(Article written for B-C-ing-U)
As the virus continues, there’s untold pressure and uncertainty for every working person in this country – and around the world. Well before the lockdown came, work in the cab trade had dried up. London emptied out. Cab drivers were going back to their old jobs or looking for new ones. Garages were having their rental cabs returned. People were even renting parking space to garages so they could store their returned cabs!
First the pubs and restaurants were closed. Next came the lockdown. By the end of March you needed a good reason to be on the streets. Some authorities set up checkpoints. It’s rather un-British to have to stop at checkpoints to show the Polizia your papers – though in reality it’s probably no worse than being stopped by Transport for London spooks at the St Pancras cab rank.
When the crisis ends, some of us would have survived the financial ramifications, some of us wouldn’t. Most of us have taken a financial battering. The country will be poorer. The NHS are at breaking point. In times like these it’s time to look at who are doing their bit, and who should be doing more. We should boycott the corporations who avoid paying tax. This tax could have been used to support the NHS. I used to buy quite a bit from Amazon (Uber in a warehouse) but I’m looking at alternatives. By patronising companies like Amazon I am part of the problem, not part of the solution. I always try to support local heroes rather than multi-national corporations, but like most of us, I can be lazy and unthinking. I am painfully aware that my shopping habits over the years have contributed in driving the butchers, greengrocers and fishmongers off the high street and into the supermarkets or on-line retailers. The few independent businesses left need our support. We need to think about the bigger picture.
The way people think has changed. We can see that the real heroes aren’t TV celebrities, but are the people doing essential work, but all too often for low pay and little job security. I’m not interested in what celebs are going off the rails, or who are wringing their hands after coming out as gay. Forget Harry and Meghan moving to North America to become full-time celebrities. They don’t have to queue for a virus test in a car park.
The British work best when their backs are up against the wall. We get by with a sense of humour. I’m sure most of have been sent darkly humorous jokes, or videos of people singing silly songs about the virus. People were pulling together. We felt more interrelated – even though we weren’t going out and social interaction was conducted through the TV, radio or social media. We were all in the same boat, and that boat’s going to be rocking when all this is over.