So… busy week?
Everything went into overdrive last week- every hour delivering a tilt to the entire world that would normally be discussed for months. Newsfeeds were horror-scrolled compulsively. But, maybe it’s still worth picking out the main threads from the one giant story.
This is the Gist.
Ireland: A Too Social Distance
Children sent home. Gradually closing businesses sending workers to non existent home desks with freshly-bought laptops. Everyone finding out how Zoom works. Grandparents’ nostrils looming large as they peer down at their grandkids on little mobile screens. Everyone not at Cheltenham raging at people gone to Cheltenham. Fianna Fáil winking into silent irrelevance to the point where Varadkar seeks to stay as Taoiseach, despite having fewer seats. Overall, a competent showing from medicos, civil servants, media and political actors makes the best of a bad starting position of an under resourced health system.
Still too much gallivanting. Ratchets quietly preparing for the next closures and restrictions.
UK: The Living Dead
Almost impossible to overstate the public policy disaster of the UK Govt in London. Despite years of Brexit jokes, Ireland has family and friends there. It has a border with part of the UK on its island. We are invested. London Times reports;
In Feb “Cummings outlined the Government’s strategy. Those present say it was “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”
When Imperial College made public that the figures for the projected deaths under this scenario would reach 250,000 the Tories started denying herd immunity was ever their plan. This presumably for the benefit of any future judicial inquiry.
While their Gov is still resisting testing unhospitalised sick people, the GB public remain broadly unconcerned, unlike every poor sod who has to come in contact with them.
USA: Who knows?
This looks very bad.
All The Money In The World
Across Europe impossible things are suddenly becoming compulsory as entire economies are basically closed and the nation’s citizens and some businesses are just paid directly by the State. The US is preparing to do the same to their system, with free money being just given to citizens.
The ECB starts buying bonds to fund the boggling costs. Stock markets plummet. Deflation, mass unemployment and global contraction have arrived in the space of a fortnight. Economics is the least important thing to focus on in a health crisis, but the political consequences of the next two months will reverberate through the rest of our lives. All the rules have melted like dew at noon. We’re just extemporising from here on.
Look after yourselves, and your loved ones. Keep washing your hands- I can recommend Lidl’s Cien hand cream for any cracked skin you’re getting.
But the Gist of all of the above is that things will be worse before they are better and its up to us, staying at home, to make that better day come as soon as possible.