Is baking and watching Netflix really comparable to being bombed?

Much mention has been made in these past weeks of ‘Blitz spirit’. The Queen even hinted at it in her address to the nation, referencing Vera Lynn in her ‘We will meet again’ closing remarks. TV presenters, journalists and indeed our own Prime Minister cannot resist these stirring references to the resilience of the Home Front, the sense of national solidarity, the pluck and grit of the British people, especially as we reach the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Blitz spirit has become such a powerful and recognisable reference point in our national imagination that it is applied, almost at whim it often appears, to any tricky situation the country

War and plague have menaced theatres before, but rarely on this scale

It seems a long time ago now. I was meeting the artistic director of a pub theatre near Westminster on the afternoon of 16 March. Already it was clear that this was one of the worst days of his professional life. That evening’s performance of a John Osborne play had been cancelled because a cast member had caught a severe cold over the weekend. During the morning, four more shows had withdrawn their productions, and the theatre had nothing to present for the next eight weeks. As we spoke, his phone pinged. Another cancellation. The door swung open and the production manager came in with a look of doom on

Blitz spirit won’t work against coronavirus

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