Boris Johnson gave a sort of permission for Mr Sunak’s policy when he said that he and the Chancellor were acting ‘like any wartime government’. Economically, that is surely right. Socially, however, the Blitz spirit won’t work this time.
In 1940, men were happy to gather in their clubs and pubs, as the bombs fell, to drink, gossip and enjoy one another’s company. Church congregations rose substantially. The war brought people together. The fight against the coronavirus unavoidably drives us apart.
This week, Boris effectively closed most drinking and eating places and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York suspended all services. Boarding and state schools have closed. Many families will spend more time together, but most friends and colleagues much less. The virtual world will therefore become the primary one for most interactions. To avoid the virus, one must go viral.
The Wine Society sends out a cheerful email: ‘There is much media comment on the difficulty of maintaining effective isolation and we want to do our bit to help. Currently our team is developing a comprehensive programme of wine-related activity to keep you entertained and engaged.’ I await it eagerly.
This article is an extract from Charles Moore's Spectator Notes, available in this week's magazine.