Ditch the "New Normal".

200,000 years of development has led Homo sapiens to be what it is today, and that's too much habit to break by Act of Parliament or Policing Guidelines. We are a social species, engaged in touch as a principal communicator for the success of our species. At base we are primates, and in the medium to long term, will behave, in our own way, as such. Look at Prohibition in the USA as an attempt at population control, and which was a complete failure. With the current situation, we add fear to the mix, but fear will only control instinct for a limited time, when it is not directly experienced (eg under fire in battle). So what to do? Work with what we will always revert to: social groupings, direct contact, and habitual behaviours, not try to control or eradicate them: the "new normal" is impossible to impose beyond, let's say, another 2 months. So resources must be concentrated where they are most needed, in protection of the most vulnerable, rather than the current scatter-gun and diluted approach which fails to address a) fear, and b) human nature, and c) critical social system failures. This means that for the rest of the population the risk of contracting the virus will increase, but there is, in this portion of the population, much greater resistance to the virus, and ability to recover is equally much more effective. Because of human nature it's impossible to control this virus, we can only contain it, box it into corners where it will do least damage. Acts of Parliament cannot control death, they can only limit opportunity. This is about applying a rifle shot to the virus, not a shotgun. To suggest that a "new normal" will keep us safe from a virus which will not be contained is disingenuous and is gross deception. Until such time as a vaccine appears, locking down the population will have its own unforeseen consequences and will stack up huge problems for the future: un-police-ability, crashing mental and physical health, a speakeasy culture of sociability, and a population expecting its government to provide something which it palpably cannot. The way that human kind deals with such trauma is in the very sociability (sports, pubs, gatherings, music, festivals, holidays) that is being prevented, and this is a zero-sum game for a government trying to invent a "new normal". A deluded and impossible task, and one which badly deceives its population. Beyond another two months maximum, it won't obtain. 200,000 years of habit says so.

Why the contribution is important

With all the good will in the world, the population of all the UK will not stomach much more of what's being touted as a "new normal", and will ultimately lead to civil unrest, which is what must be avoided, along with declining health in all other areas, the "Extra Deaths", as medical statisticians call it. We must work with the virus, not try to control it, and eventually after much pain, like polio and smallpox we will defeat it medically, but it will not succumb socially.

by Shabbyhouse on May 10, 2020 at 10:08AM

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  • Posted by AlJones May 10, 2020 at 12:24

    Two different parts to ‘new normal’. One is the immediate actions taken in the months ahead. Second, is the long-term future. Despite some idealistic views, we are not going to undo centuries of human behaviour and create some utopian society. If people change their shopping habits, supermarket profits will reduce and unemployment will increase. If people think they can live without cash, small community groups will struggle to fundraise through the normal methods such as coffee mornings and sponsorships. This will have a devastating effect on the opportunity in small, rural communities and impact on sustainability. What is the answer for the new normal? It is for the public sector to increase staffing ratios, particularly on care, social work and education. It is for the public sector to stop outsourcing work. We have already seen the government jumping in to protect jobs. The public sector is generally not operating in the open market. Its role in employing people, in order to provide excellent services and protect the economy, is far more important than the idea that they should operate more ‘efficiently’ in terms of staffing levels. They are not responsible to shareholders and should not have to fight so hard to reduce the staffing bill. The government should ensure councils and NHS are funded better so we can move forward with a larger and healthier work force, with better job security and a more secure retirement future. That will stimulate the economy. A staffing level that provides excellent care, fantastic education, protects the public and ensures staff are not worn out, is far more valuable to the economy. Particularly as public pensions are still among the best there is. Of course, it is vital that staff are competent and well trained. And it is vital that they are allowed to do their job, by giving them the best tools and stopping wasting money on organisational change and increased management, none of which has rewarded the public with bigger bang for their buck. In terms of the immediate ‘new normal’. I would lift the lockdown, provide the full range of evidence and statistics (not just the few that support lockdown) and let individuals assess how they wish to proceed. I would continue to provide income and employment support for those who are particularly vulnerable and who would worry about losing their jobs.
  • Posted by lynr May 10, 2020 at 14:25

    We do need to find a way out of this and back to the old normal. Offering protection to the vulnerable who want it and releasing everyone else from lockdown seems the only way out to me.
  • Posted by Ccd May 10, 2020 at 15:12

    Some of this comment makes sense, but TEST TRACE and ISOLATE is needed to properly identify the carriers and ensure they are isolated before lock down is lifted.
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