Are we still all in this together?
When this nightmare started the rhetoric of ‘we’re all in this together’ was a welcome one. There was a sense of wartime bonhomie, you could almost sense the spirit of the Blitz and standing on our doorsteps clapping for the NHS brought a tear to the eye.
Us and them?
Five months on however, press reports suggest it’s more a case of ‘us and them’ and ‘we’re all in this together’ is already a distant memory. There is bitterness and resentment among the furloughed and non-furloughed, outrage on Facebook from the over 50s posting images of young people showing such a blatant disregard for social distancing. In Greater Manchester, the white middle class are being outed as being responsible for a local lockdown and beauticians are demanding to know why barbers can trim beards but they are not allowed to thread an eyebrow?
People living in rural areas are fuming that second homers are being allowed to leave the infected areas to overrun their villages and bring their deadly diseases with them. Meanwhile, those who can’t afford to holiday abroad are feeling rather smug that those who can, faced a surprise enforced lockdown and wouldn’t be able to show off their tan.
Most recently there has emerged a vitriolic band of ‘mask outers’ across social media who spew out the vilest of insults at those people who for whatever reason don’t wear their masks, or don’t wear them in the correct way or don’t wear the right one or wear the wrong colour – or whatever. On the other side, the virus deniers urge us to recognise the huge conspiracy in front of our mask free faces, as they refuse masks, vaccines, social distancing and all other regulations.
NHS crown could be slipping
Even the NHS’s crown is in danger of slipping off as people struggle to get even basic healthcare provision, such as a GP appointment where long answerphone messages remind potential patients how foolhardy, dangerous, or just plain stupid they are to attempt to see their doctor. Our hospitals remain largely empty as they await the predicted second wave, but in the meantime, two million cancer screening appointments have not been sent out by the NHS. Not surprising that people are getting fed up.
Even in business, there is a huge disparity between the haves and have nots. The already giant technology companies have seen stock prices reach an all-time high, And, all of us stuck at home have helped Jeff Bezos increase his personal wealth to a staggering $189bn as we order more rubbish of Amazon that we don’t need. At the same time, those bricks and mortar businesses that were already struggling have been quickly finished off by the crisis.
All in this together – not any more.