The lockdown of 2020 has begun. Not since 1939 has anything like this been asked of the citizenry of the UK. That year, 40-odd million citizens did right by their country and their fellow Brits by complying with and trusting the advice and orders of those we elected to deal with exactly this kind of situation.
And a few thousand or so took advantage. Spivs, we called them. We decried their disobedience to the rule of law. And then we bought eggs off them.
We find ourselves in the middle of a truly extraordinary – for us – series of events. Which means we are now being called upon to demonstrate more character, as a people, than we have for quite some time.
Now we can stand up, or we can fall down.
It grieves me to say this, but the nature of televisual celebrity suggests that this might not happen. The young of today, fed as they are by the ‘me’ cult of the Kardashians and Made in Chelsea, will either act true to expectations and, as the evidence so far suggests, stamp their feet and demand their rights to do what they please regardless of the truth of principled living.
Or they may surprise us and show the kind of character that the youth of 1939 demonstrated when they knuckled down, volunteered, fought and died in defence of what had gone before.
Note that – they had a life, and Hitler interrupted it. They accepted that intrusion and a nation rose up to the challenge.
We had a life yesterday, and a virus has interrupted it.
I am calling upon everyone to demonstrate the same levels of character that were displayed then, by people just like us who had loved ones to protect, lifestyles to preserve, and an enemy to defeat.
And I will call out any selfish idiots I see.
Now, on a slightly different tack, I’m also going to ask that people do something else they may be tempted to put to one side while they are in isolation.
Maintain, or even Raise Your Standards.
At home, it is easy to let standards slip. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests that the standards people visibly maintain and expect in the workplace don’t apply when they’re at home. Suit wearers get into their baggy sweatpants, don’t shave, watch telly all day eating fast food.
That is the slippery slope to weight-gain, depression and lowered productivity.
Work as hard at home as you do at work. I’m not suggesting you wear business attire in your house (although why not?), but you can at least dress as if you’re going to be seen in public, ensure you’re clean and well-presented, and only grow a beard if you really mean it. (Ladies excepted.)
Then ‘normal’ will be a lot easier to achieve when it’s all over.
Bon chance, mon amis.