Ok a short post- mainly to share some observations for what they are worth
1 I love Jacinda Ardern- New Zealand’s PM. Really I do! Last year she impressed me with the way she dealt with the awful incident of the terrorist who targeted Muslims. Now she is impressing me with how she and her country is dealing with Coronavirus. Decisive, effective, compassionate, empathic and to top it all, she and her ministers take a voluntary 20% pay cut. So yeh- I love that woman and I wish my country had a leader like that.
2 Leading on from point 1. When reading about Jacinda I was struck how many of the countries dealing most effectively with the crisis in the world are led by women. Check out this article, makes fascinating reading. Certainly makes you think.
3 My last post about how now is actually a good time to stop drinking resonated with a few readers. Made me realise that I was so lucky to have given up on 1st September last year. I’ve given my body a fighting chance of being better prepared should I contract this bloody virus. But then I thought,”Was it luck or was there something in the Zeitgeist that led me to giving up drink at that point.” I’m beginning to thing there was a confluence of factors; greater awareness of the damage we are doing to the planet (good old Greta!), more people shunning the handed down assumption that to have a good time you had to do things like drink, a growing distrust of how big business encourages unhealthy habits, and a realisation that we can shape our own destinies.
4 I look around now and see many people overeating, drinking more excessively, basically a lot of people who do not seem very fit. Not all by any means but a lot. I see a divide according to class and inequality and realise that for all the talk about public health, successive governments, in the UK at least, have simply not done enough to promote good public health. School playing fields have been sold off, public spaces reduced, no real money has been put into cycling and building a network of safe cycle paths, there’s still no minimum alcohol unit pricing in England despite the evidence that it works (as in Scotland) and the suspicion reemerges that governments have a bigger interest in tax receipts from the food and drink industries than really making a difference to public health. We have neglected real efforts to help all sections of our societies healthy, and now when having a healthy body is the one defence we seem to have against the virus we realise just how important health is. We have a pandemic that people like Bill Gates warned us about 5 years ago but for which there was little to no preparation. We merrily boozed and chomped our way through more than we ever needed. Governments could have spent time and money preparing for a pandemic but that costs money and some governments think we all want a low tax, consumer society where we can consume scarce resources and eat and drink ourselves senseless above all else. Maybe they got that wrong. Maybe that’s not how many felt before the crisis and even more feel differently now.
Maybe the Zeitgeist is about to change. Let’s hope so.
That’s it. Just some thoughts.