Most families, I think, have stories that pass down from generation to generation, and usually a 'keeper' of that history, the Matriarch perhaps or an enthusiastic Aunt or Uncle. The usual question was 'what did you do in the War dad?', but for all of us now, it will be 'what did you do during the Pandemic?'. Did you have to wear masks? were you scared to go out? How did you go shopping? When did Amazon take over the world?
My letter to the future would say, well you know what, in late 2019 we were getting near to that happy state our red flag waving predecessors fought and died for. We had, going into the December 2019 General Election, a leader of the Labour Party, who spoke for the many not just the few. An enlightened, compassionate, statesman, genuinely seeking a better future for all. We also had at our fingertips, all the information we could ever wish and within seconds. News reporting has been turned on it's head in the last two decades, biased news agencies can no longer lie to us. Everyone has a mobile phone, every incident of, say police brutality can and will be filmed. We rarely buy actual newspapers anymore, relying instead on social media, particularly twitter, the President of the USA's primary form of communication. We can literally receive breaking news within moments and even as it is happening.
So what do we tell future generations, especially those historians scratching their heads, completely flummoxed as to how we, in the UK and our friends in the US, with all the information and education we had available to us, could democratically vote for (that's the hard part), two dishonest leaders who are not only an abomination as human beings but who are so inept at leadership, they shouldn't be put in charge of anything beyond a stationary cupboard. How different our death numbers from Covid-19 here in the UK would be today if Jeremy Corbyn had been at the helm. We have two clowns as leaders, but there is nothing funny about them.
But children of the future here we are. Democracy has given us the worst of the worst, how did that happen? The USA has a loud mouthed game show host as it's President, we in the UK, have as our Prime Minister, a life of privilege loud mouthed, top hat and tails wearing Eton toff who belonged to an exclusive club whose initiation ceremonies included burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person. Both of these leaders have white/yellow haystacks atop their heads as their trademarks, as if to say 'c'mon, look at the mad hair, what's not to love?'. I see you historians now, shaking your heads in wonderment, were we really that backward? Yes we were (are). Maybe the mad hair has a hypnotic effect.
You, in the future, will also have the benefit of knowing how the coronavirus story ended. Here in the UK as numbers and deaths keep rising, Boris Johnson is doing his best to push all the plebs back to work, whilst also trying to feign care and concern by clapping on a Thursday night. Lets get the schools open, he says whilst fist bumping the air (except for the private ones like Eton who are not re-opening until September). 'Let's carry on with the handwashing and staying 2 metres away from other human beings, and all will be fine. Ok, ok, many of you will die, but lets not make a big deal out of it. We need to get the economy back on track so me and my mates can carry on stashing up billions for when we are voted out of office'.
As Trump hides in a bunker at the White House, all of his little fires are joining together and closing in on him. Metaphorically and physically. Mueller failed to do it, Indictment failed to do it, but now the public are coming out in huge numbers against him and he is on his knees. It is clear his dementia is rapidly advancing but the hatred he has for so many people is eating him alive. I can't see any non corrupt campaign manager or advisor, telling him to use his grudges against President Obama to win the upcoming election, methinks, that's all him. He is handicapping his own re-election chances at every opportunity. He's had enough, he's reached that stage he is so familiar with, where he just declares bankruptcy/gets divorced, and walks away. Maybe he is trying to broker a deal where he commits to resigning if the Democrats promise not to put him in jail.
The results of Donald Trump's and Boris Johnson's chaotic handing of Covid-19 will be available to you, and history will show that the countries with the highest mortality rates had the worst leaders. Those will be the cold hard facts accompanied by graphs, charts and the warnings by scientists that were ignored. As I write this today 31st May 2020, the UK has nearly 300,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with nearly 40,000 deaths. We are nearly 3 months into lockdown and the numbers have never really gone below the peak, the first one, we cynics are expecting a second, much bigger wave. People are bored with the lockdown, the sun is shining and the sky has never been clearer - it would appear we have been polluting the skies, who knew? (sarcasm).
The future of course, will have all the facts in front of them, but even now, we can see how Covid-19 has exposed the huge failures of absolute capitalism. China, where the virus originated, with a population of 1.49billion, suffered less than 5,000 deaths, close by South Korea had less than 300. The USA, population 331million has today, 106,000 deaths, and it has just reopened for business so it will probably go much higher. The UK, population 66.65million, has 38,489 deaths, but like the US, our government is ignoring the advice of scientists and experts in order to get the economy going again. The first victims of 'the return' our littlest children, the nursery and reception classes. Ye Gods, what monster chose the toddlers to experiment with!
But children of the future, here we are. As this pandemic, this plague, sweeps through the world, and we are probably only about half way there yet, we are being led by imbeciles. It may explain to you, looking back on these times, why 'the West' lost it's status as world leaders and the East took over. I write this 'warning to the future', because I have always wanted to read the thoughts of a woman from 1930's Berlin. I guess, everything is fine, until it's not. We expect every year to be the same as the last, with the shops and restaurants open, the kids at school, the train packed, having it all come to a sudden stop was a shock to us all. The world literally changed overnight. Not in that ominous sense of hiding under the stairs waiting for bombs to drop on us, but, perhaps worse. We have the enemy all around us, we can't see it, but it can get us in multiple ways, many which we don't even know about. Is it picked up from surfaces? Is it in minute particles on our breath? It would be easy to become paranoid, but easier still to become complacent, especially if you have stuck to the rules for so long.
Fortunately, the statistics show that approximately 80% of people in the UK and the US, believe the scientists and doctors over their leaders and politicians. Neither country has a fast and efficient system of testing, and the danger (so many more infected) is far greater now than it was when the lockdown began. Most people will follow their own common sense, advice from the government these days is worthless.
But, children of the future, it is not all misery. We have, via the television and internet, every form of entertainment, books, films, music, history, science, the list is endless. We are never truly alone all the while we have mobile phones and Zoom - a face to face 'app' most of us had never heard of until the lockdown. That panicky sense of imminent danger has calmed down to a resigned sense of 'oh well'. Not many people are wearing masks anymore and less and less people are following the 2 metre rule. I usually just move away from them or stand out of their way. I apply the same rule to social distancing as I do to posting on social media. I am only responsible for what I do and say, what others do is beyond my control. It's a bit Zen.
You in the future will of course have all the answers. You will look at the Great Plague in England of 1665, the 'Spanish' Flu of 1918 and Covid-19, which just to confuse things, really took off in 2020. It would seem that in 2020 that we are just as vulnerable to plague as our medieval ancestors. You might wonder why countries such as the USA and the UK, spend so much money on arms and weapons of mass destruction, supposedly to safeguard their citizens, yet so little on protecting their citizens from a deadly virus. Over the past few days we have seen US police, wearing more armour than Robocop, and over the past few weeks we have seen US doctors wearing bin liners. It's no wonder Trump has withdrawn from the World Health Organisation, science stuff isn't nearly so much fun as buying fighter jets.
Karma, we hope, will catch up with Trump and Johnson, sooner, rather than later. Mob boss Trump will hopefully go to jail and Johnson's legacy will be the thousands of unnecessary deaths because he handled the coronavirus so badly. Sadly it has taken a global pandemic to expose that these two elected leaders have no leadership qualities whatsoever.