Coronamoaner: The Fun Is Over

In the context of April and May, the last couple of months have been rather fun. Nowhere near as much fun as late summer should be, and of course no autumn holiday like I usually have – trying to scrape the last of the sunshine and warmth from some semi-random location in Europe.

The fun started with a relaunch of my life at Blacklock. I mean, where else would you celebrate the end of pandemic? This was when I was totally refusing to go anywhere requiring a mask, so my sister even picked me up and dropped me home.

Next I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a family holiday – well, weekend away. First time back in pubs and it all felt strange, yet almost normal and definitely safe.

Roast dinners then came back – and they’ve all been at least pretty good, some very good. An afternoon and evening with my good friend, Martin, then my sister’s birthday weekend where I even braved the idea of hugs. I was almost starting to get back into life as normal.

Yet the drumbeat of lockdown has been approaching for a couple of weeks. There is no more evidence that pubs and restaurants have caused the recent spike than there is evidence that masks work, yet both a curfew and masks in pubs have been enforced to placate the “something must be done” crowd.

Sometimes I feel that the crisis has brought out the worst in people (I’m sure some think the same of me) – there is a real stasi mentality in many, so many people seem to get off by telling people what to do, telling people that they are to blame. There are thousands of geniuses out there suggesting that pubs are the reason for the spike, young people are evil, whatever…they know best and you are scum.

Too many people want to close pubs and restaurants, too many people even seem to want another lockdown. Fully 45% of people polled the other day thought that the restrictions didn’t go far enough. What do you want? Everyone to be as fucking miserable as you?

I think the restrictions already go too far. I know covid-19 is a nasty disease if you are very old or have significant existing health issues. Yet for most it is very mild, if noticeable at all, and we are sacrificing not only the livelihoods of millions across the country, the small businesses, the independent restaurants – plus the mental health and real physical health of so many. Just how many stories of people not going for cancer scans compared to normal years do we need until we realise?

It sounds harsh to say it, and maybe I am being a total arsehole here, but it is like we are destroying the economy to allow some 80 year olds to live a bit longer. That does sound very Toby Young, doesn’t it? But that is what it feels like.

Why can we not put greater efforts into shielding those most at risk and allow those almost definitely not at risk to carry on with their lives?

And it is always old people who figure highly in surveys of limiting young people’s lives – more old people wanted the curfew, more old people wanted to close pubs, more old people also wanted office workers to go back to the office when we were living through the “everything is fine now” period.

Don’t even start me on the (normally) old people who block housing applications so they don’t lose their view of the church spire 5 miles away, whilst hundreds of thousands are homeless because we don’t build enough homes.

Who pays?

We could even then get onto how the hell we are going to pay for all this. Unsurprisingly we are still in a period of everyone demanding that the government subsidise their life.

I have huge sympathy for those who are not able to do their job or those who cannot run their business. Yet if there was an event that destroyed all computers for 12 months, so I couldn’t do my job, I wouldn’t be expecting the government (ie taxpayers) to subsidise my lifestyle. Unemployment benefits, yes, help with rent, yes, but paying me not to work? No. I would go work in a warehouse or whatever, if I really had no choice. Or ideally take the opportunity to start a business up, and be a future employer.

We are all going to have to pay for this for decades from both reduced government spending and increased tax. And the closure of many good, independent restaurants, theatres, etc. Oh and listen to so much moaning from lefties about austerity for the next decades. Well hello – you wanted the lockdown. Granted I am moaning about said future moaning.

Obviously don’t even think of suggesting removing the pensioner’s triple lock where they get 2.5% increase in pension when inflation is only 0.2%. Our debt is currently £2.4tr. Your share, assuming you are a taxpayer is £66,507.

Are you cool with that debt hanging over you? Of course, interest rates are around 0% so it isn’t so scary right now. In fact, 5 year government bonds currently pay the government 0.1% to borrow from them. Yeah, weird. But that won’t last forever. Debt is still debt, it needs to be paid back (or refinanced), whatever the interest rate.

Who knows?

I don’t know. I think the frustration of the whole thing has just got to me. I didn’t support lockdown yet I didn’t blame the government for doing it – the pressure of the media and general hysteria meant they really had no choice. They were pretty miserable months, weren’t they?

And just after getting a semblance of fun and enjoyment back in my life, it is being taken away from me, bit by bit. I’m still going to go for a roast this Sunday, but I don’t feel like I want to go out any more.

It is roast dinner 150 so I’m hoping it will be special. I should be really looking forward to it. Yet I feel like I should really just be staying in for the next 6 months…I’m back to how I was in June when I simply didn’t want to go out any more. On the one hand I’m told that I’m evil if I don’t go out to support local businesses. On the other hand I’m told that I’m evil for going out.

I’ll be fine. It’s everyone else I worry about, and the future of our country in general. I am in a relatively recession-proof industry, in fact people who know their JavaScript are in probably in demand more than ever (if you need a new career, do consider it – and you can learn for free). I’m working from home which is amazing, I am being healthier and I still have some form of social life until the “something must be done” crowd get their next scalp.

Yet this week has been a bit fucking miserable and doomladen – many people seem to saying similar.

This is going to be one long winter, isn’t it?

There will be a spring though. Nothing lasts forever.

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