Hindsight 20:20


There is a good little video that’s doing the rounds on Whatsapp – and probably elsewhere, but that’s where I got to see it – recording a conversation between a father and son about how we have to become ill in order to get better. Did 2020 mark that moment with C19? One cannot help noting how in lockdown, families started talking to each other and spending more time (because time is what they have) with each other and the community in which they live? There is also a quite clever play on words now in circulation: that this experience has given us ‘20:20 Vision’! In a year, or perhaps it will be three or four years, we will be able to look back and see what it all meant, and the effect Coronavirus has had on our own lives, on this country and the wider world. It will be interesting. Will we, for example, all have to be screened, to make sure we are safe when in company – sort of like the security checker when boarding an airplane, except now it might be for everyday visits to the shops and restaurants, for public gatherings and events and even when we get home? Maybe this is what everyone will want in order to feel safe, until our confidence returns, because of a vaccination or through natural immunity or because it is just our new way of life. And will food be ‘home produced’, or shall we in a few years revert to sourcing our food worldwide? Our farmers may find themselves once more providing the food to feed the nation rather than competing with sometimes less regulated goods from abroad. On the other hand, UK food producers cannot offer the variety that our multi-cultural society has learnt to expect so international products will still be sought after. Will there be a change of public attitude to reducing or even eliminating global pollution? The experience of cities, skies and seas having clean air and water (because almost no factories, shops or planes have been operating), may speed up that change. On public transport, or in schools and hospitals and many other places, extra precautions will mean more workers. The old arguments about whether there should be guards on trains and how to reduce the size of school classes could be forgotten. Employees’ safety will prevail yet this might lead to an expanded workforce and a short-term solution to increased unemployment. Which will bring politics back into play of course. Will this bore the public – as eventually the prolonged Brexit process did? Or will it reactivate argument and debate, highlighted by the media and press, who strive to keep their headlines in front of those of their rivals. The Hindsight video gave a glimpse of change, but the world may revert to an adaptation of what was the norm before. It may prove to be a generational thing with the older folk taking the risks seriously and the younger ones not being so anxious except for the security of their own economic futures. The generation in between may sway in the middle and choose their path of compromise – yet the pace of life will eventually pick up and press on. The ‘new norm’ will be amongst us all and we may not even notice the difference. Our hindsight for 2020 may in fact simply become a part of our history.

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