by Pseud O'Nym

Guidelines. It’s such a wonderfully opaque word isn’t it?  Guidelines don’t order, compel, or otherwise enforce compliance.  They’re basically advisory.  You can do this or not.  It’s up to you.  How you interpret them will differ to a greater or lesser extent than someone else. In most cases guidelines are wonderfully apt.

I receive personalisation to pay for my domestic care.  The great thing about this is that there are no hard and fast rules governing what my money can or can’t be spent on.  Yes there are guidelines, but social services haven’t seen fit to furnish me with these despite my continued requests.  Which leaves me with a pretty large grey area with which to play with. After all, if I haven’t seen the guidelines, it stands to reason that I can’t interpret them.

Therefore in some cases, interpreting guidelines according to one’s own needs is fine. As long as it has no detrimental effect on society, that is.

This isn’t true in a pandemic. Our actions are not consequence free. The interpretation of the guidelines by people last summer by vast swathes of people have bought us to this unfortunate yet preventable circumstance; one where yet more guidelines will be issued and which will be interpreted as before. Remember last summer? The crowded beaches? Of course people knew the guidelines said that they shouldn’t travel, but they also knew, they knew, even though it hadn’t been announced, that travel restrictions were going to be eased. Same with ‘Eat Out to Help Out’. The gastro-pub at the bottom of our road took part in this. On balmy summer evenings the street outside was chocca with people eating at tables. There wasn’t much evidence there of social distancing.

We are where we are because people interpret things according to their own needs and see no contradiction in blaming others for doing what they do.