Is There a Society?

Compared to many I think of myself as lucky during the current lockdown. I live with my wife and two dogs only a short distance from Wollaton Park in Nottingham. Every morning it has become our routine to stroll around the lake, watching the various wildfowl in the early morning sun, walking through the woods and stumbling across majestic red deer stags or listening to the staccato rapping of woodpeckers. A photograph from one of early morning strolls is opposite.

Whats struck me most though is the increase in socialisation through the filter of social distancing. There are few people to meet but those we do meet are responsibly keeping their 2 metre social distance and because they are conscious they may be seen as rude they make a concerted effort to: exchange pleasantries; chatter; tell stories or at the very least smile and acknowledge.

Like many people I am watching the daily briefings where we are constantly reminded of the outstanding nature of the coal face workers in our NHS. Many supermarkets are allocating specific times when doctors, nurses and their support staff are able to shop for their ‘essentials’. Quite rightly they are all, working extremely hard and putting their lives on the line for the benefit of their patients. The Thursday night applause is a token of all our appreciation.

Emily Maitlis has recently won plaudits for saying on BBC’s Newsnight that coronavirus is not a great leveller – it hits key workers and those on lower incomes hardest. Many of these people do not have the luxury of a house and garden (or the luck to have a park on their doorstep) but will find the lockdown far more difficult in flats or bedsits and no open space nearby.

Could we have a more convincing illustration that our modern individualism is taking us backward? For decades now we have behaved as if our foremost duty is to ourselves and we have no social obligation. Have we been losing touch with others and our sense of belonging and connection in our constant pursuit of self promotion?

It is said that lack of connection is more dangerous to us than smoking or alcohol abuse combined. I don’t know whether that is true or provable but I hope that one of the lessons to come out of this pandemic is a greater understanding of how important and how precious to us a society is when we have earlier tried to deny its very existence.


Who am I? A chap living in Nottingham, United Kingdom who perhaps has a much higher level of enthusiasm than ability leading to an interest in many things but mastery of none. A father of three no longer dependent children, or so they tell me, and husband to a one-time nurse who now works with me (or rather I work for). I attempt to take photographs and occasionally fluke half decent shots though thank goodness I no longer have to buy film. I endeavour to practice karate but with advancing years spend more time instructing them participating but actively participate in the more gentle tai chi. Professionally I have spent the last twenty years in recruitment – not always the most highly regarded ‘industry’. For my part I take great pleasure in helping companies to find the right people and a lot of satisfaction out of seeing them thrive and succeed. More recently I have spent a lot of time helping people who have, or fear they may, lose their jobs. For many putting a CV together is so difficult and then finding opportuniteis can be a major challenge. Interviews can be a different problem altogether but with a little help most people can perform a lot better than they otherwise would.

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