A year ago today was my last day in the office before the first lockdown, with our university telling us all to work from home a week before the prime minister did. For almost three months we’ve been in Scotland’s second lockdown, which is only now starting to ease: older primary school kids (including ours) went back to physical school full-time yesterday, and younger high school kids (including ours) have started going back a day a week until Easter.

In-between have been two of the most stressful months I can remember, which I really can’t face going over here; in any case, many people in locked-down Blighty have been experiencing the same. There hasn’t even been the novelty of last spring: it’s just been cold, and bleak, and deadlier than the first wave, and each day the same as the last.

And even as the crisis wanes on the covid front, it waxes on the political front. Brexit has destroyed British exports, and the only thing stopping it from emptying supermarket shelves across the UK is that the government has postponed implementing import checks. On the weekend the Metropolitan Police treated a crowd of women attending a vigil for a murder victim like rioters. Today, the government is pushing through a bill that effectively removes our right to protest, by reframing it as a right to protest if you keep quiet and don’t annoy anyone. Shouting “fascist” outside Priti Patel’s window could get you ten years. The U.S. has gained four years’ respite from its relentless march towards authoritarianism, but while they march down that hill we keep marching up it, like the grand old Duke of York attempting the North Ridge of K2.

In this context, I haven’t felt like posting much. I’ve also been marking, relentlessly, and getting behind on it, and only just catching up, to the point where this is the first day without any hanging over my head in months. Now there’s just the small matter of everything else I’d been putting off or leaving half-done in the meantime.

There have been one or two bright points. I’ll see if I can remember them.

16 March 2021 · Journal