Public Service in a Crisis

I’m as scared as anyone just now; not for me personally – I reckon I’ve had my time, and been pretty lucky up to now, and can hardly wait to meet the Great Historian in the Sky (‘was I right about imperial absent-mindedness?’) – but on behalf of those close to me whom I love, and for humanity, which I also love in a more general way. And in the meantime, as well as being shocked by the actions of some of our great capitalists – Richard Branson, Tim Martin of Wetherspoons, that bloke who runs Sports Direct – I’m warmed by the generosity and ingenuity of many of our public enterprises, trying to make social isolation more bearable for us.

An example is the National Theatre in London, whose offer to relay its performances to our televisions and computers free via YouTube will ease the pain for the theatre-going portion of our population: a small minority, perhaps, but not to be sniffed at. From this week on, the NT will broadcast one of its productions every Thursday at 7 p.m. GMT – though I believe they can also be watched at other times over the week. Kajsa and I, inveterate theatre-goers when we’re together, will be watching them simultaneously from Hull and Stockholm, holding hands spiritually, and nipping out to our kitchens during the intervals for identical drinks. If anyone wants to join us, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre. (Thanks, Ken, for the hint.)

That’s what I call public service during a crisis. You don’t get Wetherspoons offering to deliver free beer to us at a time like this, do you?

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