I woke up today to news of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson misquoting Margaret Thatcher, or so I thought.
I immediately recognised the reference as it was made in the book I’m currently reading about addiction in the modern world. How does this relate to our present situation? Well, the book was referenced by Dr. Gabor Mate in an interview hosted by Russell Brand on the the very topic of “Covid-19”, so I decided to source a copy.
Once more properly awake I looked up online what point Boris was supposedly making and compared it to that in the book.
Mr Johnson, who is quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19 last week, referenced a speech delivered by Mrs Thatcher in which she claimed there is “no such thing as society” during an interview in Women’s Own in 1987.
However, Mr Johnson used the quote to argue the deadly virus has proved the opposite is actually true.
He said: “One thing I think the coronavirus crisis has already proved is that there really is such a thing as society.” – Express
According to the book:
Margaret Thatcher … said, ‘… there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.’
What this current government and system is relying on at this time is for its citizens to behave and pull together as a society. It can’t have individuals behaving in ways that are beneficial only to themselves as individuals and harmful to society as a whole, namely exercising their individual rights to freedom and potentially spreading around the “Covid-19 Virus” beyond the health service’s ability to cope with it.
For some, this time involves being stuck at home with family, for others it means being isolated from family. For many it means being isolated from work and the usual daily life. For most it means, if not all, disruption in one form or another.
Bruce Alexander argues in that book that this is what leads to addiction, it is his “dislocation theory”. Boris Johnson is painting the picture of society coming together (now that he’s in isolation), while at the same time what we individually need is likely more akin to Thatcher’s family.
I could call Boris a hypocrite at this time, now that he’s caught the bug for seemingly failing to heed his own and his medical advisors’ advice and apparently shaking hands with people up until being tested positive, but he’s not the only one in a position of influence that’s behaving how they choose I think. Prince Charles was also in self-isolation after apparently testing positive, but only a week later, after suffering from “mild symptoms”, he’s back out of self-isolation. That seems rather soon. The rest of us are told this might go on for 3-6 months, with threats of fines or even “imprisonment” if we don’t comply.