26 May 2022

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Apocalypse – are we being tested for this now?
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Apocalypse – are we being tested for this now?

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The pressures build as civil disobedience threatens to destabilise our society.

We seem to live in a very troubled world with pockets of trouble dotted all around the place. Whether you are a democrat or a republican, there is no doubt that the US is divided right down the middle and has been for some time. A country where we see constant problems and now threats of violence arising out of a democratic election, people carrying guns in the street. Let us face it, an election is just a snapshot in time which gives one side or the other a chance to prove itself and people being as fickle as they are, one error can mean a complete change of heart.

To mention but a couple of high profile trouble areas, Hong Kong has been a hotbed of unrest this year and one which threatens to boil over and involve other parts of the world, not least Britain.

Then you have situations like in Belarus – a leader who claims he won an election but the people are not having it and in the meanwhile unrest gets worse and threatens to break out into massive violence. Here you find the EU deciding to involve themselves thereby widening the dispute.

But look at the UK. It is absolutely astonishing to read in the newspapers that so many people and businesses intend to break the law by remaining open during the lockdown because “they know best” whilst members of the public criticise these people for breaking the rules and putting everyone at risk. The underlying problems in the UK emerge from a deadly virus, not actually the fault of anyone that we know of – although conspiracy theorists have other ideas.

Keeping this blog “local”, by which I mean the UK, what we are seeing is really quite un-British behaviour and by this I am thinking primarily of the willingness to break the law on the part of otherwise respectable law-abiding citizens. Everyone has a point of view about what is right and they are perfectly entitled to do so but, for better or for worse, we have a democratically elected government and a parliament to manage how the country as a whole copes with these things. We may not like everything that is doled out to us but we have to trust that what is done is done for the best of reasons and if we do not like it, then we express our disdain through the ballot box next time around. Otherwise anarchy will set in before we know it.

Most countries have a civil war at some time in their past. Some of these had dramatic outcomes – the French carted their aristocracy off to the guillotine; the Russians murdered their Tsar and his family in a cellar and chose a very different path for the future. In England we had a civil war in 1642 which lasted for nine years but we emerged as a nation and patched ourselves up and here we are today.

But looking around, are we going to maintain these differences and in fact make them grow and get worse? Who would have thought that two major western democracies would be divided down the middle at the same time, albeit over quite different issues?

And what if violence does erupt? In America we have seen that violence damage the very people in whose names the violence has been brought. The British business owners determined to open their businesses against the law say they are standing up for their liberty but surely the law is our liberty? What can the law do? It has two choices. It can ignore the law breakers or it can take action and, in these instances, fine the people in question. And for every business which stays open, presumably there are customers willing to break the law too by going and supporting them. Should they not also be getting fined? Without them the shop which remains open illegally would be gaining nothing from the illegal act!

And this week we witnessed students at Manchester university tearing down fences because they said they felt trapped inside. So the students run the university now, do they?

Even Parliament is beginning to fragment in terms of how the country should be managed at this time of crisis. What message should the people take from that?

If we continue on these courses, things can only get worse. Do we as a society have the ability to pull ourselves through our current crisis intact or is this along with pressures over the world a test, one which, if we fail, will bring about the arrival of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and we all know how that will end.

Today is a real milestone because today the world exceeds 50 million recorded cases of Covid-19 and one and a quarter million deaths so time to think and to talk and to stop the dissension and try and pull together to get ourselves through. It will be hard enough without fighting each other as well.

Adrian Leopard 07-11-20

Painting Viktor Vasnetsov [1887]

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