Hell Awaits, the Hand Cart is Ready

Chris Price
5 min readMar 18, 2020


The Brits are famous for their stiff upper lip and carrying on regardless. In the face of adversity we look back at the Blitz for inspiration. After all, we buckled down and got on with it when Gerry was bombing the shit out of us. We conveniently forget that amongst the comradery and solidarity, pick pockets were making a killing and while digging for England we were also denying government revenue via the black market. Lets also acknowledge that many of those children who were forced to sleep in the London underground or got shipped out to foster homes would never see their fathers again.

Oh for those days when we stood shoulder to shoulder, upstanding citizens going without luxuries for the sake of the country. But what country? Its no accident that the great Winston Churchill who inspired us to never surrender would be kicked out of office as soon as the war was over because the Britain he stood for was not a land fit for heroes. Unless you were wealthy, the Britain of the 1930’s was a cruel place. But this is not the real point of this article.

The apparent strength of the British spirit is also its achilles heel. The resolve to carry on regardless assumes there is an underlying good that should be preserved. But while continuity is often helpful and stabilising it can also cover up the cracks that paint a false sense of stability. We should not forget that while it might have been admirable for the working class infantryman to stand shoulder to shoulder with a commissioned officer on the battlefield, the soldier had very much more in common with his german adversary than his commanding officer especially when it came to the class struggle.

But that aside, in many of life’s struggles the resolve to act as if nothing had happened or to make a show of normality when all around you is chaotic, is precisely the wrong tactic. And that is the case when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic now sweeping the world. The virus is not your enemy. It has no strategy or desire to make you ill or kill you. It doesn’t care whether you sail through the pandemic or fall prey to its microscopic string of RNA. Just like the foreign soldier who might share your rank, its those most like you who offer the gravest danger and you, them. And COVID-19 exploits that.

The attitude of soldiering on in the face of adversity is foolish. You don’t know your enemy. The virus depends on human to human contact so limiting that contact is the only rational course of action. And while it might seem pointless to avoid your neighbours when they pose no apparent threat, unless you change your behaviour to being less sociable you are potentially opening yourself up to a double agent in the form of COVID-19. Its very much like the principle of honouring a confidence. When someone shares a confidence with you, you tend to want to share it with someone you trust, the problem being that even though you might feel able justify your action, you have still broken the confidence.

This might seem academic but you are in a scenario in which the rules are not clear to you. You can’t see the virus, you don’t know who is infected, you don’t know who your friends have been in contact with or who their friends’ friends are. In a game where you are outed for breaking silence you are at risk (or pose a risk) when you whisper — even everso quietly. You don’t even need to know the risks or understand the consequences if you play strictly by the rules. Unlike being in a group situation where defiance can benefit you, the virus is king when it comes to human contact and you have no choice but to play by its rules.

But this is not about self preservation, its about looking out for those who might pose a threat or be threatened by you. You owe it to your friends and neighbours to be antisocial because while there is a threat of contamination, society is its own worst enemy. We must take a small hit for the sake of those who are vulnerable; and lose our freedom in the short term for long term gain. What is most ironic about the hoarders dominating the supermarkets is that they are choosing to tightly congregate with strangers in order to mitigate a scenario that might be of their own making through their foolish behaviour.

The worst of the blitz spirit is the romantic notion that we Brits thrive on a crisis as if that were a virtue. The truth is that we, who are put upon to endure, are gluttons for punishment and are too happy to take scraps from a situation that is not of our making and buy the myth of a solidarity that doesn’t really exist. The hoarding that shames us confirms there is no solidarity amongst working people and the utterance of Boris Johnson where he promises us that our loved ones will die, exposes the callousness of the elite who run our country.

We can’t know how much this pandemic will hit our institutions and how many lives will be ruined by the financial fallout, let alone the illnesses and manifold effects of social isolation. Austerity has left us with no reserves and just as our government can magic money to suit its purposes so we can magic enemies to justify our fears. We must go way beyond WWII to the reign of William the Conqueror when us Brits were effectively slaves in our own land. Magna Carta was not penned for English peasants and in the centuries we have had a Parliament it has worked for most of us in only a handful of decades.

If we must draw inspiration from the past it should be from the likes of Manchester cotton workers who sacrificially refused to touch raw cotton picked by US slaves and the Lancashire millworkers who welcomed Ghandi, an anti-imperialist who also threatened their livelihood and saw the British Empire as pure evil. Just as in anywhere in the world our solidarity comes from a common purpose, a sense of community that is blind to differences and a compassion that refuses to accept the inevitability of the most vulnerable to bear the worst.

Its time to bin our imperialist mindset for good especially when we see the likes of China putting us to shame. We were incredibly lucky to escape the clutches of Nazi Germany, we didn’t do it on our own and we didn’t come through unscathed. Globalism has no doubt contributed to the spread of the virus but we might be better placed to make this a land fit for heroes (it certainly isn’t at the moment) if we can embrace a more internationalist mindset. We might take pride in being an island with a bulldog spirit but unless we get a grip (unlike our government) we can all echo Prtivate Frazer’s immortal phrase “We’re doomed”. Hell awaits, the handcart is ready.



Chris Price

Singer, musician, writer, artist and thinker struggling to make sense of our dangerously dysfunctional society but infatuated with Morecambe Bay & it’s sunsets