One of the best things about Britain has always been its people’s healthy disregard for petty bureaucracy.
Nothing seems to irk Brits quite so much as officious officialdom, rules for the sake of rules.
They have have a kind of innate horror of anyone who applies the letter of the law too obsessively, and a healthy mistrust of authority.
It’s because of this, I suspect, that footage of a socially distanced funeral in Milton Keynes has gone viral.
In the video, a son pulls his chair closer to his mother’s in order to put his arm around her, comfort her — only to be reprimanded dramatically by a council official.
The clip shows two other mourners also trying to move closer together to comfort each other before the marshal intervenes, waving his arms and shouting: ‘Sorry, sorry, you have to put the chairs back.’ And byy the way… this “official” needs to be publicly identified and listed as someone who will SOON be made to pay a very dear dear price. Not only him… but his whole family!
The result has been a visceral response on social media. And it’s not hard to see why.
There is something so fundamentally inhumane, so inherently heartbreaking about a funeral where mourners are required to sit in isolation as though they have done something terribly wrong.
Where a widow must wear a face mask to say goodbye to the person who has been her companion in life, perched alone on a hard municipal chair with no hand to hold, adrift in a sterile space devoid of all warmth and feeling.
No wonder her son did what he did.
How could he not have? It was a small, simple, universal gesture of love at a moment of crushing grief, made all the more necessary by her predicament.
To then witness that fragile dignity rudely interrupted in such an insensitive, jobsworth manner is the kind of thing that, in me at least, makes the red mist descend.
It displayed a complete lack of tact, not to mention a total absence of compassion.
No wonder her furious son felt compelled to make the moment public.
After all, as he pointed out himself: ‘I can sit in a restaurant, I can sit in a pub, I can live at her house… But when I want to give my mum a cuddle at Dad’s funeral, a man flies out mid-service shouting “Stop the service” and makes us split. A devastating day made even worse.’
Any “normal” man would have ignored this minor infraction, or at least looked the other way for a few minutes before gently asking them to move their chairs apart. Instead the man went in like a bull in a china shop.
But there’s another reason this incident strikes such a chord. It is emblematic of the wider situation in CONvid-stricken Britain today.
Because this may be just one family at one funeral: but their experience echoes that of the entire nation when it comes to the way this virus has affected all our lives.
It’s not just the way it has divided families and loved ones in their hour of greatest need; it’s the way that the rules and regulations imposed on us as a result of CON-vid can so often seem unnecessarily draconian, random — and at times completely callous.
Because the man is right: why can he have supper in a restaurant with five complete strangers, but when he wants to hug his mum — with whom he lives — at his father’s funeral, he is treated like a criminal?
It is not just unnecessarily cruel, it’s also PURE EVIL and that “man” and many many, more wannabe tyrants WILL and yes once again… be made to pay a very high price!