Andy Richardson: 'A tipping point has been reached'
The killing of George Floyd unleashed a wave of protest. A month on, they continue.
Institutional racism, statues that venerate slavers, organisations that have a colonial mindset; all have been targeted as campaigners have taken a knee against prejudice. It is not the first time we have been here, but too often lip service has been paid to such protests before the status quo is returned.
This time things are different. A tipping point has been reached. People who are black, brown and white want change. The tragedy of Floyd’s death can never be erased. He is, however, a torch light for those sick of micro aggressions, unwilling to normalise abuse and determined not to let society place its knee on the neck of the BAME community. From politics to sport, from education to industry, tens of millions are taking a stand.
The BAME community, of course, has been hardest hit by the insidious disease that is Covid-19. As Britain prepares to reopen following a three-month lockdown, we will be returning to a different place. Social distancing is here to stay.
As cinemas, museums, galleries and restaurants reopen, we must acquaint ourselves with new rules. The mini bar will be closed; if we want a teensy weensy bottle of Scotch we’ll have to go to the take-away pub. The buffet breakfast will be off, too. Overcooked eggs, rubbery bacon and greasy hash browns will be consigned to memory, for now.
Social distancing in cinemas, museums and galleries will be welcomed; there’ll be no need to crane necks to look past the tall guy in front. Great. The National Gallery crush to see Monet’s Japanese Bridge, JMW Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and Van Gogh’s 57 million dollar Wheatfield With Cypresses will be gone. We’ll be able to linger without being smashed by tourists taking selfies.
The news that Britain almost went bust in March throws the scale of Covid-19 into sharp relief. Now is the time for Rishi Sunak to boost the economy. World-leading Britain has sustained more damage than any other nation.
Some sectors, including the arts, face a complete wipe-out. They cannot return until social distancing is over, which won’t be until the virus passes. Panto will be off – oh, yes it will.
Maybe if we designed a tracing app by the start of June, we’d be able to get on top of it. Any code developers out there?