ESCAPISM has taken on a fresh meaning in the last three months. Where once it could have meant wilful avoidance of responsibility, Coronavirus has lent it a positive – therapeutic, even – connotation. We are given book and film recommendations with the assurance that they are “pure escapism,” for instance. Anything to mute the white noise of news reports and shut out the blue light of news feeds and logarithmic scales.

One strategy recommended to escape this current version of reality is to make plans for when it is all over: holidays, social events, the day where you and your family could take to the car and hurtle down the road to the nearest beauty spot to test your eyesight and not have insolent leftists question whether this was safe or indeed, true.

Even if you’re not making plans for a post-pandemic knees-up, it’s hard not to try and think what the post-coronavirus world will look like. That may sound a little over-dramatic, and a few weeks back I would have probably agreed had it not been for something a friend said. The friend in question works in higher education in the UK, and like every college and university the world over, they had just shifted their entire lecturing effort online. “I don’t see how we can go back to exactly how we were before, we can’t pretend that the last few weeks didn’t happen,” he said, not so much out of fatalism, but as a realisation that the potential of online delivery had been tapped and, the odd pixelated video call here or there aside, proven to work.

Of course, his view was anecdotal, and no doubt mileage varies across different organisations and sectors. But still, the idea that society will come out of this changed is a compelling one.
Are the Falklands going to emerge out of this unrecognisably transformed? Who knows, but regardless of the success with which the disease was contained, like my friend said, we can’t pretend the last couple of months didn’t happen.

In thinking of how the Falklands may change, I was reminded of a local poll published online earlier this year and in which people were asked to vote for their policy priorities. Housing ranked pretty high on that list, and alongside it there were some calls for immigration to be curtailed, the implication being that immigrants are to blame for a lack of housing; a variation on an old racist tune that plays the world over.

If that argument wasn’t ridiculous to begin with, a lot of us now find ourselves on the other side of a lockdown during which we relied on many of those people to keep key services and businesses going, to make deliveries to those in isolation, and generally keep society from descending into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

For all the changes that the Coronavirus pandemic could bring about, one would hope that it puts paid to the myth believed by some that immigration is an expendable commodity that we could simply do without. It isn’t, and we can’t.