Saturday, 21 March 2020

Strange days indeed.

Covid 19
Where to begin. We are in uncharted territory. A country effectively in lockdown, no pubs, bars, cafes or restaurants open, the state supporting millions who were only a few days ago were in employment now out of work due to Covid 19, the Corona Virus. People living in fear of their lives, social contact prohibited and the deepest religious and social rituals no longer happening until who knows when. Some people are scared and understandably.

The territory is uncharted but not unimagined. Films and TV programmes have placed the social fabric under stress in any number of dystopian and post apocalyptic dramas. The BBC's Survivors about a pandemic in the 70s with devastating effects killing millions and spread by global air travel springs to mind. Whether its zombies, triffids or a pandemic the story is all about how society and individuals respond when placed under strain. Already we have seen the best and worst of human nature. People volunteering to help the vulnerable in their droves, council services reshaping themselves to deal with the current crisis and Government giving unprecedented support to seek to ensure we return to some sort of normality. We have to hope they succeed. And then there's the panic buying. I guess a lot of us wish we had shares in toilet roll manufacturers as toilet rolls appear to be like gold dust at present. The panic buying is because there is panic. Many people have not adjusted to the new 'normal'. because it isn't normal and we're only at the beginning.

What is the role of local politicians in these times? More than ever we have to be visible, available and reassuring. Life goes on. There are potholes to fix, drains to be unblocked, traffic calming to be installed. As Newsome Ward Councillors we will be doing a street by street survey over the next few weeks. Most of the Council and community meetings we were scheduled to attend have been cancelled. We are not banned from walking the streets so why not. So if you're a Newsome Ward resident and you see one of us then please say "hello" (from 2 metres apart) and let us know your story. We'll get through this.

Rather than the chilling opening sequence from 1975 BBC's Survivors here's Curtis Mayfield's 'Move on up' It's a shot of optimism that's helped lift me when I needed it so maybe it will help you too. Enjoy

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