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Brits unite against coronavirus; but how long will the solidarity last?

Britain prepares to enter its second week of lockdown, unified but uncertain…

Submitted by InfoBrics, authored by Johanna Ross, journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland…

Last Thursday night at 8pm, people across Britain took to their doorsteps and clapped to demonstrate their solidarity with health workers, currently on the front line desperately trying to save victims of Covid-19. It was a show which evoked something of the spirit of resilience and national unity which this pandemic has unleashed in Britain of late.  For not since World War Two have we experienced this ‘Blitz spirit’.

One cannot help but notice the extra smiles of reassurance exchanged by passers by as we all take our daily walk; the one form of exercise allowed per day. People are sending signals to each other, as if to say ‘it’s alright, we’re in this together, we’ll get through it’. There is no doubt an element of fear in those smiles as well, however. In a way, the smile covers up a multitude of doubts about what the future will hold: today we are out for a walk, tomorrow we may be fighting over a loaf of bread in the supermarket.

For when we look to our neighbors on the continent, the picture looks pretty bleak. The Italians have moved on from serenading on their balconies to sending video messages to the government begging for food. The nation is on the brink of social unrest, after over 2 weeks of lockdown. A video has emerged in which a father pleads with the government for help: “Like my daughter, other children in a few days won’t be able to eat this bit of bread. Rest assured, you will regret this because we’re going to have a revolution.” Police descended on a supermarket in Palermo, Sicily, after people began stealing food. Criminal gangs are beginning to exploit the chaos and incite violence.

At the moment, Britain is more united than it has been in decades. Brexit is old news. Scottish independence – shelved. Boris Johnson – formerly a divisive figure in UK politics – is now more revered than hated as he has transformed into a war-time Prime Minister of Churchillian proportions. Heroically, he has even succumbed to the virus himself – the ultimate sacrifice. #PrayForBoris is doing the rounds on Twitter. His approval ratings have shot through the roof.

Yet this is just the beginning. Britain, like many other nations right now, is on the precipice of an economic crisis like no other. The 2008 economic crash is dwarfed in comparison. The government is having to significantly intervene in the economy, and has moved to nationalize the railways, with talk of bus services and airlines being next. The state has to grow in such a crisis – in a pandemic, everyone’s a socialist. And historically speaking, crises have generally been followed by a stronger, more powerful state with the taxes to pay for it.  After all, the welfare state and nationalization were responses to conflict and turmoil.

But there is still a risk of this pandemic creating more inequality in an already unequal Britain.  As one analyst has put it: “the virus doesn’t discriminate between people but the accompanying economic shock certainly does”.  The measures announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, last week were ‘unprecedented’ but won’t necessarily target all who may desperately need help. Various firms have already made staff redundant in the first week of the lockdown, and there will likely be more to follow. With 20% of British people already living in poverty, the fallout from the economic crisis could be far worse than the pandemic itself. Farmers are already warning that there may not be enough food to feed everyone, and say they need 70,000 workers to harvest crops over the coming months.

‘Months’ not ‘weeks’ is the key word, according to another face we are growing used to seeing – Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries. In the government’s Sunday briefing she emphasized that we are in this for the long haul: six months if we’re lucky, but it could be much longer before we return to ‘normality’.

What that ‘normality’ will consist of is another question. Arguably we will never be quite the same again…

127,737 people have been tested for coronavirus in Britain so far, of whom 19,522 have tested positive, with 1,228 deaths. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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janet merryweatherSmoking EagleManintheMoonSteveK9ManintheMoon Recent comment authors
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ManintheMoon
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ManintheMoon

Has the author actually spoken to anyone? I talk to lots of people still: apart from shopping, I have a well used public footpath coming from the nearby town passing close to my property, -and so far I have not met a anyone who does not think the restrictions are way over the top. They are going to wreck the economy (which ultimately pay for the NHS) and trample on civil liberties to -at best – prolong the life for a few months of the very old or very sick, or both. Sweden, which did not panic and concentrated instead… Read more »

SteveK9
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SteveK9

Thanks for saving me typing the same thing. Agree 100% (from America)

ManintheMoon
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ManintheMoon

Thanks, Steve – I think we agree on quite a few issues, as it happens, judging by your comments over the past few months! If you watch the mainstream media over here you’d be under the impression everyone is happy with everything that is happening – or even want more of it! The problem is that this nonsense boosts viewing figures and circulation numbers. The people putting it out do not have jobs or businesses being destroyed. It’s a a pity that both Boris Johnson and Trump have allowed themselves to be bulldozed against their initial instincts. You might like… Read more »

SteveK9
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SteveK9

This woman is the problem. Another fear-monger who is willing to give up her hard-fought-for liberties and freedoms for the illusion of safety. She is pathetic.

Smoking Eagle
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Smoking Eagle

“For not since World War Two have we experienced this ‘Blitz spirit’.” Remember the Dig for Victory gardens of WW2? Between WWI and WWII, 75% of Britain’s food was imported by ship and the German U-boat blockade threatened Britain with starvation. According to the War Cabinet’s records, annual food imports had halved to 14.65 million tonnes by 1941. Citizens had been encouraged to plant on all available land – in home gardens, city parks, railway embankments, etc., and school playing fields, public gardens and factory courtyards were all transformed into allotments. By 1942 half the civilian population was part of… Read more »

janet merryweather
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janet merryweather

johanna ross is not an investigative journalist and why she is constantly given the space i’ll never know

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