Today the UK surpassed 30,000 deaths due to Covid 19. This is evidently and predictably a disaster and one which was compounded by a slow start and a lack of political seriousness regarding the threat of this virus. As the UK surpasses the death toll of any European nation, David Spiegelhalter who has previously written informatively about the difficulty of international comparisons suggested; “We are not doing very well and it’s been another very bad week. I really don’t like this league table of who’s top and who’s not, but there’s no denying that these are really serious numbers.”
I understand the desire to avoid criticism when attempting to invoke solidarity, however the desire for solidarity shouldn’t diminish the accountability of those charged with interpreting the scientific advice and making political decisions that can cost or save lives.
In the quiet of our own day, things have followed a usual path, work and walking provide some structure and thanks to the wonderful Colin Wilkinson at Bluecoat Press I woke to four new photo-books – John Bulmer’s ‘Wind of Change’, Claude Le Gall’s ‘Being Irish’, Patrick Ward’s ‘Being English’, and the inimitable Peter Dench’s ‘A&E Alcohol and England’. All of which offer reflections and insights on the difficult questions of how identity and nationality, culture and community, are lived and expressed in distinctive and often profoundly different places. I imagine the forthcoming VE celebrations will prove an opportunity for similarly creative and critical interpretation of how our nations and their ‘people’ make sense of themselves, whilst also leaving the EU and trying to consolidate community during a pandemic.
On our walk this lunchtime there was some evidence of an attempt to start things up, businesses who had previously and voluntarily shut down beginning to offer limited services, some shop doors open and people working inside to get things ready for the anticipated lessening of the ‘lockdown’. All coupled with the usual neat queues outside the Post Office and supermarket.
Below are some snapshots from our walking route.