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Alex Kane

Why the Government is losing control of its plan for easing lockdown

Alex Kane


It's almost as if millions of people have decided that the virus will just shrivel in the heat and disappear, says Alex Kane

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The busy beach at Crawfordsburn on Sunday

The busy beach at Crawfordsburn on Sunday

The busy beach at Crawfordsburn on Sunday

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece for the Belfast Telegraph saying that so long as lockdown was viewed as a novelty and most people had financial support in the form of furlough and mortgage holidays, then there would likely be overwhelming support for, and cooperation with, the Government's barrage of stay-at-home restrictions.

Fear was also a crucial factor: for when people believe that something very nasty, very dangerous is unfolding around them, they are more willing to support a collective strategy to protect themselves and others.

But I also suggested that lockdown would begin to unravel if the feeling of novelty transformed into boredom; if economic concerns grew (what would happen if the lockdown went on and on, and furlough payments were reduced, and possible redundancy beckoned); if internal tensions magnified as families found themselves in close contact for weeks on end; when increasing numbers of people began to resent lockdown as mandatory rather than voluntary cooperation, and if there was a sweep across the country of the mantra: "Sure, everybody else is out doing their own thing while we're stuck in here."