Sunday, April 11, 2021
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My cousin, the voice of terror

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MAYBE those of us who read TCW and Lockdown Sceptics don’t realise how fortunate we are to have access to alternative views on the coronavirus ‘crisis’.

If, like most, you are a consumer of the BBC, ITV News, Sky News and every national newspaper, daily and Sunday, you will have heard or seen no hint that the government line is not the only one. You have heard nothing except that we are in a frightening battle with a virus that threatens to kill us all if we deviate one iota from the rules; nothing that will have prompted you to look elsewhere for a different approach.

I have written before about my wonderment that individuals and former colleagues whom I regarded as smart and sceptical have swallowed the self-evident nonsense emanating from Johnson and his sidekicks. Aware that we are not dropping like flies, they attribute this narrow escape to the foresight and cleverness of the ‘experts’ and ‘scientists’ whose only concern is for our safety, health and happiness.

This was brought home to me when I received an email a few days ago from a cousin in her mid-70s. This is someone I have known all my life and while I have never had her down as an intellectual, I thought she and her husband were reasonably sensible. Replying to a chatty email of mine in which said that I had declined the vaccine four times so far, and mentioned plans to go to America in September, she said:

‘I have to say we were extremely disappointed to hear that you choose not to have the vaccination and cannot understand why. We have real faith in them especially the AZ and are sure it is the only way to get any sort of normal back for our kids and grandkids. I realise it is a choice but I think you are expecting too much to be able to travel without one whether you like it or not, and with this pandemic it is the only way to protect us and all others.

‘In fact I am amazed you want to go to America this year with the virus still rampant in US. [Their son in his 50s] normally would be at his firms annual get together there about now, as he was last year.  He says no one would drag him to the states this year, no matter what! In fact my friends son who lives in Washington says the only place for a holiday there is a small island villa off the coast in Florida, all else not safe!

‘It has now been almost 6 months since we had the family here last only in garden. We did see [their son] briefly on his own before lockdown, and have not been able to hug the kids [grandsons aged six and ten] since last Feb. So we are desperate for all this to end and see them properly. So anything we can do to help, we will.’

I was taken aback by the hectoring tone. Then I realised that this is the authentic voice of sheer terror, and at the same time my cousin believes that while she has obeyed the necessary rules to the letter and sacrificed a year of her family life, I am one of the selfish ones delaying the end of restrictions. She resents the fact that I have continued seeing my family at every opportunity. She would probably be happier if I had caught the virus to prove that she is right and I am wrong. She certainly does not want to consider the implicit suggestion in my attitude that she and all the others have been taken for a long ride, manipulated and lied to (though this is something I would be too polite to say).

This is the abject state the government’s campaign of fear has brought us to. Years ago my wife and I visited Guernsey and got chatting to a couple in the queue for the ferry to Herm. They told me that families who had collaborated with the German occupiers in the war were still ostracised, half a century later. I wonder if the divisions over Covid-19 will last as long? Certainly I do not see relations with my own family being repaired soon. 

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Keith Joyce
Keith Joyce (pseudonym) has worked in provincial and national newspapers and in TV.

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