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  • Lawrence Bailey

It’s been quite a week (so far)



Although I’ve technically been off on the sick, I’ve managed to keep up with events – and there’s been no shortage.

I suppose we should start with one of what political pundits like to call “defining moments”. This was the suspension of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for dismissing the findings of a report into anti-Semitism within the party.

Senior left-wing figures urged comrades not to resign their membership in protest. Moderates on the other hand are clearly hoping for a swift exit of ‘activists’ who joined up in expectation of a working class revolution.

Recent polls have since given new guy Kier Starmer an overall minor boost. It says a lot though that facile media interest quickly switched to the passing of a succession of sporting & show-business celebs.

Of course, if you’re looking for dysfunctional politics then you don’t need to go further than the out-of-sync strategies that have imposed differing versions of lockdown around the country.

Clinical bosses readily admit that closing down the nation is a fairly blunt instrument in terms of limiting contagion. Sadly, no-one seems able to offer a more effective method of lessening the impact on a health service that has been somehow coping with the pandemic for nearly nine months.

What certainly doesn’t help, in my opinion, is when politicians think it’s their function is put point-scoring before public interest. There can be little respect for those eager to pin their colours to a prime-ministerial mast, only to find that it has the qualities of shifting goalposts.

Another of those defining moments is happening in America right now.

As someone who has long felt that the best thing about the US is that it’s located on the other side of the Atlantic, I really can’t be trusted to give an objective view on all the presidential shenanigans.

All I’ll say at the time of writing this (mid-afternoon yesterday) is that although the electors have spoken, much of what they said appeared to get lost in translation.

It was delusional for anyone to think that Trump might go quietly. Yet it’s worth remembering that the politics of division he has so successfully exploited were made possible when Obama’s “Yes we can” mantra transformed into a legacy of “No, we didn’t”.

Whatever your perspective about matters over there or over here, it’s hard not to feel that we’re under siege. We strive for normality in less than normal circumstances. Many of us seek escapist outlets. Binge-watching box-sets has become is a national pastime (we’ve discovered “Lost” in our household).

Whilst I’m cautious about making wartime allusions during this pandemic, I’m also aware how much morale plays a big part in the spirit of a nation – both now and in the future.

It’s not too long ago that we as a city were promoting the importance of culture as a vital part of our collective and individual well-being. In my view, it is now even more important that every effort goes into safeguarding the creative and performing arts sectors and all this mean to us as a society.

I’ll just end if I may with some thanks from me and my better half for your messages during our recent Covid ‘episode’. Recovery has turned out to be a longer and trickier process than either of us anticipated but we’re getting there.

In the meantime, best wishes and keep safe.


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