We are living in extraordinary times – truly. I know this is a phrase that’s being used far too often but pandemics bring out the best and worst in society – remember the empty supermarket shelves – the amazing acquiescence of the European people to lockdown and the awesome response of our own NHS to the pandemic.
Pandemics almost always bring about a huge change in both society and often alters the balance of power within a community. The Athenian Pandemic of 430 BC effectively removed the power of Athens during the Peloponnesian war and it never recovered. The Justinian Pandemic of 541 AD broke the Byzantine Empire which never recovered and the Catholic Church in Rome reigned supreme for over a 1000 years. The Black Death of 13447 altered European Society forever, in which the value of craftsmen/Traders/businessmen and those working on the land was fully recognised and ceased to be the property of the local land owner/Baron. This ultimately led to the Renaissance/Reformation and Industrial Revolution.
So it is today, we are watching a unique change in society the like of which we have not witnessed since the end of World War II when we introduced the NHS/Social Services/Universal Pensions etc. The High Street is unlikely to recover, who is going to queue for an hour to go into shop to browse and buy one or two items when you can do it on line? Who is going to be prepared to commute in packed trains/buses or sit in traffic for 1-2 hours when you can do your work at home and have an extra 2-4 hours in their day that’s stress free? Click and Collect/Home Delivery is now the preferred method of Supermarket shopping for many. Virtual medical consultations have become commonplace so the need to travel into hospital to attend an overcrowded often late Outpatient clinic is unnecessary. Face masks in public will become mandatory and are likely to be the next big fashion statement!
Sure the lockdown will be lifted in stages but going to a bar/pub/restaurant will never be the same and as for easy foreign travel that’s unlikely to be as simple as it was before; with reduced seating/ long queues getting in and out of airports and some form of health passport being necessary will all effectively reduce our love for foreign travel. We will all learn to appreciate our family, neighbours, public services and our country.