Boris Johnson made a speech last night. I don’t think he should do live tv. I think he should tape it, then re-watch to really consider the consequences of his words before releasing the tape. Of course, this may result in him never appearing on tv again. So, win-win.
Sadly, he did speak the the British public and now we have to deal with the consequences of his words. As of July 19, all the rules on masks and social distancing will be ‘Torn up.’ Not relaxed, not suspended, but ‘Torn Up.’
Word choice is important. Tone is important. ‘Tearing up’ the rules doesn’t just imply the suspension of the current rules, it is a command to actively go against them.
Another poor choice of words, “If not now, when?” How about ‘when’ infection rates are not increasing daily; ‘when’ hospitalisations and deaths are not on the rise. “If not now, When?” implies that this is as good a situation as we’re ever going to get. Schools will be on summer holiday, the warm weather will decrease the spread of the virus. We have to learn to live with Covid, we can’t suspend things any longer.
What he’s actually saying is he’s tired of fighting covid and he doesn’t want to do it anymore. This game is boring and hard work and he’s not winning so he wants to play something else. (Let’s play Brexit again, he was good at that game!)
Wearing masks, social distancing will become matters of personal choice. This is always BoJo’s default position. It puts the responsibility on the individual, so when things go wrong, he can’t be blamed. He wants to trust the common sense of the Great British Public. Because that’s worked so well in the past. Even one of his own MP’s has said she won’t wear a mask on public transport once the mandate is lifted because showing her face was a matter of personal freedom.
Statements like that hit so many of my buttons. First, she is putting her personal freedom over public health, which is incredibly selfish. There is an old saying ‘Your right to swing your fist ends where my jaw begins.’ In this case, I would say her freedom to show her face ends where her breath leaves her body. Right now, people put too much emphasis on their personal rights and ignore entirely their public responsibilities.
Next button: She is an MP. She is part of the government. People assume the government has access to better information than the average person, so people will follow her example. If MP’s don’t take sensible, minimal precautions for the public good, why should I?
As a Shop worker, I am angered and frightened at the lifting of the mask mandates. Even if the company wanted to keep the requirement for customers to wear masks, without the cover of government legislation, we would be challenged and abused by customers on a daily basis. Individual choice rules all. If asked, I’m sure much of the British Public would say the current rules are good for everyone else to follow.
They are saying we have to learn to live with the disease. I agree that eventually we will have to do that. We’ll need vaccine boosters every year, and occasionally there will be short term mask mandates. That will be the new normal. But we’re not there yet. Bojo wants a return to the old normal. We’re never going there again.
“If not now, When?” I don’t know when. I just know, Not Now.