Pulling Together


Happy Christmas, for tomorrow...

Happy Christmas to anyone reading this today. To anyone reading it later, hope you had a happy time as you look back. Of course, with a record number of new Covid diagnoses, many will not be enjoying company and will have memories of a miserable time spent watching television or playing patience, unable even to have got out to a library to obtain something decent to read. You have my sympathy if you found yourself in that position.

Of course, any day is going to be miserable if you are confined to your house. Knowing others are supposedly enjoying themselves with friends or family would only make it worse. However, not everyone does enjoy the culturally-enforced company they find themselves obliged to share, so don’t feel too hard done by. There might actually be some who wish they had an excuse to be on their own. Everyone’s experience is different.

Which sums up the current epidemic quite well. Some have no symptoms and only find out they are infected because some circumstance obliged them to take a test. Others get a cold. Some develop a flu-like illness which confines them to bed for a few days or even a week or two. A few become so ill they need to go into hospital and for some that becomes life-threatening.

With things so unpredictable it’s very difficult to assess an appropriate societal reaction. As we all know, governments around the world have mostly opted for a cautious approach ostensibly aimed at minimising deaths by minimising the spread of the illness even at the expense of causing acute hardship to large numbers of people and destroying much of their countries’ economic and social fabric. In reality, it is less lives they save than their national hospital services. It is natural for anyone working in any field to see life through a professional viewpoint. So it is that anyone will regard something that puts an intolerable burden on their own industry as a crisis. In most cases governments offer little sympathy. Edward Heath summed it up quite well when he announced his government would not “help the lame ducks of industry”. However, when the threatened industry is a service many might consider a key mark of modernity huge sacrifices suddenly become not only possible, but ‘necessary’.

So, in 2008 we saw huge government (though often involving much conscripted private investment) bail outs for the banking system, because the crisis caused by the failure of many financial organisations and the knock-on effects for debtors and the econimic environment would be politcally catastrophic. Now, it is health systems and hospitals, in particular, which are being bailed out at the expense of ordinary people’s income, savings, and social needs. That much of the justice system has been overwhelmed with a huge backlog of both criminal and family law cases resulting from the anti-Covid precautions and their destructive effect on social and family life, that people’s whole lives have been ruined with broken relationships and seriously disrupted childhoods which will destroy the happiness of both this and future generations, seems to be considered a price worth payijng if only hospitals can stay basically functional, even though many hospital services have actually been delayed as well. So long as hospitals stay open in name it seems some sort of desirable aim is being achieved.

So, we await the press conference which will inevitably come on Monday evening, when severe restrictions on life will almost certainly be imposed on the pretext of saving life but, in reality, becaused health professionals, faced with the prospect of being impossibly stretched, demand something is done.

And so, make the most of Christmas while you can, because the New Year is almost certain to be bleak.

Do have a Happy Christmas and a damage-limited New Year, wherever you are.

About the Author

K J Petrie has a Full Technological Certificate in Radio, TV and Electronics, an HNC in Digital Electronics and a BA(Hons) in Theological Studies.

His interests include Christian and societal unity, Diverse Diversity, and freedoms from want, from fear, of speech, and of association. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The views expressed here are entirely personal and unconnected with any body to which he belongs.

Engage with the Author

If you’d like to discuss anything please send me your e-mail address and I will send you mine.

Your address will only be used for replying and will not be passed to anyone else.


If you would like to be informed by e-mail of new Pulling Together articles as they are published, please enter your address here.

Your address will only be used to let you know about new articles and will not be passed to anyone else.

Full List