Coronavirus log: We are becoming a nation of police informants and egotists
It's not all community spirit, says reporter Dan Barker, the coronavirus lockdown has to serve as a warning as well.
Once coronavirus fades away into the back of our minds and supermarkets get rid of their officious guards demanding to know what you're there to buy, there are many things we need to look at.
How good was the government response to the virus? Is the National Health Service fit for purpose? What do we actually want from our police force?
Despite being complex issues, these could be some of the easier questions to answer once the crisis has ended. The most important evaluation we will need to make is of ourselves.
Overnight we have become a nation of police informants and egotists.
Last week people across the country stood at their door and clapped for the doctors and nurses who have been catapulted on to the frontline in the war against an invisible virus.
Towns and cities across the country filled with the sound of applause on Thursday, as many celebrated the hard work of those fighting to save lives.
But not even two metres (the horror!) behind many of these people was somebody filming, and clips were quickly uploaded to the web for the world to see - to see people clapping like seals while making sure they were the centre of attention with a careful glance back to camera every ten seconds.
Some were there to show genuine admiration for those in a tough job. But most clips were backhanded ways of pointing out how much more on message they were than you, and really you should feel bad because you only clapped for thirty seconds and not a minute.
Another new way of winning online clout is to dob in your neighbour on online Facebook groups.
Sue has been out of her house twice today? Well, better post it online and call the police because that's not acceptable!
A mum with her two children enjoying a picnic in an empty field because they have no garden at home? Let's make sure we take a picture of them and publicly name and shame them! If only there was a police drone filming them so they can be attacked by Twitter losers.
A pensioner has driven to an isolated spot to have a quiet walk in the same place he has every weekend for the last 40 years? Not on. How is this an 'essential trip'? Let's hope they are fined... it's for their own safety after all.
This crisis should serve as a warning for all of us. In the space of a few weeks your liberty can be taken off you, and quite often somebody on your street will be willing to grass you in to whoever is in power to score some self-congratulatory points and for the feeling of moral superiority.
The draconian measures are needed this time, but the next time they might not be.
Let’s hope the keyboard gangsters have gone by then because if not, we will be under house arrest forever.
And if you're not uploading clips of your whoops at the daily cheer-a-thons, you'll be unfriended before you know it.
More by this authorDan Barker
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