2021 Lockdown – Day 16

The CoVID death toll over the last 24 hours in the UK was 1820. That’s 210 more than yesterday but it’s not 210 more deaths, it’s 1820 more. We didn’t wind the old deaths back to zero like it was a clock. Yesterday’s tally can’t be put to one side. If tomorrow’s tally is 1430, 390 lives (1820 minus 1430) haven’t been saved.

Taking the 2 days together it’s 3430 deaths. Should we go back further? Or is that scandalous enough. I’ve not actually heard the figures described in this way and I’m not expecting them to be. But it does press home the scale of what we’re dealing with.

In the film The Trial of the Chicago 7, Tom Hayden proceeds to read the name of every soldier who fell in the Vietnam War after the judge offers him leniency for being cooperative. Though this never actually happened it’s a powerful motif that contrasts the reality of the war they had been protesting and the sham political trial they had been subjected to.

Last year we saw a montage of medics who had died. It was an attempt to put faces to numbers. As tragic as every single one of those deaths was, there were handles we could grasp to at least explain how awful it was. There was a narrative that made conceptual sense even if the reality was hard to handle. How do you describe the current situation when you have no words left to describe it as worse than it was. You are left with technical terms and numbers and can only internalise the devastation.

The world has just been privy to the spectacle of the inauguration of Joe Biden, 14 days after seeing the Capitol building besieged by a mob protesting the election. At the same time congress is going through an impeachment process while Washington is locked down by thousands of troops against an imaginary threat and Biden is greeted by rows of flags where people should be. Something, somewhere has gone horribly wrong.

In Britain we are finally beginning to see what Brexit looks like. This time its lorries (trucks) not people. Kent has been turned into the country’s largest lorry park and it’s literally sinking under the weight. Meanwhile children are going hungry in one of the world’s wealthiest nations but to offset that, our fish are happy so it’s not all bad.

There are less than 60 billionaires in the UK with a population of 68 million. It’s hard to imagine what 68 million looks like, just like it’s hard to get your head around 3430 deaths in 48 hours. But it’s not so difficult to understand that if the people of the UK really wanted their country back, not from a European bureaucracy but from greedy billionaires and monopolistic corporations who see numbers where faces should be, the odds are around a million to one in their favour.

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