Over the course of the COVID outbreak central Government have made many decisions that have impacted our lives here in Southend and Thorpe Ward.
We have all felt this differently and the sacrifices that have been made by each of us have been made on the presumption that we were doing the right thing.
The majority of us have not been privy to every piece of information regarding the disease, and have therefore had to put our faith in the Prime Minister and his team to make the right decisions. Up to now we really have had no choice in this regardless of where you stand on the subject. While some have protested against the freedoms we have had to give away - and that is indeed their right to do so - in general we have behaved as the government has wished. This despite some in and associated with the government not following the rules themselves; despite inconsistent strategies; and despite strategies that make no sense at all. However, after over six months of having to follow one ineffectual rule or law after another everyone has their limit, and I must confess I seem to have reached mine.
I am under the impression that the goal has always been to slow down the rate at which COVID-19 is passed between people, and not to eliminate it in one fell swoop. This is questionable in itself, however, the tactics that have recently been announced leave me struggling to find the logic. The question is which rules/laws are the more inept: the rule of six, creating a new position named COVID Marshalls, or the 10pm curfew? I am undecided as to which one is more disruptive, nonsensical and damaging to our lives.
The position of ‘COVID Marshall’ should simply be a non-starter. I can see how it might have been suggested. I might have even suggested it myself. However, when you run through the practicalities of such a position, they act merely as a token gesture that has nothing to do with actually helping to reduce and eradicate COVID-19. The cost of these newly created positions look as though they will be the burdens of local government, as discussed in the recent Cabinet meeting.
The law of six is without logic. A restaurant is allowed 120 strangers in the same room, but not if they know each other. This has a real economic impact on small businesses across the town and we are meekly surrendering livelihoods and jobs.
Both ‘strategies’ seem equally ludicrous in what they set out to do and what they will achieve. Being that they have only been put in place to make it look like they are doing something, it has not even achieved that!
If the figures are to be believed, this disease has caused immense pain to many families across the town, country and the world. It is life or death and is as serious as it gets. I personally know people that have been affected and have heard the pain, disbelief, anger and frustration in their voices to know this is real. But I can no longer support what is going on.
Yesterday we hear new measures including a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants. What is it they think is going to be the result of this?
It has reached the point that ridiculousness has become the new normal, and more it comes the more accepting we are. But before I succumb to dull acceptance I have put myself on high alert, because the tipping point has happened and these policies have broken me.
I will still action whatever the government wishes in communal support for my neighbours, friends, family, fellow workers and so on, but I will now openly voice my concerns moving forward.
This debacle has reminded me why I am so keen to become a political voice in the town.
I may not have all the answers, but I do have the drive and will to ask the right questions.