IN Britain, our governments are ever eager to reach for war-time metaphors in times of national crisis. Before long, they are evoking Dunkirk and the “Spirit of the Blitz” as they urge us all to hunker down while the storm rages. Even in the course of Brexit where the success of Leave relied upon suspicion of outsiders, old military campaigns were summoned in the manner of a chap reeling off England’s next World Cup qualifying opponents: Agincourt, Trafalgar, Waterloo.

The purpose is clear and not unreasonable: we are all in this together and only by standing upright, steadfast and true, and taking it on the chin will we defeat the foe malign.

We must first, of course, dismiss any seditious thoughts suggesting that some will be much more insulated than others from any chill that accompanies Force Majeure. There is a pandemic on the loose and this is no time to be disloyal.

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Think you have a robust insurance policy in the event of your business taking a hit? Think again and take a look at the small print. Think that as your employer is a billionaire whose wealth can eclipse the economy of small nations he’ll tide you over for a few weeks until calm is restored? Aye, right.

Touchingly, you might even think that in a national emergency the UK’s health privateers might also be made to “take it on the chin” along with the rest of us. After all, in peacetime we permit them to use medics whose training was funded by public money nonetheless to provide only affluent people with their boutique and bespoke healthcare packages.

It wouldn’t be a major imposition surely to requisition these facilities at a time like this to relieve pressure on the NHS and its front-line workers? Apparently it would, though, and so we have entered into an arrangement to have their facilities and their trained expertise (which we’ve already paid for) at “cost”.

Let’s leave aside, for the moment, any misgivings about deploying World War II comparisons to quantify the threat of coronavirus. We may some of us be in mortal peril but we won’t be burned to death in our homes tonight in an air-raid or fret over the fate of a son facing mortar fire in a French field. Spare me, though, the sanctimony we’re all being urged to gather up and unleash upon those who stand accused of endangering themselves and others by continuing to work.

Pull together? This society is built on looking after number one; it’s governed by an administration which promotes the hoarding of wealth and resources to enable artificial price-hikes. It frowns on collective action to protect those most vulnerable to such practices. It rewards stock-market feeding frenzies by encouraging absurd bonuses.

And on those occasions when it does impel big finance to behave better, the banks become a cartel and take defensive measures. As coronavirus causes families to seek relief from financial commitments, our biggest banks are to increase their overdraft interest rates by 300% next month. This is to offset legislation forcing them to set equal rates for arranged and unarranged overdrafts. So don’t give me any of this mince that we’re all in it together.

Trust the Government advice? Have a word with yourself. This government came to power on a lie. Not long ago a Labour government went to war on another lie, killing 4500 allied soldiers and several hundred thousand innocent Iraqis.

Our Prime Minister conducted Brexit on three years of lies. It broke the law on campaign spending and is currently sitting on two reports: one about the legality of a business relationship Boris Johnson had with a young female entrepreneur involving large wedges of public cash and one about Russian involvement in Brexit.

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By all means let’s persuade others not to empty supermarket shelves and to avoid public gatherings and to remain inside their homes for the next three months. But let’s please avoid becoming all censorious about it.

A majority of people in this country have come to see that greed, dishonesty, corruption and deception brings rich rewards.

It gets you elected; makes you rich and gives your main sponsors the means to avoid paying their taxes, a chunk of which would significantly fund Rishi Sunak’s £340bn coronavirus bail-out.

In 21st-century Britain the practice of trampling over others to obtain what you want is regarded as a virtue. So, don’t be surprised when there is some resistance to this new idea of thinking about others all of a sudden.

Each morning the BBC brings us fresh pictures of people thronging the London Underground and pushing up close on overcrowded trains. We are invited to condemn them as irresponsible curs. The national broadcaster ran out of fresh things to say about coronavirus weeks ago and is now reduced to scanning YouTube and Twitter for footage of middle-class people doing chi-chi activities with their children and interacting with the local gym instructor while sourcing online recipes for their alfalfa crepes.

THIS isn’t helped by Laura Kuenssberg and Nick Robinson acting like lackeys in Boris Johnson’s royal household. Here’s Laura justifying her hero’s Worzel Gummidge approach to dealing with pandemics by saying that it was the science that had changed, stupid. And there’s Nick Robinson virtually on his knees in prayerful worship exulting in Boris Johnson reading a three-minute transcript from a television monitor. Tell your children and your grandchildren about this moment, he trilled. Meanwhile, if you ever wondered what happened to the Footlights Oxbridge team in that classic 80s episode of the Young Ones tune into the BBC’s nightly newscast.

How else are those wretched commuters expected to look after their families? Do you think they don’t know the risks? For decades our governments have eroded their trade union rights and workplace protections.

The gig economy means they can be dismissed on a whim and be paid a “Living Wage” that wouldn’t keep a cat in Whiskas. In this time of emergency we exclude almost two million of them from the coronavirus wage protection programme and leave them to the mercy of Richard Branson and Tim Martin.

I want to tell them they should be at home with their families, not risking their health for a mere wage. And they’d be entitled to tell me to go and take a Friar Tuck to myself and ask how concerned I was for their family’s welfare last year and how much I’ll be this time next year.