Neil Oliver: Winter of Discontent - Next Few Months Will Determine What Society Britain Really Is
I say that in the most important ways, the winter should be the making of us. We are divided now. It is no longer just about physical divisions. Opinions have hardened to the extent that we cannot talk to each other.
These divisions run through families, between friends and neighbours. Such are the differences of opinion it has become easier to avoid people altogether. I say this has been no accident. Our leaders have done their utmost to drive wedges between us.
Apart from a few weeks at the beginning of it all, I say keeping us apart had nothing to do with health and everything to do with keeping us demoralised, fearful and helpless. When pressed they will say it was for our own good. I say it was a bad thing to do, that has had only bad results. I don’t believe the pubs and restaurants and the rest of the places folk meet to talk were ever a threat to health.
People who come together, might stay together. A stick on its own is easily broken, but a bundle of sticks is unbreakable. When we are physically together we communicate in ways that are impossible through a computer screen. We were stopped from gathering and so the glue holding communities together has flaked away.
Too many have been made strangers to each other, even enemies. Our leaders and their advisors are, I say, devoid of empathy – that ability to feel what others feel. Either that or they do not care what hurt they have caused, which is even worse. It’s time for faith leaders – more of them, at least, to speak up for the lonely and excluded.
Places of worship have a sacred obligation to open their arms. What is a church without a congregation after all – just an empty building. I say it is up to us now to come together – in every way we can – and remind ourselves and each other that there is no need to feel powerless, helpless. Each of us must find at least one other of like mind.
To begin with that one other might be enough. The important thing is to meet and to share, face to face. I will not abide by any more lockdown. I am not talking about militant action. My resistance will be peaceful and quiet.
Of all that has happened since last March, lockdown has hurt us most of all. Most people are in a worse place now than before – either in terms of their physical health, mental health, financial situation, relationships with family and friends, or a combination of all. Of all the ways, the enforced separation – the bar on being together with our fellow human beings has done most harm.
Too many people have been isolated. At home I have a basket filled with letters, more every day, from people who have had no one to talk to, to share thoughts with. I am glad they have written to me but it breaks my heart to know so many have found it best to send a letter to a face on the telly.
Having said that, I feel that every sender of every one of those letters is a friend of mine now, a kindred spirit. But that so much misery and anxiety has been heaped upon so many people, and for so long, is shameful.
The loneliness drips from the pages. I honestly can’t believe it has happened – that anyone, anywhere can look at our situation and think it’s been for the best. When it comes to vaccine passports I am way ahead of them.
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