“Children died alone during lockdown. Their parents couldn’t be with them,” says my pal, indignation sparking like the logs flaming on the brazier we sit around, bundled up outside in the chilly Scottish summer. “That’s what gets me about Matt Hancock ”
And: “I couldn’t see my first grandchild until he was six weeks old,” says my cousin, an NHS worker. “There we were, sticking to the rules, which we would anyway because we knew it was the right thing to do, but the ones in charge were doing whatever they liked. It’s not even one rule for them and another for us, it’s worse than that,” she says.
These are not people given to histrionics or drama, but cheery stalwarts who keep going no matter what life throws at them, and sure, we did what we always do, have a laugh about it, watch the spoof voice overs of the stomach-churning footage of Hancock slobbering away, spitting in the face of social distancing, but just because people are smiling, it doesn’t mean they’re not angry.
As my cousin says, ‘it’s worse than that.” It’s not the cronyism, questions about how contracts for PPE were awarded, arrogance, entitlement, hypocrisy, deceit, affairs, the justice secretary banging on about questions of national security (lol, more like how did the media get their hands on the footage?), or even the mind-boggling mystery surrounding the ability of senior politicians to attract people who want to share body fluids with them (“you’ll ALWAYS find someone stupid enough” says another pal) - those ships sailed long ago and we’re used to it. In fact we expect it.
It’s worse than that. It’s the fact that we’re all sticking to the rules because WE know they matter, even if those responsible and paid for making them don’t. Social distancing, vaccinations, testing, trying our very best to tread a path among the of-necessity ever-changing Byzantine rules designed to beat Covid-19.
Even the smallest child can be seen automatically toddling up to hand-gel stations at every opportunity - year two, it’s all they’ve ever known.
So why can’t the officials elected and paid to do their jobs realise it’s not about whether they’re entitled to be free from surveillance, unauthorised or otherwise? If they were doing what the rest of us are doing they wouldn’t need to worry. Just stop with the shenanigans and help us save lives.