• Eve Webster

Wait, who's driving this thing?!

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Possibly the most important part about growing up is the moment you see your parents really get something wrong and think to yourself, "jeez, who put them in charge?". This can also happen with an inept teacher or any other authority figure who is telling you what you can and cannot do. For some kids it happens far too late, worse still is when it happens far too soon but until that point children have absolute faith that their mums and dads and teachers know everything they need to and if you follow their instructions you'll be safe. Obviously I am long past that part of my life. I often ask my parents for some advice, sometimes I follow it and sometimes I think it's stupid and explains some situations they've found themselves in. As for teachers, I basically considered rules at school as suggestions which explains many of the situations I found myself in. But on the flip side, the pity I felt for a teacher who had lost control of the class was real and would never have come about if I just considered them as the "system" rather than a flawed person, like myself. On the other hand, if a teacher was a bastard rather than a bit useless and too timid to control a bunch of fourteen year-olds, then the lack of respect I had for them was personal. This revelation that people in authority are often wrong and no-wiser or more capable than you is quite liberating but of course it is also scary. It means that the the only thing staving off those dangers and ensuring that everything is "fair" is another person, like yourself, who will mistakes of which you could well be a victim. And even if they do all they can, and make all of the right decisions, it's often not enough. They're a passenger as much as you are and the car is being driven by no-one.

This also happens at a societal level. It is a scary thing to lose all faith in a government, politics or

the justice system. But now more than ever it is very clear that all of those things are being taken for a ride by the pandemic just like anything else. Until basically this week, with hints of it before certainly, I was extremely skeptical of UK politics but I still told myself that things will improve, progress will be made and ultimately the government tried to be fair and make the rights choices even if it often failed. I thought that the government was trying to secure enough PPE and that they were trying to sustain people who's incomes have been cut off, even is they have massively failed. Now, an incompetent government is not a good one, and I never thought this government would be a good one. I have always taken in as fact that Brexit negotiations will be a shambles (and that they certainly won't '"Get it Done") and that social mobility (one of the elements of conservatism worth paying attention to) will freeze up for another decade more. Now with the recent scandal surrounding chief advisor Dominic Cummings this is demonstratively untrue. They are can no longer be seen as incompetent alone but actually malign. The story has whipped off the façade and shown the schemes and lies for what they so clearly are. It seems clearer by the day that herd-immunity has always been the long-term strategy and the past few weeks have been weak attempts to keep it hidden. The governments messaging and the policies just do not match up. They introduced a threat level scale one (no virus and available vaccine) through to five (NHS collapsing). They put the country at a 3/4. Not out of the woods but still in position to start considering loosening some aspects of the lockdown. Since then the death toll and infection rate have change very little in fact and are far worse than anyone predicted and yet the government is now behaving as though we have miraculously discovered a vaccine in the past week or so. Whatever you think is the best way to deal with coronavirus is one thing. My real issue lies with the double-think that the government has forced itself into. Sweden, controversially has taken a far more relaxed approach to dealing with the pandemic. It has received a lot of criticism and comparing the UK with Sweden, or any other country, is never comparing apples with apples. But at least the Swedish government has been honest with its approach even if it hasn't paid off in many respects and they have had to admit that. What the Tories fear more than anything, more than having the worst death toll in Europe, more than looking like utter, self-serving bastards and liars is admitting that they have got things wrong or even what their plan is in the first place. Each press conference seems like a scramble to save their own neck. Neck very literally in fact; the neck is what turns and controls the head and Cummings is what turns and controls Johnson not any kind of desire to best serve the people who elected him. The laziness also infuriates me. PMQs or the liaisons committee is not an ad-lib class. I am sick of being entertained by politicians. I am missing the bores who used to drive things. Sticklers and cautious people. They make good drivers and until they come back, we are all being taking for a ride in Boris' clown-car.

And then I cast my eyes to the west . I haven't ever seen a country crying out for an adult to be in the room so much as the states right now. Even before the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin, the country looked like a circus as Trump "sarcastically" told his population to inject themselves with disinfectant and declared PPE to be un-American. But the past few days have kicked the country and its most disenfranchised while they were down. People rely on the police to implement justice, know what's going on and to keep them safe- in other words, to be the adult in the room. This murder, along with the long and terrible history of police brutality against black people, is like watching child abuse. The fact of the matter here is that, being while, I'm the favourite child, the teachers pet. Even if I do wrong (despite having every chance to not) the consequences will be far less than what the rest of the class will face if they get caught. So while it might be hard to turn against this preferential treatment that I and other white people receive, we have to realise that our loyalties should lie with our other classmates rather than the teacher. If the people who are meant to be keeping all of us safe are not only not able to keep you safe but are in fact the danger themselves, what's a person meant to do then? I suppose cast them down from whatever status they've given themselves and give it to someone new, perhaps even take the wheel yourself.


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