David Bullard writes on the freedoms lost in the age of Covid
OUT TO LUNCH
As a proud member of the baby boomer generation I have known only peace during my lifetime and have enjoyed (and perhaps taken for granted) many personal freedoms.
Those freedoms have allowed me to live wherever I choose, to write or say things that are critical of politicians, to get on an aircraft and fly to virtually anywhere in the world without let or hindrance and to choose who I work for and what I do for a living.
My parents weren’t quite so fortunate. Both born in the decade following WW1 they were in their late teens at the height of WW2. This ruled out any prospect of a university education and while my mother joined the Red Cross as an auxiliary nurse, my father was stationed in North Africa for most of the war years.
They both made it through and my father made up for the lost years of his education and took the Institute of Bankers exams and eventually became a fellow of that august institution and followed a long and successful career in banking in the City of London.
For some extraordinary reason, the horror and devastation of war and the fact that two world wars (plus the Spanish flu pandemic) had happened within a time frame of just over twenty years didn’t put them off the idea of starting a family.
Although rationing was still in force in the early years of my life it didn’t make much of an impact on me. Similarly, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, in which Russia and the USA came pretty close to what was euphemistically called ‘mutually assured destruction’, probably frightened the hell out of my parents but didn’t give me any sleepless nights.
I suppose I should have shown more interest in global affairs and said “Mummy, what’s a nuclear missile and are we all going to die?” ___STEADY_PAYWALL___
About the only thing that worried me during the mid to late sixties was the Vietnam War. However, after checking my Philips school atlas I convinced myself that Vietnam and Cambodia were sufficiently far removed from leafy Surrey not to pose a direct threat.
Besides, Chairman Mao had already initiated the Great Leap Backward which had brought mass starvation to the Chinese. So I figured the Vietcong would have greater priorities than infiltrating the 8th Cheam Scout troop and turning us all into commies.
Besides, there were other far more tempting diversions than getting depressed about mushroom clouds and the end of the world. A group of young Liverpudlians had formed a band called ‘The Beatles’ and were producing the sort of music that nobody had ever heard before.
Another band called ‘The Rolling Stones’ were far more earthy but were equally popular. Before I knew it, the sixties was filled with all sorts of fabulous sounds from bands as diverse as The Who, Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues; all of them formed in 1964 and all of them 100% British. What possible reason could I have for taking a serious interest in world politics? I was living in the golden age.
The early seventies was university time and, once again, it was a time of incredible personal freedom, not least because you were away from home at last and away from the watchful gaze of your parents.
Before you went off to university you had to fill in something called an UCCA form giving your choice of universities in order of preference. Naturally this required some intense research on my part, not related to the courses or the quality of lecturers I may add, but to the chosen town’s ratio of females to males.
Exeter scored highly thanks to a teacher training college and a nursing college so off I trundled to deepest Devon to study the dark arts of Eng Lit and Drama. I cannot begin to imagine how awful the past few years have been for university students all over the world.
The whole point of attending university (apart from developing an abiding love of ‘problematic’ authors such as Shakespeare and Dickens) was to join societies, do things, meet new people, make friends or enemies for life, build a network but mostly to enjoy the privilege and intellectual stimulation of a tertiary education.
My early working life was also a breeze and although I may have been lucky to be in the right place at the right time I like to think that ability played a small part. In London, I was the youngest person on my bank’s dealing desk by about seven years. One of my tasks was to attract new business so I was free to travel around the country to see various companies and persuade them to move their business to the company I worked for.
Being impervious in those days to rejection I was quite happy to cold call the Finance Director of a large quoted company and ask for a meeting, most of which were granted.
Obviously, travelling around the country touting for business meant that I needed access to a company car and a company credit card. So, on a Friday I would ‘borrow’ a BMW 528i from the car pool, drive down to Sussex for a weekend’s revelry at a friend’s house and leave early on Monday morning for appointments in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and surrounds armed with my company credit card for sustenance.
It didn’t really feel like working. My time was my own, I could stay away as long as I wished and I didn’t have to report back all the time to a boss. All I had to do was bring in the business which I usually did and, on my return, enjoy the congratulations from my employers before hitting a crowded city bar for a few drinks.
We were not a huge company in number (maybe around 80) but the camaraderie of the work place, the friendly meetings with rivals and the whole social interaction made it a very happy way to spend my early working years.
Despite complaining about commuting, I cannot imagine the horror of having to work from home for two years and have no more than a Zoom contact with former friends and colleagues; not to mention the absence of long lunches in The George and Vulture.
I joked with somebody the other day that I have discovered a new form of internet porn. I Google the phrase ‘crowd scenes’ and go into a state of ecstasy at people standing shoulder to shoulder watching a sporting event or a live concert.
One of my favourites is Queen at the Live Aid concert in 1985. That surely is what life should be about but it seems that our so called democratically elected politicians don’t agree.
Despite mounting evidence that the COVID pandemic has been hugely hyped by those with vested interests and that credible medical reports suggest that natural immunity beats countless booster shots (odd that the most vaxxed countries are the most locked down and allegedly have the highest incidence of new cases don’t you think?) politicians like the absurd Jacinda Ardern continue to restrict their citizen’s freedoms.
I don’t want to live in a world where I have to show a pass to get a cup of coffee or sit down in a restaurant. I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life having to wear a mask whenever I go out in public and sanitise my hands every time I go into a shop.
I don’t want to spend hours queuing with pointless documents just to get on a flight and I don’t want to stick things up my nose and down my throat and spend days in quarantine in a crappy hotel. Enough already.
I am more than happy for the vulnerable and politically subjugated to go and get a jab if that’s what makes them happy but I cannot imagine how a society that claims to be democratic in any shape or form can bring in mandatory vaccines for a virus most people will survive.
Many Canadians seem to agree and it can only be a matter of time surely before the despicable Justin Trudeau gets his comeuppance. At the time of writing it appears he is in hiding and scared to show his face in public. If the UK press ahead with this idiocy they stand to lose almost 100 000 NHS workers and they are already short staffed. How, in heavens name, is a politician qualified to make such a ruling?
Fortunately, stories of COVID scams are beginning to leak and it now appears as though the EU may have intentionally overspent on vaccines to benefit their cronies.
An article in The Guardian last week suggested that the EU may have paid more than £25 bln above the cost of the production of the vaccine (an amount almost exactly equal to the Pfizer profit forecast for vaccine sales this year).
It’s good to know that COVID corruption is alive and well in other parts of the world. As more of these stories emerge, and as more credible and critical sources find a voice that upsets the likes of Neil Young or Joni Mitchell we might, with any luck, see politicians who may want to be re-elected someday wind their scrawny necks in.
On the cynical side though, once the Russian tanks roll across the frozen ground to Ukraine next month the whole of a largely leaderless Europe and the West will have a new and far greater problem to worry about than the convenient diversion of the pandemic. Maybe that was part of the grand plan all along.