Notes From the Northern Colony

coronavirus

The anarchist ideal and the libertarian ideal have something in common: they cannot work, because they are based on the assumption that people are sensible and well-intentioned, a thesis that can be disproved these days just by going outside, where you will view:

People wearing masks around their necks, not their faces

People wearing masks over their mouths, not their noses

People not wearing masks at all

People taking their masks off to cough or sneeze

People in any of the above categories standing close to strangers, and becoming angry when asked to distance

There is, as Marx wrote, a lumpen proletariat, but there is also a lumpen bourgeoisie, and the most sensible rules of lockdown will not contain the plague unless they are enforced.

#covid19 #coronavirus #pandemic #lockdown #plaguediary #scottishblogs #greummaolstevenson

—GM Stevenson

Email: contact at stevenson dot scot

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Outdoor life in Glasgow today was like an enactment of China Mieville's novel The City and the City. But, instead of two different nations in the same place, there is a Glasgow where there is a lockdown because of a pandemic, and a Glasgow where there is no plague, and no such law has passed.

And these two cities exist on the same streets.

The law requires us to stay at home unless we have an essential reason to go outside (for exercise, or to get groceries, for example), and no more than two people from different households are permitted to meet, and are required to maintain social distance. And there are people obeying the law, and many of them are wearing masks. But, on the same pavements are groups of four, six, more, unmasked, not distancing, talking and laughing together as they walk, because in their world there is no virus, never mind one that is more easily transmitted by talking than by coughing.

And, in blocks of high flats, there are signs next to the lifts declaring that only one person should use the lifts at a time, and that masks should be worn. And in those same blocks, unmasked strangers get in the lifts together. These two Glasgows met when a resident of one Glasgow — me, wearing a mask — got in the lift, and two residents of the other Glasgow — men without masks — tried to join me.

“One at a time,” I said.

“How come? We can all get in and just stand with our backs to each other,” one of them suggested. He was not joking.

#glasgow #scotland #pandemic #covid19 #coronavirus #lockdown #coviddenial #scottishblogs #plaguediary

—GM Stevenson

Email: contact at stevenson dot scot

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Mammon The Worship of Mammon by Evelyn De Morgan

The Scottish government has announced that, instead of letting people spread Covid-19 for five days at Christmas as previously planned, it will now only allow it on Christmas Day. This is one day too many, but obviously better than five.

Because of this, some people are complaining that Christmas 2020 has been cancelled.

It has not.

Rampant consumerism and partying have been put on hold (not cancelled either). But neither of those things is Christmas. Christmas will go ahead this year as it always does.

#christmasduringpandemic #covid19 #coronavirus #scotland #scottishblogs #plaguediary

—GM Stevenson

Email: contact at stevenson dot scot

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danse macabre

The Scottish government has not announced any plans to ease the laws against robbery, assault or drunk driving.

However, despite condemnation from The British Medical Journal and The Health Service Journal, this Christmas you can cause the deaths of any number of people without penalty, though the government would prefer that you did not. Indeed, it “strongly recommends” that you do not, but leaves it up to you.

In an ususual joint editorial both medical journals said, referring to plans to ease lockdown regulations at Christmas, “We believe the government is about to blunder into another major error that will cost many lives.”

The government does not even deny this, but has decided that it will allow up to eight people from three households to meet indoors for five days... though it is asking them not to. In an announcement today, Nicola Sturgeon said, “If you haven't made plans to form a bubble yet, please don't. If you're still swithering, please decide against. And if you have made plans, but think they're not really essential, perhaps think about postponing until later in the year.”

Other behaviours that endanger people are not left to individual choice. They are banned by law, and the law is enforced. Why? Because there are people who will risk other people's lives unless they are stopped. So how many people does the government expect to follow mere “recommendations”?

#scotland #covid19 #coronavirus #scottishgovernment #nicolasturgeon #publichealth #pandemic #scottishblogs #plaguediary

—GM Stevenson

Email: contact at stevenson dot scot

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Neil Gaiman's ability to make up stories has brought him wealth and fame. But his creative powers seem to be failing him when he is challenged about how he thinks his wealth entitles him to ignore the law and put people's lives at risk.

Mr Gaiman is English but based in America. He was recently in New Zealand with his family. He had a quarrel with his wife, and the couple decided they needed some space from each other. Instead of getting himself a rental in New Zealand, which is under lockdown, he flew to America, where he caught a connecting flight to London, where he borrowed a car and drove to Scotland, to a house he owns on Skye, even though Scotland is also under lockdown, and even before the lockdown people were told not to bring COVID-19 to the Highlands and Islands by trying to escape from the cities.

But such rules are for peasants, not Mr Gaiman.

He was so unashamed, he described the trip on his blog. But, in response to criticism, his story has been so inconsistent, it would never make it into any of his novels. Perhaps he needs an editor in real life.

“I'm currently a UK taxpayer and on the Scottish voting rolls,” Mr Gaiman said. “I went home.” But, when his wife posted online that she was “heartbroken” at his leaving, he wrote, “Yes, I've seen the newsfeed headlines saying I've moved to the UK, and even that we're divorcing. No, I haven't moved the UK.” A few days later, he wrote that he has lived in the UK since 2017.

So... Neil Gaiman has lived in the UK since 2017. He just went home. But he doesn't live in the UK, and hasn't moved here...

Mr Gaiman might want to think about moving to his country of origin, England. With his clumsy lying, narcissism, and belief that his position entitles him to do whatever he wants, he'll fit in with his country's government.

Also published on The Harbourmaster's Loug

#neilgaiman #covid19 #coronavirus #scotland #lockdown #uk #scottishblogs #plaguediary

—GM Stevenson

Email: contact at stevenson dot scot

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Looking west from Maryhill, Glasgow, these days is like seeing the view for the first time. Or like seeing a high-resolution image instead of a faded photograph. You can see farther, and in more detail, and there are colours that were previously invisible.

It only took a couple weeks of reduced pollution because of the lockdown for us to be able to see — and breathe — so clearly. Of course, the polluters are receiving billions in financial bailouts. When the pandemic ends — which will not be soon, according to a professor of the evolution and epidemiology of infectious disease at Harvard — a more common sickness will likely return. Our view of the distance, near and far, will fade, and we will once again be breathing in the chemicals that blur our vision.

If we saw as clearly with our hearts and minds as we now get to see with our eyes, we would ban all private cars from our cities.

Also published on The Harbourmaster's Loug

#glasgow #scotland #cities #pollution #covid19 #coronavirus #lockdown #pandemic #environment #scottishblogs

—GM Stevenson

Email: contact at stevenson dot scot

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A man in Glasgow's Wyndford housing scheme has coronavirus symptoms, but has been refused a test and told to self-isolate.

The man, who lives with his wife and two small children, said today, “My daughter had a hacking cough last week. On Monday I developed the same but thought nothing of it as there were no confirmed cases at that point so I assumed it was too early. On Wednesday I phoned the doctor about it and was told it can't be because there isn't community transmission. By the evening of yesterday the government admitted there must be at least 5000 infections, and six people in Shetland were being hospitalised for it, none of whom had any contact with people from affected countries.

“I'm extremely angry. My symptoms have matched the virus, but they are only testing people who present at hospital with breathing difficulties or have been to one of the worst hit countries. The advice is self-isolate for seven days. I've been doing that as best I can, but I can't properly self-isolate until they shut the schools. It's a joke. You can't carry on with a market economy and also expect everyone to just bunker down. I'm keeping my distance from everyone, avoiding crowds and using self-checkouts etc and washing hands and surfaces religiously. At the moment I don't know what else I can do as nobody is taking it seriously.”

His daughter, who would no longer be infectious, is back at school. His son now has a hacking cough, and stayed at home today. His wife has a temperature and symptoms of a cold.

Also published on The Harbourmaster's Loug

#coronavirus #glasgow #scotland #wyndford #scottishblogs #plaguediary

—GM Stevenson

Email: contact at stevenson dot scot

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