This news item comes as absolutely no surprise to us: Half of UK pubs ‘may never open again’ as sales collapse to zero and landlords expect rent. With the economic shock created by the response to the COVID-19 crisis, when/if it eventually fades away, life will never be the same again. Public life outside of the home or workplace will be a lot more restricted compared to what we used to experience before the crisis hit us.

This will simply be down to there being fewer venues where we can congregate plus the likelihood that a fair few of the restrictions we’re currently under to ostensibly limit the spread of COVID-19 will still be there on a ‘just in case’ basis. In other words, pretty much what we predicated at the start of this crisis: Isolation and social control.

But what about the drinks and hospitality industries you may ask? The hospitality industry is getting thrown under the bus. The drinks industry will just switch from supplying pubs, bars and restaurants to selling to the home consumer. The powers that be don’t mind us drinking at home (providing we don’t damage our health), they just don’t want us socialising.

Given that government will likely use their ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to force yet more crippling austerity upon us, they’ll be quite happy about there being fewer venues for us to meet up and socialise in. Sure, we’ll be allowed to work and commute because they will still need our labour to keep a drastically re-shaped economy going but they won’t want us socialising, talking and coming up with any ‘ideas’ about how shite things are and what needs to be done about it. Nope, it’s sleep, wake up, commute, work, commute, eat, watch crap TV while drinking at home, sleep…rinse and repeat but above all, comply or face the consequences.

Less socialising, more isolation. As we said at the start of this crisis, a frightened populace is easier to control and manipulate. Look around and it’s pretty clear that a fair sized chunk of the populace is frightened and after seven weeks of lockdown, feeling pretty isolated and as a result, compliant. If opportunities for socialising remain limited into the future as a consequence of a) fewer venues to meet up in and b) people feeling too fearful to venture out, then control and manipulation of the populace will be a fecking doddle for the authorities.

So there it is, welcome to your future of controlled misery. An existence where we’ll be obliged to go to work to keep the economy going then expected to just go home to be passively ‘entertained’. A lot of us will be existing but we won’t be truly living. That’s if people choose to accept this. As we hope is clear from the content of the Heckler since the start of this crisis, we’ve expended a lot of energy trying to point out where the response to the COVID-19 crisis is leading us if we don’t start resisting.