surinenglish

THE BOTTOM LINE

Just the beginning

After weeks of confinement and endless discussions about which countries have done well, which have done badly and where we are amid all that, at last we can do something more than just wait at home, criticising what others are doing or criticising people who criticise what others are doing.

Now is the time to use the lessons we have learned. I don't believe irresponsibility is the principal risk in this phase. Most people realise how much is at stake and will bear that in mind. The danger is this tendency to think "just once won't matter" or "if everyone else is doing it, then I will as well".

What worries me most is self-justification, something that makes sensible and responsible people throw caution to the winds with a perfectly clear conscience in the conviction that they are complying with their obligations as citizens because, after all, we deserve a small indulgence from time to time. The problem is that everyone thinks the same thing.

The other major risk is the tendency to confuse what is allowed with what is recommended. Some people's interpretation of gatherings of up to ten people scare me. In my house, where there are five of us, if we all separately met ten people every day and those people did the same, by the end of the week there would have been as many contacts as there would be at a major concert.

At last restrictions are being eased, but this is not the end; it is the beginning. Any step backwards would be far worse than an excess of caution now. We all want to be able to get on with our lives, recover the economy, hug our friends, even if they have feet of clay. The otherway isn't really living.