COVID-19. It might be a short term thing or it might be the end of civilisation as we know it. A nasty form of cold germ or a species threatening menace. Who knows?
But whatever it is, it should be tackled in a systematic, cool, reasoned and logical way.
And that isn’t happening – far from it.
Let’s look at English football. No, it’s not ‘important’ in the grand scheme of things, but it is a multi-billion pound industry and a good example of how the current crisis is being handled reflexively rather than reflectively.
All games are currently suspended until 3 April. Then, the official line goes, the matter will be reviewed again.
Well…. the bug will still be here on 3 April. That’s for sure. And, in all likelihood, the situation in the UK will be much worse by then.
So what will the authorities do? Obviously, they will continue to suspend all games. After all, if they’ve done that now, and things will be worse in April, then that seems to be the logical choice.
But for how long will they suspend them? The clock is ticking. If they want another season to start in August, they can’t kick the can down the road for many weeks.
In fact, they’ll have to consider another option.
But what other options are there?
- Cancel the whole season? That’s one way forward. Liverpool – on the brink of their first ever Premier League title – will be mightily annoyed about that. So will Leeds and West Bromwich Albion – both looking likely to return to the Premier League. On the other hand, the likes of Norwich, currently doomed to be relegated, will be well chuffed. The implications of suspension are immense, both financially speaking and in terms of ‘fair play’. Clearly Liverpool, Leeds and the others deserve their rewards.
- Stop the season here? Say that these are the final tables, as things stand at the moment? That’s nonsense too. Fulham could yet win promotion. So could Brentford. Villa could be relegated or they could escape. Same as above; financially and in terms of fair play, this solution would be bullshit. This isn’t any better than cancelling the season.
In short, the only solution – even if civilisation stands on the brink of collapse! – is to play the rest of the games. Just to do so behind closed doors. It’s not like we can’t do video streaming of games now.
But, hang on…. if that’s the only sensible solution… why the fuck did they suspend all the English matches in the first place?
Why? Well, because the authorities haven’t acted rationally, logically and calmly. They’ve panicked and done the equivalent of bulk buying loo roll ‘just because’.
It’s the same with closing shops and schools – but allowing airports to remain open. How is it ‘wrong’ to send your kid to school, or to go to work in a shop, but ‘right’ to still fly from London to Guangzhou or Paris to Istanbul? What about the wider implications of bringing the whole economy grinding to a halt without any safety nets in place for vast swathes of it? Doesn’t that mean even more people are going to die?
There is no consistency here. No logic. Ironically, no keeping calm and carrying on.
Whatever the COVID virus is, whatever it may or may not do to us, we – and particularly governments – should be controlling the situation in a calm and coherent way, not just running around doing the first thing that comes to mind.