As we prepare for an easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, we ask ourselves what will the future look like?

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It has been almost two months of strict lockdown here, though some countries have obviously been much stricter than others. Spain and Italy were the most stringent, France perhaps a little easier but still with strict lockdown conditions and in the UK and Germany, whilst many businesses were closed, and people were asked to stay at home, it did not seem to be so much an enforced lockdown as an advisory one.

To be honest, even though the policies here in France were quite harsh, the lockdown has not affected us to any great degree, it has mainly consisted of plenty of lie-ins, lots of Netflix, enjoying hour long walks in the glorious sunshine in our beautiful, deserted, rural countryside and plenty of time sitting in the sun or the shade in the garden, reading books, endlessly scrolling though social media and just generally fannying around trying to keep ourselves mildly occupied.

Our predominantly relaxing daily routine which has started with breakfast in bed each morning and has then been punctuated at various intervals with second breakfast, lunch, pre-dinner drinks followed by dinner and finally finishing with a film and often a bottle of fizz followed swiftly by another in a string of wonderfully early nights after a not very taxing twelve hours of being awake and doing practically bugger all.  

Once a week we would make the trip to the supermarket where the realities of the situation would become just that little more noticeable, the gloves, the face masks, the hand sanitizer; my husband would drive us to the local supermarket and wait in the car, whilst I would collect a trolley and join the queue (naturally, observing the strict 2 metre social distancing) and wait to be allowed entry to the supermarket, one person leaves/one person enters,  all directed by an official supermarket employee who now has to stand at the entrance all day (whatever the weather!) signalling people in and out.   Then we would return home and after sanitising the groceries, before putting it all away and one more good hand wash and a squib of alcohol-gel for good measure, we would effectively switch off the outside world for yet another week.

I’m not trying to show off, I’m just being completely honest. The reality for us is that lockdown has pretty much been our normal life (when my husband is able to be at home, that is), quiet, peaceful, anti-social and mostly revolving around food and enjoying simple pleasures and time together. It has been an altogether enjoyable eight weeks.

Make no mistake though, I realise with the greatest and fullest appreciation that we have been exceptionally lucky!

I’d be very wrong and enormously naive to think that just because it’s been an absolute breeze for us, that ‘nothing much has changed’ in the world in general, for I’m well aware that many significant changes are afoot.

Just three months ago we were free to move about as we pleased, without question and without fully appreciating this freedom.

It is currently ‘unknown’ as to when we might be able to enjoy the same freedoms as we have taken for granted for our entire adult lives.

As of today, 11th May the restrictions of leaving our home for essential work, to purchase groceries at a local supermarket, for a medical or family emergency or to partake of a maximum of an hours daily exercise within one kilometre of our home, will start to be eased a little, but as yet travel over 100 kilometres is not permitted unless it is essential and supported with the relevant paperwork (again, only for work, hospital appointment, or a deeply compelling family emergency) and it has already been suggested that should figures show that ‘a second wave’ has started to emerge that a swift return to full lockdown will certainly be on the cards.

As I said, the freedoms that we so casually previously enjoyed are currently off limits.

Don’t misunderstand me, I completely comprehend the logic behind the lockdowns and that the idea is not to immediately return to normal and thus create a ‘second wave’ of contagion, I fully appreciate that we are still all responsible for continuing to ‘flatten the curve’, that our current restrictions are to be considered temporary inconveniences and not infringements of our freedoms and civil liberties, but at some point you do have to consider that the situation itself and some of the resulting restrictions might actually be providing convenient excuses for long term punitive changes amongst our society.

We keep hearing that the situation is ‘unprecedented’ yet realistically it is not the first time in history that it has happened. It is merely the first time that it has happened amongst a population of almost eight billion people.

I’m not a massive conspiracy theorist per se, but unless you are incredibly ignorant and simply bury your head in the sand, you can’t help but hear, see, read or merely think about things that make you question the status quo, the official position. Masses and masses of confusing and conflicting information is being published daily, with so much information to the contrary of other publications, you can only naturally come to the conclusion that a fair percentage of it must be fabricated by people who stand to benefit greatly from the misrepresentation of facts, perhaps even state propaganda is in play….the problem is which bits do you believe? Like Brexit, it has become something of a hugely polarising topic.

Specifically in this situation, how is it that China, a country of 1.3 billion people (and the place where the virus is believed to have first originated) only reported 82,918 cases and just 4633 deaths, when just five of the main European countries, UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy, with a combined population of just 322 million have reported massively in excess of these figures; collectively they have reported over 1 million known cases and over 122,000 deaths  (at the time of writing this).

How is it possible that the virus has spread from China to every corner of the world (though, most actively to the USA and to Europe) but it has apparently been unable to spread throughout the rest of the country of China, seemingly halted in its tracks in Wuhan?

Somebody is almost certainly lying….but who and why?
Are the Chinese Government grossly underplaying their countrywide issue?
Or are our own Governments wishing to overplay the situation and make it appear worse and if so why?
How did it not spread throughout the rest of China yet found it’s way to every other global dominion?
Was it deliberately deployed throughout the USA and Europe by the Chinese powers to destabilise Western world economy, as some people are suggesting?
Was it a home goal that was allowed to sneak into the net, long before the general populus was even aware of the situation, for much, much bigger ends (those of which we are currently unaware)?

Everyone is talking about the global economy losing money. So, where has it actually gone? 

It is not a case of it simply being mislaid down the back of the sofa. So where is it? 

And just where are the USA ‘borrowing’ their staggering $3trillion dollars from?
Are they borrowing it from the ‘future’?
Does the money even exist in this timeline?

Questions, questions, questions!

Simplistically, the world surely has the same amount of money in it as it did several months ago….it hasn’t just evaporated into thin air.

So what do they really mean?

When one organisation or country loses money, it normally follows that another organisation or country gains. This is how economics works, there are always winners and losers. 

So what it is that they are NOT telling us. 

Obviously I understand that the Virus outbreak has cost billions in additional health services, testing, mobilisation and welfare support due to the steep rise in temporary unemployment, but surely this goes someway to prop each country up, the money continues to be ploughed back into the economy.

Is it purely a case of them predicting another decade of financial hardship without having to justify any of it beyond the fault of ‘Covid-19’ where every poor decision of the last several years can be expertly swept under the carpet in one foul swoop? Where the party line will be ‘as a result of Covid-19’ for the next countless years.

The media will expertly switch from obsessively reporting on the daily coronavirus statistics as people start to tire of this to fixatedly reporting on the worsening financial situation and the doom and gloom we now find ourselves in.  The media have long since abandoned the profession of reporting actual facts, I can’t think of one single news agency that I could consider reliable, sadly not even the BBC anymore. The media is now merely a circus and they know full well that one of the only things that spreads faster than a virus is fear…..fear and misinformation. Add a global virus pandemic to the mix… what a heady concoction, and one that can be relied upon for many years to come to provide all manner of excuses.

I don’t profess to being either a macroeconomics or a microeconomics expert, and if someone is happy and willing to explain the global financial depression to me in less than three minutes flat (remember, I have a very, very short attention span!) then I’m perfectly willing to listen, but I’m already entirely aware that if you wish to ‘create’ a global financial depression, then you simply have to suggest it and naturally it will follow.  It is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The mere suggestion of a global crisis is enough to shake the foundations and start the ball thundering on it’s inevitable path and Banking corporations and Government spin doctors have expertly been controlling the economy like this for years.

Elon Musk (Tesla CEO) provided a timely reminder of just this situation, by merely tweeting that Tesla’s stock price was too high and it immediately wiped $15 billion off of Tesla’s valuation. 

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They say the global economy has had countless billions wiped off it due to the ‘coronavirus pandemic’ but surely that money is simply now…..somewhere else!

Winners and losers (to name but a few):

Winners:
Technology companies
Big pharma
Supermarkets /Grocery stores (in many countries the only shops to have remained open in lockdown)
Netflix
Amazon
PPE companies

Losers:
Oil industry
Aviation
Travel companies
Entertainment industry, Film makers etc
Hospitality (restaurants, Hotels,bars/café’s)

And then, of course, sadly the millions and millions of every day folk who own small businesses, are self employed or have simply lost their jobs when the lockdowns started.  It is an unhappy fact that many people with small businesses, some of my friends included, have lost their incomes, their livelihoods and are very much struggling to cope and therefore are now rather dependant on their respective governments to help them out until they can find their feet again, assuming they haven’t fallen between the significant cracks of those that can viably claim.

Some have been lucky enough to have retained their normal incomes during this period with the work from home options, and in that respect for many, who’s income has remained unaffected, they should be marginally better of than usual because there has been nothing but groceries (and the usual housefold bills) to be able to spend it on….none of life’s additional luxuries; no meals out, no cinema or theatre tickets, no clothes shopping, no entertainment, no holidays, no travel, no beauty treatments or expensive trips to the hair salon, we’ve barely even needed fuel, so limited have people’s movements been. So, for once, those who were fortunate enough not to have had their incomes halted, probably found themselves with money to spare.

Is that where all this apparently ‘lost’ money is? 

In people’s personal bank accounts? 

The majority of our earnings are, for once, actually still sat in our bank accounts having not been frittered on purchasing the endless shite that we are continuously told we can’t possibly live without via a bombardment of advertising streams.   

We’ll probably never be 100% certain how this situation genuinely started and how it truly developed, but I personally think after much dithering and some uhhhming and ahhhing, the World Governments finally and unilaterally decided that if played right, the resulting lockdowns and ‘virus prevention’ procedures could become seriously advantageous for a number of changes that otherwise would have been impossible to justify or bring about.

The pandemic has become far too valuable a potential situation for increased Government control and the introduction of a plethora of new procedures, new laws, new guidelines and increased restrictions and security measures from this point forward.

As we know with every human tragedy, someone is always looking to use it to their advantage under the vague banner that it is for the good of everyone.  The hyenas are continuously on the prowl.

There are literally so many theories (conspiracy or otherwise) and possibilities, that it would be impossible for me to cover each and every one of them without this becoming an utter behemoth of a blog, but many of these ‘suspicions’, shall we call them, are  genuinely very plausible, making it almost impossible to truly know ‘what’ and ‘who’ to believe.

In a world where information is so easily manipulated, misrepresented, or even deliberately manufactured and yet so quickly and easily served up on various media platforms as alleged ‘fact’, just what are we all (or at the very least, the introspective thinking members amongst us) truly to believe?

I know that there is a very large percentage of the population that actually prefer the herd mentality. They prefer to be told what to do and where and when they can do it because it makes them feel safe, it makes them feel part of a much bigger something. These are what are commonly referred to as  ‘sheeple’ and on many occasion I have wished that I were simply more accepting of things, less questioning….but I’m not.

I question everything.  It’s just in my nature to do so and also it is impossible to have read every Dan Brown, Robin Cook and Michael Crichton novel and not have number of questions and suspicions as to the multi-layered wool that is permanently being dragged over our eyes.

As I said, it’s not that I am an avid conspiracy theorist, a naysayer, an activist or a fanatical nut-job, it’s moreover that I am an intelligent adult that when bombarded with a multitude of conflicting information that literally covers one end of the spectrum to the other, I will undoubtedly have questions, reservations and misgivings.

I will naturally ask …..Why?

It doesn’t, however, necessarily follow that just because I have a lot of questions, that I am automatically anti-establishment, anarchic or rebellious.

In the main, I am an impeccably law abiding citizen.

I was perfectly understanding and supportive of the need for lockdown, I anticipated it several weeks ahead of it actually happening and considered it entirely necessary.

I believe that, if the figures themselves are to be believed, that the lockdowns have certainly saved a great many lives. 

I am relieved that the emergency hospitals built were not utilised to anywhere near full capacity, I personally believe it is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

But believing these things does not automatically mean that I subscribe to absolutely everything we are being told, nor will it mean that I will automatically agree with every change from this point forth.

As I said, I have many, many questions, but sadly none of the definitive answers, because as I’ve already pointed out, I find it almost impossible to believe anything these days.  Despite my pursuit for the facts and the truth, there is always someone willing to contradict the well founded findings of someone else and you are immediately back to square one.

In an age of information overload, it is increasingly more difficult to determine both truth and fact from fiction and fantasy.

Some of our questions may be answered in the course of time, some of them I daresay we will never truly know the answers to.

What will become abundantly clear, in the coming months and years ahead is the profound impact that this situation will have on our future, globally.

I speak, not only of the many lost souls who will continue to be grieved by their loved ones, not merely the livelihoods lost as a result of the harsh but seemingly necessary lockdowns, not just the gloomy financial impact that will mysteriously reverberate globally for what feels like an eternity.

I’m talking also about the newly implemented measures as a result of this new situation.

The new ‘normal’.

Those things that are now believed to be for our own good.

Let’s start with the things we already know about, the things that are already happening or imminently about to happen:

  • Continued social distancing
  • Implementation of ‘movement control’ apps to help ‘track and trace’ and ‘monitor’ society.
  • A huge increase of people now temporarily dependant on the government for state benefits.

Now let’s talk about some of the ‘possible’ scenarios:

1.  With the current focus being very much on increased ‘hygiene’ and a reduction in ‘contact’ my husband and I recently had a conversation about the possibility of this situation being used as an excuse to abolish ‘cash’.

You know, filthy, dirty, disease carrying cash.  Not to mention the string of ‘unhygienic’ measures required to extract it from banks or cash machines only to then have to put it into tills at shops and vendors and then the process of having to safely transport it back to the banks that we bloody withdrew it from in the first place.

Much easier and more hygienic if we became a cashless society.
This is how new restrictions are implemented.
In ‘our’ best interests.

In essence, it makes a lot of sense.

Now, imagine a world where cash is no longer recognised as ‘legal’ tender.
Every transaction would need to be via debit/credit card or quickpay, Applepay, paypal etc.
Which means that every transaction you make would be recorded somewhere.
Everything you buy, every single penny you spend would become data to be sold on.

For most of us this wouldn’t pose a problem, with the exception of a whole new barrage of personalised advertising based on our data transactions.

For some it is no different than your current situation, perhaps some of you barely use cash these days.

In most cases the only people this would seriously inconvenience would be the criminal or not so trustworthy element of society, in which case you could argue that it would be a highly favourable thing to implement, alongside the other advantages of being more hygienic and also removing an entire process of manufacturing cash and then transporting it all over the planet.

But again, imagine this restriction or limitation being conceivably passed through without a global pandemic as the precursor, or should we say acting as the ‘flimsy justification’

It’s easy to believe that there is essentially no harm in such a measure if you are a fully law abiding citizen but you only have to read or watch ‘The Handmaids Tale’ to start to appreciate the enormous amount of control that any cashless society has. There are an awful lot of pros to a cashless society, but there are equally a lot of cons.

2. Imagine if this global pandemic situation were utilised to impose stricter biometric security, DNA based identification or micro-chipping, where national databases would hold all our personal data, DOB, address, blood type, medical records, vaccination records. Criminal records (where appropriate).

Here’s a couple of thoughts for the Anti-vaxxers:

3. Imagine if vaccinations became compulsory as a result of a global pandemic. It could be argued that you would be denied medical care if you refused vaccinations that were in the greater interest of the population.

4. Imagine what else they could include in those vaccinations once they were compulsory.  

The lengths, breadths and depths of how this global situation could be utilised or more disturbingly abused by the powers that be, are quite astonishing when you take just five minutes to think about how our freedoms could be further and permanently curtailed with this providing the perfect justification.

It’s one thing for these systems to be available as an ‘option’, but what if a situation like this was utilised to bring in mandatory changes of ALL the aforementioned:

  • Cashless monetary systems
  • Biometric security/identity chips
  • Mandatory health screening and vaccinations.
  • An increase in tracking and listening apps

We are always somehow duped into believing that these things are introduced for ‘our own good’. For our improved security and safety when in reality they are always for improved state control and power. 

The ‘herd’ are quickly won over with a few choice words and promises of stability and receive a pat on the head for being so wonderfully understanding and supportive (aka; reliable, compliant, docile and well behaved) perhaps the herd are even each rewarded with a badge to wear (or a bell to ring once a week in celebration of their obedience and unwitting conformity), a badge that would unite them in the name of agreement and support, but mostly…..MOSTLY….in the name of obedience and social conformity.

The rest of us who are perhaps bleating a bit more loudly about such worrisome issues and infringements are considered dissidents or troublemakers and very quickly the ‘herd’ are surreptitiously directed by our illustrious leaders to ostracise or oust these members of the flock. 
Strength in numbers, zero tolerance to anyone deviating from the norm.
Soon we are criminalised by society for ‘free thinking and discussion’.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
George Orwell … Animal Farm

Governments impose restrictions based on the advice from their so called ‘experts’, law enforcers then have the difficult task of upholding these often unpopular restrictions and the general public, the last link in the chain, have only one option…… to adhere to those newly imposed restrictions or face being criminalised.

This is how revolutions start. 

Let us not forget that in the last few years the UK Parliament (but not solely the Tories) have been systematically stripped of both morals and justice and also anyone who might have posed a threat to the various leaders and their dogged determination to ‘get Brexit done’.

Some of the most experienced and evenly balanced politicians with perhaps the last vestiges of integrity have been passed over for fawning sycophants and hangers-on, desperate for their five minutes of fame, others have simply resigned from their posts as MP’s in their utter disenchantment with the entire appalling circus, thus leaving the ranks to be filled with unaccomplished and unremarkable MP’s who are employed for their unwavering obedience rather than their collective competence, all supported by a swathe of undistinguished number crunchers who would, despite their lack of credible talent, be able to concentrate on the long laborious task of Brexit bureaucracies since this was the only item on the agenda for the foreseeable future.

However, instead of concentrating solely on Brexit and making Britain Great again a novel viral pandemic became the exclusive focus of 2020 and suddenly the newly appointed Government team of brown-nosing ineffectual civil servants can be seen exactly for what they really are. They have even had the remarkable resulting effect of making Boris Johnson actually look like a reasonably credible and effective leader, there was an undeniable sigh of relief when Big Daddy was finally back at the helm after several weeks of illness, saving the British public from the limp and leaderless bunch of wet rags that were standing in for him.

You could never have imagined, at the start of this situation, that bumbling Boris could have been compared to Winston Churchill. Praise indeed!

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I’m somewhat suspicious that Dominic Cummings (political strategist, statistician and Boris Johnson’s senior adviser) has been rather quiet of late.

This is what he looked like just prior to the Lockdown.

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This is probably what he looks like now, after working tirelessly in the dank, basement of ‘number 10’ for twenty-one hours a day, seven days a week , several weeks straight, dreaming up new ways to curtail the freedoms and rights of ninety-nine-percent of UK citizens whilst bleeding them dry in the process (though obviously these same curtailments won’t apply to the tax-dodging elite).

Credit: Unknown
Credit: Unknown

A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.
In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.  George Orwell

Hopefully, next time I write I will be able to bring you some of my usual witterings about the very normal daily bollocks that we all dearly love and miss.
For now, I am very much looking forward to a birthday trip tomorrow to Action and Lidl. Who knows, my husband might even be allowed out of the car and be able to join me! Woohoo.

The Virtual Recluse

Until then, let’s all look forward to Summer 2020:

Credit: Unknown