Crowds and buses on Prince’s Street, Edinburgh
Beyond price. Life before lockdown.

Back to the Village

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We should have used it to defeat the virus.

My only other thought, as I grumble my way through this, is that the various presenters and interviewers in my radio should be put in charge of the crisis.

They know, unfailingly, what the government did wrong, and they’re able to spot errors of policy where nobody else was even looking. With their accusative self-importance, they should take over.

One of the media’s people was touring the studios yesterday with a line that he rather liked: there are workers who are unemployed and they don’t even know it yet.

Because their employers won’t be coming back from the brink.

Boyo, there are whole industries that are dead and don’t know it yet.

But we have to go through this stage of trying to revive the dead donkey.

Just as the petty adversarial politics of the past keeps trying to reassert itself, so do the industries of the past keep trying to stand up again.

The Economy is in a recession, apparently. A line can be drawn on a graph. Okay, it points sharply downwards, but it connects to the line of the past. No disconnect there.

Stage-coach manufacturers forecast that it will be two years before they get back to normal after the invention of the automobile.

I’m sorry. I’ll read that again. Airlines forecast that it’ll be two years…

If we assume that cramming people back into buses and underground trains turns out not to be as effective as the lockdown in quelling the virus, we can forecast a future in which it is accepted — at last — that the old ways are no longer tenable.

The population density of cities is no longer attractive. Global supply chains still operate, but the quarantine restrictions… People still go out shopping, but less often, and they grow/make/recycle more of their own…

The cinema’s a drive-in now. That lovely little Italian place still has the same number of tables but the intimate atmosphere has gone since it moved to a football stadium at a knock-down rent. At least the tables are so far apart that we get elbow room now.

There’s a difference between planning for the future and trying to maintain the immediate past.

I saw a news item, somewhere online, about three households — neighbours — who had self-isolated together. Their children play together, they’re in and out of each other’s houses, but they’re closed to the outside world. Locked down.

Then I thought about that African proverb — it takes a village to raise a child. And those early news pics of villagers in Wuhan province manning roadblocks to keep strangers out. It takes a village to self-isolate and still be economically viable.

And I thought — somewhere in all that is the future.

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