THE crowding, violence, and littering in Bournemouth and other Dorset beauty spots should not be treated as exceptional outcomes of a long lockdown. They are symptomatic of a longer-term collapse in British manners and social responsibility.

Lockdown will soon be over, but social breakdown will continue. We are normalising invasions of personal space, fouling of public spaces, rudeness, violence, and selfishness. These are not just local inconveniences: they are threats to civilization: we cannot have nice things, find stress-relief in public spaces, seek friends among strangers, go for walks without stepping in human urine and faeces, let our children run in the countryside without being accosted by loose dogs.

Covid will be back, and Britain will be amongst the worst affected again. Why? A collapse in old-fashioned British manners and responsibility. Compare Japan: the lowest rate of Covid deaths in the developed world, despite similar lack of preparedness to Britain. I and my colleague Aditya Ranganathan of Harvard at the Risk Scientists found examples from Bournemouth to California of the impossibility of public health in societies of ill manners

Why is nobody else talking about this?


Woodbridge, Wool