My 40th birthday was on March 4th. The following day, exactly one month ago, I had a very rare day to myself. A day where I neither had to go to work nor look after the children. I pottered around Leeds city centre in a very agreeable manner, visiting the little independent cafes and record shops that I don’t get to go to another. I remember feeling a real sense of appreciation of my city and promised myself I would treat myself to some time exploring it more often. I remember feeling a real sense of freedom
Coronoavirus, of course, had other plans. One month on, and I am not exploring Leeds, or even anywhere outside of my own house, Asda and the occasional jog through the local park. All the independent cafes and shops that I wanted to support are now struggling just to survive, although they and others are coming up with novel ways to support them. How much can change in a month. That sense of freedom I had, long gone. I will appreciate that freedom once lockdown is over, although to be honest I appreciated it even before it began.
A lot of news this weekend. Keir Starmer elected leader of the Labour Party, which any other time would be the biggest news of the month, let alone the day, but was actually many scrolls down the front page of The Guardian website. I’m not sure how I feel about his election. I was hoping his shadow cabinet would be a true broad church of the parliamentary Labour party, but the appointment of Lisa Nandy and Rachel Reeves and no-one from the left of the party in the first few posts announced today is not promising. We will see what tomorrow brings.
By the end of the day the news started to take on a surreal quality. The Prime Minister is in hospital! A tiger has coronavirus! I am more concerned about the tiger to be completely honest. Whilst I wouldn’t wish death on anyone, I also understand those who were expressing a lack of sympathy for Johnson, given the untold pain, suffering and yes death inflicted by the Tories through their austerity policies over the last decade. Also the additional deaths that will be caused by Johnson’s poor response to coronavirus. Perhaps the Prime Minister becoming seriously through contracting the virus after not following his own rules will make people take those rules more seriously.
It reminds of when Margaret Thatcher died. She caused so much suffering, destroyed whole communities, it’s not surprising some celebrated her death (at an old age after a long life let’s not forget). I did not, but found the self righteousness of some of those condemning those who did more sickening than anything else.