Today is Thursday and at 8pm tonight millions of people all over the UK will be out on their doorsteps clapping for five minutes to show their appreciation for the NHS – the National Health Service, and especially those who risk their health in the intensive care wards. This will be the tenth Thursday, and possibly the last clap-in, as even the organiser is apparently dropping out now.
The media has ramped this up from week one of the lockdown (yes, we’re still very much on lockdown here!), with pictures and videos, people in funny hats etc all clapping, banging pot lids and making noise.
So you feel like you better be out there on the doorstep, because all your neighbours will know if you’re not!
There’s an element of psychological compulsion in there somewhere, that clapping is expected, that everyone else is doing it, that you had better be out there because surely you want to show respect for doctors and nurses.
And everyone here does love the NHS, no doubt, and we do appreciate all they do for us, and the medics are well aware of that.
Some people don’t see the point and don’t really want to clap, but are afraid not to.
One person at church said of course they appreciate the medical care we get, but they did not appreciate the killings of 550 babies every day in the same hospitals which are battling the virus.
And someone, me actually, said they would rather go out and kneel on the doorstep and everybody pray for God’s forgiveness and mercy. But that is not a popular thing to do in England. That would never catch on.
When this clapping business started, I asked Alan, what should we do? His reply: ‘I am a practical person. I only do things that will achieve something, and that won’t achieve anything.’
People would say it does achieve something in that it draws people together as WWII did, that we all feel unified again. But we’re not unified like those people were in the 1940s. Not at all. Far from it.
So we don’t clap. At 8pm we will instead stay inside and pray for God’s forgiveness and mercy on this nation. Among other things.