ones to face the consequences of their actions, not those who had. To the best of my memory, I kept this promise.

The sense of injustice I felt as a child when I was punished because of others’ misdemeanours returned this week, when UK health secretary Sajid Javid threatened the entire country with a Christmas lockdown if more eligible people didn’t take up their Covid booster jab. The ‘booster’ amounts to a third shot because, it turns out, the effects of the first two vaccinations last only six months. I have my booster booked for tomorrow. And yet, having done the right thing for myself and others, I could still be faced with the prospect of having Christmas curtailed because, according to Sajid Javid, too many people have been naughty children and haven’t done as they were told.

If this is the case, might it not be because the populace as a whole has grown tired, not to mention altogether sceptical, of politician’s promises about Covid?

       ‘Lockdown for three weeks to flatten the peak of the epidemic’ we were told by the Prime Minister in March 2020.

       Lockdown again, for a month, in November 2020, this time to protect the NHS.

        Stay locked down for over six months.

     Keep your distance, wear a mask, get tested – with which we all complied – and we’ll stop the infection from spreading.

       Get the injection and we’ll soon see off this pandemic;

       Get a second and save grandma;

     Vaccinate your children and erm… we’ll soon see off this pandemic (again).

      Get the booster jab and you can have Christmas. (What will it be after another six months? ‘Have your fourth shot or we won’t let you go on holiday’?)

While these measures may have been effective (the fact we’re still being threatened with lockdowns might suggest otherwise), the means by which we have been coerced into compliance has been through blackmail and bullying. Only a couple of days ago, NHS chief Amanda Pritchard claimed that hospitalisations are currently 14 times higher than they were this time last year. This was a lie. They are considerably lower, as the government’s own data shows. (Regrettably, Ms Pritchard neglected to mention that the NHS itself has been responsible for the deaths of about 11,600 people who caught Covid while in hospital for other ailments.)

I’ll be having my booster and I’ll be having Christmas too, regardless of what an authoritarian career politician and inept NHS chiefs tell me. If we have learnt anything as a result of the pandemic about those who govern us it is that they really do not have the first idea what they are doing. Nor do they know how to manage people. Bullying, blackmailing and punishing the whole class because of a few naughty children is not the way.