This morning I woke up at 6 am with a feeling of, well it wasn’t exactly foreboding, wasn’t exactly unease either, but more a feeling that was kind of like a strange and unsettling mixture of the two but wasn’t, if that makes sense. It has stayed with me throughout the day but has thankfully abated somewhat, rather like how a really vividly disturbing nightmare gradually fades from your consciousness, but still leaves you feeling uneasy.
One of the things that troubles me is this, something that has long bothered me but current events have brought to the fore. Namely if people are acting irrationally, at what point does irrationality become the norm, at what point does what was considered rational suddenly become irrational?
Then I thought an impending lockdown of London, what with it being by far and away home to the most amount of coronavirus cases and all – and my borough having the single biggest cases in London for good measure. I pooh-poohed the idea as being nothing more than the effects of continued exposure to housemates who read the news – or so I thought. Then I opened up my computer and BBC news is my homepage, saw this:
There is “zero prospect of any restrictions being placed on travelling in and out of London”, the UK government has said.
A spokesperson said there were also “no plans to use military personnel for public order during the coronavirus pandemic”.
Asked to comment on the suggestion only one person would be allowed to leave a house at a time, Downing Street said this was “not true”, according to BBC political correspondent Chris Mason.
It comes after speculation London could face a lockdown by the weekend.
Which of course had the very opposite effect. You know when a government minister is embroiled in some scandal or other, and the PM says they have every confidence in them and enjoys their full support, you know then they’ll be taking a long walk off a short pier. Or when there’s leadership speculation and someone says ‘I have no plans at the present time’, ‘There is no vacancy and the PM has my full support’ and you know, because you’ve heard the same lie again and again, that ‘full support’ in this context means the exact opposite.
Same thing here.
I’m sure there’s a name for it, a denial of something that makes it the thing much more likely. I mean, yes, I’d thought of a lockdown, but the idea that were definitely ’ no plans to use military personnel for public order’ was a bit of a shock, although not as much of a shock as Asked to comment on the suggestion only one person would be allowed to leave a house at a time, Downing Street said this was “not true”,
I think of the Berlin Wall that divided Soviet controlled East Berlin, from the democratic West Berlin. How a ring of barbed wire fences patrolled by armed guards with dogs sprang up overnight without any warning, until a proper wall could be built. Those unfortunate to have been just visiting relatives or friends were stuck on whatever side they woke up on. For nearly over two decades.
The impossible can never happen, until it does, and given the times in which we find ourselves, when does irrationality become rational? As I’m fond of saying ‘Anyone can be wise after the event, the trick is to be wise before the event’