Mon 17 Aug 2020: chafing at the bit

I’ve been back at work part-time for a week, working half my normal hours, and despite joking about how horrible it is to experience mornings again it’s not been too bad. It took me a few days to get back up to speed as there was a huge backlog of correspondence and I wanted to at least glance at everything that had been done in my absence. The usual meetings where my team keeps each other informed of progress, plan our work and so on, all of which are useful, take an annoyingly large proportion of my time given my reduced hours, but they are necessary.

On Saturday I was umpiring again, in Malden this time. One of my father’s cousins lives very close to the ground so I invited him and his wife to come and watch, and then went to dinner and a good chinwag at their house afterwards. Quite a bit of our nattering was about what we’d been up to in these strange times, as expected, but also about how they and everyone else were beginning to chafe at the bit. When people like them, community-minded law-abiding people, a retired engineer and someone who works in a medical practice, are getting to resent their loss of liberties – and are putting it quite clearly in those terms – it is clear that any significant re-imposition of restrictions will not be tolerated by the population as a whole.

A little while back there was talk that the schools must reopen in September, and that we could either have schools open or pubs open. The logical conclusion was that pubs must close. But I do not think that would go down well! Not only would the child-less majority of adults resent it, you have to remember that pubs and restaurants re-opened because to not have them open would do terrible harm, socially and economically, to the very large number of low-paid workers who staff them. As much as the whining twitterati hate it, the government has had to, and will have to, accept that some deaths are a price worth paying for reduced harm elsewhere, and that life and happiness do in fact have a finite value that can be expressed in pounds and pence.

The actuaries and liberals in my vast audience will, of course, all be going “well duh”.