Remember those days back in late March when the first lockdown was implemented? I recall heading to do my shopping and standing in the middle of what was normally a very busy road to take photographs of the unique scene as the sun set – with not a car passing for minutes at a time.
Well, this latest lockdown is nothing like that. And it’s not just anecdotal as TfL data on public transport usage shows that while levels are still well below normal levels, more than three times as many people are using buses and twice as many using the tube compared to the first lockdown.
This may help TfL stagger out their funds until the next bailout is due – though its unlikely to do so. One key issue not covered by many is that TfL’s latest funding package agreed at the 11th hour was not based upon a further lockdown – and there have now been two. How long will TfL’s funds actually last?
On the roads many areas could have passed for a normal day yesterday. There were queues in Greenwich and heavy traffic in places like Kidbrooke.
Of course now we have far more businesses open than in March, with estate agents open alongside religious venues for worship to give two examples. Quite a few churches in SE London at least operate evening services during the week.
Many shops also now offer click and collect – and a fair few now put toilet rolls in the window and claim they are essential.
Lockdown 2 never really worked in London. Cases were actually on the rise before it even ended – so whether this latest effort will achieve its aim remains to be seen.
One issue with a centralised Westminster system calling all the shots is that it cannot – or will not – base decisions on local factors. We’ve seen that with schools and public health.
And keeping a sleepy rural church open is a bit different to a London mega-church that could have hundreds of visitors at any one time. But Westminster wants ever more power so don’t expect that to change. Current events have shown that while local knowledge is often better than centralised control, Westminster if anything will use it to grab more power.