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7 July 2020

Safety in Numbers

by Syd Briscoe

HM Government: “Enjoy Summer Safely” - 60s

This government-backed film encouraging people to stay safe this summer is something of an exercise in cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, director Fred Rowson has put together a lovely piece of work: joyful shots of businesses reopening mingle with cartoons, archive footage, and delectable images of all the food we've been missing in lockdown. The film is a breath of fresh air and hope after so much grim messaging over the past few months.

On the other hand, the pandemic is very much not over... and the government's determination to shift the blame from organisational incompetence to personal responsibility has never been more blatant. By instructing viewers to 'enjoy summer safely' while (some would argue) prematurely opening up businesses, turning a blind eye to those ignoring social distancing after a few pints, and telling the public to 'shop for Britain', they wash their hands of any accountability.

There's no question that many of those attending pubs on their first days open will be demob-happy - they're human beings who have been through a traumatic time. However, the fact they're allowed to cut loose when it isn't safe is purely a failure of leadership, and sends a clear message that, to this government, profits matter more than people.

Watching this charming, positive film, one hopes that the summer brings renewed freedom and joy to our struggling society. But Covid-19 still lurks behind every cheerfully-ordered cuppa and trip to the beach. The fact our leaders have decided to sacrifice us for capitalism should make us more cautious about ending lockdown than ever before.

Film Production: Blink Ⓟ Ⓦ
Director: Fred Rowson Ⓟ Ⓦ
Editor: Sacha Szwarc @ Stitch Ⓟ Ⓦ
Sound Designer: Ben Leeves @ Jungle Ⓟ Ⓦ

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