Lockdown Lowdown

It is only when you need the law that you suddenly take notice of it or more likely break it. How many have sat waiting for that speeding fine plus points for having driven along a piece of road that has some element of a roadwork going on? The yellow clues followed by the flash when you see your 30mph has dropped to 20mph. How can they do that and no one cares until they get caught?

Lockdown has seen some of the most stringent laws brought in with barely a murmur of consent from the wider public. To ruin an old saying “One minute you’re out, the next you’re in!”

Interestingly there is data to be had, anecdotal in the main. Some of the stricter restrictions occur where you’d expect, contact, gathering and drinking in public the most draconian of all. Even in London during the 18th century you were allowed through plague and famine to drink gin till you dropped rather than face agonising death from rats and other filthy diseases brought about from living literally in a cesspit called London. Some people have shone a light on civility playing games and watching old films like your grannie used to do. Some have been almost blasé throwing a “meh” at the whole period of lockdown venturing out only to collect their pre ordered rations from Oddbins. It also says something about our natural instinct to obey the law, most of the time. An example, the British. Magna Carta though not a law has given generations of brits the superpower of going along with it until the damn bursts then they are up in arms, sometimes literally hanging whoever they decide is a traitor this week. Dominic Cummings had his fill although others got away with a publicity photo. The American forefathers, particularly Washington, realised that in creating their country they needed a Constitution basically the Magna Carta but written by political landowners instead of Barons (feudal landowners). This and subsequent amendments are the bedrock on which all Americans base their way of living. It is why both countries behaved in a similar way going along with the plan obeying their Prime Minister/Presidents announced restrictions.

It is clear the Communists states (some pretend they are not such) are easy, Putin merely has to speak and it is legislated. In fact I saw a press release yesterday saying Putin is considering running for President again “if” the law change allows him to run. Didn’t he amend that law last time he was due to hand over? China is similar to Russia although it doesn’t pretend as much to be a western economy it plays the old game but now that the world is more driven by economic power China’s tendrils weave through their purchases in western countries. This action during the lockdown meant China had a say on where an Australian company sent its PPE when PPE was in short supply. China of course! At home the people struggle no better than they did in the old days and no one actually believes the figures they are reporting.

Spain a real western democracy these days. Young at a mere 40 years old it still has that grip of steel where the police and particularly the Guardia Civil are concerned. The people still obey they may murmur but they obey. In Spain during the lockdown people where actually told which supermarket they could visit no choice go anywhere else and you would be fined. In Spain unlike in UK the fine is non negotiable pay or go to jail. No time off for being nice and to ensure you comply you get a clip round the ear to help you understand. It is also possible you could be fined up to 2000€ for being where you shouldn’t be no questions allowed.

Other countries like the UK, especially the post war generation understand restrictions like this. We may not have actually had them and learnt from our parents or grandparents what it was like so we carry on often like one of those “Carry On” films starring Sid James. Carry On Lockdown? Just getting drunk tweeting and learning how to do dumb dances on tik tok. Eventually though we start to get annoyed and small infractions begin. Maybe a jump over the garden fence for a beer with the neighbour. Then when one is found out, Scotland are up in arms because they never thought of it first and blame the English. The Welsh sing a song about it called “We’ll keep a welcome in the Hillside” in the hope of grabbing much needed tourism and N. Ireland drag up some examples of English oppression telling Jeremy Corbyn to put Gerry Adams on the telly again.

Once the dust settles and ALL the deaths are reported correctly without a nod to public support (wave to China) then we may find out that statistically everyone had a similar experience. Yes public density matters but so does public behaviour.

Thankfully here in Gibraltar, to date 176 cases, 176 recovered and 0 deaths we just did what we were told because we behaved in the main like a good old fashioned community. We kept essential workers across the border coming to work (thanks to Spanish/Gibraltar relations). We did struggle with getting flour and baking produce because suddenly everyone is at home baking and doing family stuff and yes people made mistakes. What did we get right? Overall as a population we looked after our elderly,  for most people the restrictions were sensible and all about keeping our NHS workers safe. Those at risk were told to stay in and food was delivered. Everyone did their part from the Government that prepared everything and used little of it thankfully. The opposition and the public supported when asked but asked questions when needed. All was calm and yes the day the beach access happened there was a wobble but I’d call that a stir crazy moment in 2 1/2 months of discipline. We did good each and every one of us #Gibraltar #LlanitosForever