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Today and tomorrow (and possibly for a few days after tomorrow), a large part of the world will be concentrating on events going on back home in the US. I, however, can’t help but focus on the fact that from 00:00:01 this Thursday morning, England will be entering into its second lockdown of the year. As I happen to be sheltering in England right now, that’s a prospect that I’m not looking forward to.
There’s no hiding from the fact that, over the past few weeks, virus transmission rates have increased dramatically in a number of European countries, so we’re now seeing various governments falling back on some of the measures that they first used towards the beginning of the year.
Here in England, things won’t be exactly the same as they were in Lockdown #1 – schools and colleges are remaining open and residents of Scotland and Wales are being asked to abide by rules set out by their respective devolved governments – but a lot of things are going to feel very familiar.
Most non-essential businesses will be closing their doors, people will be expected to stay in their homes unless they have very good reason to leave (exercise, basic grocery shopping, medical needs, etc…), meeting friends or family indoors will be banned (unless they already live with you), and anyone who can work from home will be expected to do so.
The government’s advice on travel says that people are being asked not to travel unless it’s unavoidable and/or essential (we’ll have to wait and see if this will apply to unelected government advisers – apparently it didn’t during Lockdown #1), public transport is to be avoided if at all possible, and travel out of England is being strongly discouraged (it may even become illegal) unless it’s for the purpose of work (it’s unclear how this will be policed).
The government has said that the lockdown will last through 2 December, but the population is already being prepared for that date to be extended (high-level government ministers have been briefing the media to that effect). The government “hopes” that England will be able to have some kind of “normal” Holiday season in which families will be able to meet indoors and share the festivities, but the reality of our situation is that this is looking increasingly unlikely.
I’m more than prepared to follow the government’s guidance to the letter (as I did during Lockdown #1), but this time I find myself feeling considerably angrier than I was the first time around.
I’m angry that the British government appears to have acted too late time and time again, I’m angry that the government’s rules are often nonsensical, I’m angry that we were promised a “world-beating” track and trace system by the end of May and yet here we are in November with a track and trace system that clearly doesn’t work, and I’m angry that we find ourselves in the position we are in because, on top of the British government’s embarrassing series of failings, significant elements of society failed to follow some very basic rules.
At this point, I’m tempted to vent my opinions on the elements of our society who can’t be bothered to follow the rules that we’re all being asked to follow…but I’m not going to do that. Actually, I did just do that, but I’ve deleted the 500 words that I wrote because there’s very little point in venting. I’m not going to change anyone’s mind and expressing my views on the more selfish elements of society is more aggravating than therapeutic, so why bother?
Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a nice day in London so, as it may be my last chance to visit the city this year, I’m going to head into town to enjoy a few of the Royal Parks, to enjoy the beautiful architecture, to take a walk along the Thames, and to take in some of the incredible history that the city has to offer. As angry as I am that we’re heading into lockdown once again, I’m also incredibly grateful that one of my two homes gives me access to such an amazing city which, when the sun is shining, is one of my favorite places to explore.
Now, for the first time in TFM’s life, I’m going to close a post (this post) to comments. I’ve seen what kind of hellish place a post like this can turn into if it’s left open to comments (if you want a great example of what I mean, take a look at the comments section on this Head For Points post) and I have no interest in that happening here.
Bring on lockdown and let’s get this over with as soon as we can.