The British government has ordered a large range of public businesses to shut their doors from Friday afternoon and to not reopen indefinitely, in a bid to prevent Britons from socialising in pubs, clubs, and other spaces during the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to the nation in a televised press conference Friday afternoon shortly after he ordered a wide range of businesses to shut their doors immediately, the Prime Minister said: “We are taking away the ancient, inalienable right of free-born people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub. And I can understand how people feel about that.”
Following the government’s advice given on Monday for the public to avoid public places and pubs and restaurants, Boris Johnson made the instruction official Friday, ordering cafes, pubs, clubs, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms, and leisure centres to shut immediately.
It’s nothing new to me. I lost that ancient, inalienable right 12½ years ago, on 1 July 2007. I’ve been sitting outside ever since. And now everybody else is losing the right too. 21 March 2020 is going to be a day for them to remember.
I July 2007 was a shocking day. 21 March 2020 is going to be an equally shocking day for anyone who expects to be able to meet up with friends at some pub tonight. They’re going to feel bewildered. They’re going to feel shocked.
I know all about social distancing. I’ve had 12½ years experience of that as well. Now everybody’s going to lose their friends, because there’s nowhere to meet them any more. They’re going to find themselves living atomic lives in an atomised society.
But in their case it’s a temporary measure. In a few weeks the pubs are supposed to re-open. Will they? What if the pandemic is still raging a year hence? Or ten years hence?
Lose one freedom, and you lose all freedom. Because freedom is indivisible.
We’re supposed to be living in the Free World, not in top-down controlled Communist China. But when the lockdowns come, we’ll find that it’s really no different here than there.
Is it all part of some fiendish plot? I don’t think it is. I don’t believe in fiendish plots. I don’t believe that what happens has always been planned by somebody of suitably fiendish disposition. We’re watching the whole world melting down, but it’s not part of anyone’s plan. What we’re seeing is complete loss of control. We’re watching a giant global motorway pileup. There’s nobody in control. And we’re all part of it.
The pandemic is the least of it. The real problems are going to be the economic and social and political consequences of it all. And they will start to emerge in the weeks and months and years ahead.
The old world – which was the world as it was two weeks ago – is being swept away, and it’s never coming back. We have a new world now, and we haven’t a clue what’s going to happen next.
It could be August 1914, but it probably isn’t. What we’re looking at is a global economic depression far deeper than in 1930. Today in the UK millions of people in the hospitality trade are going to become unemployed. And the same is going to happen everywhere else in the world, if it hasn’t happened already.
Yesterday’s concerns are going to be replaced by today’s pressing new concerns.
Does Brexit matter any more? In the past week the EU has disintegrated, as borders have been slammed shut. It’s now everyone for themselves. Europe is dissolving back into what it always was: a collection of nation states.
Does Donald Trump matter any more? Yesterday I pointed out how some people on the American Left, who’d been reviling him for the past 3 years, now suddenly see him as “the kind of leader that people need.” Why? Because everything has just changed, and changed completely. America now needs a strong leader, and Donald Trump is as hard as nails. And people on the American Left can suddenly see it.
Britain needs a strong leader too. Is Boris up to it? We’ll find out soon enough.
Does global warming matter any more? No. Greta Thunberg is going to vanish. And so is Extinction Rebellion.
Smoking bans don’t matter either. Nor Political Correctness of any sort. It’s all being swept away. It’s all past history. It all belongs to an era that has just ended.
The new world is one of global mass unemployment, starting today. The next few months and years are going to be focused on restarting the crashed global economy.
And mass-producing respirators. It’s already started.