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A Nation Divided by Covid

Posted on: 28 Jul, 20

A short blog showing some examples of the way Covid has divided Britain, especially according to what sector of the economy you happen to work in.

Oury says...

What’s the matter Clark? You’ve look like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders. Like a philosophy student who’s just discovered life isn’t fair.

Life isn’t fair, Clark.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Breaking news: the world is round.

It’s just the world is so divided.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Have you thought about forming a band with Bono and singing about this?

Why? There’s no live music any more.

Clark says...
Oury says...

You could do it on Zoom?

That’s my point. Zoom has done incredibly well. Lots of tech stocks have. Some people have been making out like bandits since the lockdown.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Bandits?

Well, highly entrepreneurial individuals who think on their feet and adapt to circumstance.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Same thing really.

And others, through no fault of their own, have been decimated. I’ve drawn up a spreadsheet here. About all the division, the divided society in 2020.

Clark says...
Oury says...

I can see that being a best seller. I’ll put it on my “Wish List”

Take my friend Claire. She works for a museum. She’s been at home on alternate furlough with another of the employees. She does a bit of online archiving when it’s her turn to work, attends some Zoom meetings. She’s taken up yoga, baking, she posts inspirational memes on instagram to cheer everyone up. Her husband, Leo, works for an IT company. He’s been able to work from home.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Lucky them.

Yes. Even though their earnings are down a little, they are actually richer because they’ve saved so much, not eating out, not travelling to work, not going on holiday, not getting coffees on their way to work and so on.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Did you know that the average city worker spends as much as £3,000 per year on coffee?

All that money you save with a Nespresso machine, you could buy a small plantation in Colombia, and bring the family to visit!

Clark says...
Oury says...

My local CO-OP has sold out of Nespresso capsules.

First world problems, Oury.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Then there’s Rob and Minnie. Rob runs a pub in the City. He’s had to borrow a fortune to stay afloat and now they’ve re-opened, business is dead because there’s nobody about. He’s about to go bust.

He should apply for change of use and convert it into flats.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Yeah, cos London doesn’t have enough trendy flats! In any case, he doesn’t own the freehold.

Ouch.

Clark says...
Oury says...

His wife Minnie, meanwhile, works in advertising. She’s on furlough - has been quite enjoying being at home - but knows she’s on borrowed time as nobody is making any adverts apart from the government.

And betting companies.

Clark says...
Oury says...

That’s true, two things that survive in a recession are churches and bookies, selling false hope in equal measure!

Rob and Minnie are probably going to end up losing their home because of this. They think the lockdown is insane and has gone on way too long. Claire and Leo both think the lockdown should have started sooner, and that it should carry on until the virus has passed - because it puts people’s lives in danger. But Rob and Minnie feel that the lock down will put more lives in danger when you consider the long term economic consequences across the board.

Clark says...
Oury says...

I bet Claire and Leo are hypervigilant about wearing masks.

They are. And why shouldn’t they be? Not wearing masks put people’s lives in danger.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Well, the evidence on that is not conclusive.

What is the problem with wearing a mask?

Clark says...
Oury says...

Don’t lecture me about masks! Masksist!

Claire can’t understand why people are so upset. Be safe in your home - that’s all that matters. It would be nice to get her roots done, but Leo says he doesn’t mind that much.

Clark says...
Oury says...

How magnanimous of him. What does he do?

He’s invented an app that tells you when you’re going to fart, by monitoring the rumblings in your stomach, and it rings you so you can leave the room. It’s called Rumbled. It’s going to be huge. But they’re thinking of closing down their offices altogether cos they can all work remotely.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Well they won’t be cooped up in the office together, they won’t even need that app!

Irony of ironies, Leo’s office is by Rob’s pub, so that’s a load more clients who won’t be drinking there. Rob and Minnie are going to have to move in with Rob’s parents.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Ooh, humiliating.

Leo and Claire meanwhile haven’t seen Claire’s Mum, cos she’s in the country shielding.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Bet they’re secretly quite happy about that.

They are. If they had their way they’d have been “shielding” from her for years!

Clark says...
Oury says...

She must be going insane all by herself.

Yes, she is but she is being brave. She grew up in the War so she sees it as no small sacrifice. Being an evacuee in Devon was more difficult than having to do her “Salsa over Sixty” classes online.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Only marginally I’d say! So you have this divide between generations. Old people are the ones hit hardest by Covid, by the disease and by the isolation.

They are the real heroes of Covid

Clark says...
Oury says...

Another divide is education.

How’s that?

Clark says...
Oury says...

The private schools have adapted so much better than the state ones.

Well private schools almost always do.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Not sure about that, but Covid has amplified things. In April, just 3% of state primary and 6% of state secondary schools were providing live lessons online, compared to 60% of private primary and over 72% of private secondary schools.

Cripes. Why couldn’t the state schools get their house in order? Unions, lack of leadership, what?

Clark says...
Oury says...

Don’t let’s go there. Claire and Leo both sent their kids to state school, because they’re quite principled like that.

Also cos it saved them money and they’re quite tight. Plus, no doubt, they suddenly they remembered to be Catholic just as they applied places in St Brendan’s

Clark says...
Oury says...

Maybe. But there’s now a wave of middle-class parents - Claire and Leo among them - deserting the state sector and turning to private schools.

Well, that’s their decision.

Clark says...
Oury says...

It’s another manifestation of this division that’s opening up. Not everyone can do that. I thought Leave or Remain was bad. Now it’s mask vs no mask. Public sector vs private. Can work from home, can’t work from home. Sectors that have been helped by the virus or decimated by it.

People who shower at the beginning of the day or the end of the day.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Yes, in a way. Think of all those low income workers trapped in crappy accommodation - dormitories and stuff. With no income. It’s fine for Leo and Clare - they’ve got a nice house.

Vaxers and anti-vaxers. That’s the next argument that’s coming. Think about all the conspiracy theories that will abound regarding any vaccine against Covid!

Clark says...
Oury says...

Don’t get me started on that one.

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We are but two fictitious characters throwing out ideas and comment to stimulate debate and collect information. As professional service firms, we are open minded people and think independent thought and debate is essential to help understand, as well as navigate, complex problems. By joves – doing business across Europe (and the world) is set to become a whole lot more complex in light of recent seismic political events. As businesses - we provide information and hopefully some wisdom - and we see this blog and its caricatures merely as a much more fun, perhaps slightly controversial way, of stimulating debate and collecting ideas. We’re searching for some true pearls of wisdom, and as we find them, we’ll share them with you.

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