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Opinion: Thoughts on the Here and the Now


Seventy-five years ago, some of our forebears fought a great battle on behalf of the nation. They put their lives on the line so that the vast majority could enjoy the freedoms that were and still are at the very centre of the United Kingdom’s ethos. The rest of the population – those who weren’t on the front line – did what they could to help but by and large went about their business in the normal way, even though their very way of life was under threat. The nation’s leaders didn’t lose sight of the fact that some people were vulnerable though, and moved those who were away from the areas of greatest risk. The nation has never forgotten the sacrifices made by the few.

Above: the 'Mother of All Parliaments' is also much emptier than normal (M D Beckwith)


Thirty years ago, the citizens of Eastern Europe were also fighting a battle. This one though did not involve bombs, but walls and oppression of free spirit. In the communist normal, people did what they were told without question, needed permission to travel, spied on their neighbours, and suffered through shortages of food and staple goods. Almost every aspect of their lives were dictated by the political elite. Does this sound familiar today? Eventually the people of Eastern Europe had had enough, and the repression was defeated through collective will-power and uprisings in Poland and the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Today the UK – and nations across the globe – is fighting another war against an invisible enemy. We all face restrictions on our movements, we are being ordered to stay at home, in many cases our livelihoods are vanishing in front of our eyes, and yet a significant proportion of the population just seem to be prepared to accept the situation. If we had been told a few years ago that we could not sit in a park; that we could be fined for going to the seaside; that we would only be allowed out of our houses once a day, we’d have laughed at the absurdity of the suggestions. But now it has become the norm. We are ordered to comply with new rules without question, repressed, and are fined for failing to conform.


Police presence in certain areas, including public parks, has seen numerous instances of heavy-handed action (Kevan James)

Meanwhile, the economy is tanking with some pundits now suggesting that it will take decades to recover, and that the country will face a larger challenge than that of the great depression. Businesses have already been bankrupted, hu