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Some home truths arising from the pandemic

I’ve been getting the impression since the coronavirus pandemic first hit the UK that humanity really needs to make its mind up between whether it would prefer to live free without restraints to “do its own thing” – albeit perhaps within some basic limits (e.g. as long as this doesn’t affect the rights of others to do likewise)  – or the alternative, i.e. to have some form of Nanny State in power that can provide it with the basic wherewithal to live a comfortable and easy life “thank you very much”.

Arguably, it would seem that those opting for the latter would be content to accept a “quid pro quo” trade-off whereby, in settling for a comfortable and easy life, they’d forfeit personal responsibility for their outcomes in terms of any advancement or development that they might have achieved had they possessed the freedom to strive, albeit with the attendant risk of failing.

When contemplating where the UK has reached as regards its primary tasks of  protecting its population from the heath effects of the crisis whilst also seeking (when conditions allow) to return our process of everyday living – including commerce, business and leisure pursuits – to some version of “normality”, if not our previous one, it would seem that there have been some key and telling ‘signals’.

I refer to such as the campaigns to continue to provide free school meals – even when, to all intents and purposes for coronavirus reasons, schools weren’t (couldn’t) operate – to those areas and parents deprived enough (or otherwise incapable) not to be able to provide their kids with one or more decent daily meals.

Plus then another campaign to extend this provision to what otherwise would have been (in ‘normal times’) the ‘school holidays’.

It would seem only be a notch or two further, arguably, before there’d be popular support for the notion that Government should act – at the taxpayers’ expense – to fund and provide all meals at all times of the day to all kids in the kingdom.

And what about the workers? First – when they had to go into lockdown – they were either furloughed or else able to apply for various schemes already existing (or newly introduced) to help keep “the wolf from the door”.

Then there were soon identified those exceptions who for some reason had somehow “fallen between the stools” – e.g. the self-employed … and, once a scheme had been devised for them, then the self-employed who, for whatever reason(s), somehow hadn’t qualified for it.

As the months went by it began to feel as though whatever successive scheme(s) the Government devised to help those who hadn’t previously qualified for assistance, there was always another group – or indeed a range of people in individual circumstances – who either still didn’t qualify and/or had somehow also been left behind.

It was not hard to gain the impression that it might have been simpler (and indeed less noisy in terms of those pleading, bleating, or rushing to fill the airwaves with their tales of being ignored, left behind or disadvantaged) – and also ultimately cheaper(?) – for example, to simply have given every adult in the country the equivalent of say £30,000 per annum and leave them to get on with whatever life that amount would allow them to live.

And currently we’ve now got the obesity crisis dominating the headlines.

Identify me as curmudgeonly, uncaring and fascist if you wish, but I’m in the camp that believes that being fat is essentially a lifestyle choice – even if only a passive one.

If you eat more than you burn off via exercise etc. then you inevitably put on weight … end of message.

I’m afraid the justificatory complaints about genetics, over-active (or is it underactive?) glands – even the other innumerable conditions and illnesses that fatties traditionally trot out in their defence – don’t wash with me.

Getting to the nub of it – in the current world of ‘freedom of choice to do whatever each of us want’ – fatties have just two choices.

Stop bleating – and visiting the doughnut shops – connect with your self-esteem, take responsibility for yourself (because nobody else will), change what and how much you eat, start taking exercise … stick at it … in other words, just generally get your act into gear.

Or, alternatively, don’t.

Carry on as you are. Accept you’re a fatty and also the consequences … including a reduced potential for life-fulfilment, increased chances of falling prey to a myriad of potential illnesses and medical conditions … and ultimately a life that might end being anything up to a decade or more shorter than everybody else’s.

Arguably, the rest of us won’t mind which of those choices a fatty opts for, because there are “good” outcomes whichever way they  go.

Fatties will either get fitter (and thinner) or they’ll end up being around less time than everyone else, which will eventually help to reduce the burden upon taxpayer.

In conclusion, and returning to my ‘thought for the day’ … of course, there is one other potential consequence.

That some fatties will join the lengthening list of those in the UK population who seemingly would prefer to abdicate all responsibility for anything and instead have their lives run and funded by a Nanny State which provides everything they need to exist for as long as they do.

 

About Simon Campion-Brown

A former lecturer in politics at Keele University, Simon now lives in Oxfordshire. Married with two children, in 2007 he decided to monitor the Westminster village via newspaper and television and has never looked back. More Posts

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