It felt good to be travelling again. I like airports. They aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m definitely in the Love Actually camp on this subject. It was nice to see a steady stream of jets roaring into the blue skies above Luton Airport. It was good to see bustling shops, Prets and restaurants inside the airport. It was lovely to hear the excited chatter of people off on foreign adventures.
Best of all, it was wonderful to be setting off on my own trip overseas once again. It had been far too long. Had another month passed, it would have been a year since I’d last left the country. A whole calendar year. That hadn’t happened thus far this century. And it didn’t come to pass. We made it to Portugal in good time to prevent such a horror.
We have another trip booked this year. Malta in the middle of October. I say booked, but in truth it is a rebooked holiday. The original booking, for March 26th, was cancelled when the U.K. went into lockdown three days before we were due to fly. It seems at present that this is once again unlikely to occur.
There is currently a quarantine requirement in place for persons coming into the U.K. from Malta, and the current trend in infections suggests that this is unlikely to change between now and then. But I have my fingers crossed anyway. Optimism costs nothing, beyond entirely expected disappointment. And I plan further adventures for next year, with hope in my heart. But in truth, I largely despair at the world.
The people rail and wail against the political classes. They have cause to do so, particularly in populist run states such the US and U.K., where the pandemic has had to compete with comparatively unimportant ideologies, in a world of personality cults. Hence we approach autumn with a collapsing test and trace system. That was the one real job of the government over the last six months, and they have failed.
Only so much blame can be placed on governments. Our societies and the people within them have a lot of freedom to make choices and perform actions based on evidence, common sense and shared knowledge. Sadly, an unfortunately high percentage of the population that I can observe seems set on a course of action that will likely wreak long term damage -economic, social and health – on our communities.
Sadly, the opportunity to choose stupid has proven too tempting, for too many. Ludicrous claims by demonstrably dim witted Youtubers, Tweeters and Facebookers have been elevated above factual statements of genuine experts. And whilst it’s true to say that the hardcore conspiracy theorists are still a tiny minority, they have succeeded in sowing seeds of self destruction in a wider population.
A second wave was always inevitable. Perhaps the inability of a free western democracy to countenance that was also always inevitable. I have largely lost faith with our societies. I have a friend who would now interject in this doom laden essay to say that it will all end well, and I agree with him. I just think it’s worth mentioning that millions will likely die between now and then. So I shall treasure my memories of Portugal. Who knows when next we will fly.