That was the year that was (with apologies to Ms Millicent Martin) – Part 2, COVID

We have been living with the fallout from the 2016 Referendum for more years than many of us would care to admit to. After the General Election last December, many really did think that, followed by our exit from the EU we really had reached the “end of the beginning”. However, who would have thought this time last year that we would have spent most of 2020 hunkering down and ending with probably our largest ever peace time deficit? And for once we were not alone. How we humans have got to where we are exposes several theories. My personal view is that we humans are paying the price for encroaching ever closer to the animal world. Given nature’s shrinking environment it is not surprising that viruses are continuing to cross the species barrier and pose serious threats to our survival. What we have experienced all over the world for most of this year has been war by any other name. Just as two world wars in the space of thirty years witnessed the evolution of the aeroplane from the wood and canvas biplane of 1914 to the all metal jet plane of 1944, so the combined efforts of teams of scientists around the world have produced vaccines in less than twelve months that before had taken years to perfect, and in the case of a vaccine against HIV/AIDS, not at all.

We are not out of the woods yet, but, again, the “end of the beginning” may well be where we are now. It might sound odd to some; but it could be argued that, in a bizarre way, it might actually have been the arrival and spread of COVID that finally put paid to the Trump administration in the USA. Without the virus, it is quite likely that we would not be anticipating the inauguration of President No 46 in January. As for who is to blame for unleashing this current pandemic on mankind, many would argue that you need, with some justication, to look no further than the People’s Republic of China. The question that some are asking is whether this nation deserves some kind of ‘punishment’, especially as it appears to be emerging from the devastation relatively unscathed in terms of its economy. For me the words of that old song resonate; “Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself”. Perhaps it’s time for us to stop relying on China to produce so many of the goods many of us appear happy to buy. However, dear consumer, if that is the case, you may have to be prepared to pay a little more, just at a time when you are about to be made a little poorer. It’s your shout.

So, if you put Brexit and COVID together, we really have an opportunity to find out whether we, as an ‘independent sovereign state’, really have the wherewithal to make the best of what an interpretation of ‘democracy’ and a reactive nature has thrown at us. We are where we are, as that hackneyed phrase goes. We really do have nobody to blame but ourselves if we mess up this time. As US Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, famously said back in the 1960s, we have lost an empire and failed to find a new rôle. We are still searching it would seem. The ball is in your court, Mr Johnson.

So, while some of you will still be prepared to put your faith in God as you pass through the gate of the year, as King George VI was advised, I personally would rather hope that we humans will continue to exhibit the kind of resilience and public spiritedness which has often been on display this past year. Perhaps, if putting your faith in God is a step too far for some of you, why not just add an ‘o’ to his name and put your faith in GOOD?

So, if any of you have managed to read this far, just stay safe and let’s hope that at some time in 2021 we might get back to something like normal service.

* John Marriott is a former Liberal Democrat councillor from Lincolnshire.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Richard Underhil 30th Dec '20 - 5:10pm

    We have been living with the fallout from the 2016 Referendum for more years than many of us would care to admit to.
    We are now living with Boris Johnson’s decison to rush the approval of the EU scheme and rush it through the Commons in five hours. Labour’s Rachel Reevel isted seven amendments as an early indication of their next GE manifesto.

  • Do we think the Local Elections will take place in May?

  • And a happier New Year to you and to yours, John, and a confession that in the 60’s I appreciated all the talents, obvious and otherwise, of the wonderful Millie.

    One of the striking features of 2020 has been what Scots describe as the ‘gallousness’ of the UK Prime Minister, one Johnson. He’s capped it again today by describing the AstraZeneca vaccine as a “Great British scientific achievement”.

    It’s probably slipped his careless Little Englander mind that AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish firm, and that many of the scientists working on the vaccine in Oxford are beneficiaries of the late lamented Erasmus Scheme.

    I prefer the view of a different Johnson, one Dr Samuel Johnson, who, in 1775, said of a different Prime Minister, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham,

    “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

  • Barry Lofty 30th Dec '20 - 7:12pm

    John Marriott @ We may not always agree but enjoy your quotations and contributions on LDV keep up the good work and wishing you and yours a happy and better New Year.

  • Thé world’s ecosystems have been changed totally by the actions of we humans. The figures for thé total numbers of mammals who are humans or animals used by humans like cows and pets as against mammals living in some sort of wild environment sow that the wild mammals; not in zoos, are probably less than 10%. We have a planetary ecosystem made by us.
    We now need to design the systems which will enable us, as a species, to mange this ecosystem so that we can live successfully on a long term basis.
    We might start with our own country. As a party we have little incfluence on this. So let us start with our own party to find methods of working together to design the solutions we need.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Geoffrey Payne
    (continued from previous message)...
  • Geoffrey Payne
    No one likes to talk about it, not even the Liberal Democrats, but we have a public sector funding crises. Our most successful campaigns; sorting out the sewage...
  • Geoffrey Payne
    We have to always be prepared for the unexpected. It is good politics therefore to claim that there may be an early General Election. However the usual rule a...
  • Tim Rogers
    As well as Ukraine and Gaza it is possible that Burma is about to implode. All the coups in West Africa remain unresolved. Venezuela might have a go at Guyana. ...
  • Tim Rogers
    I know that nobody will like it but we are already in a second cold war. The Moscow Beijing axis will grow,especially in Middle East and Africa. The Americans w...