Are you spaced correctly?

On a walk I took yesterday (you still can’t be arrested for that in Ontario) I passed the nearest licker store (or, “liquor” as some people spell it). The line to get in was spaced, I estimate, at one Roman pace between persons. (That’s five Imperial feet.) Two policemen rode by on bicycles. The more garrulous of the pair saluted this single file, congratulating its members for, “Good spacing!”

This is what it has come to, I thought. He spoke as if they were kindergarten pupils, waiting patiently for their licker in the approved way.

My own supply is ample, incidentally. Kind visitors have brought me several bottles of single malt, over the last year, and I don’t quaff it. There are several tins of beer left over from the last meeting of the Borborygmatic Society. I’ve just checked, and have two bottles of wine. As a Christian Survivalist, I like to do inventories of these things.

That the policemen should be on patrol, is a shocking development. Normally, police are not seen in Parkdale (perhaps it is too dangerous for them) — except in squadcar convoys with ambulances and fire trucks. Bicycle patrols are for the tourist parts of the city, currently closed down. Sometimes, rarely, a pair of policemen may intrude into a far section of Parkdale, mounted on horses, which leave their “calling cards” for souvenirs. I saw such a marchpast in 2017. Made me think of India and the Raj.

There are two things in life, at least. One of them is Freedom, and the other is Comfort. The second is more popular than the first. Often, one must choose between one and the other. I generally choose Freedom, which makes me unpopular, too. Even so, I like to obey laws, so if the authorities tell me to space myself in the queue outside the Liquor Control Board, I give it a miss. I would rather do without licker.

Lord Sumption comes into this somewhere. Britain’s high justice (retired), he is also a distinguished mediaeval historian. He is a controversial figure just now, because he gave his private opinion of the Derbyshire police, who now use drones to film people who may have overlooked the “stay home” instructions, by hiking in the Peak District. (They also have hotlines, so citizens can rat each other out.)

His Lordship’s whole interview on Radio Four has been much criticized. His point was that tyranny is usually imposed, not because some tyrant decides to go for it, but because a frightened public demands it. In such moments, by tradition, only snooty old aristocrats like Lord Sumption and I are apt to resist. And I don’t give interviews to Radio Four.

There are people who declare, “Give me Liberty or give me Death!” I find them irritating, but that’s beside the point. Instead I have a question. Where have they gone during the Batflu Crisis?