Dave – the editor

Last week when I was walking to the station to get the train to work, as soon as I turned onto the main road, I noticed the stencilled sign shown above sprayed onto the pavement at regular intervals. My initial thought was that just as we’re supposed to be slowly easing out of ‘lockdown’, the authorities seem only too keen to remind us that we’re entering a ‘new normal’ which will be very different from the life we knew back in January. It’s not like they’re not aware of the toll lockdown, (anti-)social distancing and isolation has had on people’s mental health. So, why do the gaslighting shits at Thurrock Council think that slapping signs reminding us to keep on (anti-)socially distancing is going to do anything to lift the mood of people who are stressed and depressed by not having seen friends and family for months?

Then we read this in on Thurrock Nub News: Council mocked for £288,000 pavement and road safety work that ‘beggars belief’ and is a ‘total waste of money’. It’s not just signs telling us to keep on (anti-)socially distancing, it’s directional arrows to ensure we don’t cross paths and get to close to any of our fellow bio-hazards (formerly known as human beings). During lockdown when we were out and about, our impression was that the vast majority of people were observing physical distancing protocol without any issues. What grates about these poxy stencils is the signal being sent out that we can’t be trusted and have to be nagged, cajoled and herded around as soon as we leave our homes. In case Thurrock Council hadn’t noticed, people in Thurrock really do not like being told what to do!

Another thought that occurred to me when I first saw these stencils was the fact that they were being sprayed onto pavements that to put it bluntly, as you can see above, are in a bit of a fecking state. So much of a state in some areas that people with sight problems, mobility issues and those having to use mobility scooters are deterred from going out unless absolutely necessary for fear of tripping over a broken slab or a pothole. Which when you look at comments about this on social media is a view shared by a lot of residents. What would be the reaction from the council if pissed off residents started spraying round every cracked, broken and potholed section of pavement and then sent the damming evidence to their ward council and the relevant officers? Along with a message to the council to sort their priorities out pronto!

When I read the Thurrock Nub News right the way down to the end where various local initiatives are detailed, there are a couple of things that struck me. One being that there are proposals to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists that ought to be implemented anyway, regardless of any ‘need’ for physical distancing. However, on the other hand, it brought home the depressing realisation that it feels like we’re expected to keep on (anti-)socially distancing for years to come. That’s just fecking depressing:(