….. made even more inglorious by the Covid pandemic (and politicians!)
More musings from Alan Dearling
London, dateline 24th April 2021:
Possibly up to 800,000 demonstrators took to the streets, Trafalgar Square and the parks in a major protest against masks, vaccinations, Covid passports and travel bans. I’m sure there were many more grievances than that! It didn’t seem to register in much of the media, but in London it made quite an impact, (not that I was there). In fact, I don’t agree with the protestors, but I certainly agree with their right to protest.
After the event, here’s what Joanne, one of my Facebook friends wrote: “Truly had my faith in my fellow human replenished.
They won’t show how huge and mellow this was on msm… Believe me it totally blew me away. One love.”
Here’s the link to the London ‘Evening Standard’ report, which reported that: “Their aim is to fight against all pandemic rules and use the slogan ‘no new normal’ to reject moves to help fight the pandemic which puts restrictions on everyday life.” : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/london-protest-covid-vaccine-passports-lockdown-b931542.html?fbclid=IwAR0BfcFSmf62SprcP_dDj6cFyj1Q-ZGI82HxnUY7k8sqzgLRhM05nNNN3L8
Meanwhile, various claims and counter-claims about cronyism and sleaze during the Covid pandemic are beginning to surface. For example, Dominic Cummings has claimed that, “It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves.”
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said the Government was, “lurching between cover-ups and cock-ups”.
In the UK, the disunited nation is continuing to confuse and bemuse the public with varying responses from the devolved administrations to travel, public events, the Covid test and trace systems and some sort of Covid passport or certification. I’ve personally been working on house renovations and some tricky repairs in both the Pennines of Yorkshire in England and the east-coast borderlands on Scotland. At a personal level it appears that many more people in Yorkshire are suspicious of, or actively in opposition to, the infringements on personal ‘freedoms’ imposed during the Covid responses. This is now beginning to be heard (quite loudly) in beer gardens, restaurant patios and even in graffiti on the canal network. And, of course in on-line forums. Information, disinformation, fabrications and lies. For instance, this Facebook post: “Astrazenica …is in the spot light again…a perfectly healthy Italian woman died of Thrombosis after receiving the jab …how can the EMA still consider this vaccine safe?”
In Scotland, the local area where I am at present is braced for an enormous influx of tourists – the ‘staycation’ message is being met by quite challenging street hoardings. And closed-up toilet facilities.
My second Covid jab – the Pfizer one – is now in my personal medical history records – I hope. But, in Scotland they are not issuing any sort of ‘proof’ to those who’ve had the jags, as they call them in Scotland. Unlike in England, where Covid vaccination cards are issued and recipients are encouraged to carry them at all times. Also, in this strange-new, brave-new world, the self-administered rapid antigen test kits (aka lateral flow test) are being issued on a large scale. I got two from a pharmacy in Todmorden and was really rather surprised that they only asked my age, and did not want any name or address – there is obviously not any ‘track or trace’ attached to the ‘test’ bit of the system!
Further afield in Copenhagen, events, testing and their app were reported in the UK on BBC radio.
I have spent quite a lot of time in Denmark in past times, and especially at the ex-squat, Christiania. It is a huge tourist magnet – ‘Hippy Central’. ‘The Local. Dk’ is the English language newspaper and they reported:
“A ban preventing public use of parts of the Christiania area in Copenhagen has been lifted after more than 100 days and repeated extensions.
Copenhagen Police have now ended the ban on using the ‘Pusher Street’ and ‘Green Light District’ areas of Christiania, after it expired at midnight on Tuesday.
The ban, a so-called opholdsforbud, allowed the public only to pass through, but not stop in the area. It was originally introduced in January as a measure to limit the spread of Covid-19 infections. At the time, a tendency for crowds to gather in the area was cited as the basis for the measure.
It was then extended at regular intervals.
Police said on Tuesday that the ban was no longer necessary given change in national restrictions, effective as of Wednesday, which raised the outdoor assembly limit to 50 people.”
This is what the Danish Government’s site for tourists says:
“As of 21 April 2021, restaurants, cafés etc. are open for serving both indoors and outdoors with requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Corona “passport” and table reservation 30 minutes before is required for indoor serving.
Museums, art venues, libraries, etc. are open as of 21 April 2021. Corona passport must be presented.
Indoors organized sports activities are open for children and youth beneath the age of 18 years as well as for adults above 70 years.
Liberal professions are open with the requirement to implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Corona passport must be presented.
Outdoor cultural institutions such as zoos are open with the precondition that visitors can present a corona passport.”
Perhaps the most famous visitor attraction in Copenhagen is Tivoli Gardens – the unique amusement and music events park. Their website has posted this online:
“We are looking forward to seeing you for Summer in Tivoli every week from 9 April – 22 April. From 23 April Tivoli Gardens will be open every day.
We recommend that you buy your admission ticket, Unlimited Ride Ticket and/or Tivoli Pass at home. You will still be able to buy tickets and a Tivoli Pass on the day at the entrance and from the Tivoli Box Office.
As we reopen, we are also complying with a health authority requirement for visitors aged 15 and over to produce proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19. The test must be no more than 72 hours old when you arrive at Tivoli. This means that you must bring:
- Proof of either a negative antigen test (also known as a rapid test) or a negative PCR test (throat swab) which is no more than 72 hours old at the time of your arrival at Tivoli.
- The proof must contain the name, test time and test result for the person who was tested.
- ID in the form of a passport, driving licence, yellow health card or other official identity card.
- Guests that have received the full COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the visit in the Tivoli Gardens, do not need to show proof of a negative test.”
So, we seem to be lurching, in an un-co-ordinated, unplanned way into a World Covid Test of Herd Immunity. I suspect that politicians will see this relaxation of the restrictions – the allowing of people to take ‘personal responsibility’, to do ‘the Right Thing’ – as a way of passing the buck and absolving themselves of responsibility if (or when) a Third and Fourth Wave of Covid cases and deaths spread around the desperately, unevenly, vaccinated world.
Perhaps we need to call on many gods to help and care for us. Especially, as people are increasingly fragmented and divided in their own feelings about the pandemic and local, government and international responses to it. It does indeed look like a long summer of discontent!