A year under lockdown changed the calculus around how we use our time and how we interact

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In the U.S. and U.K., hope is in the air. The vaccination programs are well underway, and life is starting to open up. The U.K. has been under one of the harshest lockdowns of the pandemic, with everything except pharmacies and food shops closed since December 26th. People have worked from home, not met indoors, and only quite recently were allowed to sit down with another person outside. In the parks in Central London, police were moving people on if they sat on a bench to talk.

But now, the lockdowns are being relaxed, and the weather is improving. Sitting…

Our senses are starved. They lie dormant, waiting for the reopening.

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It is nearly a year now, though time no longer passes with any structure. Each day is the same, weekends bleed into weeks, days into months, the seasons blur into each other.

There are three categories of people in lockdown: couples without children, couples with children, and single people. The couples without children have learned languages, watched box sets, and made sourdough bread. They’ve gone for long walks, played board games, argued, and made love. The couples with children have been running exclusive boarding schools: being parents, teachers, playmates, nannies, and cooks. The single people have been trapped in a…

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It is the end of January 2021, and the UK has reached an official death toll from Covid of over 100,000 people. People are asking what went so wrong.

Whilst the obvious answers are all about decisions, timing, and science, I believe a deeper problem lies at the heart of this. The UK government is deeply ideological, and focussed on a single issue. There was never any scope in Boris Johnson’s government to achieve anything more than leaving the European Union.

The prime minister and his government are ideological libertarians to the point that the ideology clouds everything else. Brexit…

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Donald and Melania Trump arrived at Mar-a-Largo in a motorcade. They were greeted by a small crowd, cheering, clapping, and shouting ‘we love you.’

Trump stopped to give the thumbs up, but he looked tired. Melania walked straight into the building, leaving her husband outside to savour his fans.

Once inside, the couple went to their separate suites. Melania kicked off her heels, put her sunglasses on the table, and poured herself a vodka. She sat down in the big chair by the window and stared into the room. She drank a sip, and slumped back into the chair, her…

People are dying of ignorance: not understanding how the virus spreads, or the risk of spreading it; not wearing masks properly, or at all; not observing social distancing. Boris Johnson’s government have clearly handled the pandemic badly. One of their failings has been very poor communication.

Two things really struck me. Firstly, there has not really been a coherent public health campaign. We get the cabinet and various chief science and medical officers on news briefings, but where is the national campaign of posters, fliers, and adverts explaining how and why to wear a mask? Where are the public information…


The lovely guys at Boston Robotics circulated this video for New Year’s. The video features 2 humanoid robots, a dog robot, and… well, another robot, all dancing to Do You Love Me.

The video is genuinely brilliant on so many levels. Firstly, it is very cool. Great song, excellent dancing, love the idea. Secondly, the technical achievement they are showcasing is breathaking. Like most people, I’ve long marvelled at what they, and other robotics companies are doing. The humanoid robots dance with style, fluidity, and character, and I found it hard to take my eyes off them. …

2020 is the year we’d all like to forget, but never will.

Of course, a lot of 2020 was really the result of decisions made back around 2016. We elected populists, they ignored scientists and avoided difficult decisions — that is the essence of populism. They dismantled the national structures designed to protect us from pandemics, wars, populism, and climate change. 2020 was predictable. Indeed, the people who actually know stuff warned us about the risk of a pandemic, of fires and floods, and of political meltdowns caused by Trump, Brexit, populism, and Russian influence. We ignored the warnings.


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The UK has been saved from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. The day before Christmas, the UK government agreed a deal with the European Union so that the UK continues to have a trade deal with its largest trading partner after the end of the transition period on December 31st. However much you dislike Brexit, or indeed the Brexit deal, that is good news. The economy has one less reason to fall off a cliff in the new year.

The government have been working hard on Brexit, and are now happy to tell us all what a great deal it is, and…

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The demise of Donald Trump has cut off the head of right-wing populism globally. Having Trump in power, and on Twitter, helped give credibility and fuel to populists elsewhere. Boris Johnson was the ‘Britain Trump,’ and Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, the ‘Trump of the Tropics’. In the past, America has set an example as a liberal democracy, and was a standard against which other countries were measured. If America is one of the leading super-powers, and Trump was one of the most powerful men in the world, his behaviour enabled lesser versions of him, in smaller countries. …

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Whilst Trump spends 3 months raging and fighting, who will run the country?

Back in the day, when America was still ‘normal,’ the 3 months between a president winning and taking office was a period when the incubment raced to see through policy objectives, and the newcomer formed a team to take over.

This time around will be different. Biden has already governed, and has an experienced team that was only disbanded a few years ago. Trump has mainly not governed, hollowing out the country’s political structures. Biden can fill the gap and begin to run the country competently from January 20th, but Trump’s deafening silence these last few days suggests he will…

Tobias Stone

Writing about politics, history, and society. An outsider's view on the USA, insider's view on the UK, and cautious optimist. www.tswriting.co @ts_writing

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