There are those who would have you believe that the current Coronavirus outbreak is a deliberate, orchestrated campaign designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- To reduce the global population;
- To cull the most vulnerable in an attempt to create a super-race;
- To use the virus as a bio-weapon to threaten or destroy enemy nations;
- To allow either the US government or the Chinese Communist Party to conduct a huge medical experiment;
- To enable the Illuminati to profit from a vaccine they have already patented;
- To prevent the global roll-out of 5G technology;
- To distract people from finding out about a global economic meltdown;
- To make people all over the world more compliant.
Some conspiracy theorists even believe that the virus was engineered by scientists in a lab at the the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in the city where the outbreak originated.
There are others who believe that the whole thing is a huge storm in a teacup, that governments all over the world are seriously over-reacting, and that the global media are gleefully engaging in a totally unnecessary fear-mongering panic-fest.
Thankfully, the view of the majority seems to fall somewhere in-between these two belief systems. Most people seem to think that, while we need to take the virus seriously by following the advice and implementing the appropriate measures communicated to us by central government, we should not over-react or panic unduly.
In other words, we should revive that very British mantra of “Keep Calm & Carry On”.
But whether you buy into one of the many conspiracy theories, whether you think the whole thing is a hysterical reaction to a minor issue, or whether you are adopting a more measured stance, you have to admit that the sudden shift of political focus is interesting, to say the least.
In post-Brexit Britain, the more cynical among us might be pondering on the convenient timing of this epidemic.
The word, “Brexit”, which must have been the most uttered word of 2019 in the UK, seems to have all but vanished from our vocabulary. The remonstrations on social media, the anger during debates, the families torn apart, the rise in far-right violence - was it all just a bad dream?
As we are all well aware, Covid-19 has swiftly taken over as the only story in town during the past couple of weeks.
This week’s edition of BBC Question Time featured a panel of guests who were pretty much united in their opinions on almost every issue to do with the handling of the Coronavirus issue.
I can’t remember ever seeing such camaraderie and political harmony on the panel in my 25+ years of watching the programme. This was even commented on several times, both by presenter Fiona Bruce and by members of the panel themselves.
Could it be that a threat like Coronavirus is just what we need to generate that other very British “Blitz” spirit in our local communities - the very communities that have been ravished by the Brexit issue in recent years?
Could our national and international reactions to the Coronavirus somehow heal damaged relationships between nations, as well as damaged relationships between people within nations?
Could it be possible that some conspiracies might actually be a force for good, rather than an attempt to win power and control?
Whether you believe the epidemic is an act of God, a premeditated conspiracy, a result of scientific incompetence, or an unfortunate accident of nature, one thing is for sure - the timing is definitely a bit uncanny.
Obviously, we don’t yet know how this global epidemic will play out, but already there is a marked change of tone coming from politicians, the media, and the government. A much more measured, rational, calm and reassuring tone.
It is yet to be seen whether this tone will filter down to individual conversations, and whether we can finally start to heal rifts between families and friends as everyone pulls together to fight this very different kind of war.