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Life after the Great Panic

By MICHAEL BLACKBURN.

SOME PEOPLE MAY now be wondering what life will be like after the Great Panic has passed and we are all graciously allowed by our masters to dispense with social distancing and all the restrictions we currently exist under. Will it be better, will it be worse, or just the same? Will we have entered a new era of social relations in which we value each other more than before? Given the enduring propensity of the masses to forget what daily life was like under situations of longer duration if not quite so severe conditions, I suspect things will go on much the same as before. It’s amazing to me how people who lived for decades under the shadow of the Troubles and the Cold War, as well as the dire political and economic situation throughout Britain in the 1970s, forget what it was like. So I’m inclined to share the sentiment of France’s arch-pessimist, Michel Houellebecq, that life will be just the same, only a bit worse.

The same, yes, in that people will carry on as previously, having oddly forgotten how they kowtowed ignominiously and without question to the government’s increasingly bizarre behavioural diktats, but worse — only much worse, as far as the economy goes. The Office of National Statistics and other groups may have issued their dire warnings about what state the economy is already in and what is to come, but I do not get the feeling the populace have yet fully absorbed the message. Perhaps they have a vague belief in this “v-shaped” recovery some economists talk about; in the same way they vaguely accept the phantasm of a “second wave” of infection. Some bounce back in certain areas there certainly will be, but having lived through more recessions, crashes and downturns than I can count, I know recovery from this catastrophe will be different, longer lasting and more painful.

I know one thing that will pick up where it left off before shutdown: the canting crew of ecofascists, blue-haired gender loons, feminist man-haters, equalitarians, race hustlers and anti-western globalists will come swarming out of their holes to push their agenda once again. The race hustlers are already at it, stoking trouble because of the death of George Floyd in America. No social distancing regulations are going to stop them rioting, looting and burning the cities down, man, no way.

The Chinese are not going to stop messing with the natural world and producing viruses just because preachy western liberals tell them to.

The green lobby will probably be foremost, having been buoyed up by lockdown stories of goats wandering the streets of Welsh villages and air pollution supposedly reduced because of lower car use and fewer flights. Intersectional mix-and-match can be applied, as Jane Goodall has done, combining concerns over the future of humanity with the mistreatment of the natural world, factory farming, and climate change. She follows the usual pattern of all globalists by talking about this universal “we” as in “if we don’t change then humanity is finished,” adroitly avoiding the fact that whoever “we” are, the Chinese are not going to include themselves in it. They’re not going to stop messing with the natural world and producing viruses just because preachy western liberals tell them to. The insane climate emergency green deal will be pushed for all its worth. And the government will go along with it even though, without the ravages of the lockdown, it is economic suicide.

On the political front the British government also has the challenge of what to do about China. On this, as on everything else, the simple assumption to make is that they will get it wrong. Johnson has already suggested withdrawing China somewhat from the Huawei G5 system in a couple of years, instead of excluding them altogether. It’s a bigger problem than that, of course, involving banking, loans, Chinese-owned businesses, large numbers of Chinese students bringing cash into the economy (when universities are financially overstretched as it is), and the threat of clampdown in Hong Kong. Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, has suggested extending visa rights to thousands, if not millions, of Hong Kongers to escape the coming repression. No acknowledgement in that of the continued problems mass immigration is still having on the country’s infrastructure, including the lack of housing. It’s unlikely, as we know, that the British government will disentangle themselves from involvement with the Chinese who are proving to be a massive economic, political and military threat. It’s not in their nature to get things right.

After all the monstrous and dystopian impositions placed upon society in the vain attempt to control the virus, returning to the previous cretinisms of our decaying culture will come as a strange relief. The new normal will be same as the old normal, just worse. Perhaps worse than Monsieur Houellebecq expects.


suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet and writer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire. A Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Lincoln University (2005 – 2008), his poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent book is Albion Days (perennisperegrinator press). Sucks to Your Revolution is a collection of his Fortnightly columns.

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