Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

Hysteria, misinformation and lack of historical perspective

The current Covid-19 pandemic has unsurprisingly dominated the lives of millions, especially in the West, and the media have had a field day with their reportage. One pundit promotes one theory while another offers another.

Those in my circle know that I’m a bit of a history aficionado. Recent years have spawned a great many eminent historians and academics who’ve produced some wonderful books ranging from the ancient world to more modern times. There are too many to list here. There have also been a rich variety of documentaries on television presented by many of these historians.

And what links the two short paragraphs above? It’s the level of hysteria, political obfuscation, selfishness, misinformation and lack of historical perspective by Westerners as a result of the pandemic.

Like many, I’ve been tuning in to the daily briefings from 10, Downing Street fronted by UK ministers and their advisors. The salient point that stands out for me is the somewhat patronising way that the coronavirus state of the nation is delivered to the British public by the politicians. It’s as if they’re children who need to be talked down to. When questioned by journalists, they never fail to tell everyone how hard they are working and trot out pledges as to what they’re going to do. Furthermore, they brazenly ignore certain questions that don’t suit and deflect by changing the subject to unrelated matters. Gone are the days when a Robin Day or Jeremy Paxman would have nailed these duckers and divers to the mast. The question of deaths in care homes has been crudely side-stepped, the reason being that figures have been difficult to collate. I recall that Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon in 1969 but numbers of Covid-19 deaths in care homes are allegedly difficult to obtain. Quite.

I now come to the great lockdown ‘sacrifice’ that people have made by staying at home. Are people being bombed nightly? Are they rationed to one egg per week, two ounces of meat a fortnight, living in uninsulated back to back houses with no heating, only bathing once a week in a metal container in the backyard? We now hear of mental health issues and that people are suffering from boredom but reading books, conversing with family and friends over the phone, using one’s imagination to make something out of nothing, are pursuits far too taxing it seems. And let’s not forget that workers on furlough have the safety net of being paid the bulk of their wages by the state. Some ‘sacrifice’.

Surely the British public don’t need the politicians at each daily briefing to thank them for their ‘sacrifice’. Their forefathers understood only too well the meaning of ‘sacrifice’ as they experienced it first-hand during times of both peace and war. Doubtless many will think otherwise. Their selfish clamouring to end the lockdown ‘sacrifice’ will probably lead to politically expedient decisions to satisfy their demand as well as uncertain consequences. As the man says, we certainly live in interesting times.

Gavin Jones

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