Time to divide and conquer

*Photo: Dividing the nation to battle Covid

First published in the Isle of Thanet News of Friday 2nd October 2020


With Covid cases on the rise, thousands of students confined to barracks, MPs spreading it willy-nilly on trains, and even the President of the United States succumbing (stop that sniggering at the back!), I have a plan.

It is time, I think, to divide the nation (I am not talking Brexit) and split society into two groups. Namely Vulnerable and Non.

“Vulnerable” would include all those who were on the shielded list, anyone over a certain age – say 70 – and anyone else who has a reason to feel particularly worried. (You have the right to declare yourself Vulnerable, if you actually secretly enjoyed Lockdown and want another three months baking carrot cake.)  If you live with a Vulnerable, you count as a Vulnerable too.

Vulnerables stay at home and do not socialise. They work there too and if they can’t, they get Government aid. They also get help with the shopping. Those in education do it online. Teachers who are Vulnerables can take care of that. Nobody is forced to follow these guidelines, however old and frail.  Those with an over-developed sense of their human rights can choose to hop groups as long as it is clearly understood that OYOHBI (On your own head be it) applies. Don’t come whinging to the rest of us when you’re on a ventilator.

Vulnerables are encouraged to go for walks – for reasons of health, fresh air and mental well-being – but they are advised to keep their distance from all the Non-Vs. They may like to embroider a V on their masks or wear a suitably-emblazoned T-shirt. The rest of the time they stay put and watch the new series of The Crown.

Meanwhile, the Non-Vs, as they so wish, get out there, dividing their time between earning their dosh and spending it. They are advised to wear masks and adopt positions that are socially-distanced but there are no official regulations and the police will not get involved if, instead, they choose to congregate in city centres, breathing out vodka fumes.  OYOHBI etc. However, to help this latter group of little brain, there will be bright (I favour banana yellow) signs erected prolifically with illustrated depictions of things to avoid (reminiscent of those old public swimming pool signs prohibiting dive-bombing and petting). No kissing, no sneezing, no coughing, no sticking your face in another’s – however drunk you are.

There could also be words. The Government Health Department doesn’t hold back from informing us that Smoking Kills so why not be equally bold now? May I suggest: NOT WASHING YOUR HANDS CAN KILL. COVID CAN KILL. GETTING TOO CLOSE CAN KILL. NOT WEARING A MASK IN A SHOP CAN KILL, YOU SELFISH B***ARDS! and so on.

And then – with these measures in place, off all the non-Vs go. To let the virus rampage and hopefully burn the bugger out.

Chances are, with all the Vulnerables safely at home, taking up macrame or zoned-out on Netflix, the majority of sufferers will not face undue complications, the NHS will not be overwhelmed (front line workers should obviously have the most sophisticated and plentiful PPE in any case) and come the spring, herd immunity and/or a vaccine will allow everyone else to re-emerge, blinking into the sunlight.

All the conspiracists can stop peddling their barking theories, the protesters can shut up their protests, the Police can nab burglars again and the NHS can catch up on its backlog while the normally fit and healthy take turns to cough at home for a fortnight.

I have thought it through from all angles and it’s a win-win. Back I go to grating that carrot. And my embroidery…


Most of my novels are set in Thanet – and this Sunday, #SilverSunday, I’ll be talking about them and my writing career during a Zoom talk for 55+ residents of Thanet for Kent Coast Volunteering. You are most welcome to join – register here for FREE.

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