Yesterday, Boris Johnson ‘advised’ people to avoid non-essential travel and contact. That includes staying away from pubs, cafes, restaurants, theatres, etc. The key point is that Johnson ‘advised’ people to stay away from these venues, he didn’t order their shutdown. The consequence of this is that if venues aren’t told to shut down, they can’t claim business interruption insurance. So when their footfall collapses to a fraction of what it has been, thousands upon thousands of workers in the hospitality and entertainment sectors will be laid off. If this goes on longer than a few weeks, thousands of these venues will never re-open their doors again.
Johnson’s shitty slyness on this one may well have saved his mates in the insurance industry a hit but the social cost for the rest of us will be enormous and long lasting. After the COVID-19 pandemic is over, if we don’t make a stand on this, our lives will be diminished by the closure of thousands of pubs, cafes, restaurants, theatres, etc.
Independent music venues and theatres will be clobbered. The neighbourhood cafes and pubs where we meet and socialise will be few and far between. What remains will most likely be the soulless Wetherspoons and Costas who may well end up getting a handout from a government that likes to help their corporate mates. Life will be more isolated and more of what we can expect in the way of ‘entertainment’ will be piped down the wires and across the airwaves to our homes as we passively sit there eating food delivered by courier from the takeaway and drinking booze from the supermarket.
Whether the consequences of the loss of the venues where we meet and socialise and the increased home bound isolation that will make us easier to manipulate and control is intentional is probably more difficult to call without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. However, even if this is an unintended consequence, the government and the corporations will love a world where a frightened, possibly traumatised, more isolated populace can be manipulated and controlled at will. Their view is ‘why let a crisis go to waste?’ These f***ers see the crisis as an opportunity to tighten their grip on us. This is classic shock doctrine disaster capitalism in action. The question is, how can we stop the bastards inflicting this upon us?