Black Lives Matter Brexit Campaigns Climate & Environment Coronavirus Democracy Fascism Health History Human Rights

The Blame Train

“It’s time to stop the Tutting and the eye-rolling at our neighbours. Let’s be vigilant about where we lay our blame”

There’s a muckle great steam train thundering down the track and it’s aflame with blame for all the health, environmental and economic ills, caused by the Pandemic, Lockdown and Lockdown breaches. Simmering under that, is denial, ignorance, genuine uncertainty and more than likely, the seeds of a 2nd spike of Covid-19, as it crashes its way towards the end of lockdown. Undeterred by buffers.

Behind The Podium

A tiny snapshot, anyway. Picture First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she takes to the podium for her daily Coronavirus Briefing. Listen to the Stay at Home message still underlying the death and disease. Strip away the walls in the background. Take away the BSL interpreter, and the Janey Godley voiceovers which loyally re-enforce and humanise Nicola’s deadly serious message.

Replace it all with a real-time amphitheatre of sound and visuals from our parks, homes and streets. We really are trying hard. We’re not staying at home though. We’re a bit confused about that, and we’re only human. Who could resist that wee cuddle with the kids and…No! Stop! Wipe down that bench, and that climbing frame.  Wait, that’s not two metres! That’s more than two households!

Watch too, how resolve, masks, gloves and litter are discarded as Summer erupts into frustration and anger, and not a little “taps aff” chaos. Or into desperation for change, vengeance, justice, leisure, company, music or habitual street violence. Throughout the UK. Yes, that message gets confused too. The English News piped into our homes as “The News”. Watch the streets start to fill with traffic. It’s not just the garden centres or McDonalds. Rush hour has returned. No, come back, the shops are not open here!

So is it our own fault?

Okay, steady on. This is hard. Listen:

We are young and healthy, and we are sacrificing our Summer and our flings, and maybe our future.

We are old, and haven’t seen or touched a single soul since March.

We are parents, and our kids are driving us, and themselves into a frenzy of despair.

We are the businesses, artists, musicians and entertainment outlets who added variety, quality and meaning to your life, and we are dying.

We live with job and rent insecurity, dreading the end of our mortgage “holiday” and the next credit card bill.

We are the financially secure, but we’d give anything for a glimpse of the mountains or the sea. We’d give anything for a plastic pint in the park.

Or a rave, a protest, or just a day’s work somewhere.

We are the vulnerable and the Covid victims

The front-line workers.

The dead. Don’t forget us.

It’s not our fault if it all goes to pieces. 

The Damn overflows and starts to burst

Yep, life goes on, in spite of and sometimes in breach of Lockdown. All forms of life. It has urgency. Sometimes it actually screams urgency, and survival. The Black Lives Matter movement didn’t just roll out from a planned series of Summer Activities. It erupted from centuries of atrocity, and drifted effortlessly across the Atlantic, because we are not blameless.

It went right to the heart of the matter. It found its common denominator there in the slave trade. If we ever doubted the power and the symbolic oppression behind dead stone statues, watch the Far Right, and the completely lost-without-the-fitbaw try to “defend” them.

If the debate around statues and street names can be held aloft as a clean and organic arm of a bigger struggle for justice and equality, we’ve achieved something. But don’t underestimate the masked elegance of the BLM peripheral protests by knee and distance.

If you’re inclined to blame the protesters, just bear in mind how the world wide pro-democracy movements responded to Lockdown calls, for the greater good. The inequalities have not gone away though. On the contrary, they have been highlighted by the pandemic crisis. The lasting changes that everyone dreamed of and called for won’t necessarily be pretty or peaceful. Nor re-scheduled.

Where does it all start and end?

It’s time to stop the Tutting and the eye rolling, and have a bit of compassion for ourselves and each other. Yes, we absolutely do need to take individual and Communal responsibility. The virus is here to stay for the foreseeable, and really, we can’t have Neo-Nazis running amok. We need the police and their powers. Let’s be vigilant about where we lay our blame though.

Jackson Carlaw and his Tories have long since landed party political blows, in spite of The FM’s best attempts to be leader to the entire population of Scotland. In due course both the UK and the Scottish governments must also be answerable for the handling of the Pandemic and Lockdown. For now though, as business strains at the leash, and the official school holidays loom, as shops open down south, a lust for blood hangs in the air.

Aided by the media and the Kaye Adams population, it won’t be long before it lands squarely and indiscriminately on the shoulders of the Scottish Government. The pressure on Nicola Sturgeon to follow the English path out of Lockdown is immense, even in the face of a transparently phased plan, guided by the direction of travel of viral transmission. She is in a no- win situation.

While the devolved parliament lacks the full fiscal powers to manage the furlough system, or introduce a Universal basic Income, the only real tool available is the controlled opening up of the community, with all the inherent health risks. That does not, nor should it leave the Scottish Government powerless to govern. It does however create financial difficulties for parents who are anxious about managing phased school return. For businesses who see no option but to find a way of adapting and finding ways around the Lockdown. For hospitality workers and businesses who are somehow required prepare for business, when the mixed message to the public is still Stay Away.

Ask the zombie PM and the Chancellor what the safe long term solution is. You may find, however, that a government hell bent on a No-Deal Brexit, and a penchant for Austerity provides little assurance.

As for the rainbows and the clean air that we dared to dream of, George Kerevan writing in the national 15/6/20 about incentives by multi-nationals to seriously address Climate Change;

“If anything, the global economic downturn triggered by the lockdown will only intensify competition as companies vie for reduced markets…Already the pandemic has forced governments and central banks around the globe to print cash by the trillion to prop up affected businesses. The world is entering a new era of unbridled state capitalism.”

So there we have it. Taking my own advice, I shall try to be less judgemental about licenced premises adapting for survival, by selling plastic pints of draft. It’s a weird one though!

Val Waldron











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