So, 2021 at the moment is shaping up to become a bit more like 2020 was for many. Having almost recovered from covid (you may have wondered why I was so quiet and hadn’t even uploaded a youtube video) now, I thought I would think about what the future may hold for people. Firstly, I think we are going to have to accept restrictions and rules that would have seemed extreme a year ago for the remainder of this year. I will not go into the politics of this, save to say that many countries seem to have done a lot better than the UK – I will let you research it yourself (beyond the sycophantic or right-wing tax-haven-loving proprietor’s rags and the government-following media that seems to be the major UK media at the moment).
So, what do people think this will mean for local communities? I think the pandemic has brought out the best and worst of people. Unfortunately, there are many people who are fundamentally self-centred (note, I am not saying they are selfish) and don’t know much about their neighbours, and there are people who have little practical and local support. Have you checked on your neighbours recently? As for services – I suspect that there will be a lot more need for voluntary and charitable services for many as the basic services struggle to cope with extra burdens (yet again, this is a political issue – you will have your own opinions on whether they should). Is there any way that you can help, either formally or informally, in your area? Of course, there are all sorts of additional considerations at the moment – I may WANT to give someone a lift, but how covid-safe can I be with someone else who is not living with me being in the car? Is it SAFER than letting them go in a taxi?
What about your own leisure activities? How much can you do that you could before? What about work? Is it really sensible to try to move most office jobs permanently online? What about those of us who HAVE to go to a workplace, or HAVE to meet the public?
Some of these questions need to be aired more widely. If we start discussing this sort of thing now, maybe it can inform the debate in the mind of local council officials and prospective councillors? What about the climate effects of how we do things? (For example, using a computer still has an effect on the environment, and if your commute was less than a mile or two, does that more than cancel out the reduced travel effect?)
What about other activities? Worship? Local sports? Should be be considering bringing the physical side of these back sooner for people’s physical and mental health?
Despite having met loads of people online to play uke with on Zoom, I still miss the physical (weekly) meeting of my local uke group.
I also miss the (weekly) musician jam sessions at a local pub. It’s a year now…
Don’t get me wrong. I am not arguing for things that could spread the virus to come back early – having suffered from covid myself, and a wife who is suffering massively from it as we speak, I don’t wish even a mild case of it on anyone. But the one thing that no-one seems to want is to look to see what can be done in future. At a time when more people want change than ever before, and the US is back in the Paris agreement, our government has just passed planning permission for a NEW coal mine! It seems to be two steps forward, and two steps back…